From one of the best experiences on our travels to one of the worst, that’s what happened from Hoi An to Hue. But it wasn’t Hue’s fault, at least not the whole city, which seems like a pretty cool place. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of it, because we got food poisoning.
It isn’t a Southeast Asia trip without food poisoning, right? Inna got it worse than I did but thankfully one night in the hospital and some additional rest was all it took to get her on her feet again. We were also thankful we bought travel insurance for Southeast Asia, because even though our bill wasn’t expensive (~$120 for the night) the insurance definitely cut out a massive amount of stress and worry.
I should also mention that our hotel, the Jade Hotel, was awesome. Their employees did such a great job helping us out while we were sick. They checked up on us, ran errands for us, and seemed genuinely concerned. Thanks Jade Hotel, you guys were great.
Above is the little bit of Hue we saw before getting sick, basically the city on the river during the day and at night.
Since my food poisoning wasn’t as bad as Inna’s, I didn’t need as much rest, so I was able to explore a little of the city. I ended up having lunch in this coffee/bakery place and it was awesome: the theming so creative, the employees so friendly, and the food so good. As soon as Inna got better, I took her here. And afterwards, we got massages.
I’m really glad I got over my food poisoning quickly because one of Hue’s destinations is incredible and I didn’t want to miss it. The destination I am referring to is the Imperial City, a huge city-within-a-city that once served as Vietnam’s capital.
Hue’s Imperial City was enormous, with dozens of buildings and courtyards and gardens. The city was built in 1802, when Nguyen Anh took control of and unified what is now northern and southern Vietnam. Upon doing so, Anh moved the capital from Hanoi in the north and Phu Xuan in the south to here. He also changed the name of the empire from Dai Viet to Viet Nam.
Here are three of the many courtyards in the Imperial City. One of the reasons there are so many fields and courtyards here is that is that more than 90% of the city’s buildings were destroyed during the Vietnam War.
All of the Imperial City was amazing, but the most beautiful spot was actually the side entrance that shuttle buses came in an out of.
Accompanying the Imperial City was this museum, filled with artifacts and treasures that were formerly inside. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in this museum, so this was the only picture I got.
Actually, I took one other picture. This was in the museum’s bathroom, where standing on the urinal was a super small frog.
Hue’s Imperial City is actually one of six monuments that make up the Complex of Hue Monuments World Heritage Site. The other five, two religious sites and three tombs, are not as grand as this one, and because we lost a day to our food poisoning, we decided to skip them.
Up next, we continued north, out of central Vietnam and into the north. Our first stop was Dong Hoi, a city known for its white sand beaches and, more important to us, its proximity to one of the world’s greatest nature destinations: Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.