The Ancient City of Hue

Hue Travel Blog

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This weekend Beth, Ruth, Yasmin, Chelsea and I took the two and half hour train up to Hue from Da Nang for 50 000 D (just over $3CAN) for two nights. We stayed at Thai Binh 2 for the price of 437 500 D/night for a triple room (about $30CAN). It was a perfect location, only a few blocks from the river and tons of great restaurants and things to see in the six block radius. We went to Mandarin Cafe for dinner on Friday, recommended by lonely planet and numerous other guidebook. With a good menu and great prices, I think all five of us enjoyed our meals. However the portions were much bigger then what we'd experienced thus far in Vietnam so were a bit overwhelmed when we ordered a starter and a main with rice.

Up early on Saturday morning, we organized a bus tour through our hotel for the day for 175 000 D (about $12CAN), which included transport, a buffet lunch, and a boat ride to end the day, but not the admission into the three tombs and citadel. We went and saw all of them, which included Minh Mang Tomb, Khai Dinh Tomb, and Tu Duc Tomb - all 55 000 D admission each. My personal favourite was Khai Dinh's Tomb, which was located on the side of a hill with numerous steps up to reach the main quarters. He was the King who raised all the taxes to 30% to help pay for his tomb and the difference was quite obvious. Not as spread out as the other two, the detail that went into the tile and all the gems inside were definitely something to see, not to mention the view from the hillside. Before lunch we also stopped at conical hat and incense making village, really just another roadside setup trying to sell merchandise. I would have much rather stayed on the bus then ventured out into the oddly cold day for that stop.

Lunch was mediocre, nothing to fancy or great, but there was a mass amount of food, although most of it wasn't warm by the time we sat to eat. After Lunch we headed to the Citadel, another 55 000 D, but definitely worth while. The two hour window we were given was hardly enough time to cover the immense amount of land. Surrounded by a mote, there were tons of small ponds/lakes and refurbished buildings to see and explore. I even managed to make friends with a Buddhist Monk from Thailand after he offered to take a photo of Ruth and myself.

After the citadel we headed to our last stop, the Thein Mu Pagoda, which was free. When we arrived to see the seven story pagoda, there was some sort of Buddhist prayer going on in the temple behind which was really interesting to see/hear.

Though the day was very enjoyable, it was also very long. At 4:30 we jumped on a river boat and headed back up river to be dropped off near our hotel. That night we enjoyed Dinner at an Indian/Italian/Vietnamese Restaurant another two blocks over and Ruth, Beth and I decided to call it an early night. We ventured to a local bakery and shared a piece of chocolate cake as we watched Princess Diaries in our Hotel room, while Yasmin and Chelsea headed out on the town.

We all met up for breakfast this morning and had the best (and cheapest) banana pancakes with chocolate sauce. I believe it was just over 20 000 D for my hot chocolate and big pancake at, again, a place just down the street also recommended in a few guidebooks.

Before our bus left we had a chance to walk across the river to the local Sunday market where we saw everything from fruit and veggies for sale, to all kinds of meat (pig heads, kidneys, squid, whole fish, cow tongues...etc.), to cone hats, jewelery, shoes, and very cheap knock-off bags and wallets. Ending our day by ordered pizza, we rushed back to the hotel to catch our sleeper bus, which had two level bunk beds as the seats. We ended our weekend eating delicious greasy food, in a comfy bed and sleeping for the 3 hour ride back to Da Nang. A bit quieter than last weekend, I still managed to spend tons of money and have a great time. Can't wait for next weekend already!

Write soon,
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photo by: Paulovic