Hue, Vietnam

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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Hue, Vietnam

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

The views were spectacular. We chose the 3 dollar, 5 hour bus trip through the Hai Van pass to the ancient city of Hue. Twenty kilometers long, this pass is the highest and longest pass in Vietnam, often enshrouded in clouds. Today was clear. The name Hai Van means Sea and Cloud, and from the top of the pass, one could see the coastal panoramas with each turn in the road.

The journey from Hoi An to Hue is a very popular option heading north or coming south. Our reservations were made through Hotel Pho, but any travel agency offers this choice as well as a private car.  A bit more expensive, ($35USD) this option takes less time and the driver will stop anywhere along the way for photos. If you ride the bus heading north, be sure to get a seat on the right, as the views are better seen from this side.



Hue is a mysterious, somber city. It's an historian’s dream come true, as there are numerous 19th century ruins there. This Imperial City of Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the reign of the Nguyen dynasty, the last dynasty in Vietnam. The Citadel, a walled section of the city, was one of the scenes of the bloody and bitter 1968 Tet Offensive. To this day, the Vietnamese regard Hue with respect and awe. It is considered to be the pinnacle of Vietnamese fashion, language and cuisine.

Receiving an average of 120 inches of rain a year, this very clean town is one of Vietnam’s rainiest cities. Despite this threat of rain, we enjoyed ourselves greatly, and a return visit is a must.

After some initial confusion, we settled into our hotel, the Binh Minh II, then went about to scout out the town. At first impression, Hue seemed quieter and more reserved than Hoi An. However, that does not mean the locals don’t instigate fun! CoCo, our waitress at Minh and CoCo Mini Restaurant, was a handful. “Large and in charge”, she knew how to play the expected games between Asians and Farangs. Fawning over the men, she kept an attentive eye on the wives to be sure not to offend. Everyone plays the expected role: she wants customers, the men want the attention, and the wife enjoys the show.



After devouring the best squid fritters ever, a generous cut of fresh grilled fish with garlic, and a salad provencal, this became “our” restaurant in Hue.  It proved to be a good choice. This city is situated on the Perfume River, our clue that another day trip on the water was in store. Highly decorated boats with Dragon motifs are lined up at the dock, ready at any time of day for rental.





After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, we were off to arrange our midmorning cruise along this famous river. A 110,000 Dong fee ($7.33 USD) was decided for a 3 hour trip, with our choice of locations.  Preferring a slow speed, with casual viewing of river life along the way, we spotted a small floating village of about 50 boats congregated in one section. Locals were living their lives undisturbed on their houseboats, lounging around, preparing meals, doing laundry, children playing, dogs sleeping. It’s a simple way of life. The river provides and sustains, there are few possessions, and anything not traded for is found in the local market in town.



Our boat changed direction and headed toward the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. Here an area is reserved demonstrating deep respect and reverence for The Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc. On June 11, 1963, this celebrated monk drove his blue Austin to Saigon to conduct a grave protest. The Ngo Dinh Diem Regime’s policies against religious freedom and discrimination towards Buddhists were destructive to Vietnamese society and culture. Thich Quang Duc got out of his car, sat in a lotus position, covered himself with gasoline, and burnt himself to death.





You will see his car, and photos of his protest act. What is very peculiar and worth noting, are the photos of him burning, showing him placidly sitting in the lotus position in meditation. We all know what it is like to accidentally burn ourselves on the stove, recoiling immediately in pain, and the action is instinctive. Here is a true testament to the power of profound meditation. Regardless of what one would think of his choice of protest, one still comes away with a feeling of awe at the potency of his mind.



Audible throughout the grounds of this Chinese style Pagoda, were the rhythmic blows to a gong. Every five seconds or so, a saffron robed monk would pound the center of a brass disk in a special area reserved for ceremony. The sounds were mesmerizing and peaceful, as those dressed in finery paid respect and made merit by bowing, placing flowers or lighting incense in front of Buddha statues. The reverence and calm were palpable and most inviting.

With placid thoughts to accompany our return trip home, we boarded our private dragon bedecked boat. We were sorry to see our time in Hue end, for only the surface of the city had been scratched. Holding intriguing memories to prompt another visit, we look forward to uncovering more in this ancient and mysterious city.


For more stories and photos of Vietnam, click here

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

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