A Travellerspoint blog

Hue - do you think you're going?

sunny
View New Year in Vietnam on irenevt's travel map.

For our last full day we had decided to go on a day trip to Hue - a beautiful historic city and a former capital of Vietnam. This time we decided just to pay more and go on a private tour with driver so we could do things at our own pace. In particular I wanted enough time to do justice to Hue's royal palace.

It takes about two to two and a half hours to get to Hue from Da Nang. There are two routes: over the scenic Hai Van Pass or through a very long road tunnel. We paid extra to go over the pass.

Hai Van means Sea Clouds, so the Hai Van Pass is the Pass of the Sea Clouds. It is 25 kilometres long and reaches heights of 500m above sea level. There are wonderful views from here. At the top are the derelict remains of an old French fort which was used as a bunker by the Americans during the Vietnam war.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass scenery.

Hai Van Pass.

Hai Van Pass.

Hai Van Pass.

Hai Van Pass.

Hai Van Pass.

Hai Van Pass.

The Old Fort.

The Old Fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The old fort.

The Old Fort.

The Old Fort.

The Old Fort.

The Old Fort.

Hue was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945. Hue has a huge Citadel which was once the home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors. It also has many temples and imperial tombs. It is located on the Perfume River. The river is called this because at certain times of the year flowers fall into this from the trees that line its banks.

We began our visit at Hue's magnificent citadel. A ticket for this costs 200,000 Vietnamese dong. A combination ticket enabling you to visit the palace and some tombs is available for 420,000 dong. We just bought the palace ticket.

The citadel at Hue was once part of an even more enormous citadel and royal palace complex. It was founded in the early nineteenth century by the Emperor Gia Long. The Emperor modelled his citadel on the Forbidden City in Beijing. The citadel is surrounded by huge walls and a moat. The walls were originally made of earth but later these were replaced with stone walls. The emperor placed his own palace, known as the purple forbidden city, within the citadel. The purple forbidden city had its own walls and moats.

Unfortunately, in 1968, American military forces bombed Hue, including its historic citadel, into heaps of rubble. Nowadays the citadel has become a UNESCO world heritage site and the remains are being restored. There is certainly plenty to see here and it could be said I got carried away with the photos. We spent two hours exploring the citadel and could have spent more. There are plenty of toilets inside the citadel and shops selling drinks and snacks.

Vietnamese bride and groom.

Vietnamese bride and groom.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Hue Citadel.

Red is the main palace colour.

Red is the main palace colour.

Red is the main palace colour.

Red is the main palace colour.

After the citadel, we returned to our car and drove along the banks of the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda. This pagoda has a legend associated with it. Once an old woman appeared on the hill where the pagoda now stands and announced that a Lord would come and build a Buddhist pagoda for the country's prosperity. When Lord Nguyen Hoang heard of this, he ordered the construction of the pagoda of the Heavenly Lady, or in Vietnamese Thien Mu. The pagoda dates from 1601. There are lovely river views from here.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda.

The last site we visited was the tomb of the Emperor Khai Dinh. He was the second last emperor of Vietnam and ruled from 1916 to 1925. Most people regard him as little more than puppet of the French. His tomb took 11 years to build and is located in Chau Chu village around ten kilometres away from Hue. I liked the people and animal statues standing guard at the foot of his tomb. From there it is necessary to go up several staircases to the tomb itself which has a golden statue of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khao Dinh.

Tomb of Khao Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

Tomb of Khai Dinh.

After visiting the tomb we had filled baguettes, Huda beer and coconut milk coffee in a little bakery near the tomb before reboarding our car and returning to Da Nang. This bakery has a free toilet even if you don't eat here. The sun was setting as we neared Da Nang.

At the bakery.

At the bakery.

At the bakery.

At the bakery.

At the bakery.

At the bakery.

At the bakery.

At the bakery.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Sunset.

We ate in our hotel and were joined later for drinks by two other friends from Hong Kong who were holidaying in Vietnam.

Dinner with friends.

Dinner with friends.

Dinner with friends.

Dinner with friends.

Dinner with friends.

Dinner with friends.

Next day it was all over and we returned to Hong Kong which is starting to prepare for the Year of the Rat.

