When so many backpackers told me 1 night gonna be enough in Hue, I spent 3 nights there and I pretty much understand why they not really into Hue – because they are young drunkard backpackers who travel half the world just to drink and get drunk, get lucky with local or another backpacker. Most of them told me “Hue is beautiful bla bla bla but yeah, 1 night is enough, nothing much there. No party. Boring…” But, nah… I like Hue. In fact, I love Hue the moment I stepped my foot there.
In Hue, I stayed in Hue Backpackers Hostel, the chain hostel of very popular Vietnam Backpacker Hostels. I stayed in 6-beds dormitory on the 1st floor, right above the reception, common area and the bar.
I remember back in (on the way to) Da Lat, Hannah told me that Bánh Bèo is originally from Hue. So the moment after I put my backpack in my room and I came to the reception counter and ask the receptionist on Bánh Bèo. She was so surprise because normally people ask her about tours, buses and such but I am the first person asking her about Bánh Bèo. LOL! So, she took a map, and direct me to the local Bánh Bèo place which is just less-than-5-minutes walk from the hostel. I was so happy! And it was so cheap as this restaurant is very old, no one speaks English (they have 6 items menu in English on the wall which you just need to point out what would you like to have), very “Vietnamese” rather than cosy stylish with for-tourists ambiance. You know what I mean?
For a tray of 15s Bánh Bèo, it only cost 25,000 VND. That is like what? USD$1.20? They also have another type of foods that also base on the Bánh Bèo batter which I couldn’t remember the name. All items cost only 12,000 VND each except for Bánh Bèo. Cheap and yummy! I kept coming back to them every day!
Since I am also very careful with the money that I have, I never really get around that much. On my 1st night in Hue, I didn’t really go anywhere. I just hang out with my new dorm mates – 3 young English guys – and went out for dinner with them in a restaurant about 100m from our hostel. Went to bed pretty early too.
All 4 of us woke up pretty early for breakfast as 3 of them left for Hoi An early in the morning and I gonna do some touring. For 200,000VND (USD$10), Mr. Hai, a motorcycle tour operator, brought me on back of his nice motorcycle around Hue for good 4 hours. He brought me to places like few pagodas, a local village, a hill where located bunkers during Vietnam-America war that facing the river, tombs and of course Citadel. I took lots of pictures, too! One of it exactly the same like John Joyce’s (my travel buddy back in Siem Reap & Thailand last year). We laugh at it.
2nd night, I just walked down the street by the river to the night market. Looking at people eating, drinking, haggling and all. It was a fun view.
On my 3rd day, nothing much. Just walk around the town. Took a cyclo in the afternoon to the Dong Ba market and well, guess what, I got harassed by the shoes/slippers vendor lady! I really wanna get myself a flip-flops but I am on budget so I ask her if she have anything cheap? She keep pointing at so-called expensive ones. Not only she tried to rip me off at point blank but worst, she has no size for me. I’m wearing size 45-46 and the biggest she has is 43. Of course I don’t wanna buy smaller flip-flops or sandals. Then she went all nuts, screaming, cursing and swearing at me. I just left and after few steps, I turned around and shouted back at her “you fucking stupid moron Vietnamese. Next time you wanna rip people off, at least make sure you have the thing that they want! Bloody hell motherfucker!”. And then one young boy hold my arm tightly and brought me away and he asked me to calm down. He brought me to another stall which finally I’d get a traditional beautiful bamboo flip-flops for only 60,000VND.
At night I went to a simple Japanese restaurant called “Japanese Restaurant”. The food was pretty alright although the restaurant doesn’t really have that normal or typical Japanese ambiance/vibe. Since it was raining, I call it a night early, again.
4th day, nothing much. Just walk on the other side of the town. Came back for my Bánh Bèo fix right before lunch time. And getting ready to continue my motorbike journey to the north. Gotta be in Hanoi soon!