Huế, Vietnam

Hue (pronounced “hway”) is the former imperial capital of Vietnam, located in the centre of the country. Hue’s proximity to the north/south border left it vulnerable during the Vietnamese War, and as a consequence a lot of the city was bombed and destroyed during this period. This is particularly sad as Hue boasts some beautiful and traditional architecture including it’s grand, walled citadel, the tomb of Minh Manh and the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Our time in Hue was short and sweet, but enough to sample some of the city’s treasures. As our final destination in central Vietnam, and weary from travelling through the Hai Van pass from Hoi An, so we elected to relax and do some sight seeing before our night coach back to Hanoi. We spent our two days in Hue simply walking and taking in the everyday life of its residents (as well as ducking into air conned buildings as frequently as possible seeing as temperatures reached 40 degrees!) but concluded that Hue’s not especially cut out for foreign visitors (in comparison to Hoi An and Da Nang). We met people who had maxxed out on seeing all of the sights in Hue, but we felt some of these were a little overpriced and similar to other temples and pagodas we had already visited. For example the citadel costs 150,000 dong (£4.50/$7) but a lot of what you see are reconstructions, which we felt would taint the experience slightly.

There were plenty of choices when it came to places to stay, but we opted to stay in a budget hotel called the Ngoc Binh Hotel. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the room (for merely £5 per night) and still to this day I maintain that it was the most comfortable mattress I’ve slept on in Vietnam! When it comes to dining out you certainly aren’t limited either: there are streets full of local and international cuisines. I highly recommend that you eat at Ganesha, who filled our hungry bellies with delicious, authentic Indian food at a very reasonable price!

All in all Hue is a great stop over and a pleasant city to visit. I wouldn’t rush back again to Hue, but still only look back on my stay with fond memories.

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