Updated: Nov 13, 2022
Hue, (pronounced Hway), is located in central Vietnam. Home to the imperial citadel, Hue is a city bursting with history. Many attractions draw tourists to Hue, including the ancient sites, the pagodas, the perfume river and much more. I caught an overnight sleeper train to Hue from Hanoi, which took about 14 hours. You can purchase tickets to Hue or any other destination in Vietnam from 12goasia.
The Overnight Sleeper Train: Hanoi to Hue
My favourite part of going to Hue was travelling on the overnight train. I have slept on trains before accidentally but never have I been on board a train with a bed. I was so excited. I think this is one of my Vietnam highlights, (easily pleased eh).
At this point in my trip, I was still with some of the people I had toured the countryside with so luckily we got to share a cabin on the train. There were 2 bunk beds, so 4 beds in a cabin. I had read some horror stories about night trains online before boarding so my expectations were in the gutter, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The train was fairly clean as trains go, although I'm not quite sure if the linen gets changed regularly. I had also heard the night train would be freezing due to the AC. That was a lie. I wrapped up in many layers only to be roasting by the end of the night! It was absolutely baking! I'm not sure if the AC just wasn't working in my room but it was extremely warm.
Hanoi to Hue Overnight Sleeper Train Vlog
PS. I ran out of cream at some point hence why my skin is so dry. Most skin products in Vietnam contain lightening agents so obviously couldn't buy any of those!
After departing the train, I had a short ride to the ecolodge where I was staying for the night. Ecolodges are types of accommodation that are situated in nature, intended to make a low negative indent on the environment. So if you're looking for more of a sustainable trip then please opt for this type of lodging.
Hue Ecolodge was absolutely stunning. Outside the cabins were big leafy plants and fruit trees, I don't think picking the fruit is encouraged as you'll have to pay a fee. There was also an outdoor pool, restaurant, spa and bikes you could hire for free!
History is a big reason that tourists flock to Hue each year. Enclosed by massive ornate walls, the imperial city is the old imperial capital city of Vietnam.
I can admit my historical knowledge is disgustingly weak. One thing about Vietnam is that it is full of museums and preserved spots that are literally oozing with knowledge if you're looking for it. I did enjoy all the things I learnt thus far on the trip. I'm not sure if it was the rainy weather (although it was still hot) that dampened my mood or my tiredness but I didn't really enjoy my visit to the imperial city. I know some buildings had been damaged in the war but I was slightly sad that some structures were being torn down and reconstructed.
Most tourists love this place though so don't let me put you off. Explore for yourself and perhaps we'll have a difference of opinion.
Dong Ba Market + Co.opmart Hue
Dong Ba Market will give you an authentic taste of Vietnam. It acquired global fame in 2014 when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain tasted Bun Bo from a seller, giving it his stamp of approval. You'll find various other street food vendors here as well as other goods.
Literally, 2 minutes walk away you'll find a large supermarket called Co.opmart Hue. Inside the store, you'll find your typical groceries and household products as well as other western products. I enjoy going to these shops abroad just so I can compare the different sweets they have. There is a fast-food restaurant on the first floor serving Vietnamese cuisine and a burger store on the ground floor. You can actually order fried chicken and rice or fried prawns at most of these types of takeaways.
Hue City Centre
I'm not sure what this area is formally called, I'm just assuming it's the "town" or "city centre". A stone's throw away from the iconic Truongtien Bridge, here you'll find plenty of late-night eateries and bars. I went to a boutique gelato shop where they do ice cream art. Think animals, avengers, you name it they do it. I settled for a unicorn though.
"Yay or Nay"
It's a nay for me. Personally, I didn't really enjoy my time in Hue. Yes there is a wealth of history here and plenty to see but I can't put my finger on it, it just wasn't for me. Reconstructed historical sites just don't have the same appeal to me, although I do appreciate they were destroyed many years ago. The highlight of my time here was the overnight sleeper train, loved that! When I visit Vietnam I'll skip this leg of the tour and perhaps spend an extra night in nearby Hoi An or Danang.