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Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.

Visiting Hue Vietnam

Written by Joshua Fuglsang on .

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AsiaTravelVietnam
Monastery in Hue Old City
Monastery in Hue Old City - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

I have re­cent­ly vis­it­ed the pro­vin­cial city of Hue, Viet­nam. I want­ed to briefly write about Hue as a trav­el des­ti­na­tion as I be­lieve that it is quite un­der­rat­ed. A lot of trav­ellers that I met would spend on­ly one or two nights in Hue, see the im­pe­ri­al city, then skip through. But there is quite a lot to do in Hue, and it is some­what off the beat­en track, mean­ing that you are not in­un­dat­ed with group bus­es load­ed with self­ie-stick bear­ing tourists.

For this ar­ti­cle I am go­ing to briefly list my favourite sights to see in Hue.

Abandoned Theme Park

Hue Abandoned Theme Park
Hue Aban­doned Theme Park - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

With­out a doubt the aban­doned theme park is a prime site to see in Hue. It is a tru­ly a unique trav­el ex­pe­ri­ence, the likes of which can­not be found else­where. Tem­ples and tombs can be seen all across Asia, but this place is one of a kind. In the aban­doned theme park you can find emp­ty am­phithe­atres, rot­ting rides, shat­tered aquar­i­ums, and ghost­ly graf­fi­tied rooms. The aquar­i­um un­til on­ly a cou­ple of years ago still housed aban­doned but still liv­ing, now wild croc­o­diles.

You can read more about the wa­ter park in my main ar­ti­cle here.

City Markets

Local woman at the Hue Markets
Lo­cal wom­an at the Hue Mar­kets - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

The city mar­kets were in ev­ery sense of the word: bustling. A vi­brant ri­ot of colour, smell, and taste. Here you can find all the raw in­gre­di­ents that Hue run on. Of­ten when trav­el­ling you will come across fake mar­kets set up on­ly for tourists. There are many good ex­am­ples of these across Asia, in­clud­ing the one in Hoi An. How­ev­er, the Hue mar­ket is tru­ly run for the lo­cals. Viet­namese come from all over the prov­ince come to these mar­kets to buy their food stuffs and oth­er goods be­fore re­turn­ing back to their own towns. The mar­ket is enor­mous; I went there twice and still didn’t get to see all of it. In fact a lo­cal store hold­er told me that there were more than 2,000 stalls.

A word of warn­ing, how­ev­er, there are pick-pock­ets in the mar­ket. Se­cure your wal­let and your phone, or leave them at home. The mar­kets are tight and you are of­ten squeezed through crowds; these are the times when the thieves will strike. So be warned! Oth­er than that get­ting to see the lo­cals con­duct their dai­ly busi­ness was fas­ci­nat­ing.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Monks posing for me at the Thien Mu Pagoda
Monks pos­ing for me at the Thien Mu Pago­da - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

I ab­so­lute­ly loved vis­it­ing the Pago­da, though I went on a very nice day ear­ly in the morn­ing when the crowds were thin. The morn­ing light on a clear morn­ing in the Thien Mu Pago­da is a sight to be­hold. You can watch the monks go about their morn­ing chores, mar­vel over the beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal bon­sais, and stare up at the loom­ing 17th cen­tu­ry sev­en sto­ry pago­da.

The Pago­da has a lot a rich cul­tur­al his­to­ry as well, which you can read about on­line. How­ev­er, in short, it was built in 1601 and re­ceived many al­ter­ations over the cen­turies. In the 1960’s it be­came a protest hotspot for Bud­dhists against re­li­gious in­equal­i­ty in the coun­try, af­ter years of favouritism for Catholics through the rise of a South Viet­namese pres­i­dent. The cri­sis end­ed with the as­sas­si­na­tion of the Pres­i­dent in 1963 through a CIA-backed coup!

