Category Archives: Asia

Seoul, South Korea – Asia


travel_gracefully-c-2016-15En route to Nepal with Korean Airlines (KE) and Crooked Compass – a small niche tour company who encourages you to experience the lesser known and immersive side of many unique destinations. ‘Follow a different path’ is their mantra and we’re about to explore with our group the alternate southern side of the country rather than heading off to Base Camp style trekking.

One of the fantastic benefits of being a Korean Airlines member is that, once you have accumulated 4,000 points redeemable, you can gain entry into one of the participating lounges around the world – provided you are holding a KE boarding pass for onward travel.

Personally I would recommend at least three nights in Seoul as it’s one of those Asian cities which connects the senses by embracing culture, art and history, even though it leads a distinctive urban lifestyle.

And the start to a wondrous trip can’t be any easier than relaxing in the Sky Team Lounge at Sydney Airport.

There’s a few transport options into the city from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport; the bus being one of the most convenient ways and will deliver at designated stops within its area. Check with your hotel as it could mean either the  bus or train may be the better path to their address. Additionally taxis are available and more expensive as the ride will take approximately one hour regardless.

Entrance of Four Seasons Hotel Seoul exudes class and an undeniably stylish décor. It’s smack in the centre of all attractions in Gwanghwamun – the very heart of Seoul and not far from the Gyeongbok Palace.

The Four Seasons Seoul being a five-star hotel, offers 317 guest rooms and luxury suites. My recommendation is to upgrade which allows entry into the Executive Club Lounge.

Wish this was my desk everyday … And the TV, well it might have to go – too much of a distraction … not!

Buffet lunch at the hotel cannot be missed. Endless choices from all over the world.

And, what are some of the things we love about Korean food? It’s all those tasty condiments which go with the main dishes. So much to choose from and if you like spicy, then this is the country to visit.

Isadong is a shopper’s dream with so much on offer – of course it’s the tourist precinct but can’t be missed.  It gained in popularity with international tourists during the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Games, toys and techno? It’s all here.

Smells divine too.

A night out with my group calls for some cool décor and a place to relax such as Hangik, a neighbourhood wedged between two Universities which has a thriving arts and indie music scene. It’s home to an array of independent clothing labels and off-the-wall vintage shops. The relaxed vibe here can be best felt in any one of the area’s clubs, bars or cafés and is the closest city area to/from the airport. Located on Seoul’s Metro Line 11 is easy to find.

In Hongdae, we  headed towards  the Mint Bar to enjoy their signature cocktail with Tom about to tackle his and yes, you have to sip and slurp with the bottle still in the glass.

Even if you’re not a beer drinker, you’ll enjoy these,  the Coronarita! An icey blend of corona beer and a margarita.

Going back to Incheon Airport by train is incredibly straight forward with a plethora of stations underground which feed into the main subway and effectively take travellers to where they need to go.

Clean, fast and comfortable the train slices through any traffic hiccups. Cost is approximately A$4.00 one way per adult.

Back at the airport and this has to be one of the most efficient airports in the world. Have your comfy shoes on because you’ll be running a marathon to check out all the duty free shops.

Next stop Kathmandu Nepal – Namaste till next week’s blog.


Labuan Bajo, Flores Islands – Indonesia


Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is 13 kilometres south of Denpasar. It’s Indonesia’s third-busiest international airport and currently one that has a visa waiver on Australians travelling to the country as a tourist (at the time of writing this post was still valid).  A saving of about USD35.00 per adult.

A short flight of 90 minutes duration and Labuan Bajo (LBJ) is well serviced by Garuda Indonesia Airlines from Denpasar.

Until not so long ago, Flores was hardly penetrable because of the chain of volcanoes which stretch across the 450 kilometre long but narrow island. Increasing numbers of tourists are visiting as Flores I’m told, is what Bali used to be like, but only 40 years ago.

When you see the harbour for the first time, you’ll know this is a hidden gem, with stunning views of which even the locals will stop to take in the breathtaking aspect of this ramshackle hilltop’s vantage point.

My stay was with the Jayakarta Suites Komodo-Flores is perhaps the best property located on the white sandy beaches of Labuan Bajo’s outskirts. It’s simply surrounded by beautiful sea views and stunning mountainous scenery.

