When General Zhang Qian first passed through chains of treacherous hills and boundless sand dunes to the Western Regions in Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 BC), in his deep heart soared a sole goal. However strenuous to achieve the Emperor’s mission, however long he was enslaved by Xiongnu tribe, nothing could dampen him to continue his journey for thousand miles, to ensure alliance against Xiongnu. Following his diplomatic envoys along the route, commercial relations between China and Central Asia, and hence a transcontinental network, known as Silk Road, blossomed at the end of the 2nd century BC.
It was 8 in the morning as the Han River already sparkled under sunlight, reminding stall owners to embark on a brand new day for business in this riverside market in Da Nang. Shopkeepers were hectically pushing heavy carts and packing newly-arrived products, placing them in a place nearby that could immediately caught pedestrian’s heed. Yet, it is more than just a place for trading and selling. In a maze of stuffed stalls and narrow streets, you will be enticed to squeeze through aisles and the big crowds to explore the humming life of one of the open-air Vietnamese marketplaces.
The Perfume River gently flows from the nearby Ngu Binh mountain, across the heart of Hue city and past its imperial palace. With its total territory smaller than Hong Kong’s, Hue seems to possess less allure than other cities in Vietnam at first glimpse. However, nowhere else in the country, alongside Hue, is much better to illustrate the royal livings during the dynastic rule ended decades ago. While the contemporary capital of Vietnam is Hanoi, and myriads of us are familiarised with Ho Chi Minh City, the emperors of Nguyen dynasty, who were the last imperial rulers, regarded Hue as their home from 1802 to 1945.