If you decide on an exotic vacation, have no objection to twenty-plus hours in the air and several more in various airports (depending on terrorist alerts), you might find yourself in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). If you happen to be adventurous and take a fifty year old jet that will expel pieces of plastic and metal into the air as fly from there, you may survive to land at Phu Bai and take a short taxi ride to the beautiful old imperial city of Hue. You could spend days visiting the Citadel, the DMZ Bar, or the shops and parks along Le Loi Street. But let’s say you did that already and now you’re in the bar at the Huong Giang Hotel (a classy, four star place for about fifty bucks a day) explaining in very poor Vietnamese how to make a dry martini to a bartender who explains back in very poor English that he already knows how to make a martini. To eliminate your annoying presence, this bartender may suggest taking a boat ride of twelve kilometres up the lonely and poetic Perfume River to the Ming Mang Tombs. If he does, listen to him. The boat and guide will cost about thirty dollars. Not only is it a beautiful trip full of cac dang flowers, banyan trees, and magnificent jungle foliage, every mosquito bite will be worth it once you arrive. Ming Mang was the emperor of Vietnam from 1820-1841, the son of Gia Long who founded the last royal dynasty (Nguyen) in the country. I don’t have room here to describe
the particulars of this wonderful site, but UNESCO put it on the list of world heritages in 1993. That should be enough to make you curious. And, you’ll pay about four dollars for a tour ticket. Try getting into Disneyland for that.
Juror #3, Jim McGarrah [click here to view Juror-submitted photos]
Filed under: Asia | Tagged: banyan trees, cac dang flowers, Citadel, DMZ bar, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Huong Giang Hotel, Jim McGarrah, jungle, juror #3, Le Loi, Ming Mang Tomb, Perfume River, Saigon, UNESCO, Vietnam | 1 Comment »