After a little break from last year’s southeast Asia trip to write about the Great Wall it’s time to resume with Hue. We took our first ever overnight train from Hanoi down to Hue, the train was really nice and it all went smoothly. Sharing a room with an annoying American couple wasn’t ideal, I’d have preferred Vietnamese roommates, but overall it went well. Travel and accommodation rolled into one is a winner every time!
We joined a tour to see the main attractions in Hue, it turns out that Hue has a long history. It’d been the home of Emperors and had its own Forbidden City where only the most important people were allowed enter. I liked the buildings we saw throughout the day, they were fit for a Ki… Emperor. Despite loving history hearing of Emperors that were around a very long time ago doesn’t really interest me if I am being honest. The tour guide explained that parts had been destroyed during the war in the 1960s, the US and Viet Cong soldiers fought hard in Hue. If I remember right I think the battles actually destroyed some of the historic buildings, sadly. This is more my kind of history, throughout our time in Vietnam I was keen to learn about the impact of the war that’s associated with the country so much.
During the tour we stopped to watch a show by local kids who had had some bad luck in life and found a career path performing traditional martial arts. Beforehand I was not expecting much, I was all set to roll my eyes and sigh but it turned out to be really entertaining. To someone who knows absolutely nothing they looked like the real deal, one guy did the classic ‘break something with a karate chop’ act. Needless to say I was left impressed!
It’s common for tours in Asia to take you around shops so you can buy goods, the locals wan the tourists’ money – of course. So it’s arranged that we get off the bus and look around, the one in Hue was probably the most interesting. We saw women making incense sticks and the famous ‘Non la’, the straw hats that are everywhere in Vietnam. I really wanted one as a souvenir, I don’t know why I didn’t buy one there when I could see a woman making them by hand. I guess I didn’t want to be that tourist who falls for the trap of buying something whilst on a tour. I ended up buying one anyway from a shop, probably for more money and made by a machine.
Overall Hue was a nice little city, nowhere near as chaotic as Hanoi to the north and Ho Chi Minh to the south. It’s not a must visit place but it’s worth a couple of days in you’re ever touring Vietnam/southeast Asia.