We spent most of yesterday travelling. After a final morning in Hoi An, including Vietnamese massage, we checked out of our rather disappointing hotel and hopped in a car to head to Hue.
We had decided to book a private car, rather than go on a bus so that we could stop off at the marble mountains and go over the Hai Van pass – which is supposed to be spectacular if the weather is good. You don’t see the pass with buses as they go through a tunnel which cuts through the mountains separating Danang and the area around Hue.
The marble mountains were ok. We climbed hundreds of stairs to get up and see a smalls selection of temples and caves. I find I’m rather underwhelmed by a lot of the vietnamese temples. A lot of them have been refurbished at some point which usually seems to include now dirty concrete and gaudy colours. Having been spoilt with the amazing temples in Japan, the vietnamese ones just dont measure up. (Except for My Son, but these are not technically vietnamese). The one thing that was definitely worth seeing was the temple set inside a large cave within the mountain. It still had some gaudy statues, but the scale and stillness if the place was humbling in a very eerie way. If it was trying to make you feel like the gods were in charge, it did its job.
After leaving the mountains, we headed for Hue. Unfortunately our driver didn’t get the message, or didn’t care, because we didn’t go over the pass and went through I the tunnel anyway. In the end this was probably a blessing in disguise. A) because the weather was pretty bad and we wouldn’t have seen anything anyway and b) because our driver was possibly the slowest on the road and we may never have got to Hue if we went over the pass.
When I say the weather wasn’t very good, that was probably a bit of an understatement. As we popped out the tunnel on the other side of the mountain, it was almost like we had been transported into another land. It was cold and wet and cloudy. We drove along the coast for much of the way, but you wouldn’t have known for most the trip, as you couldn’t see it.
We arrived in Hue about 3:45. Our hotel was comfy and had great service for somewhere that was $24 a night. We had a late lunch at a local restaurant and had a wander round. We booked a tour for the next day at the Cafe on Thu wheels as recommended by Adam and Cathy. We were also introduced to the local beer during the evening, ‘Huda’. Huda was going for about 9000 dong for a long neck, or about 45 cents. It was quite tasty too, even I drank it. We will miss Huda when we leave.