The Year of the Rat.

The Year of the Rat.

The Year of the Rat.

The Year of the Rat.

Posted by irenevt 04:40 Archived in Vietnam Comments (7)

Life's a beach .....

And then you die.

rain
View New Year in Vietnam on irenevt's travel map.

Today was one of those days where we could not quite decide what to do. We had done some of Da Nang's sights yesterday using the Grand Mercure's free shuttle. I was really annoyed with myself because I had intended to go to Da Nang's Catholic cathedral yesterday, but had been unable to find it. Then later I'd discovered I'd been about two minutes walk away from it. We were considering taking a taxi to it, but we also wanted to explore the beach, maybe go to Monkey Mountain and see the dragon bridge from the head side rather than the tail side. We set off to explore, only for Peter to throw us off track by saying: "Let's look at the pool on our way out." Well we did and the sun was shining on it, so what could we do? We had to start off the day with a swim.

Gingerbread houses in the breakfast room.

Gingerbread houses in the breakfast room.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

After our swim, we felt motivated to sort ourselves out. We wanted three sights, not close together so we asked the hotel for a car and driver for a few hours. Sometimes life is just easier when you pay. Everything sorted we still had time for a walk on the beach before going on our afternoon excursion.

The beach was beautiful and there were even some people in swimming. I noticed a little shrine on the beach promenade and went to have a look. Then I noticed lots of paintings along the beach wall, so took some photos. There were also some round Vietnamese boats lying on the sand. These boats are known as thung chai or basket boats. The story goes that when Vietnam was a French colony, the French levied taxes on many things including owning boats. Most Vietnamese fishermen couldn’t afford to pay these taxes, so they designed circular woven baskets which floated, but refused to acknowledge they were using them as boats and so escaped the tax.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Paintings.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Basket boats.

Basket boats.

Basket boats.

Basket boats.

As we were walking along the beach, we noticed threatening black clouds rolling in. Soon it was pounding down with rain. We got soaked on the way back to our hotel and were beginning to question whether we should have booked that trip or not. Anyway it was booked; we had to go.

Our first destination was the cathedral. Da Nang Cathedral was built in 1923 by French priest Louis Vallet. The church is pink in colour. The front of the church is 70 metres high and has a weather cock on top. This gives the church its nickname, Con Ga Church, or Rooster Church. During our visit the cathedral was closed, but it's grounds were thronged with people. Unfortunately the rain was pelting down and we got soaked again.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Da Nang Cathedral.

Our second destination was the Dragon Bridge at the head side for photos. Mercifully the rain stopped and we got some good shots. The area around this bridge looked interesting for a stroll.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Next we drove right along the beach to Monkey Mountain. Our driver stopped a couple of times for us to take photos of the sea and the boats.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

On the beach.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Boats, boats, boats.

Son Tra, or in English, Monkey Mountain is a national park around 693 metres above sea level. To get there from Da Nang, you travel along Da Nang beach before gradually climbing up the mountain.

Monkey Mountain was used as an observation base during the American-Vietnam War. It still has radar and a helipad, but we did not go to see this. We went to the Linh Ung Pagoda, which was built during the 18th century. This pagoda is noticeable all over the beach area because it is home to a 67 metre-tall white statue of the goddess of mercy. The Linh Ung Pagoda was incredibly beautiful with the statue and many temples. There were also many wild monkeys here. Entrance to the Linh Ung Pagoda is free and it is definitely worth visiting.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Linh Ung Pagoda.

The Pagoda.

The Pagoda.

The Pagoda.

The Pagoda.

Monkeys.

Monkeys.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

After the trip when we drove back to Da Nang black skies were threatening again. I took pictures of some of the lit up buildings through the rain, then we ate dinner in our hotel. Our hotel gave us vouchers for free Pho - Vietnamese noodle soup, so we had that, morning glory - a delicious leafy green vegetable cooked with garlic and chilli and garlic bread. All of this was washed down with local larue beer.

Pho for dinner.

Pho for dinner.

Pho for dinner.

Pho for dinner.

Dinner.

Dinner.

Morning glory.

Morning glory.

Pool at night..

Pool at night..

Pool at night.

Pool at night.

The pool at night.

