Flight to Hue took 1 hour from Hanoi. Vietnam airlines are a efficient airline. Planes are nice and comfy. Had a moment while trying to land as mountains either side of air strip. Had to suddenly climb and circle around again. 2nd attempt good.
I must say Vietnam airports have got it right. They do not allow taxi touts near the exit doors at the terminal. They have to stay back a bit in the carpark. You can still hear them yelling out to you, but they are not in your face.
While hubby was waiting for luggage I looked for the shuttle bus ticket counter. Located just near the exit doors. 45,000 dong ($2) each for the ½ hour trip into town. Nice buses that drop you at your hotel.
We booked the Hong Thien 1 hotel. Purely based on the great reviews about the staff and of course the location. Any hotel that the reviews rave about how good the staff, is the hotel we want. Hotel does not have a road frontage, you need to walk down a short alley. No problems as footpath is good. Rooms are huge, spotless and balcony facing the river is an added bonus. When asked how my bed was I told them it was a bit too hard for me. When we returned to our room, We had 2 foam pieces on top of the mattress. Much better for my sore back. Everytime we returned to hotel, not only did we get a wonderful greeting, but a plate of cold sliced watermelon. (my favourite)
Will do a separate review of hotel, also raving about how great the staff are.
Couldnt believe how lucky we were to get our first two hotels in Vietnam with such wonderful staff. (Our luck was about to change in our next destinations).
Went looking for Mandarin Cafe as mentioned here on the forum. The tour that we ended up doing (pretty standard one) cost A$80 with driver and guide. A$55 with just driver. You can do a coach tour that starts at 8.30 and finishes at 5.30pm for A$9 each. Our tour ended up taking 4 ½ hours with a private driver. We ended up using the hotels driver as they charged A$40. With all the tours the entrance costs was not included in the price of the tour.
We went looking for little Italy for dinner as it had been recommended to us. But came across Hot Tuna first which had also been recommended. Garlic bread 25,000, beef steak with salad 85,000, satay beef & sauce with boiled rice 65,000, mixed fried rice 55,000, 2 cokes 30,000. Total for the two of us 260,000. Fantastic meal.
Walked towards the bridge on the river that lights up at night with different colours. Very pretty.
Sat down on the river front and did some people watching, until we were so hassled by people trying to sell us their stuff. Found a shop that had fixed marked prices. Started to rain, so headed back to the hotel. But.... stopped in at Hot Tuna for a banana pancake with chocolate sauce and ice cream 25,000. Fresh lemon juice 15,000. Everything is always served so sweet, so I have now learnt to ask for only a little choc sauce, and no sugar in my lemon drink. Much better.
Hue had a magnificent Thunder and Lightening Storm that night. Sat on our balcony watching it.
I must admit that we both loved Hue, its small and not much to do regarding touring, so 2 or 3 nights is enough. But I think we could have stayed here just because we felt so comfortable.
Hotel car picked us up at 9.30am
First stop Khai Dinh Tomb. Entrance fee 80,000 each. Very impressive but the steps up to it were a killer.
Tu Duc Tomb. Entrance fee 80,000 each. Wives tombs. Ok. Plenty of shops outside the entrance, but every shop sold the same thing as the next one.
Village, that you can see them make incence sticks & the cone hats. Interesting until they put the hard sell on you.
Old Citadel – Imperial Palace. Entrance fee 80,000 each. After you buy your tickets go to the building you see straight in front you. You can sit down and watch a documentary on the history and how the buildings were contructed and what they were used for. Very interesting.
Hubby was not feeling very well at this stage so we decided to hire an electric car to take us over the compound. (120,000 dong for the smaller one, 150,000 dong for the larger one). Took us over ½ to cover the compound and see how massive it is. But really you don’t need to do this as what you see in the front is the most impressive stuff.
We decided to go for a quick look at the
Thien Mu Pagoda (entrance is free) as it was close by and head back to hotel as hubby was not getting better. But once down by the river and the fresh air, he rested and started to recover.
He is used to extreme temperatures as he works in the mines in the North West of West Aust, but he still thinks it was the heat and humidity within the compound that made him feel so ill.
A trip on a old fishing boat back to town from the Pagoda was included in our $40. This trip took ½ hour. I was very annoyed with the lady on the boat as she constantly bought stuff out for us to buy. We stated clearly that we were simply not interested, but this didn’t stop her. I don’t like being rude, but we both stood at the front of the boat with our backs to her and she finally gave up.
Later on in the day we caught a metered taxi (30 /40,000 dong) to the markets on the other side of the river. They had the most beautiful flower arrangements out front. The flower lady told us that they were in fact funeral wreaths.
Do not waste your time going to these markets indoors. I did not feel safe as there is no electricity in the building. It was quite dark, only the front shops had a bit of daylight reaching them. Also one woman followed us around from stall to stall in case we dared to buy anything at one of these other stalls. We just walked out. Not worth the hassle.
There is a shopping centre just next door, with fixed marked prices.
Dinner at Hot Tuna again. Another fantastic meal.
We are off to Hoi An tomorrow morning via the Hai Van Pass. Hotel car is costing A$60 for the 5 or 6 hour trip.
This will be my next JBR