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.
Since the heydays of Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), time often elapsed with throngs of horse caravans wading through the endlessly steep road. Across undulating hill chains and meandering rivers of the mountain Range, women of Bulang ethnic group were picking pu’er tea leaves, a distinct form of broad leaf tea in Yunnan, in a verdant agro-forest. Besides the four-foot-wide cobblestone paths, scraggy porters were carrying backbreaking loads of freshly-made tea along this legendary trail, a harsh 2,250km trail stretching from the hillside plantation of Xishuangbanna in Yunnan to Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa, and from there to Southeast Asia, before reaching to Indian subcontinent.
(12th June) Namtso lake was as charmingly blue as the sky, making visitors difficult to distinguish their boundary. We were so close to the sky, ever in our first time, free from any murky pollution that gloomed elsewhere, but radiant in its purest form. Far from hustle and bustle, I felt as if we had just landed on a fairyland endowed by undulating hills and boundless pastures in the Tibetan Plateau, and also the calmness of the heavenly lake.