The GoGlobal Blog

North and Central Part 1

North and Central Part 1

When I was trying to choose where I wanted to study abroad, one of the big influences for choosing Vietnam was the trip we were taking to the Central and Northern regions. I had been waiting all semester for this, and not just because it was a 9-day break from classes!

We started our trip before the sun came up on Thursday morning. The upshot to this was that I had the chance to see Saigon before the city really came alive. It is so beautiful in the morning! Calm and quiet with eerily empty streets, I was reminded why I love this city. We had a long day ahead of us, 8 hours on the train to our first stop: Nha Trang! This was our second visit as a group to Nha Trang, we had visited our first weekend in Vietnam, which in reality was only 3 months ago, but truly feelings like a lifetime. A beautiful beach town on the central Vietnam coast, Nha Trang is definitely my favorite place to relax in Vietnam. Beautiful beaches and cabanas on the beach (that can be rented for $1!!), it certainly didn’t feel like school.

After our two beautiful and relaxing days on the beach, we boarded the train once again, this time for the longest continuous leg of our journey: a 12-hour train ride to Hue.

I have to say, our train ride may have been my favorite part of the entire trip. It was cramped and ridiculous and the “soft-sleepers” were anything but soft, but it still managed to be enjoyable. Even when a screaming Vietnamese woman moved her five cages of birds into our tiny train compartment! It is always an adventure in Vietnam! We rode through the countryside and through the mountains, often with an ocean view. I am always shocked at how peaceful the landscape of the countryside is, contrasted with the chaos of the cities.

Our activities in Hue were very history-dense, much more academic than Nha Trang! Thanks to my Vietnamese History class that I’ve been taking this semester, I found our visits to the Imperial Citadel and Thu Duc and Khai Dinh’s tombs to actually be quite fascinating. Emperor Thu Duc’s tomb was fascinating and morbid. Thousands of Vietnamese soldiers were forced to build his tomb and then decapitated so that no one would know the true location of Thu Duc’s body (to prevent anyone from digging up the body)! We also saw the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda and afterward returned to Hue by boat down the Perfume river!

Hue was beautiful and holds an immense amount of historical significance for the country of Vietnam. It was the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty and after learning extensively about the Nguyen Dynasty all semester, I’m glad I got to see it for myself!

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