AsiaVietnamHue

The way to Hue

Hue Travel Blog

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Hue (Emperor Minh Mang's Tomb): The Sung An Temple.
KERRY - After a lot of deliberation in Hanoi over taking the open tour bus through Vietnam we decided to book it. This is a ticket where by you pay in advance for all your legs of the journey (from Hanoi to Saigon or vice versa) and can hop on and hop off where ever you like.  The bus stops at the normal tourist stops - (Hue, Hoi An and Nha Trang). We were a bit dubious as we didn't think that by taking it we would be experiencing the real way to travel in Vietnam, but then decided it was easier to take it and also meant to be safer. We booked on sleeper buses for all the journeys and the cost was $60 each (there is a cheaper reclining seat option for $30).  Our first bus was through the night and was really pretty comfy - on a par with the buses we had experienced in Argentina! we took 2 beds on the bottom and strapped ourselves into our little bed ready for our journey.
Hue (Emperor Minh Mang's Tomb): Statues in the courtyard.


We arrived in Hue at around 8am and were finally greeted by the sun! It was actually boiling hot! We checked into the hotel where the bus had stopped and then decided to venture out and explore the town. We had heard that there was not that much to see in Hue and you only needed a couple of days there, which is true, 3 at the most if you want to explore the DMZ area. Hue town, does not have a lot of interesting things to see other than hotels and restaurants, but it is not as touristy as some other places we had been to. It still had a good atmoshpere, although it was pretty dead as it as low season. This meant that we were constantly hassled by moto and cyclo drivers who wanted our business. Most of the sights are the tombs, which are out of town, and so we booked onto a tour to see them for that afternoon.
Hue (Emperor Minh Mang's Tomb): The courtyard from the top of the Sung An Temple steps.


We visited 3 tombs that afternoon - and they were all impressive and worth seeing. The first was the Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang and this was the oldest of the 3 that we saw. The surroundings of the tomb were really peaceful - a huge lake and lovely forest. The second was the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh which was a more much more elaborate structure and built on the Chau Mountain and has a great outlook over the surrounding forest areas.  We had to climb to the top of the struture up about 127 steps, and the actual tomb at the top was really ornate. The last tomb was the Emporer Tu Duc which was also in a very peaceful setting with a lake but was the most dilapidated of the 3, but still in a pretty good condition. We ended the tour taking a dragon boat back to the centre of the town.
Hue (Emperor Minh Mang's Tomb): Andrei and Kerry facing the door to the tomb itself, with the Temple behind them.


One our second day we decided to be more adventurous and hire bicylces to cycle to the Thien Mu Pagoda. This was an easy 4 km cycle out of town, on flat road all the way. The main issue is the traffic as there really are no road rules in Vietnam. Luckily Hue was a  lot quieter than Hanoi. We arrived at the Pagoda which was set overlooking the Perfume River in a lovely setting again. We were among the only people there so we could enjoy the peacefulness of the setting. We spent about 30 mins there and then cycled back to town to get some lunch. It looked like rain was coming so we decided to visit the Imperial Palace, which is in the city centre, while it was still dry.

The entrance to the Imperial Palace was really impressive and the grounds are huge,  but there is a lot of restoration work going on at the moment, which is obvisouly needed but does dissapoint you slightly once you enter.
Hue (Emperor Khai Dinh's Tomb): The usual array of statues guarding the place.
There are more temples/tombs of interest towards the left hand side of the grounds than on the right. It is an interesting place though and you can easily spend an hour there wandering around and taking in the surrounds and imagining how it would have been all those years ago when then Emperors family  and staff lived there.

Our cycle back after visiting the palace was a bit more addrenaline packed than our journey to and from the pagoda. It was rush hour in the town and that meant crossing the bridge over the river was an experience! We were surrounded on both sides by motobikes and bycicles which slighly freaked me out, epspecially when i had to turn left and was being cut up by everyone on the inside! I did manage to make the turn eventually though without getting hit! I was a little bit shaken after it though!

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Hue Hotels & Accommodations review
2 star hotel in the tourist district
Housed in a French colonial building, i.e. 3 metres wide but goes up and back a long way! So be prepared for a lot of steps if you don't have a choic… read entire review
Hue
photo by: Paulovic