The ancient city of Hue (pronounced ‘whey’) in central Vietnam was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty at the beginning of the 19th Century, and during the Vietnam-US war some of the most intense conflicts occurred in this region.
One of Hue’s main tourist attractions is the spectacular riverside Hue Citadel or Royal Palace of the Imperial City, built according to the practices of ‘feng shui’. Such is Hue’s historical significance that it is recognised today as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Although Hue is not strictly a coastal city, beach lovers will not be disappointed as there are several good beaches like Thuan An, less than 15 minutes away – you can even cycle there! In short, Hue is a perfect location to explore the cultural heart and soul of the Vietnamese people while still having easy access to the beach.
Under an hour away there are several more beach options. The likes of Lang Co and Canh Duong Beach are perfect for day trips. Just over 650km south of Hanoi and almost 1,100km north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hue is well served by all forms of transport – including bus, rail and air
BASKET BOAT IN HOI AN
Had your fill of Hoi An Old Town’s shops and markets, and sunbathing at Cua Dai Beach is just too tranquil? Then enjoy a basket boat ride at the Coconut Boat Village Hoi An in-between.
Legend has it Vietnam’s basket boats originated as a way for local fishermen to avoid paying taxes imposed during the French colonial rule. Others say the boats were born out of necessity as they were more practical than traditional fishing boats.
Whichever the case, the basket boats have become an endearing symbol of life along the central and southern Vietnamese coast for business, pleasure, and now tourism. Nowhere is this more evident than in Cam Thanh, also known as Hoi An’s Coconut Village or more informally, the Coconut Boat Village, just a few kilometres east of Hoi An’s Old Town.
In this article, Hidden looks into experiencing a basket boat ride yourself. Where a local guide skippers you through the eight-hectare network of water coconut palms, onboard a sturdy, all-natural vessel. It won’t leak, capsize, or have you swimming for shore. It’s fun for the entire family. So keep reading to find out the history of the boats themselves and the best way to experience the Coconut Boat Village in Cam Thanh.
Walking street in HCM
Bui Vien Street is the main street of the so called ‘backpackers area’ of Ho Chi Minh City. Here you find a wide variety of inexpensive restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and hotels/hostels. While being seated at one of the places you can soak up the local lifestyle and culture. You can shop, dine and party on Bui Vien Street.
The total ‘backpackers area’ consist of roughly four streets and some small interconnecting alleys. To have dinner here is very affordable and will cost you around VND 100-200.000 (US$ 4-8), for this amount you will have a decent meal including a drink. The options vary from Vietnamese, Indian, Italian to Chinese and Western.
On Bui Vien street you also find many bars that offer drinks with a view of the busy city life. Depending on the location you can have a beer for VND 10.000 to VND 80.000 (US$ 0.5-3). Besides this there are many souvenir shops that sell affordable gifts ranging from paintings, statues to clothing and bags. As this is the heart of the city centre it can easily be reached by foot or taxi and almost all locals in here speak English. It gets busiest from early evening, around 18:00, with the many bars and pubs popular until 02:00 or even later.
Water pupet show
Water puppetry (Vietnamese: Múa rối nước, lit. “Making puppets dance on water”) is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. Today’s Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition.
The puppets are made out of wood and then lacquered. The shows are performed in a waist-deep pool. A large bamboo rod supports the puppet under the water and is used by the puppeteers, who are normally hidden behind a screen, to control them. Thus the puppets appear to be moving over the water. When the rice fields would flood, the villagers would entertain each other using this form of puppet play.