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May 1, 2006 – A journey to Hue, Vietnam in Asia


The more I travel in Viet Nam, the more it feels like I'm seeing China for the fifth time. There's an incredible amount of Chinese influence in the country, from the architecture to art to clothing to the cuisine, and so forth. This is clearly exemplified by the city of Hue.

Many Unesco World Heritage sites dot the city. Like Beijing, Hue has its own version of the Forbidden City, but much smaller in size. They call the outer part the Citadel, then the Imperial City within, and then the Forbidden Purple City within that. Like Xian, Hue also has an intact city wall that surrounds the ancient structures.

Forbidden Purple City

The next day, we took a dragon boat cruise down the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda.

a dragon boat

After that, we walked across the bridge to wander around the central market, Dong Ba. The central market looks very similar to the markets in La Paz, Bolivia. You can buy anything and everything there. In terms of bargaining for souvenirs, prices are usually quoted four times than what's reasonable (for foreigners, I don't know what it's like for non-foreigners). Don't bargain in dollars either. When you agree upon a price in dollars and purchase with dong, they up the conversion rate. Check other shops too to compare pricing. Often you get better pricing the second or third time around.

entering Dong Ba Market, Rick thinks the whole world is one giant knick-knacks market

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