A walk along the foreshore from the property, it’s incredibly quiet and the water seems much calmer and safer here.

A five-minute ride by Jayakarta Resort’s  shuttle service into the centre of the township reveals one of the jumping-off points for the trip to Komodo and Rinca Islands. It also marks the completion (or starting) point of the popular Lombok-Sumbawa-Komodo-Flores boat trips.

The giant pre-historic lizards, Komodo Dragons can be found in the Komodo National Park only half an hour or so by boat from Labuan Bajo. However, Rinca Island ( or Pulau Rinca) is a more convenient place to see them rather than Komodo island. The mating season for the dragons is July and August so they are often harder to spot during this time. Some privacy please …

Yeah, yeah I know I shouldn’t be picked up by strangers on motorbikes, but $5.00 for a few hours seems reasonable for a bird’s eye view of the island – and besides I’m much bigger than my poor little driver.

So this is what it’s like to fill up at the fuel station … hop in line and wait for your turn.

Some absolute bargains around, just a little difficult to take home at times but worth considering.

And some times, you’ll meet up with the youngsters from the neighbourhood. The cost for this photo was a pen each. Don’t forget when you travel to various destinations that pens, notepads and any other stationery is greatly appreciated by schools. Great way of clearing out the drawers at home and helping out because most of these items are quite expensive for young families.

Excellent to see children having fun with some old paint cans and not yet caught up in the techno age.

There’s a number of other touristic sights in Flores such as Mirror Cave, Snake Cave, Cunca Rami Waterfall and the markets at night.

Stall holders are always friendly and happy enough to do a deal.

Hot, hot, hot are these chilies …

Down by the waterfront of the township, it’s sort of l-shaped with a fish market worthy of an early morning browse in the centre. The main street only goes around one way – so if you’re in a vehicle and miss something,  you’ll have to go round again. And why not? The view from the top is spectacular.


The marketers set up early in the evening and are open till approximately 9:00 pm each night with a number of food stalls and small eateries. There’s also shops to purchase any necessities if need. Fresh grilled fish and other Indonesian dishes are on offer and the prices depend on the type of fish and its size.

Like a good strong coffee? Flores is definitely the place to purchase your stash.

As dusk sets in, so does the spectacular sights of the region, gorgeous coral reefs and more than fifty dive spots around the island. It’s a fantastic place to experience different adventures such as diving, snorkelling and fishing – just a divine paradise for all to enjoy.

For dinner at the resort, I’m trying out the local dish of Kerapu which is a yellow fish soup with rice. The chef here makes it with so many of the traditional spices which Indonesia is famous for – don’t go past this one!

Pool at the Jayakarta Resort is easily accessible with the most stunning sunsets each night – just absorb it as you’re soaking up the panorama whilst splashing around in the cool water.


Legian and Kuta Hotels in Bali – Indonesia


Along the beach front from Seminyak to Legian and Kuta it’s walkable and some might think Seminyak is somewhat more upmarket, however it certainly seemed to have ‘grown up’ since I was last there.

A stay at the Jayakarta Hotel is situated in lush gardens and located right on Legian Beach.

This Bali hotel is also within walking distance to shopping and entertainment areas.

While offering peace and tranquillity, the grounds are perfectly manicured.

Even though the beach is at the ‘back gate’, it’s always handy to have a clean safe pool for families with small youngsters.

Beach area is a lot cleaner and seems to have a greater presence of security these days.

Undoubtedly, Frank is ready and willing to show us non surfers how it’s done … Have a drink while you’re having your dreadlocks done too?

Beach areas are never short on snacks!

Bali has no shortage of temples, monasteries, monuments and historical landmarks, all of which are dotted around the island.

Kuta Paradiso Hotel is also few minutes walking distance from Kuta Beach, the local arts market, restaurants, night clubs, shops and close to the famous Waterbom Bali Water Park, Discovery Shopping Mall, Matahari and Kuta-Square shopping centres.

Secluded with your own bathing area, the accommodation is fantastic for couples wanting their own privacy. A separate kitchenette with a dining and lounge area is totally separate to the bedroom and its outlook is over the pool.

