Hue 22nd and 23rd December 2007
Hue Travel Blog› entry 5 of 17 › view all entries
Ariving anywhere in Vietnam you are guaranteed a very warm welcome by a throng of touts attempting to cajole you into staying at a hotel where they will get a commission for your introduction. We always run the gauntlet of the touts in favour of going to the places we choose from our own research. Getting off the train from Hanoi we stepped into our first seriously warm weather of the trip so far. Despite it only being 8.30 in the morning the temperature was well into the high twenties. The station in Hue is a good 1.5km walk away from the main areas for hotels and guesthouses, so backpacks on we set off. It wasn't long before the sweat was trickling down our necks and for once the idea of being taken to any old hotel didn't seem so unattractive, but on we marched.
Our first stop was the Phu An hotel and after a bit of negotiation over the room price and considering the heat for walking to our second choice we took the room and handed over our passports, as is the way in Vietnam for registration. We dumped our bags down and immediately did what many travellers do on arriving at a new location.... laundry!! The nasty thing about doing laundry by hand in a sink or bathtub is that you actually get to see exactly how dirty your clothes are which kind of makes it a much more disgusting process. We had wet clothes hanging from everywhere, the shower curtain rail, the towel racks, chairs as well as our own travel washing line that we'd set up. Laundry done we flopped onto the bed exhausted to catch up with a bit of sleep only to discover that the bed was crawling with red ants!!! We went straight down to the reception and they promised to get it sorted so we decided to leave them to it and as sleep was out we headed off for a Vietnamese super strength coffee which would render sleep an impossibility anyway.
By now the heat was building and it must have been nudging 30 degrees. We walked around a bit, but for the life of us we couldn't find anywhere that wasn't a fancy hotel charging fancy prices. We trudged across a bridge, through a massive covered market, round and back again across the bridge and we were wilting fast. We had the shortest discussion ever over the merits of coffee vs cold beer and found a great little bar called the DMZ. Beers in hand and sitting under a fan the heat really didn't seem so much of problem anymore.
After a couple of beers we headed to a veggie restaurant mentioned in the Rough Guide and had a nice lunch, though not the nicest we've had on our travels to be honest. Best thing was though, it was down a really lovely little side street with some really lovely looking hotels.
Relieved to have escaped the evil hotels clutches we settled into our much nicer, clean and more peaceful new hotel. We spent the evening wandering our new area and settled onto the balcony of DMZ for a couple of beers and some street watching before eating at one of the many very attractive restaurants Hue has to offer. Hue is generally much cheaper than Hanoi and as usual it's cheaper to drink beer (9000VND which is about 26p) than it is for a can of coke (10000VND or about 29p). If this continues as we head south they'll be paying us to drink the beers by the time we get to Phu Quoc!!
We woke up refreshed and raring to go on our second day but had missed most of the organised boat trip along the river as they all leave at the unholy hour of 8am.
Back on the boat the daughter of the family who lived on the boat came round offering us cold drinks. So we bought her one too which she seemed most uncertain about, but eventually once we'd opened it and given her the money she seemed to really enjoy. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening reading, snoozing and walking around before we had dinner and some happy hour beers at the DMZ.