Hue was the former imperial capital of Vietnam, between 1802 and 1945 when the Nguyen Empire controlled the country. We were in Hue during the rainy season, and boy did it rain. It made wandering around the outdoor sights difficult to enjoy, but we did our best.
Hue has only a few interesting sights – the Citadel (the former home of the Emperor) and the pagodas and royal tombs in the countryside. The Citadel dominates the centre of the city, but it is bombed out shell of its former glory. Inside its massive walls there aren’t many buildings left standing. Most were destroyed in the wars with the French and Americans. What’s left gives a glimpse of how spectacular this area used to look.
We took a boat tour down the Perfume River to see the pagodas and tombs located just outside of Hue. The guide book said biking between the sites makes for a fun day, but not in the incessant rain we had.
First stop, the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Then, on to the royal tombs Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, and Tu Doc. It was interesting how each tomb was unique. Minh Mang’s tomb was tranquil and serene. Khai Dinh’s had Gothic European influences with black concrete, painted ceilings, and tiled mosaics. Tu Doc’s tomb was dark and sinister.
Christmas in Hue was a non-event, but our awesome hotel (Hotel Nino – the best hotel we stayed in all trip) made us an amazing Christmas Eve dinner.