Central Vietnam] Huế Hue Day Trip | Hue Imperial City | Kai Dinh Mausoleum | Thien Mu Temple

Hue Huế | Introduction

Hue was the royal city of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last dynasty of Vietnam, and Hue is a must-see city when you come to China and Vietnam. Hue's history began as early as the Qin Dynasty, and it was the capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty after a thousand years of changes in dynasties, and because it was located in the center of Vietnam, it was the center of gravity during the Vietnam War, leaving behind many traces of the war and a rich history. Nowadays, it is mainly famous for the monuments left behind by the Nguyen Dynasty, and is an ancient capital of many tourists.

The Nguyen Dynasty ruled Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, and Hue was the capital of Vietnam for 143 years, from 1802, when Nguyen Phuoc Hoang made Hue the capital, to 1945, when the last emperor abdicated. As the Vietnamese royal family tried to modernize during the late Nguyen dynasty, they were deeply influenced by foreign forces and cultures, unlike China, which was mainly made of wood and bricks. For example, in the Kai Dinh Mausoleum and the Imperial City of Hue, you can see the use of concrete in the buildings, which is a blend of East Asian and Western features.

Apart from the most famous Hue Imperial City, the other more famous attractions in Hue include Thien Mu Temple and the three royal tombs of Kai Dinh Mausoleum, Ming Ming Mausoleum and Si Duc Mausoleum. Several attractions are a little bit far away from each other, so if you want to visit all of them, it is better to arrange a two- or three-day itinerary and stay one night in Hue city. If you want to see all the sights, it is better to arrange a two or three day trip with one night stay in Hue city. Although the Mausoleum is quite famous, it is similar in style to other East Asian tombs, and because of its size, it is possible to spend one day there. In order to save time, we had to leave the Ming Dynasty Tombs for the future and did not stay in Hue city.

Da Nang Hue Day Trip Itinerary

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Da Nang to Hue | Transportation | Sights along the way

If you are going to Hue from somewhere else and want to go on your own, you can charter a car, ride a bike or take a bus to Hue and then take a grab to move around. The more convenient way to get around the city is to rent a motorcycle. If you want to make it easier, you can join a one-day tour to solve the transportation problem. We traveled fromDa NangDue to time constraints, we chose to join a local tour group. We booked the tour online the morning before, and the travel agent contacted us in the afternoon to confirm the booking, which was quite fast and convenient. The small disadvantage is that the travel agency will stop at the store in the middle of the trip, we joined this tour stopped twice, which added up to about 40 minutes of extra time consumed.

Chartered bus to Hue

There are two routes from Da Nang to Hue, one is through Hai Van Pass and the other is through Hai Van Tunnel. Haiyun Pass Mountain Road can pass through Haiyun Pass and Lingguwan, but you have to go through the 45 minutes journey with nine turns and eighteen corners, while Haiyun Tunnel can shorten the 45 minutes journey to 7 minutes, and we have actually traveled through both of them. The difference between these two roads is probably the difference between taking the Snow Tunnel or the North Yilan Highway from Taipei to Yilan.

Hai Wan Tunnel Route

If you are traveling with a tour group, you should now take the Hai Van Tunnel, which was opened in 2005 and is now the longest tunnel in Southeast Asia, at 6.28km long, and took five years to build with the help of Japanese and Korean engineers. Since then, Vietnam has acquired more tunneling skills and the other tunnels we encountered were designed by Vietnamese engineers. Because the tunnel is so long, fuel trucks and motorcycles are prohibited from entering the tunnel, so if you come by motorcycle, you can buy a ticket to take a truck that can carry a motorcycle, or you can choose to take the Hai Van Pass route.

Hai Van Pass

When we were traveling to North Vietnam, we took the Hai Van Pass route, which is called Hai Van Pass in English, and it is a mountainous road with nine turns and eighteen corners along the way. The Hai Van Pass route is so famous that a travel publisher ranked it as the fourth of the world's top 10 dreamy driving routes, after Great Ocean Road in Australia, Big Sur in California, and Jebel Hafeet in Arabia.

