Thing do to in Hue City

Located in the center of the long, narrow country, between the Perfume River and the South China Sea, it served as the country’s capital until 1945, and is still known as the Imperial City. Hue was also the site of some of the most destructive and mind-changing battles of the Vietnam War (known locally as the American War). 

Mid Autumn Festival, or Full Moon Festival :

Mid-Autumn Festival is held on 15th day of the eighth lunar month (this year it will be 15 September) to celebrate biggest full- moon in the year. In Vietnam, this festival is for children specially and children are center of all activities on that day.

In the occasion of Mid-autumn Festival, moon cakes are usually used as gifts of people to the others, especially their parents and grandparents. Vietnamese also put moon cakes and variety of fruits on ancestral altar to offer their ancestor. At night, all members of family will gather around a lavish tray of fruits and of course, moon cakes, and savor it together while admiring the full moon. The adults will teld kids the story about Ms. Hang Nga – beautiful daughter of the Jade Empire and Mr. Cuoi. Kids enjoy art performance all the night (including singing, plays, lion dances, drum performance, etc.) and then walk in a procession with colorful lanterns held in their hands. The procession will go through all streets in the area and light up the night.

It is said that originally, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival came about as a way for parents to make up for lost time with their children after harvest season. The harvest was done by September, (August in the Lunar calendar) and the parents were anxious to spend time with their children and do something special with them, as well as celebrate the harvest, after spending much time working hard and away from the family. It was held under the full moon, which represents fullness and prosperity of life.


Saigon Morin’s 115th Aniversary.

The story of The Morin’s begins classically. At the end of 19th century, Arthur Morin and his Arborist brother, Aimé Morin went to Bac Ky (Northern Vietnamese) for military service. They are the older in a poor pleasant family which has seven children living in a small village Mesnay near Arbois, Jura, France.

Expiry of the army, Morin brothers decided to stay at Vietnam to establish their business. After their death’s mother, Arthur Morin and Aimé Morin decided to take their sisters and brothers to live in Vietnam. Emile Morin and Laure Morin came to Vietnam firstly; then in 1898, Wladimir Morin and Amélie Morin came later.

Early, Morin family drowned in many difficulties, two brothers and two sisters employed in businesses with only a few Indochina dollars of salary: in Hai Phong with Honoré Debeaux’s store and in Hanoi with Godart’s store. Emile Morin, a police officer in Hanoi, must also contribute his own resources into activities of the family. The difficult situation arose the friendship and cohesion among members of the family, and that is one of the most highlights of Morin family.

In 1902, Emile Morin and Wladimir Morin with their two sisters Laure Morin and Amélie Morin brought their capital to live in Tourane (Da Nang) to join their relative’s power called “father Gassier” along Han River. It was also time to bear Morin Brothers Collective Company (Société en nom collectif Morin Frères). Wladimir Morin has qualities of an organizer, a negotiator and is particularly innate sense about the most outstanding business. The company was very prosperous and they became the owner of Grand Hôtel Guérin de Hué.

Regarding as the unique hotel in Hue at that time, the building was built in 1901 by Mr. Bogaert, a French businessman. He ran his business by being the owner of Long Tho cement factory. This factory produced the building materials for most of the monuments in Hue during two decades. He used his money to build “Grand Hotel de Hue” in 1901. This hotel welcomed the engineers and technical analysts working in Hue station.

Wladimir Morin bought the hotel from Guerin in 1906 despite of the heavily damage by the century typhoon in 1904.

In Hue, Wladimir Morin met Derobert, the industrial businessman of ​​Lyonregion, whose wife is a Vietnamese person and Chinese origin. Wladimir Morin was acquainted with this family and had deep feelings with their only daughter, named Jeanne Pauline. They got marriaged in 1914 and continuously made the Morin’s company more prosperous.

