On recommendation from several people, we took an unscheduled side trip to the town of Hue (Pronounced “Whey”). We had two open nights on our itinerary and heard there were some nice sites, a beautiful train journey to get there and some history related to the Vietnam War. We agree the train journey was beautiful but the town of Hue was just OK. It could have been that it was raining most of the time we were there.
The train journey goes up the coast of Vietnam and runs next to parts of the famous “Hai Van Pass”. Any “Top Gear” enthusiasts will remember this from the Vietnam special. It is a windy mountain road that goes along the coast and then over the mountains and has beautiful views of the countryside and rice paddies. Luke was disappointed we didn’t rent motorbikes to ride over the pass like the guys on Top Gear, but I told him he could come back and do that in college. He has already picked the date for it in 12 years with great anticipation!
The main thing to see in Hue is the Citadel. I was interested in seeing this place and also learning more about the Vietnam War here. Hue was the site of a major battle.
The Citadel is a large complex built in the 1800s by the Emperor when Hue was the capital of Vietnam. This giant fortress/government complex had a massive 15 foot wall that was 1 mile long on each side. Inside was the Emperors Palace and all the government buildings of the day.
Today, there are only 20 building remaining of the original 140 buildings inside the wall. Most were destroyed during the Battle of Hue that occurred during the Tet Offensive in January 1968.
There were 2 massive Koi Pond in the front of the Citadel. There must have been 1000 koi in each. You could buy fish food to feed them for 20 cents. Luke enjoyed this!
We took a tour of the city and the Citadel and also did some reading about what happened during the Tet Offensive. It was a very brutal few weeks for American Troops in Hue. The North Vietnamese took the city from the South Vietnamese Army on Tet (Tet is their New Year’s Celebration and lasts 2 weeks) but after several days of fierce fighting the American forces came in and helped to retake the city from the North Vietnamese. During the battle, much of Hue was destroyed. I was glad to learn some of this history of the war since my dad fought in Vietnam in 1967. It is clear to me that there was a lot of death and destruction here (as there is with all war).
I saw this sign in a museum on our walking tour. Clearly a different perspective on the Vietnam War here (American Imperialism).
The train ride to Hue was great and we had a great tour but not sure I would recommend someone to stop here on their Vietnam trip.