There are indeed a few places with good scenery, and the spots where you can stop are Hai Wan Pass and Ling Koo Wan.

Scenic Spots | Hai Van Quan

Hai Van Pass is a heavenly danger in the center of Vietnam, so called because of the meeting of clouds and sea on the top of the mountain. This is a good location to see the coastline. There is an old city gate at the top of the hill, Hai Van Pass, which is a good location for taking photos, but unfortunately, it was under construction when we came here, so we could only see the appearance.

Scenic Spot | Ling Koo Wan Lang Co

Linggu Bay is a bay in front of the border between Hue and Da Nang. The view of Linggu Bay is the reason why Haiyun Pass won the fourth place. When you look at Hai Van Pass, you can see the rolling hills and misty clouds, it is really beautiful. Linggu Bay was once rated by National Geographic magazine as one of the 50 places you must visit in life. If you have a chance to ride on the train, you can see the Coastal Train Track along the shore.

Scenic Spots | Lap An Dam

Regardless of which route you take, the next stop is Tateyama. Tateyama is a lagoon surrounded by sandbars and is located behind the Haeunding Mountain Range. The lagoon is surrounded by sandbars, and the water has a gradation of colors, making the scenery quite beautiful. The lagoon's shoreline is lined with photo booths, and in recent years it has become a popular spot for Internet celebrities to take pictures of the lagoon, but there is a charge if you ask for help.

The lagoon is also a pearl culturing area, so you can see the pearls being harvested on the spot. If you are with a tour, you may be taken to a pearl store to take a pearl culturing course and sell pearl products. We listened to the lesson, but we still learned something. Just now we saw an upright piece of wood in the water, which is used to fix the oyster to cultivate pearls, and it will take a few years to cultivate the pearls, and the color of the pearls will be determined by the quality of the water.

What we saw on the spot was the oysters being collected, the oysters were raised on used tires, the tires were twisted and the oysters fell off and were put in baskets to be taken away.

There are not many stores around, except for selling pearls is a restaurant, if you come by yourself, like to see the lagoon, you can also sit down and rest for a while to eat something, although the price is a little more expensive taste is still possible.

Hue Attractions | Ki Ting Mausoleum

Cai Dinh Mausoleum, also known as Ying Mausoleum, is the most beautiful imperial tomb and the smallest among the royal tombs in Hue, which is very suitable to be arranged in a day trip itinerary. Nguyen Phuoc Thanh, the penultimate emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, reigned for only 9 years, but his mausoleum was the most costly and labor-intensive, so much so, that the Kai Dinh Mausoleum ended up taking 11 years to build, and was only completed two years after his death.

Emperor Kai Ding was known for his admiration for foreigners and his fondness for foreign things. The architectural style is a blend of Chinese and French characteristics, which is quite different from the commonly seen royal tombs. Just by looking at the dragon staircase at the entrance, you can feel the splendor of Kai Dinh's tomb. The tour guide explained that the traditional concept of Vietnamese is that the tomb is much more important than the living quarters. The idea is very simple, living only lasts for a hundred years, and death is forever, so even the average people will save their money and spend most of their property to build a good tomb. Therefore, even the general people would save their money and spend most of their wealth to build a good tomb. Of course, the emperor could not afford to be sloppy, and Emperor Kai Ding dumped the whole country's wealth to build this tomb.

At the top of the stairs are two rows of terracotta warriors and horses on the left and right sides, all of them are life-size, why do you think they are especially short when you walk here? It turns out that Emperor Kai Ding himself was petite, only 150 centimeters, but as the King of the Nine to Five, the people around him must not be taller than him, so the civil and military officials serving around him were also of short stature.

In front of the further up is the emperor's mausoleum Tiancheng Palace, look back, the emperor's home feng shui is really good, beautiful mountain scenery.

Entering the main event, the main building, Tiancheng Temple. It is said that the materials used in the construction were imported from China, Japan and other foreign countries, and the cost was high. Due to the high consumption during the construction, the people were taxed 20% in order to pay for the budget at the later stage, and many soldiers responsible for the construction even died due to the pollution of the nearby water source, which aroused the people's great dissatisfaction. Now that it is opened to tourists for sightseeing, I wonder if it can make back all the money spent back then?

