We had wanted to get the train. We’d enjoyed travelling by train in Sri Lanka so much and the prospect of an overnight train from Hanoi to Hue (pronounced “Hway” which I realise undermines my witty title pun immediately but I couldn’t resist) has far more romance than the bus. But it was sold out and unless we wanted to spend another night in Hanoi, it was our only option.
Full of a mixture of trepidation and excitement (I was excited, Julie not so much) we loaded up with supplies: peanut M&Ms, water, haribo, the latest series of Narcos & Mr Robot, ear plugs, 3 bags of crisps and some Nytol to ease us to sleep.
At least if the Nytol didn’t work we’d be good for a midnight snack.
We got on the bus around 8pm due to arrive in Hue 12 hours later. To be fair, as soon as we got on it we were pleasantly surprised. It had a toilet, wifi and is decked out in reclining sleeper beds along both windows and through the centre aisle. They are arranged in two decks, we opted for the lower one.
The seats are pretty comfortable and you slot your legs into a box under the seat in front. Its better than sleeping in Economy on a long haul flight.
We settled in, watch a few episodes (some of which got pretty raunchy which always provides an awkward moment as you can tell the person next to you is viewing your screen over your shoulder) and took a Nytol. It wasn’t long before we were asleep and then waking up to sunrise just outside Hue.
During our journey I updated a sleeper bus expert I know back home. Oliver Hughes confirmed that it certainly looked better than the infamous MegaBus Gold and expressed horror that a country such as Vietnam could get something so right that we get so wrong.
And it’s with Oliver’s official approval that I can definitely recommend getting the night bus in Vietnam. That is until we get a shit one as I’ve heard they can be a bit hit and miss…
Anyway, we arrived in Hue and stayed at the Four Seasons. Well it is our honeymoon after all and nothing but the best for Julie…they even gave us a cake.
Overall though, Hue was a bit of a let down. The city is divided by the Perfume River. We took a dragon boat down the river to visit the Thien Mu pagoda and then be dropped at the Citadel. The boat was owned by an old couple who seemed to live on it as well.
Check out Julie making friends.
The river is anything but perfumed. In fact the only aroma that was present was that of human faeces as we saw three people taking a dump during our 20 minute journey. Now one of these we encountered on foot. I’m not being funny, but she could have waited until we’d walked past. In fact it seemed like she had perfectly timed her passing to coincide with ours.
To be honest, these were the main sights (apart from the Google Hotel) but I thought it inappropriate to take a picture so you’ll have to imagine your own.
The pagoda is nice to be fair and we spent some time walking around its peaceful surroundings before we headed off to the citadel which is located on the north bank of the river and houses over half of the cities population. It was pretty, but not much more than that. It is nice to see an almost European landscape blended with Vietnamese style.
We’d planned to stay a couple of nights but changed our plans and jumped in a car the next day to Hoi An, a beach-side city about 3 hours away.
If you get the chance to visit Hue, maybe take the time to visit the surrounding areas which is full of tombs and more pagodas as I wouldn’t say the city itself has more than a day to offer.