23 hours bus ride? Sure sign us up. After expecting only a 16 hours bus ride, it actually took us 23, and bathroom was broken in the bus, so imagine the fun trip it was 🙂 but overall the bus had small beds instead of seats and was somewhat comfortable. We were able to sleep a bit and didn’t feel so tired as we expected.
Hue is a vibrant and relatively young city. During the war, Hue was heavily bombarded and destroyed. It was the division city between the north and south Vietnam during the era. It had a lot of history but today it’s filled with nice hotels, magnificent restaurants and plenty of bars.
During our long trip to Hue, we met 2 nice people, one from New Zealand and another from Malaysia. One of the best things of traveling is meeting people and creating new experiences. We all decided to take a car for the day and go explore all of the tombs, pagoda and the citadel. There are three tombs and one main pagoda with a lot of history that goes back to the chinese imperialism.
The first tomb is called the Royal Tombs, Khai Dinh. During the era of 1802 -1945, Vienam was ruled by the Nguyen Dynasty. As you walk in, you can see the statues of soldiers that protected the emperor and all buildings around it have dragon figures. Up in the main building, you will ll find a gold figure of the live emperor himself and the building is full of color and vivid. We wonder why they call it tombs as we were expecting something else but as mentioned by one of our new friends, they bodies remain somewhere around the property but really haven’t been able to find them.
We headed over the next tomb called Tu Duc, located in a narrow valley in Duong Xuan Thuong village. It is one of the most beautiful work of royal architecture of the Nguyen dynasty. The tomb and pagodas/temples are surrounded by pines forest and lakes, which make the area very green and beautiful. The tombs where the supposedly bodies remain was closed but nevertheless the visit was nice and relaxing, even with the heat.
Finally, we went to the Hue citadel (Imperial City). Being one of Vietnam’s seven Unesco World Heritage Sites and sitting in the middle of Hue, The Imperial City is a the major attraction. For 140 years (1805-1945), it was a walled fortress and palace belonged to the ancient city of Hue which was a capital city of Nguyen Dynasty. Unfortunately, it was almost completely destroyed during the war as Hue was in the division between north and south Vietnam. A quick 20 minute video is shown the history of the city. As we walked through it, there was not much to see, but what is left of it was really beautiful and decorated nicely. The few pictures here will show you around. We are glad to have been able to visit such a historic and important site of Vietnam.
The next day we spent it at the beach. There is a beach 15 km from hue which was supposed to be not that nice. We must say that it was worth the visit. We rented a motorbike and off we went. There was tons of beach chairs, restaurants and many places to relax. The beach was beautiful and different colors blue. We ate seafood and drank for under $10 dollars. Can’t beat that.
We left Hue super happy and relax to head to Hoi An. This beach city is suppose to have the most best beaches in whole Vietnam. We were more excited to have some more relaxing time. An easy 4 hour bus ride to Hoi An and a quick walk to the homestay and we were in paradise. The homestay was a 15 minute ride to the beach and 15 minutes to the old city. The beach was beautiful and it was full of bars and restaurants where you can have a drink and a beach chair for free. What better way to be by the beach, have a cold beer or mojito, and just relax.
The Hoi An ancient town is also a highlight. It is exceptionally well-preserved and an example of a south-east asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its building and streets reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign (chinese, french…), that have combined to produce a unique heritage site. In this area, there are hundreds of shops and restaurants. At night, we can see many lanterns and candles all around the river and the district. It comes from the tradition of the night of the full moon when Hoi An city switches off its lights and closes the motorized traffic on the 14th of every lunar month. For the locals, it is the time to honor their ancestors. Fruits, flowers, candles and other gifts are given in exchange of good luck and prosperity.
The days after, we did some yoga with Hoi An Yoga which is highly recommended. It is taught by an expat from England who has lived here for over 4 years. We also took part of a cooking class. Many restaurants offer cooking classes in Hoi An but make sure to pick the right one. It has become a kind of trend to offer such a class and not all of them are good. We did it with OM restaurant (One Moment Restaurant). They took us in the vegetables plantations and local market before starting to cook! It has been a great experience to get to know the ingredient of local food. The recipes are actually quite easy and we will share them with you asap.
We really enjoyed our stay in central Vietnam and must say it was highlight of the visit to the country. Now we are heading Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
Enjoy the pics and tell is what you think ! 🙂
Besos a todos
Our accommodation in Hue has been one of the best hotel we have experienced. The service is 5 star for a very affordable price! Have a look at the four seasons hotel, city center of Hue.
Try to book a car to visit the 3-4 sites to visit around Hue as it can be tricky to find the places on motorbike. However, we advise to rent a motorbike to visit the nearby beaches, the cost per day is approx 6$.
The homestay we stayed at in Hoi An was fantastic too! Spacious and clean room, for 18$ a night. It was the Quynh Nhan Homestay.
On Hoi An beach, go to “La Plage”. It is very quite and no need to rent a bicycle spot ! (just ignore people at the entrance of the road..)