I’m really glad we decided to visit Hue, as after so long in Northern Vietnam we thought of skipping it to spend more time in the South. As Blake likes to think of it, Hue is most noted for how many times it has been destroyed, both by international forces and internally due to its position between North and South. Most of the city is busy and modern, hugging the beautiful, wide river that snakes through its centre. There is also the Citadel, an older, walled part of Hue with greater cultural and historical significance – what’s left of it anyway.

We arrived really early on our first day, having taken our first open bus – bunk beds on buses never gets old, neither does fear of the driver’s apparent recklessness and road rage. Having checked in and breakfasted in our hostel’s saloon- themed common area, we dragged our weary selves over the river and into the citadel. Anywhere else in the world, I feel this place would be a star attraction and bustling with locals. Hue, however, didn’t pay too much attention to its past and left it for the most part to its Western visitors. It was very beautiful and well worth a visit, but it was strange to walk around such a seemingly deserted part of town. 

The citadel holds remnants of the former palacial and temple complex and ticket entry afforded a fascinating insight into some of the emperors and dynasties that called it their home. 

Vietnam’s historic complexity means that this area was passed between many hands throughout the centuries, mostly ruling dynasties and then later French colonial administration. 

Most of it lies in ruins but its size and luxurity remain visible and impressive. The gardens are also well-preserved and add to the elegance and sense of peace within this aged site.

The rest of the day was mostly spent napping and blog writing, before a delicious dinner at a local Japanese restaurant, where we had some of the best sushi dishes ever.

It was so good, in fact, that we went back for lunch the next day and spent three hours in there sampling lots of dishes. We could have spent our only full day in Hue exploring some more of its sites, particularly the famous Pagoda by the river, but we essentially crashed and only left our beds for food. I would recommend an afternoon renting a boat to take you down river to see the Pagoda from there, we walked along the river around sunset and it was so beautiful and peaceful, if I had the energy I would have loved it!

Nevermind, onwards and downwards to the gorgeous Hoi An.


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