The bases of Morin brothers from Da Nang and Hue have expanded its forces with more hotels at Ba Na, Qui Nhon, Nha Trang and Bach Ma; diversified business in the fields of hotel, restaurants, tourism, entertainment and even mailing. The success has helped Morin family gradually own more and more European architectural style works of cities. During the decade 1920-1930, it was not certainly exaggerate to say that almost all French people living in Central Viet Nam and tourists to come here more or less had to use Morin family’s services

Morin hotel rapidly became the centre of commerce, culture and tourism in Hue city under Nguyen Dynasty. It’s is the fact that the hotel location was a key element of success. The hotel was situated at the centre of Hue city, facing to Huong River and Trang Tien Bridge. It took only a short walk to the public buildings, Western leisure centre, sport club, Indochina bank, etc.

Since the demobilization in 1918, Wladimir Morin has made the quality of hotels change so much with the broken through services. Morin family decided to make a supermarket that can meet all needs of local markets through hotel consumer goods general agent, with an impressive motto is “people can be born in a cradle of Morin and died in a coffin of Morin “(On peut naitre dans un berceau Morin et mourir dans un cercueil Morin).

Even the commemorative golden book of Morin Hue Grand Hotel used to rewrite comments and signature of many prestigious names such as Marshal Joffre, the Marshal Foch, the writer André Malraux, the Orientalist Sylvain Lévi , Rev. Léopold Cadiere, Governor Pierre Pasquier, the comedy king Charlie Chaplin, Lao King Sisowath, the scholar Louis Finot, the archaeologist JY Claeys, the Governor Catroux, the politician Paul Reynaud …

The first Cinema Morin in Hue was in this hotel (the meeting room at present). The library here also attracted many readers in town

His sister, Amélie Morin got married to the doctor Albert Sallet – Cham Museum Director and Ba Na weather station founder. Since 1920, Wladimir Morin has participated in Association for Hue Friends (Association des Amis du Vieux Hue) and Morin Hotel accordingly was also Association’s activity headquarters, one of two locations publishing Journal of Hue Friends (Bulletin des Amis du Vieux Hue)

Moreover, Morin Hotel is also the place where the official travel agency of the area, correspondent office of the tourism in Indochina was in.

In 1925, Jeanne, Wladimir’s wife, passed away when she was 29 years old and buried at Phu Cam cemetery whereas Wladimir Morin went to forever sleep under rows of casuarinas in 1943 (64 years old)

Three sons of Wladimir Morin and Jeanne including Henri, René and Edmond succeeded Morin family’s work with the respective positions, Director General, Deputy Director General and Technical Director, but in the face of difficulties and pressure from World War and the occupation of the Japanese in Indochina.

From December 20th 1946 to February 5th, 1947, Morin Hotel happened the bloody fighting between Viet Minh forces attacked from the outside and the French army defended inside. Morin Grand Hotel was partly damaged and burned by the fighting.

In July 1951, Henri, Rene and Edmond represented Morin family signed the deed of transfer of rights and legal interests for a Vietnamese businessman, formally ending the business of Morin Group in Hue as well as Central provinces.

From 1951 to 1995, the building is continuously ruined by the weather and war, no renovation at all. Especially in Tet offensive in 1968, the hotel is the place which is first recaptured by US army after under control of Vietnam liberation front army for nearly one month.

In 1957, the building is used to house Hue University, close to the US military command centre. In 1989, In 1989, Morin hotel was transferred to Thua Thien Hue Tourism used as a hotel. At that time, the deluxe hotel was the most popular with back-packer tourists.

After massive renovation, the hotel reopened in 1997 and renamed to “SAIGON MORIN”. The hotel now has 180 guest rooms, 4 restaurants and recreations. Since its reopening, the Saigon Morin has been widely acknowledged as the most luxurious hotel in Hue and welcomed many celebrities and distinguished travelers on their visit to Hue

(Topic #2) : Hue : Vietnam’s nr. 1 cultural destination.

