WHERE TO STAY:
I recommend staying at a homestay! We stayed at ‘Sweethouse’. It came with A/C, free breakfast, private bathroom, and much more.
The hosts were extremely nice, helpful, and spoke great english. They provide you with a map of the area, places to eat, offer motorbikes/bicycles for rent, and they will even take care of you onward travel (make sure you get the private car to Hoi An, SO WORTH IT!)… Check it out HERE.
WHAT TO DO:
1) Visit ‘The Citadel’
Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this sacred city has a vast amount of history behind it. While walking through, I could feel the energy that has taken place within the walls. It’s a magnificent area with amazing architecture. Definitly one of the most interesting places with a lot of knowledge to gain about it.
I recommend visiting this place first, and then going to the tombs (mentioned below). Gain knowledge on the emperors who ruled the land and expierence the life’s they lived.
While entering The Citadel, buy the combination ticket. This will let you enter the sacred city, along with 3 of the Royal Tombs.
Make sure you go here early in the day, it’ll take you more than a few hours to see everything, it gigantic!
2) Rent Motorbikes & Visit the 3 Royal Tombs
- Royal Tomb of Khải Định
- My personal favorite out of the 3
- Khải Định was the 12th emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, reigning from 1916-1925. He died while on the throne at the age of 40.
- The tomb began construction in 1920, taking over 11 years to finish (1931). The tomb is immaculate, influenced by french architecture, everything inside is covered with porcelain.
- Royal Tomb of Minh Mạng
- He was the emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty for over 20 years (1820-1841).
- While in power, his reign extended into parts of what is now known as Laos and Cambodia
- Royal Tomb of Tự Đức
- He was the longest ruling Emperor during the Nguyen Dynasty, lasting 35 years (1842-1883).
- Even though he didn’t die until 1883, he built a temple//tomb in the 60’s (1864-1867).
- Now comes the interesting part… he wasn’t buried there. To this day, the tomb where his body lies is still hiden. The 200 slaves who built his secret tomb were all beheaded upon their return.
3) Take a boat ride down Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda
- ‘Perfume River’ gets the name from the sweet smelling flowers that fall in the river, which in turn makes it smell nice along the river.
- Thien Mu Pagoda is a 7-story buddhist temple that was built over 400 years ago. To this day, monks still use it as a living quarters. (Learn more HERE)
- You can rent boats HERE
- OR, get directions to the Pagoda HERE
4) Walk through Dong Ba Market
- Dong Ba Market is the oldest market in the Province. People sell fresh fruit and veggies, meat, fish, and all types of household goods
- The market size is 16,000 square meters, which is equivalent to 4 acres!!!