The pool at night.

Night scenery..

Night scenery..

Night scenery.

Night scenery.

Night Scenery.

Night Scenery.

Night Scenery.

Night Scenery.

Night Scenery.

Night Scenery.

Night Scenery.

Night Scenery.

Posted by irenevt 15:53 Archived in Vietnam Comments (5)

Once more onto the beach my friends.

New day, new hotel.

sunny
View New Year in Vietnam on irenevt's travel map.

We had a late check out for the Grand Mercure Hotel so we could do our hotel transition without any waiting time. We began the day with breakfast in the club lounge. I had cao lau again and Peter had croque Madame. There were also plenty of tasty French pastries to choose from, too.

Breakfast time.

Breakfast time.

Breakfast time.

Breakfast time.

Breakfast time.

Breakfast time.

The Grand Mercure does a free shuttle bus service to several sights in Da Nang, so we decided to use it to do some sightseeing. Its first stop is the Museum of Cham Sculpture and its second is Han Market. We decided to get off at Han Market and walk back to the museum along the Han riverfront.

Han Market dates from the 1940s and occupies two floors. It sells a wide variety of goods such as dried seafood, fruit, vegetables, coffee, souvenirs and clothes. There are many tailors based here and also a food court providing many local dishes. It is fairly busy and crowded.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

Han Market.

We walked along the riverside back towards the Cham Museum of Sculpture. From the riverside walkway it is possible to see several of Da Nang's bridges.

Da Nang has four main bridges. These include the Han River Bridge, which was Vietnam's first swing bridge. This was built in 1997. A second bridge is the Tran Thi Ly Bridge. This is the bridge our hotel's swimming pool looked out onto. We also had a good view of it from our room. It is a concrete cable-stayed bridge which changes colour at night. The third bridge is the Thuan Phuoc Bridge, which is the Vietnam's longest cabled stay bridge. This was built in 2009 and is 1,850 meters long. It forms part of a continuous coastal route from Hai Van to the Son Tra Peninsula. Finally, there is the Dragon Bridge which opened in 2013. This is golden and has a dragon's head at one end. The dragon's coils cross the entire length of the bridge and its tail is at the city centre end. Every weekend at 9:00pm, the dragon breathes fire and water.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Dragon Bridge.

Tran Thi Ly Bridge.

Tran Thi Ly Bridge.

Than Phuoc Bridge.

Than Phuoc Bridge.

There's a walkway along the Han River which has many sculptures along it. We took photos of and with some of these.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

River walkway.

At the end of the walkway we crossed back into the city. We had a look at a temple next to the Cham Museum of Sculpture. This was being restored. We also found some more propaganda type posters that I like.

Propaganda posters.

Propaganda posters.

Propaganda posters.

Propaganda posters.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

The Cham Museum of Sculpture cost 60,000 Vietnamese dong to visit. It is housed in an attractive looking building designed in Cham architectural style by French architects Delaval and Auclair. This museum is home to the largest exhibition of Cham sculpture in the world. It has around three hundred terracotta and stone works of art. These date from the 7th to the 15th centuries. It also has some objects connected to the Cham people.

Museum.

Museum.

Banyan tree.

Banyan tree.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

We had arranged with the free hotel shuttle to pick us up from this museum. We got the driver to take us to the beach for some photos then bring us back to the hotel. Da Nang Beach is a 30km stretch of fine white sand that starts at Monkey Mountain and ends near Hoi An. Different sections of 6 beach have different names. The beaches here are popular for swimming and sun bathing in the summer. Our visit was in winter. It was not actually cold, but it was very windy and the sea was pretty rough.

Da Nang Beach.

Da Nang Beach.

Da Nang Beach.

Da Nang Beach.

Da Nang Beach.

Da Nang Beach.

Da Nang Beach.

Da Nang Beach.

Back in the hotel we went for a quick drink as we get a free drink for being Accor silver members. Then we had a last swim in the Grand Mercure pool. Relaxed for a while in our room then took a taxi to the next hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Grand Mercure Hotel.

