"But first we were going to visit a local market. It started with a few clothing stands, but as we walked further backwards there was fruit, herbs, tealeaves, coffeebeans, fresh fish, meat, alive chickens, frogs, dogs and a lot more. Vietnam is one of the few countries where dogs are still a delicacy...but i didn't see the part where they kept the dogs. I didn't want to see that knowing they would be dog kebab not much later."
De Dong Hoi Citadel - is located in the center of town. It is a complex of high fences and towers. A citadel is fortress that dominates the city. This fort had to defend the king and the capital from the Nguyen dynasty defend since 1630. The citadel is 1,500 meters away from the Nhat Le beach and it is adjacent to the Nhat Le River on the east side and the forest on the west side.
Only two gates and a moat remain of the citadel. You can climb up in the gates, but inside you will find syringes and burnt debris.
The construction of Dong Hoi Citadel was started in 1812, at the location where King Nguyen Phuc Nguyen built Tran Ninh Rampart and Dong Hai Post in 1774. When King Gia Long passed away, King Minh Mang asked a French general to re-design the citadel, and in 1824 he rebuilt it into an invincible fortress which has the shape of a star.
The perimeter of the citadel is 1.860m; its height is 4m. The 1.35m-wide façade faces the West. In addition, the citadel has 3 other big gates: North, South and East, which are equipped with 8-roof towers. Each gate has a well-designed bridge which connects the citadel with the outside area
In 1842, when Kinh Thien Tri was reigning, he renovated Dong Hoi citadel to consolidate its strength.
The citadel from the air
Dong Hoi citadel has played an important position in many periods of history. In 1885 the French army attacked the citadel, but the people and soldiers of Dong Ha defended the citadel well and won the battle triumphant, that's why the French had to withdraw. During the war between Vietnam and France in 1945-1954, the locals also made several attacks on the citadel. Nowadays there is no more war in Vietnam, but the beautiful Dong Hoi citadel is still alive as an honorable symbol of the brave country. It draws many visitors from all places in Vietnam and around the world.
The citadel from the side
If you cross the Nhat Le River to the east side, you find yourself on a small peninsula, which is called My Canh. This is also the beginning of a powdery beach of 12 km long on the isthmus. This beach has soft white sand that makes a beeping sound. The beginning, where the Nhat Le flowing into the sea, is being developed as a kind of resort. There are already some hotels.
It's only a matter of time until more travellers choose to stop in Dong Hoi on their journey from Hanoi to Hue.
Dong Hoi is the best place to interrupt your trip, if you want to visit the "old" demilitarized zone (DMZ). Dong Hoi is also a base much nicer than Dong Ha. But it is slightly further away, and at the northern side of the DMZ you will not find many English-speaking drivers. That is a disadvantage.
From Dong Hoi, you can visit:
- de Hien Luong Bridge
- de Vinh Moc Tunnels
After Dong Hoi, you can easily travel to the
Phong Nha Cave and the Ke Bang National Park.