Quiet accommodation in the heart of Kuta, who’d have thought …

Breakfast, my favourite meal of the day starts off with some local delicacies including rice parcels.

Yum, healthy and tasty – can’t ask for any more than these to be added into a meal during the day.

And with a rooftop view just adds to the tranquil setting of the area.

Well Kuta and Legian have been interesting to visit after so many years, but next stop is Labuan Bajo in the Flores region of Indonesia.


Benoa, Bali – Indonesia


It’s never been easier for Australians to visit Bali, Indonesia as the visa fee of about USD35.00 has been made exempt by the government until further notice for tourists within a 30 day stay and single entry. As it’s airport specific for international travellers please check for updated information. At the time of writing this Denpasar Ngurah Rai Airport was also exempt.

So life’s a beach and I’m heading off to one of the best areas in Bali and that’s Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua.

A little quieter than some other areas of Bali, but that suits me these days …

If going to Tanjung Benoa it’s located 15 kilometres from (Ngurah Rai) Denpasar International Airport and about A$10-20 taxi ride.

The new Mandara Toll Road if coming in from the main areas of Bali helps significantly in easing of the traffic conditions and makes a faster trip. IDR11,000 is equivalent to AUD1.11 on today’s exchange rate.

Freeway heading to Tanjung Benoa; like so many other beachside destinations in Bali, it used to be a fishing village and an old dock. The development of the peninsula has been momentous over the years as most of the shore-side properties are now hotels, resorts and water sports operators.

Romantic entry into the Sol Beach House Benoa’s reception area, an all-inclusive property with three various packages (starting with Blue, Silver and Gold) which offer guests a rate suitable for their budget. Free WiFi is offered to all who stay with a fabulous daily buffet breakfast.

Rooms are chic and classy with a cool aqua-blue setting which conveys a sense of space and simplicity. All room types have a balcony.

Fine dining at The Amarta Italian Restaurant cannot be bypassed and a real treat – especially if you love pizza!

Beautiful grounds of the resort resemble a lush tropical paradise. Birdlife is abundant here as it’s a newish resort area with pristine white beaches.

Tanjung Beach, even on an overcast windy day, is still relatively calm and seems a safer area for families with youngsters. Fishing takes place when tides are low and it’s relaxing to watch others do some the work …

Service with a smile on Tanjung beach’s private area – for full relaxation and rest, grab a cocktail and snack while admiring the view.

Walk along the beach to see local handicrafts being made first hand.

So it’s time to say bye to Tanjung Benoa and like many others I’m ‘on my bike’ and wishing I could stay longer at the Sol House Benoa …

You can contact me for further information or directly at and look for Sol Hotels and Resorts.


Seminyak, Bali – Indonesia


Off to Bali, I’ve travelled on Garuda Indonesia on a number of occasions and Business Class has taken a new style of its own – even going back years ago there was ample room but take a look below at the new Business Class seating.

Business Class seats in the Airbus A330 can be fully reclined up to 180 degrees.

24 spacious “Super Diamond” seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration giving all guests direct aisle access
• 24.4” width seat reclining into a fully flat bed
• 16” LCD touchscreen in-flight entertainment system
• Restaurant style service with sumptuous meals and a selection of premium beverages
• Personal storage
• USB & power outlet
• 40kg checked baggage allowance
• Priority check in and lounge access

Photo courtesy of Garuda Indonesia.

Before departure at the SkyTeam Lounge, there’s the ability to relax after Immigration and duty free shopping. Here you can just sit and watch over the apron all the airlines coming and going about their routine.

Located on the Terminal 1 departure level at Pier B, the Sydney Lounge offers everything you need to unwind in comfort, do some work or grab a bite before your flight.

Surf boards are permitted, however check with the airline their policy on weight and dimensions for carriage as Bali is a mecca for surfers.

Courtyard by Marriott Bali Seminyak Resort’s double bedroom.

When was the last time you stayed at a Courtyard Marriott? Bet it wasn’t a resort … This property in Seminyak is one of two resorts in Bali and it’s just two years old (the other is located at Nusa Dua).

Incredibly impressed with the very modern, contempory and stylish rooms – mainly two types – Deluxe room (city/street view) and Deluxe Pool View room of which faces in towards the swim-up bar and inffinity pool spilling over into another lower level pool which is quieter and a little less celebratory – all within the complex.

