The Imperial City, Hue Vietnam and the Journey to Hoi An

Hue is a small city that has a few things to do, most notably the faded grandeur of the Imperial City. A UNESCO world heritage site, this was badly damaged in the Vietnam/ America war and there are whole sections that have been obliterated. Luckily, what remains is cared for and you could easily spend a day exploring this huge complex.

We took a flight from Hanoi to Hue to save time. We took the (very hot) full day to explore the area. I quite liked Hue the city too, a few lovely restaurants and easily wander-able.

Hue Vietnam
The outside of the Meridian Gate of the Imperial City. Note the size of the gates in order to let elephants in.
Hue Vietnam
The carp in the moat are very aggressive
Hue Vietnam imperial palace of peace
Imperial Palace of Peace
Hue Vietnam china imperial palace
A lot of the damage from the American War has been repaired using broken china. Glorious, beautiful details.
Hue Vietnam citadel
The gardens were beautiful, lots of fragrant Frangipani adding a delicate touch to the citadel.
hue vietnam dragon palace of peace
Dragon detail on the Imperial Palace of Peace – see the broken plates?
Hue vietnam restored citadel red and gold
Some sections of the citadel are restored, like this elaborate red and gold corridor
hue citadel doorway
In contrast to the new sections, there are old, crumbling walls and mysterious gateways
Hue Vietnam door way with flowers
Beautiful <3

Scooters from Hue to Danang and Hoi An

We hired scooters from Hue and we were on our way! We took the slightly more scenic coastal route, and stuck to the far right and stayed out of the way of everyone else. I’m not a skilled rider and I did not die, so I can recommend this even for brave novices! It only takes a few hours, you could do this in a day, but we broke it up by staying at places along the way and exploring a little.

hue to danang by motorbike
The traditional way of carrying hay
Hue Vietnam ride to danang
This absolutely stunning little fishing village was a producer of fish sauce. I know this because I could smell it. Fragrant. It wasn’t long after this that we were caught in the rain, but this shot is pretty epic!
bike from hue to hoi an
A trusty steed, en route to Danang
banana boats in Vietnam
Fishing banana boats somewhere between Hue and Danang. A contrast to the round one we would find a few km’s south.
fishing boats in danang vietnam
Danang, round fishing boats dotting the beach
danang lunch on the beach
One of the top ten meals of my life.

When we reached Danang, we were hungry. We spotted a place that looked like the Bia Hoi’s we so loved in Hanoi. We were wrong, but this was one of the best mistakes ever! We were ushered to a long trestle table where you just plonked yourself down next to whoever. Then, we were shown the ‘menu’- these tanks full of live seafood. You chose what you thought looked delicious- in our case, giant prawns- and how you wanted them cooked (BBQ’d in garlic). Then there was a choice of two or three sides, one of which was fried rice. We sat, and shortly thereafter the food arrived. The rice was flecked with fresh prawn, crab and squid and served with the buttery garlicky prawns. You ripped your prawns apart and threw the shells on the ground. Once we had finished, the waiters come along with giant brooms and sweep underneath you.

Somehow, all this was managed for a tiny sum, and with no common language at all. To this day, it remains one of my favourite meals of all time.

Danang city view vietnam
The view of Danang from Thọ Quang

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