Trip Start Mar 09, 2008
43Trip End Dec 10, 2008
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Actual day in Hue, April 9th
More about the sleeper bus....We have taken it four times and if we were to do it again we would definitly take the train, at least you might get some sleep and it takes about the same amount of time. The speed limits on the roads in Vietnam are low and I believe a bus can only go 60 - 70 km\hour max. Basically a sign shows a bunch of pictures of different vehicles; motocycles, cars, minibuses, buses, larger buses, and trucks all have different speed limits. Weird. Long story short, to go 400 km takes 7-9 hours. The conditions of the roads themselves are bad, super bumpy and curvy. Not to mention almost being thrown out of your bed everytime we went over a bridge. Guess they do not belive in a smooth ride at all!
The first bus from Hanoi to Hue had vinyl seats, icky and sticky and was the only one with five beds along the back. We luckily met in the back of the bus with 3 others from Germany that were on the boat with us in Halong Bay. Crazy !!! What a small world. With the five beds together it really felt like you had more space to sleep, the other trips were with single beds seperated by an asile and were made for asian people if you get my drift. At least they had cloth beds. The bus would also make "dinner" stops at road side resturants at 3 in the morning, shouldn't we be sleeping ? Most likely the resturant is owned by the bus company in some way or another. One resturant has to be mentioned for its bathrooms! Kylie's experience will probably stay with her for the rest of her life. She walked into the bathroom and there was 7 stalls all of which were busy. When the first stall came availible she looked in and it looked like a closet rather than a bathroom. No toilet! No hole! No water! The next stall.....same thing!! Just imagine a naughty little puppy peeing on the kitchen floor, that was Kylie !!! Thank god for shoes.
Hue was really nice and we were recommended a guest house by an older couple from Montreal that we also met on the boat. It was a great hotel, 7$ US a night and although our window looked directly at a brick wall 3 feet away the hotel manager (named Thang) had posted up some outdoor scenery on the wall, what a great idea and not duplicated in any other of the rooms we stayed with similar facing woindows !
Hue was very hot, and we seemed to do a lot of walking around in the sun !! Pretty normal though for us! Along the Perfume River are walkways and a seawall, big hotels and resturants, even a Casino "for foreigners" what ever that means, we didn't try our luck inside. The people were very nice and not overly aggressive for business like other cities in Vietnam that we visited. We took a half day DMZ (demilitarized zone) tour that included the Vihn Moc Tunnels. The tour wasn't expensive and included breakfast. It cost about 15$ each and although the full day tour wasn't much more, we were only interested in the tunnels. It was a good thing too because after 30 years, basically all of the US bases are gone, and completely unrecognizable, either overgrown with trees or houses are built there. The 2 bases were saw before the tunnels we actually just drove by and the tour lady just pointed at them out the window. Bomb craters in the fields are now fish ponds, and although there must have been thousands, few are recognizable today. We did stop at a monument for an NVA communication battallion that occupied part of an old base. We got some neat photos. It totally makes sense that the US bases are gone and forgotten, they did lose the war after all, but I bet the Vietnamese are kicking themselves for the loss of the tourism.
The Vinh Moc Tunnels were really neat and although they were just civilian tunnels, it showed some really cool things. They were 28 meters deep at the deepest sections with rooms that held 4-5 people per family no larger than a hall bathroom ! A maternity ward that birthed 17 people, 16 of which still live in the same village. WOW. We got some good photos.
Thang (hotel manager) took us to the beach (4$ on his moto) on a wild 30-40 minute ride on the back of his scooter! The beach was beautiful and totally unspoiled by modern development! Soft, powdery white sand, and warm clean water to swim in !! Just Great !! We drank beers and ate grilled prawns and squid about 10 feet from the water.
Hue was very layed back and would definitely be cool to visit again! They have a lot of festivals and it would be good to time one in during a visit.