Our first adventures in Hue started with a visit to the Royal Tomb of Tu Doc, a ridiculous thing to do in the scorching hot June afternoons. Our tour was supposed to go to another tomb but we opted for Tu Doc as it has a lot more shade. Even with the shade the heat was crazy. The gardens were beautiful. The kids enjoyed the sculpture, the twisting paths to run on and lotus ponds.
Whoever made the pavers obviously had a dog as all throughout the complex the paving stones had dog footprints preserved in them. To two young children these prints were dinosaur footprints and we had to follow them in an expedition to find more evidence that dinosaurs recently lived in Vietname!
Out of all the tombs in Hue this is supposed to be the most interesting, not because of the tomb and sculptures (there are other more magnificent tombs) but because of the life of the poet emperor and his failure to produce an heir (or any children at all), even after taking over 100 wives. While the gardens are elaborate, the tomb itself is quite modest. Apparently this was at the Emperor’s request as he was so upset at his failure to produce an heir that he didn’t want a huge memorial to celebrate his life.
On the way to the tomb we stopped at a ridiculously overpriced restaurant that our guide had promised us was only 40-50000 dong per meal. After three tours in a row that have landed us in restaurants where only the cheapest soup was in the price range we requested we’re started to get a little jaded with our tour guides attempts to constantly take us to his friends.
Our hotel in Hue, the Romance Hotel was brand new and had huge rooms. We only had one night in Hue but made good use of the hotel’s roof top swimming pool. The view from the roof was spectacular as it’s one of the tallest buildings in the area, next to a stadium and close to the rivers. A pleasant place to watch the afternoon storms roll in and hope for rain to cool things down.
Unfortunately it only rained for 5 minutes but it was enough to make the temperature pleasant enough to explore the riverfront.We walked along the river watching the sunset, getting hassled every step to buy something before they finally realised we were just there to enjoy the view.
Unfortunately for Colin and Wilson our attempts to find a pub that had the Australia Network to watch the rugby were unsuccessful. We had this channel in Hoi An but no where in Hue seemed to have it so eventually we gave up and enjoyed the sunset. The waterfront with everyone enjoying the park and the intricate boats in Hue is just stunning. Out of all the cities we visited in Vietnam, Hue was my favourite.
On our second day in Hue we visited the Royal Palace and forbidden city. If it wasn’t so hot this would be a very pretty place to explore for a few hours. There’s plenty of space for the kids to run around, feed fish and enjoy ice creams under the trees. We only stayed there 30 minutes before heading back to the relative cool of the car.
Hue was a beautiful, compact city and we’d love to visit it again in winter. In case you haven’t guessed from our posts, June is not the time to visit Vietnam with young kids. We’re not enjoying Vietnam as much as we’d hoped we would because of the heat, which is a shame because I get the feeling that if it wasn’t so hot places like Hue would come close to our favourite spots in Asia.