On pretty much every tour you do across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand you are taken to places with the primary purpose of getting you to spend money. On our tour with Mr Trung, our visit to this Incense and Hat Making Village was just that. Having said that it was a bit of fun getting to have a go at making this incense. I seemed to make the whole thing much more difficult than it needed to be.
These hats are amazing. This isn't just any old conical hat. This conical hat is handmade with a story weaved within its lining. If it wasn't for the fact that we were only a week into our trip I would have bought one. You can see the detail in the photograph below, they put a layer of newspaper with images cut into it between the layers of reeds. If you hold the hat up to the light you can see the images, and thus the story.
This is the Royal Arena. Back in the 1800's this was used as a venue to watch duels between elephants and tigers. Since the elephant symbolised the power of the royal dynasty and the tiger represented cruelty, tigers were expected to die in the battle, so their claws were filed before each fight. Andy can be seen standing in front of one of the gates for the elephants.
Our second last stop for the day was the Thien Mu Pagoda. This was built in 1601 and overlooks the magnificent Perfume River. Apparently it was from here that a monk traveled to Saigon and publically burnt himself to protest against the anti-Buddhist government at the time.
By the time we got to the Citadel we were exhausted and this place is enormous! The perimeter of the grounds is 10km.
There were so many fish within this moat. In the one pictured above there were men sitting fishing.
The end of a wonderful day! It was amazing getting to see so much of Hue and I couldn't think of better way to do it than on the back of a motorbike with Mr Trung (and Andy's driver whose name we can't remember!).