One reason why I’ve chosen to go to Central Vietnam instead of the popular cities of Hanoi in the north or Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in the south is because the Central region has a concentration of 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites all quite accessible from the regions main gateway city of Da Nang. UNESCO’s got quite a lengthy list, which I doubt I could cover all of them in this lifetime. And you could never go wrong visiting these sites as they are carefully selected, funded and preserved.
The Ngo Mon Gate and Bridge
Our first stop is up to the city of Hué (h-way). I didn’t expect Hué to be such a big and modern city and was surprised to see how developed it was. I was imagining the place to be smaller, provincial like, with all the sights just a walking distance from each other. Though the place somehow caught up in urban development, the city still have the Complex Monuments spread out across the city along by the scenic Perfume River. These historical monuments, despite being stricken by war managed to survive and earned its rightful place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Getting past the immigration in Vietnam took longer than we expected. It seems they have to input every detail into their computers. But getting out of the Da Nang Airport into the city is trickier with very persistent taxi and motorcycle drivers ready to just rip you off with their extravagant prices. Language barrier didn’t help and those phrases I memorized didn’t seem to work as I may have been mispronouncing them. I just admire the driver’s persistence here. Imagine us walking a block away from the airport to find another transpo and the same taxi guy still followed us, then a group of motorcycle drivers offered to take us into the city Train Station where we were headed, then another cab arrived offering his services. Immediately we were surrounded with drivers speaking their native tongue and seem to be fighting over us. I decided to go by the taxi which we were able to reduce the cost to 3 US$ from its original 10 US$ they offered earlier. Good thing I did major research on how much the basic prices here are or we would have been ripped off big time.
It’s so nice to go back home after a very long and far away travel. Though it may be tiring but the excitement and rewards of traveling to different places is incomparable. Somehow, every time you go back, you are a different person. You bring back all the experience, the culture and the people you’ve encountered on your recent travel. The sights and sounds, whether you it exceeded your expectations or not, are forever engraved in your memories.
In my recent travel to Central Vietnam, I was literally blown away by the excitingly wild city streets of Vietnam. Riding on the back of a motorcycle from city to city to visit ancient heritage sights is quite an experience to remember.
Singapore’s Central Business District
In a major contrast, Singapore’s modern city, despite its overly-sanitized environs still holds some cultural treasures under its fast-growing urban façade.
For now its time to rest these weary feet and be ready for another round of travel. 😛