Indochina – Chapter 3: Hue and Hoi An

Steve Aldridge Silver Travel Advisor, Forum Moderator and Award-Winning Travel Write     The Vespas and the Lanterns Our second night in Hue was amongst the most enjoyable we had spent in Asia. We were picked up from our hotel by two drivers with Vespas and taken on a food safari. Riding pillion on a scooter in Vietnam is an experience in itself but by now we were used to the ‘road etiquette’ (such as it was). So we relaxed and let our drivers guide us through the city lig...
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Indochina – Chapter 2: Halong Bay and Hue

Steve Aldridge Silver Travel Advisor, Forum Moderator and Award-Winning Travel Writer  The dragons and the roof Halong Bay was the chance to slow things down after the excitement of Hanoi. We took the 2 night cruise on Paradise Luxury 1, a wooden junk that provided a lovely mixture of good service, rich woods and comfortable decor combined with modern fittings.  Cue the inevitable legend (there’s often more than one version) attached to this UNESCO listed area. The gods are said ...
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Top 6 Pagodas in Hue City

Hue, for hundreds of years, is known as the Buddhist city of Vietnam. Not only does the mainland attract the eyes of tourists through historical in-depth and attractive destinations but it also possesses the ancient and spiritual features of a vast number of pagodas here. Even though the size of those Hue Pagodas is not quite vast, the history, as well as spiritual culture, displays the unique features of the monuments and historical buildings here. Cannot wait anymore! Let’s follow Vietnam to e...
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The Top 3 Reasons Why I Love Vietnam

Vietnam is a country that often evokes strong opinions from travelers. Some love it. Some absolutely hate it. Me? I definitely fall into the former category. Sure, there are travel scams in Vietnam. There are taxi drivers and touts who will try to rip you off. There are market vendors that will swear at you and swat you away if you don't want to pay their prices. There's a really big pollution problem, especially in northern cities like Hanoi. But, these issues are not confined t...
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One Day in Hue

Background Our time in Hue was short but sweet, and for us one day in Hue (a very full day!) was enough. In fact, at one stage we even contemplated whether we should have included it on the itinerary at all. This isn’t to say that Hue has nothing of interest for the independent traveller. Far from it! However once you look beyond the food, unless you’re a mad keen tomb raider or history buff you may find yourself at a loose end. Hue is a small city with a very rich history. In fact, from the...
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Vietnam food specialities with rice – 10 of its finest varieties

To Vietnamese, rice is not simply considered a dish but the soul of a meal, no matter how delicious other dishes are, the meal will not be perfect without good rice. Depending on certain regions, Vietnamese people have different cooking methods and have given birth to various rice dishes but the 10 rice dishes below are labeled the best and most unique by both domestic and foreign gourmets. 1. Chicken rice in Hội An In Hoi An, chicken rice is so savory and ubiquitous that everyone coming here ...
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Ngọ Môn at Sunrise

The gate with the Chinese characters saying “South Gate” on it. Many Westerners as well as the local people mistranslated Ngọ Môn – the main entrance to Hoàng Thành (Huế Royal City) is Noon Gate. This happens as the word “Ngọ” in ancient Chinese – Vietnamese language means “noon” when talking about time but it indicates “South” when referring to direction. Ngọ Môn of Huế Royal City actually has the latter meaning: the gate facing to the South. I see Ngọ Môn as a venue of transition between...
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EXPLORING THE IMPERIAL CITY OF HUE, VIETNAM

Like many countries in Asia, Vietnam used to be ruled by dynasties of families; by feudal lords and ladies; by emperors with harems and grand palaces. Chances are you’ve heard of the Forbidden City in China — a city built just for the Emperor and his entourage. But did you know that Vietnam had a similar city? From 1802 to 1945, Vietnam was ruled by the Nguyen Dynasty, a powerful family who had its capital in the city of Hue (pronounced “Hwhey“) for more than 100 years. They would ...
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The perfect holiday in Vietnam: our expert’s ultimate itinerary

The Imperial Citadel of Hue credit: Bluchiavari - Fotolia Here’s the scene. The Hai Van Pass, which crosses coastal mountains between Hue and Danang, forms a natural barrier across Vietnam’s tiny waist. Its strategic importance through centuries of conflict is signified by the various fortifications that mark the summit – including a concrete pillbox from the Vietnam War. On my last visit to Vietnam, we stopped on the top of the pass to enjoy the stupendous views of jungle-clad mountains slopi...
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