The main hall of Tiancheng Palace is the Kai Cheng Hall, and when you come to the hall, you are even more shocked by the splendid interior of the carvings, even the images on the walls are made of broken wine and porcelain bowls glued on.

The most famous work of art is the ink painting of an auspicious dragon on the ceiling. Although it is an ink painting, it is rare to see it on the ceiling in Chinese architecture, which is the concept of European architecture. There is also a little story about this painting. The artist was painting with his feet, and when Emperor Kai Ding found out about it, he was very angry because it was disrespectful to the emperor. Later, the artist explained that he had to paint with his feet because the painting on the ceiling was too big and he had to stand to see it. Since no one else could have done the painting, the emperor had no choice but to let him do it. It is said that the color of the ink painting is still original and has not faded, but no one knows how it was done.

The reclining room at the back of the Kai Shing Hall is dedicated to the statue of Emperor Kai Ting, a small emperor surrounded by the ultimate in splendor. The bronze statue is nine feet above the ground, symbolizing the emperor's nine-five years of dignity. While it is impossible for outsiders to know the actual location of the emperor's tomb, this is not the case in the Kai Ding Mausoleum. Since Emperor Kai Ding was a puppet emperor controlled by the French and his funeral was also organized by the French, we know for sure that he was buried in the middle of the reclining hall.

For those who are interested in the Emperor himself, there is a lot of historical information in the small room next door. The Kai Ding Emperor was not a popular emperor, he was under French control and was only a puppet emperor like Pu Yi of Manchuria. However, he lived a life of luxury and loved beauty, enjoying fancy western clothes, western food and wine, which was criticized at the time as pandering to foreigners, and he also used up all the treasury for the construction of the Kai Ding Mausoleum, which was highly criticized by the patriots of the time.

Historical evidence also shows that he was in fact gay and slept with male guards every day during his reign. His only son, the last emperor, Emperor Bao Da Di, was said to have been born to a drunken courtesan. However, even the Empress Dowager was skeptical about this, and in order to confirm this, she used an ancient method of digging a hole in the ground and letting the courtesan face down on her stomach to force her to confess, but the courtesan still insisted, and was able to put Emperor Bao Da Di Di back on the right track later on. However, the tour guide said that the Kai Ding Emperor was so short, why was the Bao Da Di born so tall?

Regardless of the merits and demerits of Emperor Kai Dinh himself, the 11-year construction of the Kai Dinh Tomb is far more important in Vietnam's architectural history than the influence of Emperor Kai Dinh on the history of the country.

Restaurant | Biet Phu Thao Nhi Restaurant

The tour group had lunch at Biet Phu Thao Nhi Restaurant. The restaurant is just outside of Hue city center, a two minute drive from the Kai Dinh Mausoleum. Most of the people here seemed to be tourists, so we didn't expect much from the food. Surprisingly, the taste was quite good, it was more or less Vietnamese home cooking, and a few cold dishes were quite good for us. The specialty of this restaurant is the scenery outside, which is said to be modeled after the Imperial City, and it's quite beautiful.

Scenic Spot | Heung Kong

Fragrant River runs through Hue and is the lifeblood of Hue. After lunch, we will continue to drive to Hue Imperial City, where there are two options for the trip, one is to take the whole trip by car, and the other is to take the dragon boat across the Fragrant River for an additional 100,000 dongs. It is said that the Nguyen Dynasty royals traveled by dragon boat on the Fragrant River, so it has become one of the tourist gimmicks nowadays. The price of the boat is very high for the price of Chinese and Vietnamese people, but since we are here, most of the customers want to take the boat, so we followed them. The ferry boats on the shore are all in the shape of a dragon. There are no safety instructions or life jackets, but simply a few plastic chairs on the boat, which can be moved around.

Though the boat was simple, it was quite enjoyable to enjoy the scenery of the river with the sound of the boat. We headed straight to our next stop, Thien Mu Temple, and passed by the Hue Imperial City, the ancient city center, on the right side of the bank.

