• A selection of Hue's historic jewels
• Exploring the scenic route to Hoi An, Lang Co beach and Hai Van pass
• Danang, its Cham museum, and the Marble Mountain
• Hoi An, the gorgeous ancient port town
[Day 1] Hue Arrival
In the afternoon, we'll tour the Imperial Citadel. This site enclosed the land of eight villages and covers 6km2 - sufficient area to house the Emperor and his family, courtiers, officials, concubines, bodyguards, and servants. There are ten gates through the four massive walls of the citadel, and although many are in poor condition, the city overall remains undamaged by war or natural disasters. The complex has been recognized as a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site. You'll also have time to experience daily life of Hue's locals with a visit to the Dong Ba market before returning to your hotel for a good night's rest.
[Day 2] Hue Exploration
The morning starts with a motorized sampan ride down the Perfume River to the towering yet delightful Thien Mu Pagoda, considered to be the finest pagoda in Hue, and an icon throughout Vietnam. Car transfer from the pagoda to the tomb of emperor Ming Mang to enjoy a walk through a courtyard guarded by statues of mandarins, horses and elephants. Carefully planned by the emperor himself and built shortly after his death in formal Chinese style, it's opulent and exotic, and a good example of classic Sino-Vietnamese architecture.
After a tasty lunch to sample classic Hue cuisine, we visit the tomb of the controversial emperor Khai Dinh - an elaborate concrete construction which reflects an interesting combination of Vietnamese and European features from the time of Vietnam's last emperors.
En route back to Hue, we'll pause at the Ngoc Son Princess 'Garden House', where the owner will be pleased to explain the geomantic (feng shui) principles underlying the design and construction. We'll then finish the drive back to your hotel for some time on your own to stroll and relax.
[Day 3] Hue – Hoi An
Your car now heads to Hoi An via the dramatic Hai Van pass. The panoramic views are excellent - you should be able to see Lang Co beach and village, and the lagoon far below, with the city of Da Nang spread out before you to the south.
You'll visit the Cham Museum in Da Nang which houses the largest displays of Cham art anywhere in the world. We will also drive to the nearby Marble Mountains: five limestone peaks with marble outcrops known for their beauty and their cave network. At the foot of Marble Mountain, an important religious site since the time of the Chams, you can see many artisans crafting fine marble objects. Trip ends at your hotel in Hoi An.
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