Exploring by Scooter

Flowers for the Vietnamese New Year in the Hue Hinterland
Flow­ers for the Viet­namese New Year in the Hue Hin­ter­land - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

If you are able to ride a scoot­er, then I rec­om­mend vis­it­ing Vong Canh Hill. The hill of­fers a beau­ti­ful van­tage point over the per­fume riv­er. The riv­er is clean, sur­round­ed by a lush green for­est, and buzzing with lo­cal Viet­namese long boats. It is quite a nice set­ting, but what I en­joyed the most about com­ing here was trav­el­ling be­yond the van­tage point through the lo­cal vil­lages. The road pass­es through quaint Viet­namese hous­es on nar­row laneways through farm­land where you can watch the vil­lages go about their dai­ly lives. I think dur­ing the rice grow­ing sea­son it would be very beau­ti­ful in­deed. They don’t think very much of you pass­ing through, I imag­ine there are quite a few trav­ellers that do the same, con­sid­er­ing the prox­im­i­ty to Hue.

Statue in a Hue Tomb
Stat­ue in a Hue Tomb - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

When you are in this area you can go to vis­it the Stand­ing Bud­dha Tem­ple. When I vis­it­ed there were very few for­eign tourists, just a hand­full of Viet­namese. The stat­ue is a huge stand­ing white stone fe­male Bud­dha. The stat­ue is at the top of a small hill, so you can usu­al­ly spot it from a dis­tance when you are driv­ing to­wards it. There is quite a long flight of stairs to reach the Bud­dha, but if you are trav­el­ling by scoot­er then there is a small road that you can take in­stead. The site is free, but some lo­cals may try to get you to park at their stalls at the bot­tom of the stairs for a fee.

Old City Ramparts

Photo taken at sunset from the Hue Ramparts
Pho­to tak­en at sun­set from the Hue Ram­parts - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

For one evening, the eve of the Viet­namese NYE hol­i­day, I watched a sun­set from the ram­parts of the old city. The ram­parts aren’t a des­ig­nat­ed tourist site, but they of­fer a stun­ning view of the im­pe­ri­al palace and Hue city. There are var­i­ous places that you can get up on to the ram­parts, how­ev­er I ac­cessed them on the South­most fac­ing wall east of the Cua Ngan gate. The look­ing west from where I was stand­ing, I had a ter­rif­ic view of the sun­set over the Ky Dai Flag Tow­er. While I was en­joy­ing the sun­set, a group of school boys start­ed scam­per­ing around on the tops of the walls, ask­ing me ques­tions about where I was from and what I was do­ing here. It was a re­al­ly nice ex­pe­ri­ence that I think can on­ly be found through your own aim­less wan­der­ings.

My Lost French Friend

My French Friend whom I owe 20k dong
My French Friend whom I owe 20k dong - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Fi­nal­ly I want to men­tion my lost French friend. I met a french­man when I was out in the coun­try­side trav­el­ling around by scoot­er. We met ran­dom­ly when at an out-of-the-way pago­da where there were no oth­er tourists. In fact the site was com­plete­ly emp­ty aside from us and a lone nun. We spent the af­ter­noon tour­ing the af­ter­noon to­geth­er, and he leant me 20k dong to pay for an en­trance to a tomb since I had run out of cash. How­ev­er, we got sep­a­rat­ed when we were rid­ing around. I went for cash and he went to buy a baguette and we nev­er saw each oth­er again. He was a re­al­ly nice guy, he had been trav­el­ling for ten years since he was twen­ty one. When I was talk­ing to him about his trav­el, he sound­ed re­gret­ful that he had noth­ing else: no fam­i­ly, no home. Just trav­el. A week or so be­fore he had fall­en off the back of a tuk-tuk and had lost half of his ear on the ground. I still owe him that 20k dong, sad­ly.

Conclusion

Thanks for read­ing! As I said I re­al­ly think that Hue de­serves more at­ten­tion from trav­ellers pass­ing through. It was one of the high­lights of my trip in Viet­nam. If you know of a french­men with half a left ear that is won­der­ing around the streets of South East Asia then please let me know.

Tags

AsiaTravelVietnam

About

Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.