We boarded the bus to Hue and spent the night. The bus ride was quite long and didn’t have time to book online. Although, we researched earlier at which place to stay and luckily enough, the bus stopped nearby at the homestay.
The place is called Kim’s Homestay. It is very nice and happy enough to take us in, even though we don’t have a reservation. We were provided with fresh towels, lockers and a friendly little helper lady. She was helping the host by putting away empty plastic bottle into the bin. 🤗. Lodging cost around $5 (this seems to be quite cheaper rather than booking online, but risk of having the accommodation not available)
During the night, we walked up to the city centre and it was buzzing of local entertainment and street eateries to taste. There were selling dessert snacks of corn as well as refreshing ice cold drinks. Street food may usually cost up to 20k VND e.g. $1.10 AUD but can try to haggle perhaps around 10k. The local entertainment was pretty cool. We sat in the courtyard looking towards the river and seeing how locals take turn to sing with a band in the background. Its like karaoke but doing it in front of the live audience.
Walking back we had dinner at a nearby pho place and its delicious. They gave us a few little nibbles to digest and mix in with the soup. Such as quail eggs, pate, donut roll and the usual herbs and vegies. This was a good end for the night in Hue as we will have to head back to Da Nang in the following morning. Although, be aware that side dishes may accumulate the costs. Cost of Pho is $1.70
We then hired bicycles to get to places quicker and the sites to see in the next morning. I think we paid for $3.50 to hire for 24 hours.
We got up around 5am – putting on our ready clothes and sneakers and on we go to see the attractions of the famous Pagoda and the Imperial city. We took the bicycles that we hired last night and cycle along to the Pagoda. But first thing first, we hit an obstacle by trying to open the front gate. This took a solid 15 minutes to figure out how to open as we cant see any button to push nor it was locked. Getting frustrated I started to become hulk and slide the gate from the side. What the? This could’ve been done earlier but anyways we are outta here.
With limited amount of time we were racing against the clock and seeing a lot of people (old and young) doing its morning jog and even playing badminton. We were so amazed by the beauty of the landscapes of mixing of modern and natural beauty, we do sometimes get sidetracked when heading to its destination. But sometimes, there’s things along the way – a hidden charm that may captivate you and give you a sense why you’re travelling for.
Arriving at the Pagoda was nothing but spectacular. There’s a sense of a calming prescence when looking at this man-made structure and wonder the significance of its layers, the intricate designs of its edges and making want to eat dessert. This reminds me like a wedding cake, which I think we still have some left in the fridge since 2 years ago.
Whilst reading its history of the area, we realised we aint got time to spare. So we then hurried along to see the Imperial city. We went so fast, my wife crashed her bike on the loose pavement but amazingly, she recovered and powered through to our next destination. Upon entering through the gate, the guard asked us to park 100 metres away from the main entrance and require a parking fee of $1. The entrance fee into the Citadel is $6 (make sure to count money and give notes separately, as they may short change you ). Total number of steps so far – 10K
The Citadel is flocked by tourists but there’s plenty of space to roam around without having to get caught up by the Vietnamese touring crowd.
Wonderful sights to see, such as; an Eleplant, ginormous grass turtle and can even dress up back in the day to feel how it was being uncomfortable on a humid 35 degree celcius heat. It’s also built like a fortress. Similar to the forbidden city where common people are not allowed access. Only if they have wealth to enter.
Little did I know, the place has been roughend up by US cluster bombs, thinking the enemy have been residing in the area. Originally it was decided the US military wouldn’t touch it but it has laid ruins on the majority of the architecture and only 18 buildings has survived during the war.
Thankfully out of the war, a reconstruction has begun and re-developing the architecture how it once was.
Walking around a little bit over 1 and a helf hour, our knees are getting heavy, eyelids are starting to close shop and tummies are screaming in unison –
Where’s my food?
So up to this point, we started to head back until one of the security guards at the gates that there’s a one exit strategy to follow. We had to walk for more than 500 metres in order to walk around the front entrance and eventually reached to our bikes. There’s a cart to drive you by (requires payment) but its suggested to cycle through the main entry gate that can park close to the main entrance as there’s a one way traffic to enter and exit. The place itself is quite enormous and open, but there’s seem to be alot of ruins which I hope one day it will restore it’s majestic structures.
As we cycled along towards our homestay, we ate brekky in quicktime, grabbed our gear, cycled back to the rental place then took the taxi (10 minutes away for $2.50) to the train station in order to board the train back to Da Nang. For the train ticket, we get charged for $15 to use the soft seat.
Overall, total cost of this trip is around $30 pp. Experience rating would be 7.5 out of 10. Pokemons caught – nada.