Published: June 23rd 2012June 23rd 2012
I was up early at 6:15am as I wasn't really sleepy so I got ready and made my way down to reception to pick up our dresses that had been delivered the night before. Then went and had some breakfast on the top level. Jam toast, watermelon, bananas and juice was it for today, you don't really feel like eating when it's already so hot.
We made our way back to the room, packed up the last of our stuff and made our way to the lobby to meet the others. We put our stuff on the bus and jumped on and we waved goodbye to Hoi An.
Within maybe about 20mins driving we made it to our first stop at Marble Mountain. There are 150 big marble steps to climb up to the lookout and to the cave pagoda. The view was cool and the cave pagoda was lovely. We made our way back down the steps, jumped on the bus and made our way to China Beach for a quick photo opportunity.
China beach is where, during the war the Americans came to relax as it wasn't far from the US Army Base. Apparently they were given everything they needed here; alcohol and prostitutes.
We jumped back on the bus for a bit of a drive; passing the old US Army Base of which there is a few pieces of it left and on to Van Hai, the mountainous and windy road that leads you to Hue. We stopped on the way up Van Hai for another photo oppotunity as the view up was stunning. And we stopped again at the top for a toilet break and icecream stop. We were on our way again by 11:00am. We drove through Lang Co Beach and 68kms later we arrived in Hue.
It's a rather big city. More like Ho Chi Minh than Hoi An. Busy busy people everywhere. We got to our hotel and it's really nice. It's called Gold Hotel 1. It's 12 levels with the pool in a courtyard area on level 4. There is also a rooftop bar. The rooms are pretty small but nice and clean.
We made our way onto the streets each with a bag of clothes in hand in search of the laundry. When we finally found it in the scorching heat it was closed! So we decided to go in search of the place we were told to go for lunch called Mandarin Cafe. It's owned by this photographer who's had his work in National Geographic and various other magazines. The food was really good and really cheap. I got a water, a coke, Chicken fried rice and fresh pork spring rolls and it was 100,000VND or $5.
After, we walked down to The Healing Hearts shop which has hand made products that all the money raised goes to providing heart transplants for Vietnamese kids whose fanilies can't afford them. The walls were covered in photos of celebrities who had bought things from the store, photos of Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Will Smith and numerous others. I bought a bookmark that says "we are lonely because we build walls instead of bridges" and it has some lucky coins attached to the bottom.
From there we jumped in a cab because it was too hot to walk anymore and went to the Plaza. It was rubbish. We were going to go in the supermarket to see what amusing products we could get but they wanted us to check our bags into lockers just to go in the store and look at the funny name products. We got over it then and jumped in a cab back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the day by the pool just chilling as it was too hot to walk round the city and we were spending tomorrow for like 8hrs doing that anyway. We went to get ready at about 6:00pm as we were meeting in the lobby for dinner at 7:00pm. We jumped into cabs and made our way across the American Bridge (there is a French one adjacent) to a place called Lac Thanh.
Lac Thanh is co-owned by Mr Lac, he is deaf and mute so everything is communicated with sign language. Here I ordered genuine Pho Bo and got Hue specialty beef rice rolls with coconut icecream for dessert. Mmmmm. The restaurant isn't much to look at but the food is so good that it's mentioned in Lonely Planet, Frommers, Insight Guide and many other travel books and guides and it's so cheap.
After, we walked along the rivers edge then across the French bridge and to the night markets. These were really cool, we bought a few little odds and ends and walked along slowly, taking a few photos. Eventually we got to the end and headed back in the direction of the hotel.
We walked for maybe 25mins before we reached the bar not far from the hotel called Brown Eyes; their slogan is "5PM UNTIL THE LAST ONE PASSES OUT!" but we passed on by instead. It is Saturday night but we are doing a tour tomorrow from 8:30am until about 4:00pm so we wanted just to get back to the hotel. As it was we got back after 10:30pm.