27.03.2013 - 29.03.2013 32 °C
Our travel to Hue did not start well. We were up and ready to leave at 7.30am...but we never got picked up. After an angry conversation with the travel agents, who said they had come but we weren't there, we finally got booked onto the bus leaving early in the afternoon. So we spent the morning playing pool, reading and generally lazing around the hostel. Thankfully the driver did turn up in the afternoon, and we arrived in Hue by the evening. We had a little wander round, and then went for Indian food, needing a change from South East Asian cuisine after almost a month.
The next day we were up early again for our Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) tour. This was a 12 hour trip around the area North of Hue which marked the border between North and South Vietnam during the American war. We were picked up at 6am on the back of a motorbike and taken to a cafe for breakfast until 7.30am. This was a little frustrating as it was only a 2 minute walk from out hotel and we would both have preferred the time in bed! Eventually we were on the road heading North, in a very full bus. The tour included highlights of the Khe Sanh combat base and the Vinh Moc tunnels. Both of these were interesting, but on the whole we were a little disappointed by the tour as there was a lot of travelling (~9hrs on the bus) with not many sights to see along the way, and only 5 minutes stops at each to take photos. I'm sure even just being in the DMZ and at these places would have had more resonance for the members of our tour who were slightly older...one man on our tour was a US Vietnam veteran, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day.
Our second day in Hue was spent exploring the citadel, across the river from the main part of town. This included the Imperial City, where the Emperor used to rule from. The citadel reminded us of the Forbidden City in Beijing, but was far more run down - largely due to bombing in the war - with restoration work currently being carried out. Nevertheless it was interesting to walk round the remaining buildings. It was a particularly hot day though (around 34oC) so were suffering a little, but treated ourselves to our new favourite beverage, ice cold fresh sugar cane juice, and then had a big lunch, opting for Western food again.
At the end of the afternoon we hopped on to an overnight bus to travel North to Hanoi where we are now. We are off to the far North tonight to do some trekking and then onto Halong Bay after, so will update you on those adventures and Hanoi when we return. Sorry for the lack of photos (i.e. anything interesting to look at!), the camera cable is in Duncan's ruck sack which we have stored at the hotel in Hanoi for the week.