Attractions | Tianmu Temple

Located on the north bank of the Huong River, Thien Mu Temple is still the oldest Buddhist temple in Vietnam, built in 1601 with a history of 400 years. Legend has it that the founding emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Nguyen Duc, heard a rumor that an old woman often came here to prophesy that a man of destiny would come to build a dynasty and take back the dragon's vein. Nguyen Duc, believing himself to be the man of destiny, could not find the old woman, so he started to build a temple in her memory, which was therefore named Thien Mu Monastery.

There is also a folk legend about Tianmu Temple that suggests couples should not visit the temple together. The reason for this is that according to folklore, there was once a couple in ancient times who were unable to get married because of their different family backgrounds, so they made a promise to throw themselves into the river to die for their love, but the woman was rescued and the man died. The man's ghost waited by the river but did not wait for his beloved woman to come back to him. Instead, he heard that the woman had married someone else and was living happily ever after. Later, the ghost wanders to Tianmu Temple and decides to stay there, but he has not let go of his jealousy, and will break up couples when he sees them.

The scenery at the pier of Thien Mu Temple is quite poetic. As you walk up the stairs, you will first see the 21-meter-high Blessed Fountain Pagoda, which is octagonal in shape and has seven steps to symbolize the seven levels of the pagoda. The Pagoda was seen by the third emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Approaching the mountain gate, the plaque on the gate reads Lingmu Temple, which was changed to Lingmu Temple to change the bad luck at that time because Emperor Shide was worried that the word "Tian" would be a violation of the name of the heavens. However, it is said that nothing changed after the name change, and it was changed back to Tianmu Temple. (Moreover, the Chinese name of Ling Mo Temple sounds like a curse.)

After passing through the door, we approached the main hall, where the three Buddhas of the future, present and past are enshrined at the front, center and back. It is said that the Maitreya Buddha always occupies the outermost position in all temples, which also symbolizes the need to be happy in order to learn Buddhism.

As we walked, we passed by a blue car inside the temple, which appeared a bit abruptly in the ancient temple. This is the car in which the abbot of Thien Mu Monastery, Shih Quang Duc, rode. In 1953, during the division of North and South Vietnam, Sak Quang Duc drove this car to Ho Chi Minh City to set himself on fire in protest against the South Vietnamese government's suppression of religious freedom, which attracted international attention. Ho Chi Minh City has now built a square at the site of the incident to commemorate the incident.

The believers called him a Bodhisattva, because Shih Kuo-t'ai sat in the fire for 15 minutes without changing his expression, and when he died, his whole body turned into ashes, but only his heart remained fleshy red and didn't burn off, and later he was asked to return to the temple to burn it again, and his heart was still intact, but only became as hard as iron.

The square at the back of the main hall, even though it is filled with groups of people, still has a quiet atmosphere and is particularly suitable for contemplation. At the end of the plaza is a smaller pagoda, and it is said that circling the pagoda three times will bring in a lot of money.

Attractions | Hue Imperial City

The Nguyen Dynasty established Hue as the capital city from 1802 to 1945. The construction of the Imperial City of Hue was started by the first Emperor Gia Long and completed 29 years later by the second Emperor Minh Mang. The Imperial City of Hue is the Forbidden City of Vietnam, surrounded by a moat and thick walls, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. The style of the Imperial City is modeled after the Forbidden City in China, with buildings such as the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Promenade, and thethe Forbidden City in BeijingSomewhat similar.

The Imperial City of Hue is situated in a north-south orientation, with the southern entrance right next to the Fragrant River. There are several cannons and flagstaffs at the entrance of the Imperial City. You need to buy a ticket to enter the city, which costs 200,000 dong per person on the spot.

Hue Imperial City Tickets

The route is through the Noon Gate on the Xiangjiang side, which is surrounded by a moat, giving it the grandeur of an imperial city. There are actually five gates on the Noon Gate, the center gate will only be opened during special ceremonies when the emperor walks through, usually only use the other four gates, two larger side gates on the left side for civil officials on the right side for military officials to enter, and two smaller gates for soldiers, animals, goods and other types of passage, are quite regulated. 1945, the last emperor was in front of the Noon Gate to announce the abdication of the throne.

