From the second I landed in Hue, I loved it. I’ll attempt to put into words why but you know sometimes you just go somewhere and get a good feel about it? Well it’s one of those. Yes the streets are crowded like Hoi An but there’s still a feeling of space. On the short walk from the bus to the hotel I caught glimpses of art shops, with local painters with their own spaces displaying huge brightly coloured oil prints.
Like so many asian cities it really comes alive at night, even more so at this time of year as it’s Half Moon celebrations (festivals follow the Chinese lunar calendar). Local kids dance around the streets in yellow and red dragon outfits, they run into shops and restaurants, play tambourines and fill places up with laughter. They do bridges so much better out here, they’re lit beautifully at night often in different colours making them spectacular.
A group of us headed to the night market with the aim to try the street foods. We pulled up a few stools at a popular pop-up restaurant and ate grilled frog (I blocked thoughts of my pet albino frogs back home out of my head) and yes it does taste like chicken. The beef wrapped in Lolot leaves didn’t taste a great deal like beef but it was succulent, seasoned with lemon grass and delicious.
During the day there are so many trips and if I’d been staying longer I could have filled my days easily with the DMZ tour (demilitarised zone), the Citadel, the beach and lots more. We chose to do a dragon boat trip down the Perfume River, which stopped off at lots of historical sites, most of which were really beautiful. The Khai Dinh Tomb is a must see. Once you make it to the top of the steps you enter a building with some of the most stunning intricate art coating the walls. Ceramic patterns and designs adorn every inch of the interior.
I watched incense sticks being made by a local lady and sugar cane juice strained to make juice in one of the stops. The perfume river is clean with lush green landscape either side.
I’m learning fast that the places that don’t seem to inspire others turn out to be my favourite places and vice versa. I’d have skipped Hue if I’d listened to fellow travellers but thank God I didn’t!