Thursday 25 June 2020

Hue Attraction Pt 1: A Boat Ride Along Perfume River To Thien Mu Pagoda

Hue (pronounced as Hway), located about 8 km from the coast of South China Sea, is just a mediocre city in Central Vietnam. There are a number of notable attractions and a few interesting things to do though. Cruising along Perfume River that traverses the city and visiting the city's historic Thien Mu Pagoda located on the north bank of the river are among some popular things to do while spending time in Hue. 

Dragon Boat Ride
A boat ride from the city to the pagoda can be taken at Toa Kham Boat Station. Lining the bank of Perfume River at the station are boats, designed with one or two dragons spanning the bow to the stern. These 'Dragon Boats' were transportation used exclusively for the Kings during Vietnam's imperial rule. Today they have become popular tourist attractions that ply the river for a fare.

Together with 9 others we chartered the whole boat, cruising a distance of 5 km along Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda and then alighting to visit the historic site.

The ride was generally pleasant. We cruised westward going under 3 of Hue's main bridges and passing by a couple of prominent sites along the journey.
The 80 km long Perfume River aka Sông Hương that meanders around Hue originated from the Truong Son Mountain Range. It is named "Perfume River because it flows through many forests of aromatic plants before reaching the city and finally pouring into South China Sea. 
Hue's most spectacular bridge is Trang Tien bridge. Designed by a French engineer, this bridge spans 402.60 meters, with a height of 5.45 meters and a width of 6 meters. 
The third bridge we cruised under was Da Vien Bridge.
Hue was once an imperial city. Even though the imperial rule has long ended the remnants of imperialism like the citadel, the palaces and tombs are well preserved till this day.

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda is a historic Buddhist temple complex that was established in 1601. It is located on a small hill (Hà Khê Hill) that overlooks Perfume River. There is a flight of steps to take from the river's edge before reaching the pagoda ground.
The pagoda complex is made up of several buildings, pavilion and monuments, the most spectacular being a seven storey tower known as  Phuoc Duyen tower, erected in 1884 by King Thieu Tri. 
The pagoda spreads over two hectares of land. Seen in this picture are the walking paths, the main temple building and a vast garden lawn. Beyond this are several other buildings amidst a vegetation of tall trees. 
The temple ground is well landscaped with a few cozy gardens and corners.

Apparently, it is also a sanctuary for the monks.

Atop the pagoda you also get a calming view like this.

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