Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vietnam and Cambodia 2007, part 2

Yes, I know its been ages, and I also know that I'm a lazy ass. Now that we have the self-flagellation out of the way, this post will be about Hue in Vietnam!

Once I tell you what Hue is known for, you'll immediately know why I love that place. Hue is the 'historical' city of Vietnam, because it was the capital of Imperial Vietnam way back in the days. The Imperial palace and tombs are still there, and those are the main tourist attractions which we visited.

The interesting thing is you can find incredibly old gates all around Hue, remnents of an imperial past, and they are still standing strong and in use, as you can see below

First, we went to the Palace. Its nice and 'historical', even if it has been completely 'tourist-fied'. Back in the days, when China's tributary system reigned supreme, Vietnam was China's most valued vassel state in Southeast Asia, and the palace reflects the importance Vietnam placed on Chinese influence as well. See the Chinese-style architecture?

The girls and I having a little fun in the palace =) Can you see us as cheeky princesses running around the palace? Ok, maybe not princesses =P

Isn't it fascinating to see traffic and everyday life just running along their business right beside a centuries old palace? Not simply a building, but a piece of history that is hardly remembered today. Who knew that Vietnam had an imperial past, had Emperors and dynasties?

Next, even more interestingly, because of the [slightly] morbid nature of the attractions, we visited the imperial tombs of past emperors. As these tombs are located right on the fringe of the city, its much simpler and cheaper to join a day trip instead of trying to DIY.

While I was really interested in the tombs, I found, to my surprise, that these are not really tombs.

Yes, the Emperor commissioned it for himself, and designated it a 'tomb', but they function more like Summer palaces than tombs. They are huge, with lavish water features and pavilions and gardens. The royal family, when bored with city life, will come here for a little R&R, kind of like the ton do with their country manors.

And, the tour guide tells us, the Emperor isn't even buried there! This is for fear of grave robbers and such. So, in Imperial Vietnam, 'tomb' is actually lingo for 'holiday chalet'. And each Emperor had one. If I remembered correctly, there's 10+ of these around Hue, all beautiful, all lavish, all empty.

And after a hard day of sight-seeing, nothing more welcomed than a steaming bowl of soupy noodles, cooked lovingly with a special recipe, filled to the brim with ingredients.


Anonymous said...

Oh god Amelia!!

of cos Vietnam had an imperial past, being so linked to China. lol. too bad u didnt take Dr. Yang's Sino-SEA interactions model this sem. the module talks about it lor.

ha, the place looks good. and i cant imagine u as a princess, ever. rofl. princesses are submissive and.... dainty. *snigger* shant say more, later u whack me.

ok la, see u in sch, good luck for ur exams. lets hug buddha's leg together.

rawk on,

The Irreverent Cook said...

Yes, WY, I resent what you are implying and I know where to hunt you down =P WE know it coz we are history students...most people don't get past Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam War.

Mrs Erg├╝l said...

Indeed! I for one did not know that Vietnam had an imperial past! Thanks for sharing Amelia!

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