This is the last leg of my tour with Hue Riders, yay! It was 2 in the afternoon where the sun was high and the heat scorching (check out everyone in umbrellas and hats), I was running on little sleep, haven’t showered that day and my only meal was a small bowl of bland chicken porridge for breakfast when I got to Thien Mu Pagoda. The Phuoc Dien Tower has seven octagonal stories, each of them dedicated to a different buddha. The pagoda is the tallest religious building in all of Vietnam, and it was placed on a hill. T_T Imagine having to climb all those stairs (I was more than halfway up when I took the photo below) in my condition. I had to stop before I even reached it because I was feeling so dizzy already.
No entrance fee. Your sweat and exhaustion are payment enough haha.
There are 12 scary carvings, which are the temple guardians.
There are a couple of establishments which houses the monks (so you cannot enter it) and a tourist center.
A monk, Thich Quang Duc, rode this car to Ho Chi Minh (back then was called Saigon), before burning himself during the time where religious freedom was threatened by the government.
If you go through the pine tree forest, an amazing view of the Perfume River can be seen. I still like the other hill top view I went to with Linh better.
I finally had lunch after rolling down the pagoda.. uhh sorry, I only imagined rolling down the hill while I was walking down. Haha! Bun Bo Hue is a must eat in Hue! Linh and I had lunch in Phuong Nam Cafe, which is also their “office”, and it only cost me VND 45,000, pineapple smoothie included. Bun is rice noodle, not to be confused with pho which is another type of rice noodle, and bo means beef. Hue is, of course, for the place where they also produce a specific type of chili sauce to especially go with it. Careful on the chili!
Our last stop is the Huế Citadel, which served as the palace complex of the Nguyen Dynasty.
The entrance fee is VND 150,000 which you will pay at the Ngo Mon Gate. No one, aside from the emperor, is allowed to go through the middle gate. The ones beside the middle gate are for officials and the outer ones are for soldiers, and maybe commoners?
Across the gate is a flag tower in the Ngo Mon Square. I don’t know what it’s for. Maybe for the flag? Hahaha, yes I think I’m funny.
The Thai Hoa Palace. There is a court in front of the palace where the officials assemble by rank. There is a unique spot in the palace where anyone standing there will be able to hear all the sounds inside – I don’t quite remember where it is but there’s some sort of documentary they play on the television (inside the palace) for tourists who are interested to know more.
Lotus and koi populate the Thai Dich lake.
It was at this point when my camera died down. I was so confident because I brought three 8 GB memory cards and a spare camera battery, along with a power bank for my phone during this trip.. only to find out I left my spare battery and power bank in my backpack. So all photos from here onward were taken by my iPhone. Damn.
The citadel spans more than 500 hectares, and I got really lost a lot of times. There were times I don’t even know where I am.. combine that with exhaustion and hunger, my memory of this place were not of names and history, but of brick roads, expensive juice stalls and fantastic complexes. Someday I am going to go back here, and dedicate one day just to explore the citadel.. maybe get a tour guide as well. I really enjoy learning about things. 🙂
I’d like to be a member of the imperial family so I can live here, and be able to access the inner complex of the citadel. I wonder if this is exactly how it looked like during their reign? I know it’s been restored, but the entire complex is fascinating and just so calming..
Some of the buildings do not allow shoes or slippers, so make sure you have shoes that are easy to take off and put on. After a long day full of walking, the cool tiles were heaven to my feet.
In front of Hien Lam Pavilion are nine dynasty urns, one for each emperor who completed their reign.
I don’t know what this is but traveling alone has made me want to bring at least a tripod wherever I went to. This would have been a fantastic OOTD spot!
Linh’s instruction for me on where to meet him is to exit at the “queen’s gate”. “Oh, shit, where the hell is that?” was running through my mind as I dragged my poor feet along. It was with great joy when I exited the Duc Chuong gate, the access point to the queen’s residence and Linh was waving at me like old friends who haven’t seen each other for a long time.
Linh took a picture of me, with the Ngoai Kim Thuy moat (where the water is from the Perfume River), to commemorate two hours of me wandering about aimlessly, taking less than 50 photos in this expansive citadel (also the most expensive entrance fee I have ever paid for in Vietnam).
So yay! I hope you guys enjoyed my day in Huế (my timing for rhyming is very inspiring! lol). I actually stayed longer in Huế than I planned, but I only have one last post about it because I mostly walked around and just relaxed during that time. If I find Hanoi similar to Manila, Huế is similar to my hometown as well. It’s not a busy city and there is comfort in the air. It’s a vague feeling but I like it. 🙂