After some time in Hanoi I hopped on a plane to Hue, yes I took a plane because at that point I needed a break from night trains and long bus rides. The plane was maybe $30 with checked baggage and it would only take an hour rather than 4-6.
I arrived and got a taxi to my hostel. It was in a good area but it was on the most touristy street I had ever seen. It was like every backpacker hostel was on that street along with every Western restaurant and jacked-up priced boutiques and art galleries. It was a little much and I never felt like I experienced the real Hue.
Having no idea how to get to a more culturally inclined area and being told by my hostel staff that it would be a very long taxi ride I settled for some pasta at the hostel restaurant and a night in with netflix.
The next day I planned out my destinations, I really only had this one full day in Hue but was feeling quite tired from the previous week of travel, night trains and the lack of sleep because of those factors. I quickly realized that the things I wanted to see were really spaced out and I would need to pick the most interesting. I decided to go for the three closest ones which included the Imperial City, the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Dong Ba market.
The market was a bit of a let down, I just felt a little too pressured into buying something and a bit overwhelmed by the choices. Nothing was really unique and I just saw the same items I saw in Hanoi. After basically running away from a very pushy vendor, I flagged down a taxi and made my way to the Imperial City.
This place did not disappoint and I highly recommend it if you are planning to stop in Hue. Once inside the city you have the freedom to explore the grounds of the city which seemed endless.
While not exactly a city per say, it was more of a Versailles, in that it housed royalty but it was as if they had their own city within the city, an expansive land with multiple buildings, decorative hallways, and fish filled ponds. It was truly unique to any palaces or castles I had been in before.
After walking for a couple hours around the grounds, I took another taxi to the Thien Mu Pagoda. This seven-storey structure is affectionately known as the symbol of the city. It sits along the bank of the Perfume River and is the inspiration to folk-tales and prophecies.
After my afternoon of exploration, it was time to head back and repack my belongings. The next day I decided to hire a car service to take me to Hoi An, a journey of four hours, however I would get to ride along a road in Vietnam that is said to have the best views. Nothing like a little Vietnam road trip!