Entrance of the citadel at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hue, Vietnam
The last emperor of Vietnam gave up his throne for Ho Chi Minh's communist government in 1945. Since 1802, his family ruled the country from Hue, and you can visit what remains of the Imperial Citadel. It's being restored after damage by the French in 1947 and the Americans in the 1968 Tet Offensive. The city's imposing gates, halls and moat give a peek into imperial life of old.
Statues of warriors in Imperial Khai Dinh Tomb in Hue, Vietnam
In Hue, you can find the ancient tombs of the emperors along the Perfume River. The tomb of Tu Duc was designed to be used by the emperor when he was still alive, as well as after death. You'll see pavilions, elephant statues, thrones and other royal artifacts. Or head to Khai Dinh Tomb, with its European-influenced design inspired by Khai Dinh's travels to France.
In Danang, visit China Beach for a swim or a walk. You'll see Lady Buddha, Vietnam's tallest statue, guarding over the city and its fishermen at the Son Tra Linh Ungh pagoda. Cruise to Vietnam to get up close to Danang's guardian dragon by walking across the Dragon Bridge — it breathes fire and water on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Banh beo is a traditional dish in both Danang and Hue — these steamed rice cakes are served in small bowls and topped with shrimp, mung bean paste and scallions. Dip them in salty fish sauce. Or seek out banh khaoi, a crispy crepe stuffed with savory pork belly and shrimp.
Conical Vietnamese hats, called non bai tho, are available all over Vietnam. In Hue, hat makers often put poems and drawings of the city inside the hat. Hold the hat up to the light to see it. You might wear the hat while on holiday; it makes a nice wall-hanging at home.
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