My 5: Thuy Thanh Village, Vietnam.

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1. Thuy Tanh Village, April 2018. Surrounded by paddy fields and set along a section of the sleepy Nhu Y River, this traditional Vietnamese village lies just nine kilometers on the outskirts of Hue City. As soon as I heard about its famous covered bridge (I’ve got something of a fetish), I knew I had to make the trip and check it out.

2. Thuy Tanh Village, April 2018. The village was buzzing that day. It was a national holiday, which meant there were boat races out on the river and plenty of street food stalls for the increase in hungry stomachs. It was unspeakably hot, the women carrying umbrellas, the men drinking beer under awnings and napping in the shade.

3. Thuy Tanh Village, April 2018. Than Toan Bridge didn’t disappoint, a worthy addition to my ever-growing collection. The bridge was constructed in 1776 from local wood and features a pretty tiled roof. The interior includes a shrine to Tran Thi Dao, the local woman who played a key role in its construction. The wife of a high-ranking military officer, she became famous in the area as a kind-hearted anthropologist.

4. Thuy Tanh Village, April 2018. There were a couple of armed guards inside monitoring the foot traffic, which seemed a bit excessive. I’m not sure if they’re always there (hard to believe), or if perhaps it was just for the festival. One of them came over while I was taking a photo to move me along. I shot him a look that said: “really?”He merely chuckled in response and shuffled off back to his beer.

5. Thuy Tanh Village, April 2018. This old dude caught my eye. He was Standin’ Smokin’ Somethin’ in a drowsy haze, which drew no attention whatsoever from the soldiers. I guess you get to a certain age and you can do whatever you want.

Thuy Tanh Village is a peaceful little spot and worth a few hours of your time if you can squeeze it in. I jumped onto the back of a moto taxi and was right in the heart of the action in about fifteen minutes. Bargain hard, I paid about 91000VND (£3/€3.40/$4) for the return journey.

For more amazing covered, wooden bridges, check out My 5s from Taishun County, China.

You can also have a leaf through my other articles on Hue.

Like these? I’ve written many more pieces from all around Vietnam.

 

 

 

The National School (Truong Quoc Hoc) – Hue, Vietnam.

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1. The National School (Truong Quoc Hoc), April 2018. If you’re in Hue and open to checking out something a bit different from the typical tourist trail, why not take a walk down to this handsome French era secondary school, one of the most esteemed educational establishments in Vietnam.

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My 5: The Perfume River – Hue, Vietnam.

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1. The Perfume River, 2018. Hue’s Perfume River is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde affair. In the day the waters are largely dead, far from pretty (a kind of soupy grey-brown) and not a trace of perfume wafting in the air. Apparently that can only be experienced in late autumn when the riverbank flowers lose their blossoms, decomposing directly into the river.

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My 5: The Royal Gardens – The Imperial City – Hue, Vietnam.

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1. The Royal Gardens (Imperial City, Hue), April 2018. Hue’s majestic Imperial City is a fascinating window into the rich history of Vietnam’s Nguyen Emperors. Even with only a fraction of its original glory intact, you’ll still be treated to sweeping courtyards, traditional temples, crumbling stone gates, painted halls and towering pagodas. And then you’ve got The Royal Gardens, a small but exquisitely manicured corner where visitors flock to carpet bomb their friends with cheesy, Asian trademark selfies. Expect peace sign fingers, plenty of duck face and hand-cupped flower symbols nestling under the chin.

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My 5: The Imperial City – Hue, Vietnam.

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1. The Imperial City, April 2018. I’m not much of a history buff; all those dates, names and battles tend to go in one ear and right out the other. I tend to avoid guided tours too, I just can’t seem to focus on what’s being said, invariably a flurry of facts and figures, most of which will be lost to me by the time I’ve settled down for dinner. Instead, I like to wander and explore with my own thoughts, try to breathe in the essence of the place. I’ve always loved the sense of reflective calm these historical palaces bring and knew I was going to like Hue’s Imperial City from the moment I approached Ngo Mon Gate, the palace’s main entrance.

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My 5: Phong Nha Cave, Vietnam.

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1. Phong Nha Cave, April 2018. We were rattling through Phong Nha-KBàng National Park (try saying that with a mouthful of marshmallows) in the minibus when I found myself speculating on whether Phong Nha Cave might turn out to be something of an anticlimax. Our intimate little tour group had just finished exploring the wondrous Paradise Cave, which had been so damn impressive I couldn’t imagine this next cave coming anywhere close. Pulling up outside a boat station alongside a beautiful deep-green, hill-framed river, we all jumped out and followed our guide Nick to a waiting vessel.    Continue Reading »

My 5: The Tree Hugger Cafe – Dong Hoi, Vietnam.

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1. The Tree Hugger Cafe, April 2018. I’d been wandering around Dong Hoi in the burning sunshine for most of the morning when I felt my body crying out for caffeine. And having done my research beforehand, I knew exactly where I was heading! The Tree Hugger Café occupies a charming, quiet spot on 30 Nguyen Du, a few doors down from The Buffalo Pub.

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