Our new hotel was called the Monarque Hotel and it was located on Da Nang Beach. The staff were very welcoming and helpful at check in. We were given a map, lots of information about Da Nang, Cardamom tea, dried coconut and dried mango. Our room was very nice and very comfortable. No view this time - we faced a wall. The hotel provides free afternoon tea for their guests. It also gives you a voucher for complimentary noodles. It has a rooftop bar and pretty rooftop pool. It was too windy to swim when we arrived, but we were in time for afternoon tea, so we had that.

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

IMG_20200102_164558

IMG_20200102_164558

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

Monarque Hotel.

In the evening we met up with friends from Hong Kong. They were here with their children and one set of parents. We went to a local restaurant that our friends choose. We had a pleasant evening and some tasty local food.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Posted by irenevt 03:43 Archived in Vietnam Comments (6)

Into the Marble Mountains.

Leaving Hoi An for Da Nang.

sunny
View New Year in Vietnam on irenevt's travel map.

We were sad to leave Hoi An as we really liked our accommodation at the Green Town Hotel. The owner was very helpful and pleasant and always smiling. We ate breakfast at the hotel. I had banana pancake and Peter had baguette with cheese. We were served creme caramel, too.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Then we went up to look at the pool and the view from there one more time.

Rooftop.

Rooftop.

Rooftop.

Rooftop.

Rooftop.

Rooftop.

Rooftop.

Rooftop.

We also enjoyed our balcony one last time before checking out.

Balcony.

Balcony.

Balcony.

Balcony.

We had arranged transport from our accommodation to our next hotel through the owners of Greentown Hotel and we had paid a bit extra to stop off at the Marble Mountains on route. Once we were at Marble Mountains we paid 40,000 entrance fee and an extra 15,000 to go up by lift, then a further 15,000 to come down by lift. In the past we would have walked both ways, but Peter's failing eyesight makes stairs difficult for him.

The Marble Mountains are a group of five hills made from limestone and marble. They are filled with caves, and temples. Currently they are surrounded by workshops creating goods from marble. The mountains are named after the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. For me the Marble Mountains were one of those places where you research where to go, but when you get there you forget the research and just go wherever you find. According to legends from the Cham kingdom the Marble Mountains were formed from a dragon egg which was laid on Non Nuoc beach. The egg lay on the beach for a thousand days and when it hatched, a beautiful girl stepped out. The remaining five pieces of shattered egg shell grew into the Marble Mountains.

Marble shops near the mountain.

Marble shops near the mountain.

Marble shops near the mountain.

Marble shops near the mountain.

Marble shops near the mountain.

Marble shops near the mountain.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Views from the mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

Marble Mountains.

In the caves.

In the caves.

In the caves.

In the caves.

In the caves.

In the caves.

After the Marble Mountains, we went to our next hotel and checked in. We were treating ourselves to one night in a VIP suite in the Grand Mercure Hotel. Our room was lovely with a living room, bedroom, walk in wardrobe, bathroom and toilet. It also had wonderful views over Da Nang. We just spent the rest of the day swimming in the somewhat cold swimming pool next to the river and enjoying drinks and snacks in the club lounge.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Our Room.

We also tried out our new swimming pool, which when viewed for the first time looks like an infinity pool due to the river flowing next to it.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

We enjoyed looking out over Da Nang from our room with a view. The views were beautiful both by day and by night.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Views over Da Nang.

Posted by irenevt 11:37 Archived in Vietnam Comments (3)

Temples in the Jungle.

My Son on a rainy day.

rain
View New Year in Vietnam & Portugal for CNY on irenevt's travel map.

My Son.

My Son.

We spent a long long time deciding how we would get to My Son, a complex of Hindu temples near Hoi An. We considered just taking a taxi there and back and exploring on our own, small group tour, big group tour. In the end we opted for a big group tour. In retrospect, although I enjoyed the day, this wasn't the best way to do it.

Why not? Well so much of the supposedly six hour tour turned out to be wasted time. The hotel pick up arrived one full hour after the stated time. It was a long way from the entrance of the site to the temples themselves. The site was very spread out and required a lot of walking. Not a problem when we were younger, but Peter now has severe eyesight problems and it was just not possible for him to keep up with the tour group. Our alloted time at the temples was too short and either things had to be done at a run or parts of the site had to be missed out. We settled for just missing things out. Once we had lost our group the day improved immensely but we made sure we got back to our bus at the agreed time, meaning we had to miss one area of the site out. When we got back, we had to sit on the bus for an hour waiting for all the late people to be rounded up. The bus itself was comfortable. We got to return to Hoi An by boat and the tour included lunch, so it was not all bad, but if I went again, I'd do it by taxi with a prearranged pick up time. This would be more expensive but worth it.

