While working on our itinerary, we were really looking for other things to do and see in Vietnam that we could include on our list. In addition to some of the tourist attractions, we also love visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While working on the itinerary, we found two world heritages sites that we thought we could fit into our itinerary while in Vietnam. So after our trip in Ho Chi Minh, HUE here we come!
Things to remember before arriving in Vietnam
1. Change your USD to VND at the airport
2. Download XE exchange for easy conversion
3. WIFI is fast and free almost everywhere
4. Utilize Google walk and maps. Very helpful!
5. Ask the hotel to look for a Grab Taxi on your behalf rather than calling regular taxis.[ Cheaper and Fixed price]
6.Organize your tours with the hotel rather than the online operators. It’s way cheaper!
7. Coffee from Vietnam is the best pasalubong!
8. Be patient and polite when dealing with locals because of the difficulty in understanding the English language.
9. Tipping is expected but not excessive.
10. Arrive in Vietnam without expecting you will be scammed or ripped off. That happens everywhere to the unwary traveler!
And for those who are concerned about scamming, and the many comments found on the internet about scamming in Vietnam, in the 9 days that we spent touring the country, we never once experienced anyone, from taxi drivers to hotel service people who in any way attempted to scam us. In fact, we found that all those we came into contact with were helpful and honest. But as a basic rule, we are responsible for our own belongings and always do the necessary research before going to unfamiliar places.
Flying VietJet Airlines
Book your flights here: https://www.vietjetair.com
Coming from a 3 day visit in Ho Chi Minh, we booked a budget flight with VietJet Airline from HCM to Hue for USD 8.00, I guess I was just lucky when I checked but with that price, I was hooked and immediately booked a flight to Hue. However, with the packed itinerary, we only had 1 day to spend in Hue. We didn’t lose hope and we believed we could make it work and go to the most visited places in Hue even if we only had one day.
Since our flight was at night, we arrived in HUE close to midnight after some delays. But it was ok, we were not rushing that time instead we were very excited to explore the city the next day. Check-in was a breeze and the staff were very nice and generally it was a very smooth flight.
Riverside Villa Nam Phuong – Your Budget Hotel in Hue
Since we are in Hue for a short while, we decided to look for budget accommodation and we were so lucky to find the Riverside Villa Nam Phuong on Booking.com at a very good price. Including breakfast, we only paid an average of Php 600.00 per night. That was an amazing deal!
They organized a pick up from airport to the hotel at an extra costs and when we checked the room, it was huge! The bed was so comfortable, the breakfast was good and generally, you get more than what you paid for. The person in charge was always in touch with us making sure we were okay and not getting lost. They were also very good at arranging taxis, tours making everything a breeze while we were in Hue.
Dragon Boats of Hue
After breakfast, we started our tour by hopping on this beautifully decorated Dragon Boats that ply the Perfume River. As we entered it looked like the boatmen together with his family lived on the boat. A few minutes of waiting, they started the engine and off we went to our first destination. It was a slow cruise along the scenic river which we thoroughly enjoyed after our late night . It was so nice to just sit outside, enjoy the breeze, relax and just enjoy every moment.
Tip: Ask the Hotel/Hostel to organize the Dragon Boat tour for you.
Pagoda of the Celestial Lady (Thein Mu Pagoda)
One of the most visited tourist attractions in Hue is the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady. As our Dragon Boat drew nearer, you can already see how high this ancient structure is. This was also my first time to see a Pagoda in real life and I was so lucky to have seen one of the most beautiful Pagodas in Vietnam. Aside from the Pagoda, there is so much more to see when you walk further back. They have a nice collection of Bonsai’s at the back and we even saw a Monk who carefully wrapping wire onto this old Bonsai tree to train it into a specific shape.
Thich Quang Duc Blue Car
When I saw this car, I got goosebumps. I remember I watched this on TV when a Buddhist Monk Thic Quang Duc drove this car in Saigon, got out and burned himself in front of so many people on June 11, 1963 to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese. It was a brave thing to do and many others followed after this protest. Now, the car is one of the most visited relics here in the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady.
Hue Imperial City [ 150K VND/ Person]
For our final stop, our dragon boat dropped us off close to the World Heritage Site of Imperial City is found. We walked around the fortress and finally found the entrance. As we arrived, all I could say was it was huge. I felt like one day was never enough to explore the Imperial City. Because of limited time, we decided to visit one the most photographed spots which is Hue Imperial Palace. Founded under the Nguyen Dynasty, this beautiful palace has been damaged by numerous wars, especially a fierce battle between the American forces and the Vietcong during the Vietnam War, but the ongoing restoration is bringing back the Imperial City to its former glory.
We left the Imperial City towards our hotel at around lunchtime. A taxi was very easy to find all the way. We had a light snack while waiting for the driver that would take us to our next destination, DA NANG. If you have more time to spend in Vietnam, Hue is a great place for you to visit especially if you want to enjoy World Heritage Sites like me. The food was amazing, the people were very friendly and compared to the city, you will find Hue more laid back. A great place to relax and an opportunity to know more about the rich culture of Vietnam!
Since Hue is only few hours away from Da Nang , we wanted to make our trip more interesting by hiring a Private Car (HURA CARS) to take us to scenic places en route. It was an amazing experience and I’ll share our experience very soon.
If you want to see more of Hue, check out this video by Art Thomya Journey