Exploring Hue is one of Vietnam’s greatest pleasures and this day tour reveals the fascinating history and spectacular beauty of this town. Visit the ancient citadel which reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers, take a cyclo ride through Hue’s backstreets as well as discovering the eclectic and mesmerizing tombs of Khai Dinh and Minh Mang.
8.30am depart your hotel for the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. The ancient citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern (the Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war) but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today.
From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study.
Continue to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. In the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous when in 1963, a resident monk drove the vehicle to what was then Saigon to protest against the southern regime, the photo was one of the most well known images of the war.
For lunch to try some renowned Hue cuisine. In the afternoon see the tomb of the former emperor Minh Mang then journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb.
Before heading back to your hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with your guide. (L)
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was the site of some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles during the American War and a tour through this historic region is an informative glimpse in to the war time history.
8.00am depart your hotel, drive north and stop at La Vang Cathedral. Carry on to what is left of Quang Tri Citadel, where in 1972 a fierce battle raged for 81 days, visit the museum where photographs, war remnants and artillery can be seen.
Continue up Highway 1 across the HienLuongBridge, and over the BenHaiRiver this area saw some of the heaviest fighting during the war. Doc Mieu Firebase, which lies just north of here, played a pivotal role in the South’s defence and for a while, this was the command post for calling in airstrikes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The journey from here to Vinh Moc Tunnels is scenic after you leave the main highway. The village of Vinh Moc found itself tragically positioned in one of the most heavily bombed areas of Vietnam. In order to escape this bombardment, the villagers constructed approximately 2.8 km of underground tunnels which they used as a refuge to survive the bombings. Three hundred people lived intermittently in the tunnels from 1966 to 1971.
From Vinh Moc drive to TruongSon National Cemetery where the remains of some 15,000 Vietnamese soldiers and civilians have been laid to rest.
Continue southwest to Khe Sanh where one the most important battles of the Vietnam War took place; the former base has bunkers, helicopters and a museum on display. Along the way pass by ‘Rockpile’ which is a high, isolated mount that was an important lookout point by the Americans and DakrongBridge, where access points once ran into the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Towards the end of the afternoon drive back to Hue where you will arrive in the late afternoon / early evening. (L)
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