The Imperial City of Hue, some 2½ hours from Da Nang is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hue is a historic centre for food, religion, culture, royal palaces and tombs of Vietnamese kings. From 1802 to 1945 Hue was the national capital of Vietnam.
This is one of my longer private day tours, a full 10+ hours starting from your hotel at 7.30am and driving over the stunning 21km Hai Van mountain pass – made famous by the BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ programme who described it as; ‘a deserted ribbon of perfection, one of the best coast roads in the world’. Driving to the top and weather permitting we see reminders of my country’s recent past, Red Beach 2 in the distance where in 1965 the US Marine Corps made its famous landing and at the summit a bullet scarred French Fort. We make frequent comfort stops to freshen-up.
He told us with a lot of details the history of the region : Hai Van Pass, Khai Dinh Tomb, Ancient city of Hue and Heavenly Lady Pagoda, everything was understandable and expressed with a lot of passion!– Client TripAdvisor Review
After taking in the beauty of Lang Co Bay we arriving in Hue, commencing our private city tour at the immense 19th century Citadel which surrounds the original Imperial City, the purple forbidden city, palaces and shrines. This really is the ‘must see’ location in Hue. More recently, in 1968 during the Tet Offensive, the ‘Siege of Hue’ resulted in enormous damage to both the city and Citadel – you will see rebuilding works to this day.
With difficulty we must leave the Citadel and its intriguing history to our next visit, the very special Thien Mu (Fairy Lady) pagoda which overlooks the Perfume River on its northern bank – original construction of the pagoda started in 1601. Its Từ Nhân tower, constructed in 1844, is seven stories high (21m) and is the tallest religious building in Vietnam.
Thien Mu is still a ‘working’ pagoda where Buddhist monks live, work & pray – yet many clients find the displayed Austin Westminster car, in which the idolised monk Thích Quảng Đức was driven on his final journey to Saigon in 1963, to be a most poignant reminder of a difficult period in Vietnam’s recent history.
There are seven Imperial tombs to the Nguyen kings along the Perfumed River and surrounding countryside. In Vietnam’s last dynasty our kings ruled for 143 years until 1945. So we continue on our intriguing journey to visit the beautiful tomb of Emperor Tu Duc and the most majestic tomb of Khai Dinh. I feel these best reflect the dynasty’s difference in mindset, lifestyle & art.
Returning to Hue city we visit Dong Ba market, an amazing place where you can observe the daily life of local people. And a perfect choice to see and try local foods!
Finally, we must say goodbye to Hue, this most famous of historic S.E. Asian cities and return via the ‘quick’ route through the Hai Van tunnel, opened in 2005. On a good day this can save up to an hour on our outward journey over the pass! During your private Hue tour you will be offered a choice of beautiful Vietnamese food and drink at excellent local restaurants if required, and at the end of your memorable day you will be returned safely to your hotel
- a full 10 hour private guided tour in English
- all entry fees
- cold, bottled mineral water
- moist towelettes
- use of a modern air
- conditioned vehicle & my professional driver.
- meals & drinks etc taken during the tour (bottled water is free of charge)