If you haven't been here before, this is the re-cap of our trip to Vietnam in April - we started in Hanoi, went to Halong Bay and after an overnight train journey we ended up in Hue! Also, it's worth noting that there are a ton of photos in this post - I couldn't choose!! Just in case you don't feel like looking at pictures!
In the train stations along the way the locals set up shops that are covered with sheets until the train comes in, then it's all go. I was a little intimidated by the cooked chickens hanging above some of the counter though...we gave those a miss!
After getting checked into our hotel we went for lunch at a local family's house. The lady was 95 years old - Vietnamese people seem to age extremely well! As we had discovered everywhere else, the food was amazing - there were spring rolls, jack fruit, pork & tofu, sweet & sour beef soup & stuffed tomatoes. And Huda, our new favourite beer!
Josh nailed it with the chopsticks!
After lunch we went on a 3 hour cyclo tour. I would highly recommend doing this - it's a great way to see a lot of the city up close & personal without being exhausted by the end! We visited the huge 24 hour markets where we saw as many fruit and veges as you can imagine as well as dried sea horses & starfish and a whole lot of other crazy & colourful things.
ALL THE WATERMELONS!!! So delicious!
Dragonfruit - the prettiest, but weirdest tasting fruit!
And enough chillis to last Josh & I infinity lifetimes!
We then cycled to Ho Chi Minh's house, had tea & our first brush with giant mosquitoes! As none of us were taking malaria medication we all went crazy covering up with the Deet! Even though malaria isn't a huge problem in Vietnam, the size of the mozzies was enough to make us a bit nervous! But the extreme cuteness of the teacups made up for it!
Next up was coffee overlooking the Perfume River before heading back to the hotel and out for dinner.
I ordered what I thought was going to be some variation of beef & noodles and ended up with an epic self-cooking hot pot that could have quite easily fed Josh & me. So tasty!!
We called into a bar called Brown Eyes on the way home and had a great time chatting with locals, playing pool and enjoying a few more Huda beers.
Day 2 in Hue was fantastic - we went on a motorbike tour! I was really skeptical as I'm not a huge fan of motorbikes but I am so glad I did it. The tour covered the coutryside museum where we met "Grasshopper" who at age 80 gave us a run down of how to hull rice, how they use machinery to move water into the rice paddies and how to rock a baby to sleep, sound effects and all!
We bypassed another market where we saw baby ducklings & the most precious little girl shelling beans! Josh is lucky we left her behind...seriously, I nearly brought her home with me!
The rest of the day took us through the Citadel, up to the Pagoda where young boys go to school before becoming monks, a boat ride down the Perfume River for lunch at a nunnery (the bikes met us there) and to the US Military Bunkers that gave us an incredible view of the Perfume River and the temple & tomb of the 3rd emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty.
Excuse Johnny Bravo in the background. But don't you LOVE my elephant pants??!!
Jack fruit trees!
The trip back was fast & furious! We sped through narrow alleyways, across highways and through the countryside - it was a total thrill! The bikers were speed demons but we all felt very safe.
After a quick drink, some of us headed up the road for a game of soccer against a few local kids. These are the things that make visiting countries like this so special. Also, the kids kicked our butts!
Hue is the one place we visited that I think we got more out of it because we were with a guide so I would recommend even if you are just visiting, trying to hire a local guide for the day. I certainly wouldn't have got on a motorbike with someone who didn't speak a word of English if it hadn't been organised for us and that ended up being one of the highlights for me!
That, and the breakfast buffet at our hotel!
Oh, and the drive down the coast!