Skip to content
image description
E-bike expedition part 4 Vietnam - Online diary 2016-2017

The forbidden city

N 16°28'27.5'' E 107°34'46.3''
image description

    13.01.2017 until 22.01.2017

    Day: 563 – 572


    Thừa Thiên-Huế


    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Total kilometers:
    21,489 km

    Total altitude meters:
    58.499 m

    06:20 a.m.

    5:34 pm

    Temperature day max:

(Photos of the diary entry can be found at the end of the text).


“The sun is shining. I think we should take this rare opportunity to visit the old imperial city,” says Tanja as she comes into the room with Ajaci from the morning round. “Hmmm,” I growl a little reluctantly, because I’m busy labeling the pictures from the last few days. “It’s bound to rain again tomorrow and who knows when the sun will show itself again. It’s much more fun to go sightseeing when the weather is nice.” “Okay, you’re right,” I reply, switch off the laptop, grab the camera and get ready to go.

Our accommodation is just a stone’s throw away from the 10 km long protective wall that runs around the historic imperial palace. In high spirits thanks to the pleasant rays of sunshine, we walk along the 4-meter-deep moat that also surrounds the former residence of the emperors. Here we can still feel the flair of the former capital of Vietnam from which the rulers reigned for 150 years.

We enter the citadel with the former Forbidden City, the actual palace complex of the Nguyen dynasty, which provided the Vietnamese emperors from 1802 to 1945, through the midday gate. Before we delve further into this dream world full of gardens, ponds, pavilions and pagodas, we sit down on a bench, enjoy the atmosphere and open the guidebook Tanja is reading out. We learn that most of the fabulous buildings were destroyed by the French in 1947, but were dealt their coup de grace by the Americans when they heavily damaged the former residence of the Vietnamese emperors with a hail of bombs in 1968 during the Tet Offensive (Battle of Hue) to fight the North Vietnamese troops who conquered Hue for three and a half weeks in daring attacks. During its brief occupation, the Vietcong carried out a massacre, shooting, killing or burying civilians alive. Around 2,500 people died as a result. The Americans and their allies responded with a retaliatory strike. A total of 10,000 people lost their lives in the fighting. “This terrible war can still be felt in every corner of the country,” I say thoughtfully and a little frustrated at the suffering we earthlings are causing each other. “So they reconstructed and rebuilt these beautiful buildings afterwards?” I ask after a long silence. “Yes, it says here that the authorities are constantly busy rebuilding and restoring the palace complex, which was modeled on the palace in Beijing and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993,” answers Tanja…

If you would like to find out more about our adventures, you can find our books under this link.

The live coverage is supported by the companies Gesat GmbH: and roda computer GmbH The satellite telephone Explorer 300 from Gesat and the rugged notebook Pegasus RP9 from Roda are the pillars of the transmission. Pegasus RP9 from Roda are the pillars of the transmission.

This site is registered on as a development site.