After entering the city, there are still a few kilometers to go inside. After all, it is the Imperial City, which is a huge area. After entering the Noon Gate, there is a large stone plaza, known as the Grand Audience Ceremony, where major celebrations were held. Imagine the civil and military officials standing on both sides of the court, and the emperor walking down the center avenue.

The bronze statue of this animal was seen in the plaza. According to the tour guide, it is a beast with no English name, but it looks very much like the Chinese unicorn. It is said that it will punish corrupt officials and has a calming effect on evil spirits.

Hue, Hue, Hue one day tour, Cai Dinh Mausoleum, Thien Mu Temple 112

The main hall, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, is under repair, so we can only hope that we will have the chance to come back in the future. Continuing on, many places are quite empty, as many of the main buildings of the Imperial City of Hue were destroyed in the wars against the French and the Vietnam War. It is said that a large part of the open space was originally the Emperor's bedchamber. It can only be said that the Imperial City of Hue has retained the scars of the war.

We then proceeded to the Temple of the Ancestors, where the emperors are enshrined. Of the thirteen emperors of Vietnam, only ten are enshrined here because three of them were forced to abdicate. You can't take photos inside, but you can learn more about the emperors of the Nguyen dynasty here. For example, although the first emperor was the founder of the Nguyen dynasty, he was not well regarded in history because in order to unify Vietnam, he enlisted the help of Thai power, which is not always recognized by the Vietnamese people as a way of turning to a foreign power.

The second emperor, Emperor Minh Dinh, was recognized as a good emperor. Under his rule, the Nguyen Dynasty reached its heyday and the country expanded to Laos and Cambodia today. If you are interested in Emperor Minh Mang, you may also want to visit his tomb, the Minh Mang Mausoleum. According to the records, Emperor Minh Mang had 142 children and was well educated. The tour guide will tell you that he had 500 wives and concubines, and that his secret recipe was a royal wine called Ming Ming Ming Wine, which is sold in the stores.

The Jingminglou in the inner city was built in a different style from the other buildings in the Imperial City, and is obviously more westernized. It was built in 1932 because the Empress Tongqing was sick and could not live in the low-rise building, and the surroundings are beautiful.

The static display in Tran Minh House tells the story of Nguyen Duy Lan, Empress of Nam Phuong, the most beautiful Empress of Vietnam. She was the wife of Nguyen Phu 체, the last emperor of Bao Dai, it is said that Nguyen Phu 체 was in love with her, and when he was young, he refused to marry the many objects that the Empress Dowager gave him, and insisted on marrying Nguyen Duy Lan, who was a Catholic. In order to win the favor of Ruan You Lan, he also abolished the system of the emperor's consort and guaranteed that there would be only one husband and one wife.

However, men's words can not be trusted, after a few years of marriage and a few children, the emperor still has a new woman, and even restored the consort system. The Empress was so depressed that she died of a heart attack at the age of 49.

Next to Jingminglou is the Empress Dowager's bedchamber, Yanshougong, which was later converted into a tea room. Inside the Yeonsu Palace, there are some artifacts such as royal furniture on display.

From here we went around the inner city of the Imperial City, within the walls of the Forbidden City. There is a lot of Nguyen Dynasty history on display in the gallery, which is worth reading. Many of the old materials are actually in Chinese as the current Vietnamese language was not yet invented during the Nguyen Dynasty and Chinese was the official language. Although it didn't rain, the outdoor area was quite slippery due to the humidity in Hue, and we even saw snakes on the grass.

Yai Thoi Tong is a palace theater, which is said to be the oldest theater in Vietnam.

The tour route ends at the Hinren Gate on the east side of the city.

It was close to dusk when we left the city, and the view by the moat was especially beautiful as the sun was setting. Walking along the moat, you can feel the cool breeze and the warmth of the setting sun, which is the end of your day trip.

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