Vietnam

Hue, Hoi An – Vietnam

Danang to Hue (13 January 2016)

Hue was once the seat of the Vietnamese kings. It is a nice city dissected by the Perfume River, where dragon boats ply, bringing or taking tourist from its pier to or from the Thien Mu Pagoda. Other points of interest are  the Imperial City (Citadel) where the Vietnamese kings reside and ruled from and the tombs of the Vietnamese kings.

The drive from Danang to Hue takes about 3 hours, with a lunch stop at a lakeside (lagoon) restaurant. The menu consists mainly of seafood items and the prices while not cheap, are not unreasonably expensive. It appears that most of the tour drivers will bring their customers here for lunch.

The Lake (Lagoon)
The Lake (Lagoon)

We stayed at the Serene Palace Hotel (3 stars?) in Hue. The rooms are clean, with good air-conditioning and shower facilities. The staffs are friendly and helpful. Coincidentally, the restaurant at the hotel is one of the best (if not the best) restaurant in Hue. After check-in and a nice shower, we headed outside to explore the town and for dinner.

Our Hotel
Our Hotel
The street outside our hotel
The street outside our hotel
Having a bowl of Pho before dinner
Having a bowl of Pho before dinner
Street Vendors in Hue
Street Vendors in Hue

Sight-seeing in Hue (14 January 2016)

Our tour guide and driver pick us up at the Hotel at about 8.30am and drove us to the pier of the Perfume River. We boarded the dragon boat for an approx. 45 mins boat ride to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Our dragon boat
Our dragon boat
Entrance to the Thien Mu Pagoda
Entrance to the Thien Mu Pagoda
Inside the grounds of the Thien Mu Pagoda
Inside the grounds of the Thien Mu Pagoda

After the Thien Mu Pagoda, we visited two royal tombs (Minh Mang and Khai Dinh) followed by a lunch break in a beautiful restaurant (recommended by our tour guide). As you would have guess, the food is fine but not great.

Minh Dang Tomb
Minh Mang Tomb
Minh Dang Tomb
Minh Mang Tomb
Minh Dang Tomb
Minh Mang Tomb
Entrance to Khai Dinh Tomb
Entrance to Khai Dinh Tomb
Khai Dinh Tomb
Khai Dinh Tomb
Inside Khai Dinh Tomb
Inside Khai Dinh Tomb
Khai Dinh Tomb
Khai Dinh Tomb
Inside Khai Dinh Tomb Burial Chamber
Inside Khai Dinh Tomb Burial Chamber
Entrance to Khai Dinh Tomb Chamber
Entrance to Khai Dinh Tomb Chamber
Khai Dinh Tomb
Khai Dinh Tomb

After lunch, we visited the Hue Imperial City (Citadel). This is the palace where the Vietnamese Kings reside. It is modelled similarly to the Imperial City in Beijing, China but on a much smaller scale.

Entrance to the Imperial City
Entrance to the Imperial City
Inside the Imperial City
Inside the Imperial City
Bronze Water Container at bottom right (like Imperial City in Beijing)
Bronze Water Container at bottom right (like Imperial City in Beijing)
The Outer Walls of the Imperial City
The Outer Walls of the Imperial City
One of the Exits of the Imperial City
One of the Exits of the Imperial City
Hue at Night
Hue at Night

Hue to Hoi An (15 January 2016)

We left Hue at 8.30am by private car, a journey of about 6 to 7 hours due to various sight-seeing stops along the way and taking the route that cuts across the mountain (Hai Van Pass).

The first stop along the way is the China Beach, very much over-rated.

At a Resort in China Beach
At a Resort in China Beach
On the way up the mountain and looking back to the town where China Beach is
On the way up the mountain and looking back to the town where China Beach is
Same as the above photo
Same as the above photo

The second stop on the way to Hoi An is at the top of the Hai Van Pass, the site of an American Bunker. It appears to be a popular spots for wedding photography as well.