A swim-up bar is all that Aussies want at times without having to leave the property, and just simply enjoy what’s in front of them.  It’s all here …

Breakfast at this hotel is somewhat a wowser! Anyone who orders the usual obligatory eggs and bacon are missing out. I travel to eat the local cuisine, doesn’t matter what time in the day it is …

Change money at your hotel wherever possible – even if it’s a slightly lower rate. There’s a myriad of Money Changers all over Bali, however you may think the exchange rate  given is better, but when you receive back the difference between IDR70,000 and IDR7,000 it’s about A$6.50 on today’s exchange rate. You may not pick up the difference in currency at first sight and it’s easily missed, but at least the major hotels will give you the correct amount owing to you … It’s about the cost of two bottles of beer!

Seminyak Village, not too far away from anything – it’s a modern and fashionable outlet with lots of commercial goodies for sale.

The Junction, not to be missed as it’s one of the busiest cross roads and a fabulous bar.

Before I die … Bit of street art to check out while walking around.

Shopping for signs? Bali’s a treasure trove of fine art, handicrafts, antique and semi-antique furniture, paintings, delicately carved jewellery, wood and stone carvings, masks, woven and dyed fabrics.

Self explanatory …

Can’t say I’ve seen too many black cats in Bali, but this one’s staying close to its owner.

The Library Café in Seminyak is one of my favourites and with my new drink of choice – Affogato to cool down while people watching.

A beach buggy or a short walk from my hotel to the beach area is easily accessible.

And, everyone loves having their favourite seat with a few bevvies waiting for the sun set.

End of the day having a swim and cooling off ready for the next day’s swimming, eating and shopping – generally having a good time with lots of bargains on offer. Make sure you travel over lightly with your luggage because you’ll go home with more than you hoped for, and stall holders are often open till about 11:00 pm at night.


Vietnam Highlights and Stopovers En Route.


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Time for questions and answers with Hue Tourism and the media. Interesting to note, Australians came in third place for visitor numbers to Vietnam.

A big ‘thank you’ to Hue and Central Vietnam for hosting and showing us all the delights this region has to offer.

Central Vietnam

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Farewell to our lovely sales representative at Tam Giang Resort and Spa – here with Ty.

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Big farewell to Bob and Mary from Colorado, USA.

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Yes all good things come to an end, and it’s time to bid goodbye Ty our tireless guide all throughout the journey.

There’s numerous reasons to do a stop over in Hong Kong, here watching Dragon Boat racing.

Chi Lin Nunnery is a complex which includes temple halls, Chinese gardens, visitor’s hostels and a vegetarian restaurant. It’s located at Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s also known for its love of art installation and Rubber Duck which was one of several giant floating sculptures designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

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Hong Kong, renown for spectacular sunsets, especially if you’ve taken a cable car ride up to Victoria Peak.

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Qantas Business Lounge in Hong Kong is world class without doubt.

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And for the Qantas Singapore Lounge, just look at the cuisine! I don’t believe you’d find a better Business Class lounge anywhere else …

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For those I was telling you about sago, this is what it looks like and made to perfection. Yum!

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As for me, I’m heading in all directions soon, however this has been a fabulous trip and sorry to see it’s over.

I always say with international airfares there’s usually excellent alternatives to travelling directly (or point to point) to your final destination. On this journey I had a stopover in both Hong Kong and Singapore and it’s possible to do as a round trip using Qantas Airways for the long-haul sectors. With affiliated carriers, travel was included between these two cities. Various airlines have interline agreements and you can pack much more into your trip if you so desire.



Cai Be, Mekong Delta Region – Part Nine


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Time to say Goodbye at the Gala Dinner given by to us by Sun Spa Resort, Quang Binh.

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Food here has been amazingly delicious and superbly presented.

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Bob and Ty were the token traditional helpers on the night, with Bob singing Careless Whispers at the end of the night’s Karaoke – which also happens to be extremely popular in Vietnam. What a star performer! Not only that, our driver was a ‘dark horse’ too, singing in perfect English he took off some the best contemporary and modern-day singers.

After a quick flight from Dong Hoi airport we arrive in Ho Chi Minh City to find ourselves back on the road heading to Cai Be Floating Markets for the day.

