Great Asian Railway Journeys S01E09 - Hue to Ninh Binh
Michael Portillo continues his thousand-mile journey aboard the Unification Railway from Ho Chi Minh City in the south to the capital, Hanoi, and on to the vast northern port of Haiphong. He finishes amid the limestone islets in the turquoise waters of Halong Bay.
Steered by his 1913 Bradshaw's Guide, Michael travels through what was French Indochina and is today the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
On this leg, Michael tours the formidable imperial city of Hue and in a village nearby, Michael meets milliner Mrs Ngo, who tries to teach him how to make the iconic conical hat, with comical results.
Back on track, Michael crosses the former Demilitarized Zone, which once separated north from south Vietnam. A ten-hour journey lies ahead but the friendliness of fellow passengers and supper on board makes up for the bunk beds and by daybreak he is in the beautiful province of Ninh Binh.
In the Red River Delta, Michael takes a boat ride to join farmer Mr Vinh, to learn how to make a Ninh Binh speciality, com chay.