Our intention was to journey north to Sapa and the hill tribe area. How ever the temperatures there were in the minus range at the time so we elected to start south to Hue on the Perfume River. This entailed a flight from Hanoi and a short bus trip into town where our bus driver located a very reasonable hotel with extremely friendly capable staff.
We dropped our bags in our rooms at the Thai Binh Hotel (one of the nicest hotels we stayed in during our travels in Vietnam, about US35 per night with in room computer, air-con and breakfast. www thaibinhhotel-hue.com) Their staff organised a half-day tour of the historic sites around the area. The six of us boarded a small private coach and set off to visit the Thombs of,Tu Duc and Khai Dinh, Thien Mu Pagoda and the century old Citadel. There is so much to see here that we feel our tour was rather fleeting but given that several of us had contracted some flue like lurgy, our capacity for too many more staircases and temples was being stretched. I have resolved that should I return to Vietnam I will spend more time in this area.
The following day we did a private mini bus trip to Hoi An via Danang. This was a fairly hair raising drive with a combination of poor road and very erratic and sometimes very fast driving by our driver! We stopped on a mountain pass for refreshments and were immediately pounced upon by touts selling all manner of trinkets! They are good, and relieved us all of some VD, a practice which we came to call “de-donging”!
This particular de-donging was something of record, with all of us purchasing a lot of stuff none of us wanted but which we all laughed about for some time. Next stop was China Beach, famous as the location for “Good Morning Vietnam” and a site for R and R of American Troops during the Vietnam conflict in the 60’s. Danang is a thriving port and business centre and not really a tourist stop. It is gearing up though and in another 10 years there will be plenty of very big beach resorts all along this coast. They are already in the construction stages.