Old American Bunker used during the Vietnam War
Old American Bunker used during the Vietnam War
Winding Road
Winding Road
A Wedding Couple
A Wedding Couple

The third stop before reaching Hoi An is the Marble Mountain (it is very near to Danang). Apparently the whole mountain is marble and around it are many shops selling marble sculpture and other souvenirs. You can either take the stairs up to the mountain and down again or take a lift up and descend by the stairs.

View of the Marble Mountain
View of the Marble Mountain
Pagoda at the top of Marble Mountain
Pagoda at the top of Marble Mountain
View from the top of Marble Mountain
View from the top of Marble Mountain
Top of Marble Mountain
Top of Marble Mountain

The fourth and final stop before reaching Hoi An is the Champ Museum in Danang. This museum was built by the French to temporarily house the artefacts removed from the Champ Kingdom site in My Son before shipping them to France.

Dragon Bridge in Danang
Dragon Bridge in Danang
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Entrance to the Champ Museum
Artefacts in the Champ Museum
Artefacts in the Champ Museum

Hoi An (15 January 2016)

We checked in at the Royal Hoi An MGallery Hotel (part of the Accor Group). It is 4 stars, only opened about a year ago. The room is beautiful with very nice shower facilities and very good breakfast.

Royal Hoi An MGallery Hotel
Royal Hoi An MGallery Hotel
Hotel's swimming pool
Hotel’s swimming pool
Gourd Tree?
Gourd Tree?
Friendly people near the hotel
Friendly people near the hotel
Friendly grandma
Friendly grandma

Hoi An (16 January 2016)

Today we had arranged for a private car to take us sight-seeing around Hoi An. We were supposed to visit My Son a Unesco Site consisting of the Champ Ruins (a hindu empire), My Khe Beach and Guan Yin Pagoda in Danang.

The Champ Ruins (temples) are similar to the one in Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia) but on a very much smaller scale.

Entrance to the Champ Ruins in My Son
Entrance to the Champ Ruins in My Son
Champ Ruins
Champ Ruins
Champ Ruins
Champ Ruins
Champ Ruins
Champ Ruins
Guan Yin Temple
Guan Yin Temple
From Guan Yin temple overlooking Danang bay
From Guan Yin temple overlooking Danang bay

Today’s tour finished early, so we had a walk in the ancient town of Hoi An

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Hoi An ancient town
Chinese shop selling ming porcelain in Hoi An ancient town
Chinese shop selling ming porcelain in Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An ancient town

Hoi An (17 January 2016)

Today is our last day in Hoi An. It only takes about 20 mins walk from our hotel to the ancient town. We spend the whole day exploring the ancient town and the night market (which is across the river).

Evidence of substantial chinese presence in the ancient town in times gone past can be found in the numerous chinese temples/association belonging to the Teochew, Cantonese and Hokkien clan.

Following are photos taken during the day and night at the ancient town and night market.

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Hoi An – Danang – Kuala Lumpur (18 January 2016)

It only takes about 40 mins by private car from Hoi An to Danang Airport. The flight by Air Asia back to Kuala Lumpur takes about two and a half hours (Malaysia is one hour ahead of Vietnam).

All in all, it has been a very nice trip, 2 nights in Hue and 3 nights in Hoi An. Perhaps, if we are to do the trip again, a further night in Hue would be ideal: so that we can have a day to go to visit the real villages in the country side.

Total costs for return air tickets for 2 and hotels with breakfast for 5 nights is about RM2,500.00.

Total costs for private car from Danang Airport to Hue, 1 full days sight-seeing in Hue with tour guide, private car from Hue to Hoi An plus sight-seeing along the way, 1 day tour by private car in Hoi An and private car from Hoi An to Danang Airport is USD 270.

Food is reasonable cheap and good, especially in Hoi An.

All photos were taken with the Nikon D5500 and Nikkor 18-35mm f3.5-4.5g lens.

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