Sunday, June 5, 2011

Favorite Places part III: Hue, Vietnam

My time in Hue was pretty great for a number of reasons. First of all, I met allot of fellow travelers from all over the world, and we partied like it was 1999. We frequented this bar in downtown Hue, next to some of our friend's hostel, because the beers were so cheap. One night about twelve of us where drinking there all night, beer after beer, and were very pleasantly surprised when we got our bill and it was about $14. I also went and checked out the former DMZ, which was a treat for a war history buff such as my self. At the DMZ signs can be seen everywhere warning of land mines left over from the war.

US tanks on display near the DMZ

From my hotel it was a few miles walk to get to the Purple Forbidden Palace of Hue. Situated on the Perfume river, I don't think I've ever seen such beautiful ruins in my life. Castles with motes, court yards with dragon statues, pagodas with monks; top all this off with very foggy, drizzly, almost mysterious weather and the mood is really set.

 The place is perfectly landscaped and taken care of, and around every corner I expected to find monks lined up practicing kung fu, karate kid style. The city is huge, I walked through it for an hour, but eventually I came to the areas the guide books warn you about; the parts bombarded during the war and never rebuilt.

Hue's central location positions it very near the North and South Vietnamese DMZ, Hue being just south of the border. On January 31, 1968, the first day of the new year on the traditional lunar calendar, also known as tet, year of the monkey and the most important Vietnamese holiday, Northern Vietnamese forces launched the largest military offensive of the Vietnam war. Though it was announced that both sides would take a two day break from the war in honor of the new year, communist forces sent waves of around 80,000 forces south of the border. The battle of Hue was fierce and savage fighting there lasted a month, during which time the communist executed thousands of residents resulting in what is now known as the Massacre of Hue. During all of this, much of the Forbidden City was destroyed by the US and it's allies. Despite all of this, and the failure to rebuild for the most part, Hue, in my book, is still one of the most beautiful places on Earth.


  1. I want to go to Vietnam sometime. It is a land with so much history and culture. Your photos are beautiful, do you have a photo album like in Flickr or something?

  2. Headed there April 2012, cant wait, thanks for pumping me up even more.