The Train to Huế
We took the SE2 express train from Đà Nẵng to Huế, capital city of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. Our seat was in the more expensive soft seat section of the train but still only cost $5. It wasn’t the most comfortable journey because the train was very dirty, the upholstery mysteriously moist, and the woman behind us kept sticking her bare foot in between our seats to rest on our arm rest. All through the 2.5 hour journey, roosters were cock-a-doodling from somewhere in the train. The train tracks are high up on a cliff and out the window we could see a beautiful view of the coastline.
Tomb of Emperor Minh Mạng
Minh Mạng ruled Vietnam from 1820 to 1841 as the second Nguyễn Dynasty emperor. He was known for being strongly opposed to French colonial influence in Vietnam. His tomb is located about 7 miles outside Huế on the banks of the Perfume River.
The Final Gate is Locked, Visitors are Not Allowed to See the Actual Burial Site. Are Those Bullet Holes??
Tomb of Emperor Khải Định
Khải Định was the twelfth emperor of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty. He was not popular among the Vietnamese people during his reign, being widely regarded as puppet leader controlled by the colonial French.
A Gilded Casting of the Emperor Takes Center Stage in the Tomb, Surrounded by Intricate Mosaics on Every Wall
Tomb of Emperor Tự Đức
Tự Đức, fourth emperor of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty, ruled from 1847 to 1883. Tự Đức is sometimes referred to as the last true Vietnamese Emperor because he was the last to rule the country independently before French colonial interests overtook the government. Strangely, he is actually not buried at the tomb we visited. Instead, he was buried in a secret location somewhere else in Huế. The 200 laborers who worked on his actual tomb were beheaded after the work was completed to safeguard the secret location of the real tomb.
Citadel of Huế
The Citadel of Huế is across the Perfume River from the main part of the modern city. The Citadel is the ruins of the ancient walled city of Huế.
Thiên Mụ Pagoda
The Thiên Mụ Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in all of Vietnam, and is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the city of Huế. The name Thiên Mụ means “Celestial Lady”. The car of famous Buhhist monk Thích Quảng Đức is on display at the pagoda. Thích Quảng Đức became known internationally in 1963 for self-immolating himself in Saigon to protest the Vietnamese government’s oppression of Buddhists.
The Car Thích Quảng Đức Drove to Saigon Before Self-Immolating in Protest of the Government's Oppression of Buddhists
Lăng Cô Beach & Drive to Hội An
We opted to hire a private car for our trip to Hội An so we could be a bit more comfortable than the train and also visit Lăng Cô beach and the mountain pass. Lăng Cô beach was a beautiful stopover.