It was time to move on from our days lazing around Nha Trang and we had been told the Train Journey up to Hue was a beautiful scenic stretch so we decided to give the Vietnamese trains a go. We caught a local bus for 45 minutes from Nha Trang to Danang (as there is no train station in Nha Trang) where they tried to charge us 3 times the normal rate – luckily we had been told the actual price and refused to pay any more. We arrived in Danag and checked into a hotel for the night where the fridge stunk of Duran, yuck! We then headed to the train station where we purchased our tickets to Hue for the following morning, feeling satisfied with our efforts of obtaining a ticket so easily we stopped in at a corner coffee shop where we enjoyed a few cups of delicious Vietnamese Drip Coffee.
That evening we headed out to find some local Vietnamese food for diner. We had noticed there wasn’t a lot of english around town but we had managed to get by … until now. We walked for 3 hours searching for somewhere to eat, we even got waved out of a restaurant at one point by the owner – guess they didn’t want us to eat there huh?! We just couldn’t find anywhere to eat; either the owner didn’t want us eating at their restaurants our we couldn’t read a single thing on the menu. It must be said that by now we have learnt the name of a few local dishes that we like but none of these were on any of the menus we looked at which made things ten times more difficult. In the end we found a place that was serving Chicken and Rice – it was cheap and absolutely delicious – luckily!
The following morning we were on the train to Hue and what a journey it was. The views along this stretch of coastline are absolutely beautiful and it was the perfect way to test out the train system which we loved and will now continues to use …. goodbye dodgy buses!
Upon arrival to Hue we checked in to Holiday Diamond Guesthouse and we couldn’t have been happier. Upon arrival we received an ice-cold lime juice and fruit platter. We walked into our room to find fresh rose petals on the bed and in the bathroom. We had another fresh fruit platter in our room and all of this including a buffet breakfast each morning for just $15 for the two of us!
We headed out that evening to again find some local food. We found a local restaurant and asked for the menu only to find again, no english. Whilst we were standing there a guy ran up explaining he spoke english and would be happy to help us. It turned out everything on the menu sounded terrible so we decided to skip that idea and just buy our new friend and his 2 mates he was out to dinner with a few beers. Next thing we know its 1am and we have been drinking beers and chatting with our new friends all night. They had also ordered a few local dishes over the course of the evening for us to try – one a dish using a local fruit which was delicious and another dish made from some kind of seafood like miniature pipi’s which you scooped onto a sesame cracker. To top it off as we left and paid the bill it only cost us $5 for the both of us for drinks and the local dishes the guys ordered – we insisted on paying more but they guys wouldn’t let us and insisted that we had paid our share – score!
As we made it back to our Guesthouse we were a little hungry as we hadn’t actually had a proper dinner so we asked the 3 guys on night-watch at our guesthouse where we could find an egg baguette …. they told us to sit and next thing we know they are whipping us up egg baguette at 1am free of charge!! We flicked them some cash of course and thanked them immensely in our drunken state before heading off to bed … oh what a night!
The following morning we met our new friend Trong from the evening before outside the same restaurant and he took us on a tour of his city. He showed us a Pagoda, Tombs and The City Citadel. We watched an awesome storm roll in from the City Citadel and decided to call it a day and head back to our guesthouse.
Upon arrival back at our Guesthouse we were again greeted with fresh fruit and lime juice – so good! Trong had told us to call him around 4:30 if we wanted to catch up again. When we called Trong said he wanted us to meet his family. We again met him at the restaurant and followed him on our scooter along the maze of Hue streets to his home. We met his beautiful wife and 2 daughters. Trong was an english teacher at the local university so it was really easy to communicate which was so fantastic. Trong’s wife then served dinner, we sat on the floor of their lounge-room and all enjoyed a meal together. The food was AMAZING!! After dinner we went out with Trong and his wife for a few beers before saying goodbye to our new friends as we were to be leaving the following day.
The next morning it was up early to checkout before heading to The Coffee Bee located just a few doors up from our Guesthouse down an alley. As we walked through the door the manager greeted us and showed us to a table. We ordered a couple of drip coffee’s and we can honestly say they were the strongest, most delicious yet! We even ordered another. The manager sat with us and told us how the Coffee Bee is a newly opened cafe and he then gave us a tour. There is an awesome chill-out area upstairs, downstairs if you sit by the windows you can hear the rush of water the floats around the small canal style feature they have. It is such a beautiful relaxing place and we were guttered we didn’t find it sooner. 2 coffee’s down, buzzing (literally) with caffeine and we were off to the Train station. Farewell Hue, see you again one day!
We must say it seems so many people fly through Hue and don’t stop for long enough to meet the people and experience the friendliness of this city. It is without doubt the friendliest place we have visited with everyone we interacted with wanting to help us so if you’re looking for a smaller town, lots of historic sites to visit and amazing locals – add Hue to your must visit list! And make sure you book The Holiday Diamond – you won’t be disappointed!