Hué There

History meets modern Vietnam in this riverside city.

A city separated by the Perfume River, Hué was once the capital of Vietnam and the imperial seat of the Ngyuen Dynasty. Connected by the Tran Tieng Bridge, this popular tourist destination is a living example of modernity meeting antiquity.

Lying on the west bank of the river, the impressive and peaceful Imperial City draws curious eyes from across the globe — offering a striking, albeit faded, reminder of the grandeur of royalty past — while along the east side, the winding, tightly-knit streets of the contemporary city centre offer their own delights.

In the east one can find vibrant night life, cute cafes and a variety of restaurants catered to all tastes. Also in the west, about a 15-minute walk from the Imperial City, lies the Dong Ba Market. As dark and cluttered as the Imperial City is sprawling and grand, the market offers a look into life as modern Vietnamese know it.

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Vendors nestle themselves into stalls selling a collection of wares, from tourist trinkets to noodles and dried herbs and spices.
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It is nearly closing time at Dong Ba Market, and the women working within the area of the market reserved for selling fish pass the remainder of the afternoon sleeping or chatting away the slow hours.
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Alternatively, taking a moment to balance books or count stock also helps pass the time.
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The dim interior of the market creates a subdued ambience, with what light there is beautifully spotlighting vendors like this woman.
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Outside the market, in the light of day, men stand around small stools and motorbikes, smoking and chatting,
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Although the Vietnam War — or American War, as it is known in Vietnam — is long over, reminders of the country’s turbulent history can be found in even the most innocuous of places. Such as this man’s choice of hat as he speaks with friends outside the Dong Ba Market.
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Taking shelter from the rain, as we leave the Dong Ba Market this man’s cheerful, crinkled face gives us a friendly smile before we return to our hotel on the other side of the river.

Photos and Text by Sarah Comber

 

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