Hoi An hasn't changed much since the last time I was there. It was still the glowing lanterns that left me the deepest impression with their subtle and unique charm, which carry disctinctive cultural values of our nation.
Many places in Hoi An used to bear Japanese features but currently they're known to represent mostly Vietnamese and Chinese features. The Chua Bridge, known as Japanese Covered Bridge, is a typical example. It reminds me of a scene in a Chinese movie which took place in Giang To province, China. Please have a look and tell me what you think. Does it seem to have any of the Japanese cultural features that you know?
Here is another famous example: the Trieu Chau (Zhaochow) Assembly Hall with Chinese characters written on the main gate and Vietnamese style roof I think. But to me it seems to have more Chinese features than Vietnamese ones. Actually this assembly hall was built by Chinese merchants to worship the God of the oceans in the 19th century. Well...no wonder it looks so Chinese.
Saying goodbye to Hoi An, let's move to the imperial city of Hue, which is about 700 km (438 miles) South of Hanoi.
This must be among the safest places in the world. The crime rate is very low here; and people are extremely gentle and friendly. That's why I felt totally comfortable wandering along narrow streets and alleyways alone at night.
I spent most of my time visiting the Royal Palace and historic monuments lying in the suburb of the city. I had expected the visits would not last more than a day but it turned out to be much longer. In the end, I had to extend my stay in order to taste as much of Hue as possible :D
Here are some pics about Hue that I like most. Just wanted to show you as evidence of the ancient beauty of this city. And I would whole-heartedly recommend it (and Hoi An as well) to anyone who has the intention to visit Vietnam. Of course you should give Hanoi a try, too. Hehe. ^_^
The Noon Gate (leading to the Royal Palace)
Behind the Noon Gate
Heavenly Lady Pagoda: It’s believed that couples coming here won’t be able to maintain their relationship on return :D
Hue’s also famous for their graceful ladies with great singing and embroidering talents.
Below: ladies singing Hue folksongs on a boat on Huong River.
A romantic view of Huong River