The next stop on the Vietnam leg of our journey was the city of Hue. Situated 75 miles north of Hoi-An, we caught a coach which dropped us almost directly in the centre. For roughly 4 pounds each, we got a bed/chair for the three hour journey. It was relatively comfy and after spending the first half of the journey getting stuck into ‘The Shining’ I spent the rest of the travel asleep.
Hue was hotter and somehow felt more humid than Hoi-An, yet the location of our hotel was far more convenient. After dropping bags off and showering away the drowsy, hot feeling of coach travel it was time to hit the town. There’s a single street which is closed off to vehicles after a certain time and in the evening it becomes a hotbed right of night life.
Grabbing some food also gave me the chance to try the local beer, Huda, which didn’t disappoint. Priced at 20/25,000 VND depending on the bar (70–80p) makes it taste just that bit sweeter.
A game of pool can often bring up chances of conversation and in one club it did just this for us. We were the first people in and for a while it seemed we’d be the only bodies. A game on the free pool table attracted the attention of new customers in the bar, which led to several rounds of doubles. Drinking the local beer and chatting about Vietnam was a great way to get to know the locals and enjoy a first proper evening out in South East Asia.
If Hue was as interesting by day as it was lively by night, we’d be in for a treat. As it turns out, we were. On advice from our hostel owner, we went across the perfume river into the old imperial city of Hue. Around 20 minutes walk from the centre of the new city hostel we were staying, even though the 39 degree heat made it feel much longer. I don’t think I’ve sweated as much in a 15 minute walk than I did this day in Hue, fortunately we’d stocked up on two litre bottles of water the previous night so we were at least refreshed.
Entrance to the city is 150,000 vnd, approximately 5 pounds each. It was described to us as the place in Hue not too miss, so the price is more than acceptable.
The walls surround a city built over 200 years ago and was home to Vietnamese emperors from 1802 to 1945. They buildings range from humble and proud in their architecture, standing as reminders of a time in Vietnam’s history usually overlooked by visitors.
It’s hard to picture that the city was once home to some of the most important individuals in Vietnam, but the site gives visitors the best impression of what it might have looked like.
The Imperial city was caught up in both the war against the french in the late 1940s and the Vietnam-American war of the 1960s/70s. Despite these periods of war and uncertainty, the city remains relatively intact; undoubtedly not much different that it would have looked two centuries ago.
One last walk around the bustling evening streets was all we had time for, with a flight to Hanoi beckoning in just over 36 hours we had a journey back to Da Nang airport the following day. Hue is a bit of a gem in all honestly, it has pretty much everything a city should have and much more. The journey north continued.