We were a bit unlucky with the weather for this trip as it rained most of the day. However, this did make it rather atmospheric going to the jungle areas, so was not all bad. On the downside though although we passed interesting scenery: paddy fields, water buffalo, workers in the fields, the window of my bus was covered in raindrops so it did not make for good photographs.

Rainy view from bus window.

Rainy view from bus window.

My Son is a group of ruined Hindu temples located in a leafy green valley between two mountain ranges about forty kilometres from Hoi An. These temples were constructed between the fourth and fourteenth centuries by the people of the Champa Kingdom - a group of ethnically Indian people who settled in central and southern Vietnam and created their own Hindu kingdom there. My Son's temples are dedicated to the god Shiva - the destroyer. The temple area was also used as a burial ground for Cham royalty. In its heyday there were over seventy temples here. Tragically, a large number of these temples were destroyed by US bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War.

To enter the site you must first buy an entrance ticket for 150 thousand Vietnamese dong, about five pounds. Then you walk past the My Son Museum to an electric car station. You are taken by car two kilometres closer to the temples. Even from the car stop there is a bit of a walk to reach the temples. If you go on a big tour group, bear in mind lots of groups will arrive at the same time and the temples will be swamped in people. Tour groups do not hang around long though. If you ditch your tour group, within a few minutes, you will almost have the place to yourself.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Statues outside the site.

Entrance.

Entrance.

Entrance.

Entrance.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Electric car.

Electric car.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

Jungle Scenery.

We began by watching a cultural performance with singing, music and dancing. It was very hard to see through the masses of people. I took photos but the ones taken on my phone were not good. I took better ones on my camera which I will add later.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Dancers.

Then we explored the temples themselves. I particularly liked the beautiful carvings on the outer walls of the temples.

Crowded temples.

Crowded temples.

Crowded temples.

Crowded temples.

Crowded temples.

Crowded temples.

Crowded Temples.

Crowded Temples.

Crowded Temples.

Crowded Temples.

Crowded Temples.

Crowded Temples.

Crowded Temples.

Crowded Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Peaceful Temples.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

Images in stone.

After the temples, we reboarded our bus and were driven to a boat dock where we took a boat back to Hoi An. It was pleasant enough, though there was not a huge amount to see. On the boat we were given rice, bean curd and vegetables to eat.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

Boat Trip.

When we arrived back in Hoi An we went for a drink and had sampled another Hoi An speciality - white rose dumplings. These are made of rice paper with pork and shrimp in the middle. As they cook the rice paper unfurls a bit making them look like white roses. They were pretty tasty.

White rose dumplings.

White rose dumplings.

Next we strolled along the waterfront to the very end of the old town passing a market and stopping for ice-cream.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Ice-cream.

Ice-cream.

Ice-cream.

Ice-cream.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

After the waterfront we choose a street that approached the Japanese covered bridge from the free side. We passed a huge model of a merchant ship, lots of shops and restaurants. I used my final old town ticket up by going into Cam Pho Communal House.

Shop.

Shop.

Shop.

Shop.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Cam Pho Communal House.

Posing with a boat.

Posing with a boat.

And with a temple.

And with a temple.

Interesting building.

Interesting building.

The Japanese covered bridge and surrounding area was even busier than the day before. We were glad to get away from it.

Japanese covered bridge.

Japanese covered bridge.

Japanese covered bridge.

Japanese covered bridge.

Finally, we had one last drink in the Bazaar. This time I had the beer and Peter had the drip coffee.Then headed home to bring in the new year in our room. Happy New Year.

Last drinks.

Last drinks.

Last drinks.

Last drinks.

Last drinks.

Last drinks.

Last drinks.

Last drinks.

Posted by irenevt 18:46 Archived in Vietnam Comments (8)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 13) Page [1] 2 3 »