Hue is the historic city of Vietnam, a Unesco heritage site, because of its past and its monuments, temples, palaces, mausoleums, architecture, gardens and all this is a collection of things that make your visit highly recommended, a why it's nice to walk and visit, despite being rather Unesco site, conservation is not as good as one might wish.
The Thiên Mụ Pagoda (which means Heavenly Lady) is on a hill next to the Perfume River and is a symbol of the city of Hue.
Legend has it that in 1601 a mystic predicted that whoever found a pagoda on the promontory along the Perfume River would usher in a great dynasty. Nguyen Hoang, governor of the province of Thuan Hoa, followed the directions and the mystic's prediction was confirmed. The Nguyen Dynasty and its lineage, was the last of the imperial dynasties to rule Vietnam and lasted until 1945.
The pagoda can be recognized by its Phuoc Duyen octagonal tower. Each of the tower's seven floors is dedicated to a Manushi-Buddha, which is a Buddha that makes its appearances in the form of a human. The best thing is definitely the boat ride on the Perfume River from the center of Hue to the outskirts where the pagoda stands.
The Tomb of Minh Mang is located about 12km from the city of Hue. There is a large staircase which arrives at a walkway where you can see the stone statues representing elephants, horses, and the Mandarins. The imperial tombs are places of worship and the workers who built this tomb in specific were executed so they couldn't divulge the secrets of its construction to looters.
Perfume River ( or Hương Giang in Vietnamese) has its source in the Annamite Mountains, and is formed by tributaries of the Ta Trach and Huu Trach Rivers. Its route is nearly 30 kilometers long and moves very slowly because it is almost entirely at sea level.
The Perfume River gets its name from the fact that it passes through many fields and catches the smell of all the wildflowers. A popular legend says that the colors of the river range from white to green and resemble a silver sword drawn in the sky.
We took a ferry to go see some temples and besides being a beautiful experience, was also educational. We saw daily life on the river, barges, homes, and small boats which collected a species of algae later used to feed animals. Along the Perfume River, you can also visit the tombs of the old Nguyen emperors.
Tự Đức was the last emperor of the Nguyen dynasty and reined from 1847 to 1883. He is considered to be the last independent emperor of Vietnam. He continued the tradition of social closure started by his ancestors, closing Vietnam off to foreigners and modernizing influences and expelling those foreigners living in Vietnam. His persecution of the Christian population (a belief he considered perverse) caused a considerable amount of anger among the large powers of Europe and led to France’s conquest of Saigon which forced Tự Đức to eventually capitulate and sign over South Vietnam as a French colony (known then as Indochina). For many, this surrender to the French was tantamount to treason.
Despite the political upheavals, Tự Đức lived a life of luxury and personal reflection in the outskirts of Hue and governed from the Imperial. After his death, the palace was converted into a royal tomb. However, Tự Đức was never buried in this tomb and the whereabouts of his body (and treasure) remains a mystery to this day.
The Emperor Khai Đinh ruled Vietnam from 1916 to 1925. His tomb is an impressive cement and marble structure built on a hill at the south end of the Imperial City of Hue. The spot was chosen because the movement of the wind was deemed to be in accordance with the oriental philosophy of Phong Thủy (wind and water), otherwise known as Feng Shui. It's is pretty different from the rest of the tombs in that it fuses both European and Vietnamese decorative elements, as per the emperor's tastes.
The entrance is located at the end of a staircase which has a handrail in the form of a dragon. After you finish the second set of stairs you arrive at a courtyard containing the Stele Pavilion and life-size sculptures of elephants, horses, and Mandarin soldiers.
The Thien Dinh Palace is located at the end of the hill and is built entirely of marble. It contains the emperor's tomb, a hall decorated entirely in ceramic and glass mosaics whose centerpiece is a bronze statue of the emperor in full ceremonial dress. The remains of the emperor are buried 18 meters below the statue.
Hue is one of Vietnam's most spectacular cities, mainly due to its monuments and pagodas heritage of its imperial past. It's also known for being one of the gastronomy capitals of Asia. One of the places where you can feel the pulse of the city is the bustling Dong Ba market, north of Perfume River, in the extreme southeast of the Imperial Citadel. What I liked about this market is that it expresses itself and you can find almost anything here. We had some free time to look round it and had an absolute blast. Dong Ba Market sellers are experts in the art of bargaining and very persistent. In fact, a market seller chased us through the market until we went to his textile shop. We eventually bought some spices, Vietnamese coffee and tea and a few items of clothing. It was quite an adventure.
This bay is on Route 1 about 80km. from the city of Hue. It's set in a stunning natural panorama of mountains, rivers, lakes, islands, and a huge white-sand beaches that spreads out over 32km. This area hasn't been completely exploited by tourists yet, but there is a tourism development plan in the works. There are a few resorts but nothing big. The beach is practically deserted.
The first sight of this temple is perched on a promontory on the banks of the Perfume River which we go up by boat. This Buddhist temple, built in the second half of the 16th century is famous and still houses a community of monks, where the novice monks are responsible for making food. The regime is vegetarian. One of the monks set himself on fire Saigon.
These nine bronze urns are 2.3 meters tall and weigh 2 tons each. They represent the nine emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. Each has a unique decoration featuring flowers and traditional Vietnamese motifs. They’re all lined up below the terrace of the Hien Lam Pavilion except for one, that of the emperor Gia Long who appears to have made an especially important contribution to the grandeur of the Nguyen dynasty.
This river begins in the Truong Son Mountains and is about 30 kilometers long. Hue city straddles the river, popularly known as Rio Perfume by the scent of its lotus flowers. The river is very important for the city, along it are the tombs of the Nguyen emperors. It is a river with a weak current where the water level is almost sea level.