Discovering the True Nature of Hue
An ancient capital, the center of the arts and religion in Vietnam, and the scene of the Battle of Hue – one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War – Hue city today is the epitome of old-meets-new.
Divided by the Perfume River with the old town on its northern banks and its modern districts to the south, Hue was once the center of the Nguyen dynasty. In 1802, Gia Long the Nguyen emperor moved the capital from Hanoi to Hue in an attempt to unite northern and southern Vietnam. For a time the city prospered, but its rulers struggled to oppose the growing influence of France.
While this evocative city still resonates with the glories and architectural grandeur of imperial Vietnam, much of the French colonial architecture was destroyed during the American War. However, most of the city’s oldest ruins, including the Imperial City – a walled enclosure within the citadel that was the power symbol of the Nguyen emperors – remain intact.
On this fascinating tour, one will get a real sense of what life is like for the people of Hue. With a local guide, learn about the city through the eyes of ordinary local residents – hear their childhood stories about living through the Vietnam War, their family histories, the city’s relationship with the arts, and explore alleyways and side streets that are often overlooked. Despite its troubled past, the city has a very upbeat atmosphere and local people are open and friendly.
Travel along the peaceful Perfume River by boat to see and experience the bronze workshops of Phuong Duc. The serene beauty of this magical river, with its picturesque backdrop of lush green hills and temples, is hard to find on other city rivers in Southeast Asia. Lunch is enjoyed in a secluded spot overlooking the outer wall of the Imperial City, a delightfully local respite after a morning of discovery.
The afternoon is set aside for learning more about the Imperial City and for a unique encounter with a princess from the House of Nguyen – the last imperial family of Vietnam. With a focus on the people, their stories and historical influences, this immersive experience will bring the city of Hue to life.
For more information about this immersive experience and other experiences in Vietnam, please contact: [email protected].