Arriving in a very rainy Hue, my short stop here was going to be challenging, due to most of the sites here being outdoors. But I was not going to stop the rain stop me from doing some exploring here. I’m sure glad I packed my raincoat though, although my converses are not so rain friendly. I opted to hire a bicycle out for the day, even though the Imperial city is quite a walkable distance. I just didn’t feel like taking the chance of getting stuck walking in the rain for to long. Heading out on my bike, I made my way through the roads, before crossing over the perfume river bridge.
There are also a few little nice local food places, before you get to this entrance and they are pretty cheap as well. I also noticed a touristy looking cafe/food place, of the main road, but the prices in there are double what you would pay in a nice local restaurant. So my tip would be avoid that and head to the local places instead. I cycled onwards towards the Ngan gate entrance, seeing the ancient walls coming into view for the first time. Crossing over the moat bridge, I Imagined how different this must have been, back when it was still in full use.
A short bit of history about the city, I’m no expert on everything that happened here, but I will give you a quick run down. You can also find some information here
In June 1789 Nguyễn Ánh took control of Vietnam and proclaimed himself Emperor Gia Long. The Imperial City of Hue was built in 1802 by the Emperor Gia Long and completed by his son, Minh Mang in 1833. It is also said to be closely modeled on the design of the Forbidden City, in Beijing. Gia Long established Hue as the capital of a unified Vietnam in 1802. It remained the capital until 1945, when Emperor Bao Dai, the last of the Nguyens, abdicated the throne to Ho Chi Minh’s communist party after years as a puppet of French colonial rule. During the Vietnam war, many of the buildings were sadly destroyed and Out of 160 buildings, only 10 major sites remain because of the battle
Ngo Mon entrance and Tai Ho Palace
Walking through the Ngo Mon Gate entrance, you are greeted by a beautiful bridge, which is surrounded by bright red flowers, leading the way towards Tai Ho Palace. The Ngo Mon building and the Tai Ho Palace, were the venues for the official ceremonies. The Tai Ho Palace building is quite remarkable. Inside is the throne of the Nguyen emperors. Which Is really amazing to see in person. When you think of all the emperors that once sat there. Sadly there is no photography allowed in that building, I am unsure of the reasons for this. But this is the only place that photography was not allowed, although flash photography is not permitted in the display rooms.
Now this place is quite huge and a bit of a labrinyth to get around. I wandered around with no specific planned route. I just spent my time walking around and enjoyed taking in everything I was seeing. The history behind it, is quite complex and if you really want to get into what you are seeing, I suggest hiring a guide. I think you can arrange one when you get your ticket, but I am unsure of the pricing of this.
Live like a royal
When ever there is a tourist attraction, there is always another way to make more money. There is even an option of being dressed up in royal clothes and having a picture taken on this throne. Being a particular bad day weather wise, it was a slow day for these guys.
The red corridors
Around the outside of the courtyard, are these beautiful red corridors, which have been recently been restored. Decorated in Chinese style decor, with the ceilings completely covered with intricate golden designs. There are also many historic photos from the days of the emperors. It is really interesting to stop and look at the pictures here. It will give you some idea of what things looked liked, back in the day. I spent some time walking around these corridors, the decor is simply beautiful, I had to stop and admire it
Imperial records of the Nguyen Dynasty
If you really want to get into the history of the Emperors of the palace, there is a corridor dedicated to just that. A complete bio of each of the rulers, are placed on the walls of the corridors. Telling you how they all came to power and how there ruling ended. It was really Interesting to read. I must have stopped and read each one and if you don’t have a guide, it’s a nice bit of Information.
At the very back are the palace gardens. Since weather wise, it wasn’t so great. I didn’t spend to long wandering around these. But you do get a nice view from the top of the steps here and it makes for a nice photo
I must have spent at least 2 hours exploring this place. But I honestly lost track of time in this place. There is just so much to explore here and so much to take in. Also the citadel has many rooms you can walk around here, with lots of the old furniture on display. The history is something I couldn’t completely get my head around, without a guide. But I really enjoyed just seeing this place and being able to capture some of it with my camera.
Admission to the Hue Imperial Palace is 150,00VND per person. One thing to note, which I learnt from my hostel. Is that if you are wanting to visit all the sites in Hue. Including the tombs of Tu Duc, Khai Dinh and Minh Mang etc. There is a 265,000 VND ticket available from the ticket office at the citadel. You have to ask for it, and it covers the entrance for all sites for 48 hours.
I will also be putting up all the photos I took from my visit, onto the gallery page, so please check back soon for that. But there will be an update on my Facebook page and Twitter when they are up, if you are following me there. Thanks for reading.