An early start and a 4 hour bus ride later, we reached Hue. We stopped along the way at a place (I can’t remember the name!) with mountains to trek and caves to explore. We were only stopping, so didn’t trek very much, just a one hour walk up a steep hill to see some of the caves.
Once in Hue, our guide took us to a cafe called Lac Thien which is run by a deaf, mute family and has been mentioned in Lonely Planet. The cafe’s appearance isn’t particularly appealing but the family are extremely welcoming and the food was good too. The restaurant’s walls are covered in hundreds of scribbles of the signatures of all the different travellers who have been there before. We were all handed marker pens and encouraged to do the same!
We were also all given a ‘bottle opener’ before we left – a piece of wood with a screw in one end. On the wood, the name of the restaurant and the date was written. The owner likes to do this for all visitors and then encourages people to take funny photos of their bottle opener all over the world! He took great pleasure in getting out a photo album of previous visitors and postcards sent from all over the world. Top pic from here.
In the afternoon we visited the Purple Forbidden City. Built for the Nguyen Dynasty, the entire city is surrounded by a 10km moat and 10 gates and is meant to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing. The city is laid out so that there is a citadel within a citadel within a citadel. The Forbidden City has gone through many hardships, with a handful of the structures being restored already. It’s worth a visit if you are in Hue, but we weren’t overly blown away and we were quite tired at this point after the lack of sleep on the train, so we didn’t stay very long!
The next morning we were up early for another motorbike tour! This one took us around the beautiful Hue countryside, alongside paddy fields, up a mountain with view of the Perfume River, to an old coliseum, and to a place where we could watch a girl making incense. Again, we were taken at top speed through winding roads and through tiny villages, and even through some woods!
Hue’s countryside is beautiful and I can’t wait to explore more on my next visit in November 2016!
Next stop on the tour was Halong Bay.