Hugh Reporting From Hue

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November 23rd 2011
Published: August 9th 2017
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After spending a low key day in Hanoi and buying our open bus ticket we were on the road in an overnight bus to Hue. Before we had been liaising with couchsufers in Vietnam to see if we were able to spend a day working with some locals in the rice fields, but we were a few weeks to late and all the fields had been cultivated, a bit of a bummer, I was really looking forward to that experience, nevermind.
The trip took around 12 hours and we arrived in a more quieter and low key town compared to the loud and chaotic area of the Old Quarter in Hanoi.
We checked in to our hotel and then set about thinking of what we wanted to see and do. We spent the first half of the day relaxing from a night of limited sleep.
We booked a day tour through our hotel too visit the tombs for $7 each and excluded the tour that included the Citadel which we wanted to visit for the afternoon.

We confirmed our bus to Hoi An and then grabbed some lunch and walked to the Citadel which also houses the Dien Thai Hoa Palace, but the area was badly damaged in the war so it only seems that the moat and walls are still original from the 1800's. The newly rebuilt buidings were architecturally beautiful, I especially liked the roofs.
We spent about an hour walking around before heading back to our accommodation and resting for the rest of the evening.
Anna had caught a bit of the flu and wasn't really in a state to be going on a full day tour, but we continued as we had already paid for it. The tour was going to be taking us to an old Vietnamese garden and house, a pagoda, a temple and three tombs via dragon boat on the Perfume River.
I find it odd that things are always built the same in certain areas in these countries, like the longtail boats in Thailand, the slow boats in Laos and the overnight boats in Halong Bay, and now here in Hue with the dragon boats.

We set off downstream to the Old Vietnamese Garden and house, but it wasn't really interesting to me. The next stop was the Chua Thien Mu Pagoda which was a little more interesting with some nice views of the Perfume River and a chance to view some prayers although the place was pretty packed with the influx of tour groups that blocked the entrance to the prayer ceremony for that photographic moment.
We continued about one hour further down the river to a temple but we weren't really in the mood or interested in seeing this particular one. Anna stayed in the boat while I went for a stroll through some fields and stumbled across some old cemetery tomb thing. The views were also nice and I was the only one there. By the time I got back to the boat everyone was returning from the temple and we sat for some lunch which was included in the tour. As expected though the food was only a few bowls of rice, cabbage and tofu, not enough for 6 people. But earlier they had bought around a menu for people to choose their lunch which most people had to pay the extra money for a proper lunch which was great news for me because hardly anyone touched the provided lunch and Anna didn't eat much as she was ill, so it left me with a healthy amount.

We were now headed for the tombs, but seeing as Anna was quite ill it was a wise decision for us to head back to Hue after the first temple. We arrived at the Minh Mang Tomb and given a little history lesson from our guide and then roamed around for a little while. The tomb complex was really nice, surrounded by a lake and green vegetation, it was quiet and beautiful.
Afterwards we left our group and hitched a ride on motorcycles back to Hue for some needed rest.
The next morning we left for Hoi An which took about 4 hours. The bus drove around town for about an hour picking people up and eventually we had too many people for seats and some other travellers were not happy about having to stand and stormed off the bus.
The bus pulled in to a hotel in Hoi An which we stayed at but spent the rest of the day resting as Anna was still quite ill. It also started raining late in the afternoon and pretty hard, we found our way out for some food and also to get our tailor made clothing measured up.

Hoi An is famous for it's tailored made clothing from all sorts of dresses, suits and most things you can think off and for a cheap price. There are hundreds of shops to choose from which can be annoying, but I guess most are all the same. We chose one not too far from the hotel. Anna was choosing a dress and I was going to be getting a suit.
We had many catalogues with pictures to choose from, especially the dresses, there were so many different types and colours which could be heaven for women. Anna chose a very beautiful dress made from Vietnamese Silk coloured red for $25 and I chose a black coloured suit made from cotton including a vest and shirt for $115, they gave us $5 off the price for the two together, we could have got more off probably but the price was pretty good any way. We had to get our measurements the night before so it would give them enough time to make it before we left the following evening.

The rain continued for the rest of the night and for the rest of the next day, it was heavy and relentless. We were to be picking the suits up at 2pm so we decided to jump on the internet for a few hours, grab some lunch and head to the shop. Our selections were made very well and fitted perfect. We were both pleased with the work they did.
By the time we were finished we were almost ready to catch the overnight bus to Nha Trang.

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