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Arriving at the Cai Be wharf we waited for a boat to take us to a luncheon feast. Yes, another one …

Pumpkins galore and not something I’d expect to see here. Cai Be is a charming small town, which is not very far away from Ho Chi Minh (approximately 2 hours by car). There’s endless rows of colourful fruit and vegetable gardens with hand-made crafts.

Doesn’t come much fresher than this and tastes sensational.

Trying the region’s snails – after all there’s a French influence in Vietnamese cooking … Bon appetite!

After lunch, we’re heading to soak up the atmosphere of the Mekong River and its inhabitants.

The French church from 1935 which can be seen from almost any direction.

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Pulled up at this covered market for an interesting insight into how many of the locals produce their goods.



Ready-made coffins for easy shipment and loading on as cargo for someone’s final resting place.


There are numerous small canals in the area of Cai Be and the Mekong, with twists and turns which are easy to negotiate by sampan.


Stopping off at a local marketplace for afternoon tea and a chat.

We’re been shown how the experts mix the ingredients for rice paper and other produce.

Our host for the day showing how fresh and readily available fruit and vegetables in the area and no mention of pesticides!

We’ll all miss the organic vegetables and fruit Vietnam had to offer …

But not the durian known as ‘stinky fruit’. Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The persistence of its odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia.

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Mary’s come along for the day and testing out the goods for sale on one of the numerous boats which are set up to sell as well as live in.

At the end of the day it’s been an incredible experience and we all feel we’ve learned so much more about the local’s culture, language and history. Tomorrow heading back to the real world via Singapore.

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If you asked me what my last meal would be in Vietnam – without doubt Pho Soup.

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Nice end to a fantastic trip, take home some Vietnamese coffee from the duty-free shop with those last remanning Dong.


Quang Binh Province, Vietnam – Part Eight


The region is bordered by the Laotian Khammouane Province to the west, the North Pacific Ocean to the east, Hà Tĩnh Province to the north and Quảng Trị Province to the south is home to the World Heritage Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park.

And it’s the A Team who are going out on the Adventure trip today whereby they’ll be kayaking, swimming and climbing. On occasion they’ll be in complete darkness – you can see I’m not joining them.

Instead the remainder of us feel a more comforting day out would be to head off to Son Doong Caves by way of boats on the river.

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Wonderful scenery all the way.

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With our guides who are taking us in long boats through to the main network. Incredible stalactites ahead of us.

Son Doong cave (Vietnamese: Hang Son Doong) is the world’s largest cave located in Son Trach, Bo Trach District. It was found by a local man named Ho Khanh in 1991 and was recently discovered in 2009 by British cavers led by Howard Limbert.

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Son Doong cave is hidden in the rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park near the border with Laos, there’s approximately 150 or so caves, many still not surveyed in the Annamite Mountains.

Once out we’re treated to some lunch and there’s some souvenir shops around as well.

Now we’re back where we started in the morning and ready for some ziplining.

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Dressed for the part but unfortunately I piked out … Not known for being a sport when it comes to adventurous outings, especially when it includes heights. Yes, I know I’m tall but that’s my limit – clumsy enough as it is …

Everyone who took the opportunity to Zipline and then soak in a mud bath really did have a fab time.

Back at Sun Spa, it’s been a big day out and so worth the effort, time to cool off in the sea breeze.

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End of the day comparing notes with each other and finding out about our different activities during the day, especially having a cocktail is one we all agreed on!


Hue to Quang Binh Province, Vietnam – Part Seven


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Typical sunset in Vietnam – overlooking the Huong River Hue.

An integral part of any travel agent’s expertise is to view hotel rooms and site inspections offering potential clients a first-hand experience of the property.

Site Inspection at the Century Riverside Hotel in Hue which has 135 room and incredible value when you compare the price of hotels outside of Vietnam.

Looking out over the Truong Tien Bridge and fast-flowing Huong River.

One of the most popular attractions in this romantic city, a boat ride or cruise on the “Perfume’ River at night is included in a lot of classic city tours.

Next day we’re heading north to the Quang Binh Province.

Stopped off for a break to find some of Australia’s native trees’ leaves being boiled up. You guessed it … Eucalyptus oil in the making.

