hue, the ancient capital
Hue is an ancient city, between 1802 and 1945 it was the imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty, who rules southern Vietnam. The city has about 340000 inhabitants and plenty of sights to be visited. In the city itself there is the citadel (the former Imperial city) and plenty of beautiful temples and pagodas - as well as a colourful market.
Outside the city, along the perfume river, there are amazing royal tombs... those of the Nguyen emperors. All Hue monuments are listed in the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Hue is often looked down upon by visitors - most prefer to head straight to Hoi An, but I found it a lot more interesting, picturesque and by far less touristy... it is colourful and relaxing, too... and after reaching Hoi An, I wished we had chosen to stay longer.
I also liked the traditional fishing village on the outskirts of Hue, very interesting and untouched by tourism... with plenty of great photo opportunities.
Rain drops keep falling on my head
Although it’s too necessary to pack a lot of rain gear for Hue, you should have an umbrella to get to your hotel. The reason why I say its too necessary is because you can pick up really cheap high quality rain gear in town. I got a fantastic rain poncho for a buck fifty. How can you go wrong?
hon chen temple
The hon chen temple is located the bank of the Perfume River, about 10 kms from Hue, on the slope of the mountain Ngoc Tran. Here people worship an interesting deity, Po Nagar, which was the the Goddess of the ancient Cham minority. If you go to Nha Trang you will see the Po Nagar Cham towers... Here in Hon Chen the goddess has changed name, nowadays, she's called Y A Na, but it is still the same goddess.
The Temple is also known for a festival organized twice every year in the 3rd and the 7th lunar months. There is also a night procession on the river, with lights... and then a performace. We came at the worng time, but we would have loved to have seen it.
Entrance to the temple (July 2007) was 22000 dongs.
Very good and cheap
Fried shrimp, noodles and vegetables costs only 15.000 dong.
Very cheap and very good.
As dessert we got some warm beignets with chocolate sauce. In the beignets there's banana, ananas and some other inknown fruiy.
Heavy on the stomach
The owner is mute so everything is done with hand signs. Spectacular
The original one, I think
Lac Thanh Restaurant is on the corner, next door to Lac Thien Restaurant. They serve the same food - banh khoai and nem lui, at the same prices and look pretty much the same. According to the Moon Handbook, Lac Thanh was actually the original one and Lac Thien the imitator, but "both claim to be the real one...it appears they may all be related - and there was a split in the family business."
This one, Lac Thanh, the one on the corner, is run by a family of deaf-mutes. It is said that the owners of Lac Thien, next door, also pretended to be deaf-mutes, but when I was there, perhaps because it was Tet, they chatted away like crazy. In fact, when I was eating in Lac Thanh, the eldest daughter from Lac Thien, where I had eaten the day before, walked by and said, "Enjoy your meal".
So, how do they stack up? Well, I found the food at Lac Thanh marginally better, but I much preferred the atmosphere at Lac Thien. My advice? Try them both and see what you think.
A banh khoai costs 5,000 VND at both retaurants. Really, you need two of those to fill you up. Huda beer, brewed in Hue, costs 8,000 VND. Banh khoai, of course.