Places to visit :

The Imperial Citadel
Construction of the Imperial Citadel, designed for exclusive use by the emperor, his family, and his retinue, started in 1804.. The citadel is protected by a series of four enormous outer walls that are 7-10 metres thick. Access to the walled citadel is via four arched gates, the best known of which is the Ngo Mon Gate, built in 1834. The Imperial Citadel contains a series of palaces, ornate halls, libraries, residences, and colleges. Much of the City, including the Forbidden Palace, was destroyed during a vicious battle between opposing forces during the Tet Offensive of 1968. One can spend an entire afternoon wandering around the grounds of the Imperial Citadel, viewing the ancient architecture of the Nguyen emperors and scars of recent battles.

Hue Museum of Antiquities
Built in 1845, the French converted this former temple into a library, and then a museum in 1923. The museum now houses a collection of hundreds of poems, decrees, and valuable relics salvaged from the Imperial City. On display in the museums front courtyard are various Nguyen Dynasty statues, gongs, and bells.

The Imperial Tombs
The imperial tombs are one of the highlights of Hue, and are more like small palaces than burial grounds. The architecture of each tomb is unique, but common themes are a large stone courtyard filled with life-size statues of soldiers, horses, mandarins and elephants. Inside the grounds are a pavilion with engraved biographies of the deceased king written by his successor, and the temple where the king is buried. Ponds and moats filled with lotus flowers add life to the grounds.

The most prominent tombs of Hue include:

Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang
Much of the Imperial City was built under the reign of Emperor Minh Mang. His tomb is located at the juncture of two tributaries of the Perfume River. The site is considered one of the best examples of Nguyen Dynasty architecture and artwork.

Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
This tomb is located in an area of rolling hills and pine trees seven kilometers outside Hue. The tranquil grounds are filled with trees, ponds and pavilions where Tu Duc would write poetry. Emperor Tu Duc had his tomb built 16 years prior to his death and actually wrote his own biography prior to his death.

Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh
Khai Dinh’s was the last Mausoleum built during the Nguyen Dynasty, and it is perhaps the most beautiful of all the royal tombs. Situated on one of the Chau Mountains, amidst pine, cassava and sugar cane, Khai Dinh’s tomb is surrounded by natural beauty. Its architecture is a blend of East and West. It took eleven years to build and was completed in 1931.

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the oldest religious structures in Hue and is also one of the most impressive. It was constructed during the 14th century to worship the legend of a celestial lady. In 1844, Emperor Thieu Tri added the Phuoc Dien stupa. This seven-storey stupa is 21 metres high, with each level dedicated to one of the various human forms taken by Buddha. In the 1930s and 1940s the Thien Mu Pagoda became an important meeting place for Buddhists. It became well-known worldwide when, in 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a 66 year old resident monk, died after setting himself on fire to protest anti-Buddhist policies of the government of South Vietnam. It is best to visit the pagoda by sampan as it sits on the banks of the Perfume River.

Huong River (Perfume River)
White river – Green leaves, Huong River is like “a silver sword upright to the sky”. Huong river is really an invaluable godsend to Hue. It would be an unforgetable experience to take a boat trip along the river to some sites of interests like Thien Mu pagoda and enjoy a royal singing show en route.

Tu Dam Pagoda
Built by a Chinese monk on the north bank of the Perfume River in 1683, Tu Dam Pagoda was a popular gathering point for Buddhists during the protests of the 1960s. In 1963, South Vietnam’s President Diem ordered Catholic armed forces to fire on a group of Buddhists. Thirty monks and followers were shot. Though the pagoda has been damaged numerous times during Hue’s turbulent past, many areas have been rebuilt.

“Ho Quyen” – Tiger’s Arena
Ho Quyen was the arena where duels between elephants and tigers were arranged for the entertainment of the Emperor, the royal family and mandarins.

