Hue is a fairly historically important city in Vietnam acting as the capital at one point but also given it’s proximity to the North, South DMZ was home to one of the more important battles in the Vietnam War so it should be interesting. The problem is, it’s a horrid place and in my experience should be avoided at all costs.
If you go down to Huế today…
… you are likely to be robbed.
I arrived in Huế on New Years day and stepping off the train meant we were immediately bombarded by taxi drivers and motorbike riders desperate to take us to their hotel. Whilst as it’s a common thing to happen, it was significantly worse here and just wasn’t pleasant. They just wouldn’t leave you be!
We eventually escaped and whilst checking our maps another bus pulls over to ask us if we have a hotel – when we explained we had a reservation (we didn’t but it’s a good way to get rid of people), he asked if he could act as a taxi so he could make a little money. Fair do’s – he even offered a reasonable price which was a nice surprise. It was trepidation we accepted his lift and didn’t take up his seating plan, but they played fair, dropped us off a the right place so no harm done.
So far, so mediocre.
At the hostel I spotted a few people I recognised from up in Hanoi so popped across to chat with them – it was then we were warned about the thieves. Apparently the night before people had come back to the hostel (admittedly drunk) and had been robbed. Pretty much everyone sitting in the hostel had been robbed. Then, in the room there is a sign explaining how the cyclo riders are all out for a quick buck and they are likely to scam / rob you too. It didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
It was raining, damp and cold. There were thieves everywhere and people were constantly asking you to come into their shops, take a ride on their bike, give the beggars money… Huế hadn’t impressed me much in the first few minutes and I knew I was going to leave immediately so bought my ticket for the next day and decided to make the best of a bad situation heading to the Citadel.
According to Wikipedia Huế was the centre of a really nasty battle in Vietnam (linky here) and the culmination was in the Citadel. I walked across there, paid my entrance fee and wandered around taking pictures of stuff.
Apparently it’s all historically important, but I’ll let you into a little secret, I hated it.
Getting wet from the rain, people constantly pestering you, sliding on the rain sodden slimy pavement, people trying to distract you whilst their mate comes along to pick-pocket you, getting wet from the rain, looking at dirty buildings wet from the rain and feeling cold whilst getting wet from the rain, I couldn’t care less. Huế is a horrid place and for my opinion is to be avoided at all costs.
I guess my last post isn’t necessarily true then – rain is blumin depressing!
There are pictures of the Citadel available in the Digitallery album Hue
Click here to load a map showing you the location of this post and images from the digitallery taken nearby.