Next stop was Hue! We decided to fly down rather than take the bus, and flew to Hue rather than Da Nang as it felt the route flowed more. Our VietJet flight was good, all on time and great service. Plus we loved listening to Westlife ‘I believe in Dream’ played over and over again with only one other song before take of!!
To be honest I had expected more from Hue, and the fact that it poured with rain pretty much the whole time we were there didn’t help! We were only in Hue for 3 days and 2nights and the highlight was seeing the UNESCO Imperial City. On first appearances Hue doesn’t feel a poor as Hanoi and is a lot less hectic. I then found it interesting when the taxi driver commented on how crazy the traffic was!
Overall Hue felt westernised and full of backpackers drinking super cheap beers (which isn’t a bad thing!). We didn’t stray too far from the centre of Hue due to the horrible weather, so I am sure there is more to the area when you’re ‘off the beaten track’.
We just couldn’t face wandering about in the rain so booked a tour of Hue and the Imperial walled city through Cafe on Thu Wheels (which we found through Lonely Planet). The staff were great and listened to what we wanted to see and arranged a personalised tour for us the next day at a good price. I’d strongly recommend these guys!
There are a lot of temples within driving distance of Hue, so we requested to see a few but not too many with fear of feeling ‘templed out’. Our first stop was Minh Mang Tomb, with this king being the second ruler of the Nguyen dynasty. A very pleasant site along the perfume river it contains a large number of structures. We managed to arrive just before the coach loads did so it was peaceful to wander around at our leisure. Our tour also took us to the royal temple of Khai Dinh, Thien Mu Pagoda before the Imperial City via Bunker Hill. We set off around 8am and I’d advise you do the same!
It was interesting to see the Imperial City, this walled site was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty. Most of the site was destroyed in the American/Vietnam War so there isn’t a huge amount to see. The city was made a UNESCO heritage site in 1993 and the remaining buildings are being restored and the destroyed ones rebuilt. This project was to be completed in 2005 but was very much in progress whilst we were there. If you are super interested in learning more about the history then I would recommend a guide. Whilst there is some information as you go round, I didn’t feel that it really bought it to life.
Eating and Drinking
We avoided the main hostels bars with the fishbowl drinks as we were after a bit of downtime in Hue. However we did go to He Army Pub a couple of times which usually wouldn’t be our thing. But the live music lured us in two nights running! I’d highly recommend whilst staying in Hue, particularly as the drinks were a good price too! Gecko Bar was also a favourite mainly as it was a good people watching spot and had loads of board games and tasty Vietnamese wine 🙂
Our favourite bar was the The Secret Garden as recommended by my friend who lived there. As you’d expect, a relaxed outdoor bar in a garden/tropical setting! Great to sit outside whilst it was so warm and play some board games. Fabulous cocktails and super tasty (but strong) g&ts. Although I did get eaten alive by the bugs!
The food was pretty western in Hue, to accommodate the hoards of backpackers passing through. Nook was wonderful as it allowed me to have some tasty Vietnamese food whilst Chris could have a burger! The iced coffee here was incredible!
Vedana Resort and Spa
We were both a little underwhelmed with Hue and the torrential rain meant we felt bored! We decided to treat ourselves for a couple of nights at the nearby spa resort of Vedana, and this was 100% the right decision. A free shuttle bus picked us up from the centre of Hue and dropped us off right outside the reception.
Vedana is a beautiful hotel complex on the edge of a lagoon, it didn’t even matter that the weather was a little grey when we arrived. The service was superb and as it was low season, we got a free upgrade to a villa with our own pool! Not bad given that we only paid £50 a night and the villa was bigger than our own flat! We had a wonderful couple of days cycling around the local area, kayaking in the lagoon and relaxing. The only downside of being here in the low season was that it was very quiet and it did take away from the atmosphere. But you can’t be too annoyed at that!
As always these are just my thoughts and opinions. Personally I wouldn’t rush back to Hue.