Living in Hue

The one thing commonly absent from guidebooks on Hue is the lifestyle outside of its tourist attractions. Their descriptions do not come close to portraying the subtle satisfactions derived through daily engagement with the city’s numerous, yet simple, pleasures.

Don’t get me wrong, the tombs are magnificent, the citadel is steeped in an abundance of history and the beautiful perfume river provides the hustle and bustle of urban life with a gentle rural calm. However, despite such highlights it is the beauty of the way of life here which has engraved itself so significantly upon me.

Whether it’s enjoying an iced coffee in the coolness of the morning at an hour unthinkable to student-routine in Britain, discovering a method to the madness amidst the constant swarm of traffic, or appreciating the stunning views from the city’s bridges as much on the day you arrive as the day you bid your sorry farewells, there is something pleasurable in each aspect of daily activity in Hue.

To describe the people here as ‘friendly’ does not do justice to their desire to assist you in whatever way they can or to their excitement in integrating you into their lives, as well as into the society as a whole. Despite the language barrier there exists a mutual pleasure in sharing one another’s company; the sharing of food, drinking and football are just three examples of global languages which help overcome any initial language problems. I will miss the communal openness here: London could certainly learn a lesson.

You cannot truly see Hue in a weekend, or even a month for that matter. Its surface beauty is immediate but the underlying beauty emerges more gradually and once you’re in the swing it is calming, steady and totally fulfilling. Simple pleasures in daily activities: lesson number 2 for London.

–       Adam Moore, volunteer in VietnamThe one thing commonly absent from guidebooks on Hue is the lifestyle outside of its tourist attractions. Their descriptions do not come close to portraying the subtle satisfactions derived through daily engagement with the city’s numerous, yet simple, pleasures.

Don’t get me wrong, the tombs are magnificent, the citadel is steeped in an abundance of history and the beautiful perfume river provides the hustle and bustle of urban life with a gentle rural calm. However, despite such highlights it is the beauty of the way of life here which has engraved itself so significantly upon me.

Whether it’s enjoying an iced coffee in the coolness of the morning at an hour unthinkable to student-routine in Britain, discovering a method to the madness amidst the constant swarm of traffic, or appreciating the stunning views from the city’s bridges as much on the day you arrive as the day you bid your sorry farewells, there is something pleasurable in each aspect of daily activity in Hue.

To describe the people here as ‘friendly’ does not do justice to their desire to assist you in whatever way they can or to their excitement in integrating you into their lives, as well as into the society as a whole. Despite the language barrier there exists a mutual pleasure in sharing one another’s company; the sharing of food, drinking and football are just three examples of global languages which help overcome any initial language problems. I will miss the communal openness here: London could certainly learn a lesson.

You cannot truly see Hue in a weekend, or even a month for that matter. Its surface beauty is immediate but the underlying beauty emerges more gradually and once you’re in the swing it is calming, steady and totally fulfilling. Simple pleasures in daily activities: lesson number 2 for London.

–       Adam Moore, volunteer in Vietnam