We made it Hue, tired and a little soggy from the 44 mile ride from Dong Ha. We headed for Hue Backpackers, but on arrival we much preferred the look of Why Not? Hostel. It was considerably cheaper at $10 a night, and the rooms were twice the size.
Why Not? Hostel was perfect! We got 3kg of much needed laundry done for about £3, breakfast was the best yet and they knew how to make the perfect cup of tea. Ideal. It was also in the perfect location, on Pham Ngu Lao street in Hue City; loads of bars and restaurants, and plenty of funky clothes shops.
We planned on spending 3 nights 2 days in Hue, resting up and exploring the sights, and that is exactly what we did.
The first day was a bit of a write off, it rained all day and we skulked about indoors drinking teas and coffees, resting and reading the lonely planet. We did make it out to the citadel in the afteroon but our hearts weren't really in it. The citadel reminded me of York with huge walls encasing the old town. We visited a war museum inside the citadel but the displays were disapointing and it had fallen into a state of disrepair much like the Vinh Moc Tunnel museum. The most impressive display were the old war planes and tanks which you could view from the road! Not worth the 20,000VNDpp entry fee (even though that is only 72p!).
Tallest flagpole in Vietnam
Outside the citadel within a citadel
US Air Force plane that was commandeered by the Vietnamese
Hue meets Birmingham
The highlight of our first day was discovered when lounging around, reading the lonely planet book. There is an Indian curryhouse in Hue!? Amazing! We had to try it out; we were both sick to death of pho, noodles and bloody steamed rice! Plus, after living in Birmingham for four years, we're used to having a decent curry at least 2 or 3 times a week.
Ganesh is the place and it was divine! A curry has never tasted so good! We also thought we'd try the local Vietnamese wine, red for us. Delicious as well! Definitely a must try for 180-200,000VND (£6-8).
Abandoned Water Park - Ho Thuy Tien
Our friend Nico had told us about a water park near Hue that had been abandoned a number of years ago and the jungle had been left to take over. It sounded cool, and also a bit weird so we hired a moped from the hostel for 90,000VND (£3.20) and scootered over to it. A good, free attraction, perhaps not for the faint-hearted.
Forgotten flight simulator
Tomb of Tu Duc
There are a number of tombs of rulers from the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) dotted along the banks of the perfume river up to 10 miles south of Hue. We already had the moped so we thought we'd check one out. We chose the Tomb of Tu Duc as is it is one of the grandest tombs and not to far from Hue City.
Built between 1864 & 1867, Emperor Tu Duc designed it himself. He lived a lavish life of luxury and excess, he had 104 wifes yet no offspring! Tu Duc had the longest reign (40 years) of any monarch in the Nguyen Dynasty and he resided here until his death in 1883.
At 100,000VNDpp (£3.50) it's a steal and well worth a visit. The grounds are huge, well looked after and very beautiful. Inside the palace buildings are some of Tu Duc's belongings which are interesting, and many tombs to explore in the grounds.
The beautiful man-made lake in the grounds
The little things
- I got a pair of trousers made for a fiver! Bargain as I can never get anything to fit my short legs.
- Mike um'd and ah'd over a £6 shirt in true Mike fashion for the full 2 days, which he eventually got made but isn't happy with.
- Jalapeno Mexican Restaurant on the same street is definately worth a visit! 1 large bottle of beer was free with every main and the food was fantastic!
- We visited the beach at Thuan An, 9 miles Northwest of Hue but it is definitely not worth the effort.
My funky trousers - excuse the crinkled shirt
Mike looking handsome in his new shirt