The first day out of Danang was a short ride over the infamous Hai Van Pass. The 10km climb was tempered by
the spectacular views up and down the central coast.
Lang Co rests just to the north of the Hai Van pass, nestled between a lagoon and the South China Sea.
The latter made for a great swim after the challenging ride earlier in the day. I was lucky to have the whole beach to myself.
From there it was north to the imperial city of Hue. The ride itself was fairly unremarkable, except for the strange stretch of
toll road which was markedly better than any other road that I visited in Vietnam.
Hue is a beautiful city. It is the one place in Vietnam I visited where I really felt like I was getting a clear
picture of Vietnamese history. The dominant structure in Hue is the Citadal. It is a 10km long, two meter wide stretch of
wall and a moat that surrounds a significant potion of the city. It was from here that the powerful 19th century emporers
ruled the country. Inside the Citadel is the emporer's personal residence, the temptingly named "Forbidden Purple City."
Regretfully, it has largely beem decimated over the course of the four major Vietnamese wars of the 20th century. But, there is
still much to see, and the government is doing what it can to reconstruct much of what is missing.
Just outside of Hoi An are the tombs of the emperors. The most famous emporer, and most lavish tomb, is that of Tu Duc. The visit
to this walled compound was well worth the trip.
The Vietnamese government recognizes that their transportation systems leave something to be desired, so they are working hard to improve them.
Three weeks before I left Hue, they brought the new "E2" express train online. It was a much more comfortable way to travel to
Hanoi than the "LH" train into Danang.
[If you cannot see the navigation on the left, please click here.]