Hue Do You Think You Are?

The town of Hue, is less than 100km from Dong Ha and the DMZ Cafe, lucky for us, sits right next to the local bus station where buses for Hue head out every few minutes. Unlucky for us, we are not Vietnamese, so its impossible to get a regular price bus ticket. Instead of paying money to the bus station attendants, we chose to forfeit our "comission" to the guys at the DMZ Cafe, who walk next door, purchase the tickets for us, and charge us for this "service".

After about an hour of driving in our minibus, we pass a sign indicating that Hue is 22km away, then a few minutes later we pull into a minibus station and we are told that we have arrived in Hue. Having seen the trailblazer (and not having eaten yet) I am not in a good mood and I refuse to exit the minibus. While this is happening the minibus is swarmed with motorbike drivers pointing at Yann and I, reserving the foreigners for an extortionate taxi drive to Hue. After the bus driver dangles my backpack over a puddle of water, I am forced to leap out of the bus and I refuse to deal with the motorbike drivers. Yann talks to them for a few minutes, he deduces that we are either 12km or 18km from Hue and asks me quasi-sarcastically if I want to walk. In a classic Emilie screws herself over moment I answer: "Oh yeah, we're walking.... (insert swear words here) ......".

So we're not actually sure if it was 12km or 18km but it did take us about 3 hours to finally get to our hotel in central Hue. We were only followed for motorbikes down the highway for about 45 minutes before they realised we weren't bluffing.

We really enjoyed Hue, the weather was terrible (cold and rainy for three straight days), so people didn't stay long or bypassed it completely. Most of the sites we visited were almost empty and the rain had taken the boldness out of the motorcycle drivers. On the second day we took a boat cruise down the Perfume River, halfway through we got bored, and after we were told we had to pay for our lunch (which was supposed to be included) we opted to abandon ship. At the next stop along the river bank we head back towards town by foot (a popular theme), only about 8km this time, and without the heavy bags.

Despite the fact that our backs and knees were aching a little bit from our stubborn walking adventures we left Hue in a great mood, knowing that we had saved, I don't know... maybe 4$. When I checked my bank records after leaving, I realised that the Vietnamese ATM machine in Hue had charged me 150$ for a withdrawal that didn't happen, so its a damn good thing we saved that four bucks.


2par4 said...
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Super-Mario said...


Payer 4 ou 5$ pour vous sauvez de trois heures de marche. Hum! Je crois que vous pouvez en tirer une bonne le├žon. Dans la vie il faut choisir nos batailles bien que se battre pour un principe c'est noble.



Margox said...

Bwaaahahaaa! Arif and I chuckled when we read this! We were debating whether to go to Hue or not since we really did not like Hoi An. We noticed that both of you put Hue in your top three, but when we read the report it doesn't sound that appealing! More like scam-city. But we thought perhaps it was the emptiness that appealed to you, and we think that now, like Hoi An, perhaps it is now overrun by tourists. So we decided to skip it and went straight to Hanoi. I have to say, though, on our current trip I have wished we were tougher with taxi/moto scamming - a few times we were just tired after a long ride and barely bargained, so we paid though the nose by Vietnamese standards! Shame on us!