May 15th -16th, 2016
When I arrived to Hue, I was accidentally forgotten at the airport. I was picked up by Vu and as an apology, I was invited to dine with the family who owned my hotel. The food was delicious, but the atmosphere was even better. I met Laura (Mom), Mi (cutest 10 month old baby ever), Jerry (I’m not sure how he’s related), and Mimi (who works at the front desk) and instantly felt welcomed at at home.
I decided to hire Vu as my driver for the next day, as I only had one full day in the city and wanted to see the sites.
The Khai Dinh Tomb is the resting place of the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. He was certainly a fan of opulence. The tomb is reflective of a European castle from the middle ages. It’s a five level structure, with the first floor built for worshiping of lower officials, the second terrace is home to stone soldiers and elephants, and the top level is home to the tomb itself.
Grandeur seeped through the walls of this tomb. The walls are inlaid with porcelain that’s been chiseled to represent pictures of animals and scenes of history. The entire roof is a mosaic picture of dragons that seem to be guarding the tomb…and the tomb itself…wow. It’s build of marble and steel, with more colors than I’ve ever seen in one place in my whole life. Everything was imported from France, and he raised taxes by 30% for its construction. I’m down for a burial room like this.
We visited the tomb of Minh Mang, which sprawled across far more land. The paths were lined with small bridges, beautiful structures, and plenty of winding lanes.
Last was the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is build on the edge of the perfume river. My heart fell in love with the bonsai tree garden which was being tended to by the resident monks.
That night, Mimi offered to take me on the back of her scooter to a local place to get some food. I tried the dried ramen dish which is local to only Hue, and then some sort of desert that came in a cup with ice. We finished the night by sharing a few drinks at a local pub.
With only one full day, I think this was pretty successful.