Having only limited time in Hue, we have no choice but to settle with Hue City Tour that brings us to the following excursion places:-
1. Old Citadel : The old imperial city is surrounded by a wall 2 kilometres by 2 kilometres which is surrounded by moat. Perfume River water is taken to fill the moat. Inside the Citadel, there is an enclosure called the Purple Forbidden City which was reserved for the Nguyen imperial family. It is as though there is a citadel within a citadel. [VD55,000.00]
2. Garden House Village : One of the unique features in Hue is traditional houses privately owned by mandarins (advisors to the Kings). The house of mandarin inherit traditional Indo-china architecture associated with natural environment. Simply put, Feng Shui. The entrance screen, pond, house, garden, altar and surroundings blend together in a harmonious context. For instance, the tour guide informs that the entrance screen behind the main entrance indicates mountain, a positive qi and the existence of river which is a negative element which balance the environment.
Following Lord Nguyen Phuoc Thai (1687) who believed Mac Son (Ngu Binh) Mountain has been created to protect the new kingdom to which he was destined to rule, erecting screens outside of the residences is in line with the feng shui concept of true(to attend) and an(table set in front of a person), denoting a mount set in front of a house in order to stop the inauspicious element of Fire Flow from entering the front door. [VD10,000.00]
3. Thien Mu Pagoda (Heavenly Lady Pagoda) : The urban legend has it that a ghostly presence in the form of an old lady had been spotted in the area where the pagoda now stands. She told the surrounding people that a great pagoda will be built at the site to bring peace to the country. Lord Nguyen Hoang upon hearing that, asked for the construction of the pagoda which was later named as Heavenly Lady Pagoda.
The pagoda strecthes in seven successive tiers, each of which is dedicated to human form taken by Buddha or step of englightenment. After ascending a flight of stairs, octagonal Phuoc Dien Tower greets you from 2metres high, also comprises of seven levels. It has monastic buildings and a building that houses national relic, the Austin car, in which the most Venerable Thich Quang Doc, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist Monk traveled to Saigon. He burned himself to death at a busy intersection near Saigon on 11/06/1963 as a protest to the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Roman Catholic Government a.k.a. Diem Regime. [Free Entrance]
4. Minh Mang Tomb: Depending on who you ask, Minh Mang is the most beautiful tomb of them all. Located 12km from Hue, Minh Mang Tomb seats on the west bank of the Perfume River. The construction of the tomb began in 1840 and finisihed in 1843. The main gate, Dai Hong Mon opened only once to bring the Emperor’s coffin in and had been closed since then. Visitors have to use the Ta Hong Mon(Left Gate) and Huu Hong Mon (Right Gate). Behind Dai Hong Mon is the Honor Courtyard with two rows of mandarins, elephants and horses’ statues. Inside Ming Mah Tomb there are salutation court and new moon crescent lake that embraces the circular of the wall surrounding the grave. [VD55,000.00]
5. Khai Dinh Tomb Khai Dinh Tomb was built by Khai Dinh emperor from 1920 to 1931. Khai Dinh emperor was the unpopular emperor not favoured by the people as he was closely related to the French government. He also levied 30% tax increase to fund for the lavish mausoleum, which was inspired by Oriental and European architechture. The walls inside the mausoleum are intricately designed and outstanding. [VD55,000.00]
6. Tu Duc Tomb is located near Duong Xuan village and lies in a boundless pine forest, some 8km from Hue. There is Luu Khiem Lake at Vu Khiem entrance, at which stand the pavilion – the Emperor used to come here to admire flowers, compose poems and read books. Among others, there are the Emperor’s working place, houses for military and civil mandarins, Emperor’s resting place, places to keep royal utensils and theatre. [VD55,000.00]
7. Conical Hat and Incense Stick Making Village
8. A cruise through the Perfume River.
If you have less than 24 hours to cover Hue, I would recommend taking this tour with AIIZ, Kim Office I: 11 Nguyen Tri Phuang St., Hue | Tel: 0914.019907 – 0935.551313.
Transportation mode: A/C Bus and Dragon Boat
Time: 8.15a.m. – 4.30p.m.
Inclusive of English Guide, Lunch Buffet, Transportation
Service Charge: VND110,000.00 (MYR16.10)
Entrance fee to Excursion Places: VND230,000.00 (MYR33.80)
TOTAL: VND340,000.00 (MYR49.90)
Footnote: All prices stated as incurred on January 2012.