It’s ok, we didn’t ‘get high’ on any of it. Just happy to have a pit stop.

The Railway System in Vietnam was established over a hundred years ago by the French colonist in the past century, then recovered and further developed by the Vietnamese Government after the Reunification in 1975. The Vietnamese railway system now has the total length of about 2.600 kilometres, connecting most cities and provinces all over Vietnam including many cultural, societal and tourism destinations from the North to the South of Vietnam.

We’re fast heading towards the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – better known as the ‘Kingdom of Caves’.

A warm welcome from the staff at Sun Spa Resort on the banks of the Nhat Le River.

Lovely Zen feel to this property.

Ummm wish this was my bathroom at home …

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This property is also on the edge of the Bao Ninh Beach.

A delectable bite to eat and the desserts in Vietnam are my favourite, not overly sweet and to be enjoyed with a coffee.

Soon we’ll see the UNESCO World Natural Heriage Site of the Natural Park nearby. Stay tuned.


Imperial Citadel, Hue – Part Six


Floating along Huong River on the Dragon Boat gives you an insight to everyday life and fishing is a major part of it.

I don’t think this Dragon boat likes being tied up. We’re now on our way up the hill to the Imperial Citadel and surrounds.

Stunning views looking back over the river.

Photo opportunity and you literally have to line up for your turn.

The Bell in the Ngo Mon Gate.

Hue, the city of imperial palaces and tombs is on most travellers’ itineraries when they visit Vietnam. The city’s most famous attraction is the ancient Imperial Citadel and the Imperial Enclosure within – it’s home of Vietnam’s last royal dynasty, the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945).

In the early 19th century the Emperor Gia Long consulted geomancers to find the best place to build a new palace and citadel. They chose the present site at Hue. The Emperor wished to recreate in an abbreviated form a replica of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Emperor decided to locate his own palace within the walls of the citadel along the east side nearest the river. A second, smaller set of walls and moat defined the area of the “Purple Forbidden City,” where the Emperor built a network of palaces, gates and courtyards serving as his home and the administrative core of the Empire.

By the time the last Emperor of Vietnam stepped down in the mid 20th century, the Purple Forbidden City had acquired many dozens of pavilions and hundreds of rooms. Although improperly maintained, the city suffered from frequent termite and typhoon damage.


During the Vietnam War, Huế’s central location very near the border between the North and South put it in a vulnerable position. In the Tết Offensive of 1968, during the Battle of Huế, the city suffered considerable damage not only to its physical features, but its reputation as well, due to a combination of the American military bombing of historic buildings held by the North Vietnamese, as well as the massacre at Huế committed by the communist forces. After the war’s conclusion, many of the historic features of Huế were neglected because they were seen by the victorious regime and some other Vietnamese as “relics from the feudal regime”; the Vietnamese Communist Party doctrine officially described the Nguyễn Dynasty as “feudal” and “reactionary.” There has since been a change of policy and many historical areas of the city are currently being restored.

Our guide gave us an in-depth tour of the surrounds highlighting as much as possible in a short time. Make sure you take the day to explore as there’s so much to take in and enjoy.

Peace and serenity is amplified within the grounds.

Monuments were inscribed in the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage in 1993.


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Famously in 1963, Thích Quảng Đức drove to Saigon to protest anti-Buddhist policies of the South Vietnamese government and set himself on fire on a Saigon street.

Hue was based on both a physical and spiritual foundation from the turn of the 19th century.
In Huế, Buddhism is taken a bit more seriously than elsewhere in Vietnam, with more monasteries than anywhere else and the nation’s most famous monks.
At times abandoned children are taken in and cared for. During adolescence they are given a choice if this is the life they wish to pursue.

A plethora of relics.

Duyet Thi Duong Theatre within the grounds cannot be missed and is known for its superb performances and exquisite architecture.

The oriental traditional court music has been uniquely conserved in Hue.

Royal dancing – Mother Unicorn bearing its baby.

Well it’s the end of the day for us and we now move on for hotel site inspections as part of our daily routine.

A transfer back to our hotel in Hue – only this time by bus and yes it’s busy. All the marketers are trying hard to keep the heat off themselves and their produce.