Notre Dame Cathedral  
Called the Redemptorists by Hue people, this cathedral took three years to build (from 1959 to 1962). The interior of the cathedral is 38m wide and 72m long, always being lit by stained glass. In the bell tower, there hangs four bells, 30m from the ground. Located at the center of the city, this cathedral occupies a solemn position and is held in high regard to the Catholic followers in the region.

Thanh Toan Bridge
If you miss the famous Japanese bridge in Hoian, or prefer the less beaten track, there is another classic covered footbridge called Thanh Toan in Hue. The bridge is architecturally similar to its cousin in Hoian though it reiceives far less visitors. It is best reached by motorbike or bicycle. The dirt road to the bridge through villages, rice paddies and several pagodas.

(Topic #3) Amazing Tours :

A Travel Mate will bring you to a historic but very romantic land that is Hue by our Hue tours started everyday. There are many interesting facts about Hue that need you travel here to understand more about this destination. Hue was the last capital city of Vietnamese feudal systems from 1802 to 1945, so its long history creates precious historic values shown in culture and architecture. Historic heritages like the Hue Royal Citadel, the Royal court music of Hue were recognized as UNESCO world heritage in 1993 and 2005 respectively. A Hue tour around the city will take you there to witness the masterpieces of last Vietnmamese feudal dynasty. Beside the Imperial Citadel, the king tombs such as Tu Duc, Khai Dinh, Minh Mang also deserved to have a look around. Hue also is famous for other attractions like Perfume River, Thien Mu pagodaLang Co beachThuan An beachDong Ba market which sound familiar in most of Hue tours.

A Travel Mate’s Hue tours will lead you to all standout places in Hue and link them to attractions in nearby provinces that are Da Nang and Hoi An. Many tourists just regard Hue as a stopping point or start point to Da Nang and Hoi An and do not spend time here to discover Hue. However, if you join in a Hue tour, you definitely want to come back Hue again to get better undertanding. Normally, a Hue Tour will go to the Imperial CitadelThien Mu pagodaTu Duc tombKhai Dinh tombMinh Mang tomb and let you enjoy the unique Hue cuisine with famous dishes like Bun bo Hue. Lengthen your trip to Da Nang and Hoi An, you will have opportunity to enjoy the charming beauty of Lang Co beach as well as other places in Hoi An and Da Nang. If you want to buy some souvenirs or specialties, visiting Dong Ba market at the end of day is a must activity.

  Tam Giang Lagoon is a new destination in Hue city for travelers who appreciate fantastic natural scenes and love to hunt for wonderful landscape photos. This half day boat trip on the lagoon will bring you magnificent moments of local fisherman’s life, floating fishing market and beautiful sunrise or sunset.  An amazing sunset tour from 3-7pm !

Phong Nha – Ke Bang area has a group of over 300 caves multi – shaped known as the “Kingdom of the cave”, where there is a mystery of wonders and attraction, a paradise for scientists in caves, explorers and tourists. Up to now, 170 caves have been found and among that, Phong Nha Cave is really prominent with surveyed length of nearly 8 km, mainly with underground rivers. It is the first one penetrated deep into the limestone  mountains and be one of the world’s longest system. Joining inPhong Nha tour & Visiting Phong Nha Cave, you not only can sightseeing the masterpiece of nature but also visit a relic, a first section of historic street Ho Chi Minh. Visiting Phong Nha means you are visiting Ho Chi Minh legendary trails. Phong Nha Cave tours can be your great choice for this summer holidays.

Thanh Toan Village located 8km away. The village shelters a covered bridge dating back more than two centuries; offered to the villagers by the wife of a high ranking Mandarin. Continue along the river with its banks dotted with temples. At the edge of the river banks the mothers wash their linen while their children are biking back home from school, many who will be astonished to see Westerners lost in this corner of countryside.  A wonderful cycling tour.

