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Tracy's Journey

Hoi An & Hue

VIETNAM | Wednesday, 13 April 2011 | Views [477]

Hoi An is noted for their silks and handmade tailored clothes.  There are so many shops I don’t know how they all survive. They are also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their architectural fusion design of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and European influences since they were a big port town in the 16th century. I enjoyed tasting some of their specialty dishes to the area. A white rose which is a shrimp dumpling with white translucent flour dough shaped like a rose. I also enjoyed a dish called cao lau, which is a combination of thick rice-flour noodles, bean sprouts, and pork-rind croutons with thin slices of pork on top.  I also visited Marble Mountain, which is a Buddhist sanctuary known for it’s famous marble rock carvings right out of the mountain.  It is also across the street from China Beach, which used to be an old American base during the war. I was surprised to see that it is nearly undeveloped but then I saw all the signs for future luxury resort hotels that will eventually overtake the whole area.

Next - to Hue. I am on the move about every two days now and spend a couple hours every other day trying to figure out which hotel I will stay at in the next place I’m going. I am so glad I have my computer and almost every place has wifi. Technology has really made it so much easier to travel. I can also check out reviews thru Trip Advisor before I decide on a hotel. The reviews are really helpful to know ahead of time if the hotel is clean and if the staff is helpful.

I decided to take the train to Hue even though it is only about three hours by bus and four hours by train.  This stretch of the railway is noted as being the most spectacular views of the coast, mountains, & rice fields.  It was very beautiful. However, they also said that it is a slow train. Well, I underestimated the word slow! For the first three hours, I don’t think we even reached 10 mph. The last hour we finally picked up some speed to probably about 25 mph.  Hue is known for their remnants of its once magnificent Imperial City and its Royal Mausoleums. The Imperial City was from the last emperor dynasty from the early 19th century before Ho Chi Minh became President. There were many different sections of the city with a wall separating the Forbidden Purple City where the royal family lived and no one was allowed in. Most of this area was destroyed in 1945 during the war but they are in the process of restoring it.  I also visited three of the mausoleums, which the Emperors built during their lifetimes to be their palace when they die.  They are large areas of land with lots of trees and usually a lake and several buildings. One being a main temple, which is dedicated for worship of the deceased.  At the end of our tour, we were able to take a dragon boat ride on the Perfume River. 


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