After a relaxing time in Hoi An we boarded a bus for a 4ish hour journey to Hue - one of Vietnam's former capitals. This wasn't an ordinary bus - it was a sleeper bus and was awesome!
To be honest, nothing about Hue (pronounced Hway) really interested me to begin with but in the end was one of the best places we visited.
Why you ask? ...
The highlight was a motorbike tour throughout the areas surrounding Hue.
We visited Vietnam's answer to the colosseum where tigers and elephants were forced to dual
Had a go at making incense - the most challenging thing at this stop was saying that NO, I would not like to buy it!
went to a lookout over the perfume river
Visited a stunning palace and Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc (1847-1883), the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Constructed between 1864 and 1867, it was more of a pleasure garden than a tomb, and the Emperor Tu Duc used it as his second residence. The interesting thing is that it is not known if Tu Duc is actually buried here. No-one has yet discovered his burial site and the treasures that must lie within. Not as extensively damaged during the Vietnam War as Hue’s Citadel, Tu Duc's Tomb remains a significant reminder of the opulent lifestyles enjoyed by the Nguyen Dynasty emperors created by the king back in the day (blurb stolen from trip itinerary notes).
The grounds and buildings did look beautiful but we were told we were being left to our own devices for an hour here. I think our whole group grimaced. By this stage we had visited so many temples, palaces and pagodas we really didn't need that much time! I think we were done in 20 minutes but luckily our tour leader was waiting patiently so we continued on our bike tour.
We also had a quick stop at the citadel - and the most interesting thing here was local young boys playing soccer.
What was both exhilarating and a little frightening was taking on the afternoon peak hour traffic of Hue. Unfortunately none photos that were taken could do this trip justice! Especially cos my driver was a dud and we arrived back at our hotel last. So much for an adrenalin filled ride. More like a leisurely Sunday drive (if they have those in Vietnam!)
The next day we went on a cruise up the Perfume river and visited yet another temple - the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Late that afternoon we prepared for another overnight train ride - destination Hanoi. Before getting on the train Pat and I ordered some local food. His was supposed to be chicken and rice. It CERTAINLY wasn't chicken. This plate came out with a whole bird on it - I honestly couldn't look at it. I still wonder what it was and kind of wish we had got a photo.
Anyway, till next time
Over and Out