The DMZ lay at the 17th paralled and was created by an agreement known as the Geneva Agreement. The DMZ was breached by the North Vietnamese Army when they constructed the Ho Chi Minh Trail that allowed for the transport of troops and supplies to the National Liberation Front in the south. Some of the war’s fiercest fighting and bloodiest battles occurred along that line. Such areas as Khe Sanh, Con Tien, Hambuger Hill.. are forever etched into the minds of the soldiers who fought them and survived.  A great day trip from Hue, covering the history of the American war.

(Topic #4) Most popular local food :

Hue food is a must when you visit the ancient capital of Vietnam. It is so easy to eat like a king here, but to understand the meaning behind the food, we need to go back in time a bit. Hue is affectionately known as the Imperial City of Vietnam until the year 1945. As the imperial city, Hue takes reign to some of the more delectable dishes throughout Vietnam dating back to the culinary cravings of the Nguyen emperors and their hundreds of concubines and wives.

  1. BunBoHue
    When we talk about Hue food, it would be a crime not to mention Bun Bo Hue. This popular Vietnamese soup contains rice vermicelli and sliced cooked beef and is greatly admired for its unique balance of spices and flavours. The soup is prepared by boiling the beef bones and shank, lemongrass, fermented shrimp sauce and chili oil. It is served with thin slices of marinated and boiled beef shank, chunks of oxtail, pig knuckles and pork rolls.
  2. Banh khoai (delicious pancake)

It is so much like Banh xeo (sizzling pancake) since they both are made from rice flour, water, turmeric powder, added slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and then pan fried. Banh khoai and Banh xeo also are wrapped in mustard leaf, lettuce leaves or rice paper, and stuffed with variety of herb, like mint leaves, basil and served with a sweet and sour mixed sauce. In Hue, Banh khoai is placed open-face instead of being folded in half like Banh xeo. Moreover, Banh khoai always goes with a fermented soy bean sauce, and people consider it a winter food owing to its greasiness and spicy taste of the sauce. Therefore, most Hue citizens only make them when winter coming.

  1. ComHen 
    The name means “clam rice” — a rather understated label for a chaotic bowl of contrasting colors, tastes and textures: rice or rice noodles, tender stir-fried clams, crisp pork cracklings, peanuts, bean sprouts, julienned green apples, glass noodles, fried shallots and herbs, with a bowl of hot clam broth that you can add as you wish. This dish is easily found walking or motoring around Hue, especially along the three-blockTruong Dinh Street, and at the corner of Nguyen Thai Hoc and Ba Trieu, where a vendor sets up shop outdoors under a series of tarps strung with lights.
  2. BanhBeo
    These are steamed rice cakes, about the size of a silver dollar, that come five pieces to an order, topped with dried shrimp, pork cracklings, shallots and herbs and served with nuoc mam pha. They’re cooked in one of two vessels which determine their full name and shape: Banh beo chen are steamed and served in small ceramic saucers (chen) whileBanh beo dia are cooked in a slightly larger metal form that resembles a hard-boiled egg platter, and served on a larger plate.
  3. Bun Thit Nuong :

Grilled meat vermicelli is a popular dish which is the favorite of many people in all three regions of the country. Among these, Hue is the place that has the most preferred beef vermicelli dish. Grilled meat vermicelli everywhere keeps its own distinctive taste depending on the 3 regions: the North, the Central, and the South. This noodle dish can be suitably used for breakfast, daily meals, or between meals. It is very tasty and attractive dish which many people in the country and also the foreigners love.

4. Banh Bot Loc

Shrimp and Pork Dumplings (Banh Bot Loc) is one of amazing Vietnamese Food Recipes. This cake is covered in banana leaves. It stuffing is shrimps and braised pork. Using with chili sauce will bring a stunning flavor in your mouth. Banh bot loc is made of clear rice flour batter in a small flattish tube shape. Inside are shrimps and ground pork. Everything is wrapped and cooked in a banana leaves, served with fish sauce mixed with fresh chilies. It is the transparent outer layer revealing the red-colored shrimp inside that makes it look so beautiful and appetizing.

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