Day trip to Hue from Hoi An
When researching where to visit in Hoi An, Hue came up a number of times. However, we didn’t quite have enough time to fit it into our itinerary. So we did the next best thing and went on a day trip to Hue from Hoi An! Yes, it is a long day but you get to see the main sights and experience part of Hue. We had no regrets and would recommend it for those wanting to see Hue.
We booked our day trip to Hue from Hoi An through our hotel which was only $45. The tour is run by VM Travel but you need to book through participating hotels to get the discounted price of $45. We were picked up from our hotel at 7am by our tour guide Khoa in a minivan. It was great that there were only 10 of us, as it made the trip more intimate.
Marble Mountains and the Hai Van Pass
At 8am, we had a short stop off at Marble Mountain where the marble is carved to create buddha statues. Such intricate and amazing work!
We proceeded to drive past Da Nang and over the dragon bridge, which was pretty cool (no photo opportunities sadly). By 9am, we were travelling on the Hai Van Pass, which is considered one of the best coastal roads in the world. It is 22km long and 500m above the sea level. We stopped for 5-10 minutes at the view point which was pretty outstanding (even when cloudy!).
Khai Dinh Tomb
We arrived in Hue around 11am and our first stop was the Khai Dinh Tomb. A monarchy ruled in Vietnam between 1802-1945 which was replaced by the Communist Party after WW2.
The tomb was designed by Emperor Khai Dinh who chose to build it using concrete and wrought iron giving it the dark and grey effect. It was built on the side of a mountain and you must climb 127 steps to reach the inner sanctum. It actually wasn’t finished when the King died very young at 41 and his son (the last and 13th King) finished it.
This part of the tour was a little rushed – another 15-20 minutes exploring the tomb would have been perfect.
Thien Mu Pagoda
A short drive from the tomb is Thien Mu Pagoda which we reached at midday. It is Hue’s largest pagoda and is the centre for Buddhism in Hue which includes a meditation house for worshipping. At 3.30 am every day, all Buddhist monks meditate and practice a type of tai chi outside.
The pagoda includes the car driven by Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, who burnt himself to death in 1963 to protest persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government who didn’t support the religion.
Dragon Boat down the Perfume River and Lunch
At 12.30, we rode down the perfume river (it used to have many flowers by the river that smelt like perfume) by Dragon Boat. There wasn’t much to see along the river but it took us to a local restaurant for lunch to experience Hue style dishes (included in the price of the tour). There was a set menu which we shared and the spring rolls were some of best I have had!
After lunch, we drove to Hue’s main attraction, the Imperial Citadel. The war destroyed some parts of the citadel but reconstruction still goes on today. Surrounded by two rivers and brick walls, it took from 1804 to 1833 to build and is divided into several quarters for different functions.
From 1802 to 1945, Vietnam was ruled by the Nguyen Dynasty monarchy whose capital city was Hue. The Citadel is a large complex where the previous Emperors would have lived and conducted all their affairs (business and personal!).
We spent almost 2 hours wandering around the Citadel with guidance from Khoa and visited tombs, dining rooms, gardens and more!
We left Hue at 16.30 and arrived back at our hotel in Hoi An at 19.30.
Our day trip from Hue to Hoi An was so reasonably priced for the 12 hour tour. It was slightly rushed in parts due to the times but we had more than sufficient time at the Citadel, which was the most important part to see for me.
East London Girl: Day trip to Hue from Hoi An
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