Hué is unexpectedly huge, a city that truly never sleeps. It’s a massive change of pace from the wild Phong Nha. If you’re a fan of hustle, bustle & urban exploring, this is the place for you!
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Where to Hang Out in Hué
The Abandoned Waterpark –
Nothing like a bit of urban exploring to kick off this list! You’re not technically ‘allowed’ to be on the old property as it’s considered dangerous. There are guards who circle the grounds, making it a covert (and pretty fun) mission to get in! Playing hide and seek with the guards was one of the most fun parts, doing our best as a group of 6 to avoid capture. Our huge colourful raincoats certainly didn’t help with our stealthiness… We ended up getting caught and told off twice but eventually found another entrance which led to us getting in! The guards can be bribed (about 50,000 Dong per person) so don’t stress out if you don’t get in first time! The highlight of the waterpark is definitely the dragon slide/spiral in the centre of the lake. It’s covered in graffiti and looks super derelict! The dragon’s mouth provides some excellent photo opps so take risks and get snapping!
The Imperial City –
A vast piece of history within the otherwise modern Hué, this place rocks! A 30 minute walk from the center of Hué (where most hotels/restaurants are located). We recommend walking here as you get to explore the rest of the city on your way too! Our highlight of this excursion was learning just how old the city was & how beautiful the moats and surrounding buildings were. The informational videos are really insightful if you take the time to watch! Tickets are pricey to get in at 150,000 Dong (£5) per person for a non-guided tour. Prices go up to 400,000 per person though so avoid those unless you’re balling!
See a Movie at Lotte Cinema –
We bloody loved this! It felt like a slice of home while travelling but at a much cheaper price! No explanation needed really, everyone’s been to the movies before. Tickets are only £3 per person as opposed to like £10 or more at home. Hué doesn’t have a pumping nightlife compared to other cities, so this is a great way to spend an evening. Go and see a movie with your travel buddies like we did, we know you’ll have a blast!
Eat at The Nook Eatery –
Trust us, if you love great food, you need to try Nook out! They specialise in Western style wraps & sandwiches, we recommend a British classic in the chip butty! The falafel was amazing too though! A good selection of drinks are on offer & the Ginger and Lemon tea did not disappoint! Prices are cheap too at £3-5 per meal (100,000-150,000 Dong). The staff were all lovely too & really made the dining experience a joy! P.S. Don’t miss out on the Spiced Garlic Potatoes, you’ll be in carb heaven!
Attention Foodies! If you love food as much as us, check out our post on our 11 Top Food Spots in South-East Asia: https://maktravels.co.uk/2020/08/02/11-top-food-spots-in-south-east-asia/
Go Shopping at Big C –
This might just be a Mik thing to do, we spent hours in supermarkets because of him! This particular Big C supermarket in Hué is absolutely massive though with everything you could want. It makes it a great place to top up on any of your travel essentials like creams etc. The plethora of snacks on offer is what really sold it for us though. There’s a brand of French choc-chip muffins that come in a red box and they were our fave snack in all of Vietnam! We’re really sad we can’t remember the name!
Hai Van Pass –
Top Gear definitely lit the spark for a lot of people to do this route, although we know many people did it before that! Hai Van was one of the most exhilarating, scary & rewarding experiences we’ve ever done. It feels crazy to be driving such steep roads up mountains on a little moped but once you set off, you’ll love it! Be careful & don’t drive erratically as most Vietnamese drivers do that anyway (no need to fuel that fire). If you’re gonna drive from Hué to Hoi An like we did, you have the peak to look forward to around halfway in. This leaves one thing to do, park your bike and get some shots of the sheer beauty around you! We recommend using Motorvina Travel for this (https://motorvina.com/) as they really are the best at what they do! Reliable & cheap, we used them for all bike rentals around Vietnam. The best part about the trip from Hué to Hoi An was that they take all your bags on a truck to save you driving with them! Trust us and do it, it’s worth every second!
How to Get There
As with most of Vietnam, you can get around most of it on rental bikes. It’s also possible to buy a cheap bike in Vietnam and resell when you’re done as lots of travellers do. We opted to take buses all around though (bar from the journey from Hué to Hoi An) as they’re just so cheap. We can’t remember the exact price of the bus from Phong Nha to Hué but we know it was less than 300,000 Dong (£10) per person.
Was it Expensive?
Our experience in Hué was quite expensive as it was constantly raining so we ended up eating a lot more than usual. There are some INCREDIBLE food spots in Hué though: Café on Thu Wheels, Ganesh & The Nook Eatery. We definitely went overboard on treating ourselves in Hué which of course meant spending more than we normally would. Accommodation was really cheap though but there were some questionable hostels also so may be worth paying a little extra.
Our Perfect Itinerary
Evening 1: Arrive from Phong Nha at 6/7pm & grab some food near your hostel/check in. Have an early night and save yourselves for exploring tomorrow!
Day 1: Explore the Imperial City/walk around Hué to get a feel for it. Get late lunch at the AMAZING Nook Eatery then head to the Big C to get snacks for the evening. Evening 2: Go to the late night cinema or for drinks, whatever you don’t do now you can do tomorrow night!
Day 2: Rent bikes from somewhere in the city (Motorvina) and head to the Abandoned Waterpark for a full day out! Take some snacks or lunch with you as there’s nowhere to eat near the Waterpark. When you get back, book your bikes for the Hai Van Pass for tomorrow morning! Evening 3: Whatever you didn’t do last night, tonight is the opportunity! We’d say avoid drinking tonight tomorrow you’ll be doing the Hai Van Pass!
Morning 3: Grab some breakfast at your hostel then head to pick up your bikes for the Hai Van Pass! You’ll wanna set off early as it’s a long journey to Hoi An! Stop off opposite the Big C to get some petrol and snacks for the journey. Head off for the gorgeous Hoi An!
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Thanks so much for reading this! Let us know in the comments below if we missed anything out that changed your life in Hué!
Stay Safe & Much Love,
Matt & Mik
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