An overnight train from Hanoi took us to the ancient city of Hue Vietnam. The whole of north Vietnam was under Chinese rule for more than 1000 years, and the influences in architecture and temples can be seen everywhere. More recently France colonised Vietnam and the newer buildings have a distinctive French touch with ornate balconies, many of which are aged and in need of paint, but this adds to the character and atmosphere of Vietnam.
A good Vietnamese meal with a few beers each and dessert is not difficult to find for around 10 dollars.
Hue is a prosperous city of around 1 million people. It is very laid back compared to Hanoi but still has an interesting mix of backpackers and group tours. One of the surprises has been buying 100% silk handmade tailoring for a few dollars. Eating out of course is just loose change, and if you are budget conscious this is the place to be! A good Vietnamese meal with a few beers each and dessert is not difficult to find for around 10 dollars.
We stayed in the gorgeous little Wild Orchid guesthouse located in the center of the city for $10 each per night including breakfast. Our hosts could not do enough for us – which has now very much become the norm for us in Vietnam. Our first day was spent on boat/bus around the ancient tombs and gardens for which Hue is famous.
For 10 dollars each we spent from 8 am to 5 pm on The Dragon Boat tour, which included lunch, to see the famous sites like The Garden Houses and Thien Mu Pagoda. Entrance to the sites and drinks were extra but there was no obligation to go into any of the sites.
By mid-afternoon we were tired, hot and the bus part of the journey was a bit cramped so we decided to skip off and get a taxi back to town – 14 kms for 5 dollars..happy days!
Next day we decided on a day off. Our hosts suggested the very nice My An Onsen Spa – which local Vietnamese use mostly at weekends. It cost $5 each for the whole day which included unlimited use of sulphur pools and swimming pool in this lovely complex full of trees and sculptures. As we were there mid-week, we had the place to ourselves.
We had organised motor bikes to take us the 7 km there and the drivers came back to collect us after a few hours – bliss! Unfortunately, our silver jewelry turned black in the sulphur water but our sweet hosts showed us how to get everything sparkling again with a toothbrush and toothpaste!