Danang to Hue May 29 to June 3, 2002

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.]

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Bridge from Danang   Heading up Hai Van Pass...      
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Still going up...       Made it!  
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Me   Top of the pass   Cow & the American Lookout   View of Lang Co  
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Top of the mountain   Heading down...     Looking back  
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First big rain   Lang Co Beach   Rolling clouds   Peaceful  
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Views from the beach...     Evening clouds   Football, of course    
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Colors at sunset...     Following morning...    
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Biking toward Hue   Kindly fed a total stranger   Strange section of toll road   The Airport. All of it.  
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Evening in Hue...       Lighting up the bridge...  
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  The Citadel      
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Outer Citadel   Entrance to the Forbidden Purple City   Sounds cool, doens't it?   Inside the Forbidden Purple City...  
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Magistrates met here   Buildings destroyed by a century of war   Still, there are some amazing sights   And some reconstruction  
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Like this "garden"     Used to be the central home   What it used to look like  
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Leaving   More bridge...     "Tomb" of Tu Duc  
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Phap Khiem House   Theater House   Ornamentation   Lake for poetry reading  
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Eternal honor guard   Self-critical autobiography   Rear entrance   Island for composing poetry  
Back toward Hue