Chicken on tour: Hue and Halong Bay

29 Sep

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After a bus ride over the mountains by  Da Nang (Which was one of the first places American ground troops saw Vietnamese soil. In fact you can still see the outline of their massive base and some listening domes/radar balls on the mountains north of the city,) we arrived in Hue, on the bank of the perfumed river.

We were here for one night only. A brief visit! On arrival we were greeted by oppressive heat baking us on the concrete of the city. On first glance there was very little to recommend the city. However on the first afternoon we visited the citadel within which is contained the Imperial City. This was home to the Nguyen dynasty. It sustained heavy bombardment during the Tet Offensive and there are still many signs of that throughout the complex.

Imperial city

Imperial city

The next morning we took off on a moped tour. It was excellent. The whole group (16 of us) as pillion passengers on the back of mopeds. We visited a rice museum (more entertaining than it sounds, the 86 year old woman made it- she was full of beans), a fortune teller (Yes I succumbed and got my palm read. It all bodes well. To my future wife: we’re having three kids apparently.) A conical hat maker (the traditional hat of the Vietnamese people.) We also visited the mausoleum of Tu Duc, saw some chanting Buddhist monks, the only colosseum in Asia, (where they used to pitch elephants against tigers).
All before midday.

After a grossly unsuccessful attempt at getting lunch and food to bring with us on the overnight train to Hanoi- meaning I had a 13 hour train journey with just Pringles and Oreos, we set off for the train station. Only that the restaurant supports some children’s charities I won’t name them. But it was quite an achievement not to be able to serve a few baguettes in 90 minutes.

Best food: Very tourist orientated food in our area. So no real recommendations here.
Best beer: Huda – really good and never saw it again in Vietnam.
Best attraction: Moped tour. Few different operators. Well worth doing.

Halong Bay:

Halong Bay in all its glory

Halong Bay in all its glory

Halong Bay is one of those places that grabs your attention. I won’t even try to put it into words, I will let the pictures do the talking. These are just a few of the may pictures I took during our cruise around the islands. The bay is located about 4 hours drive from Hanoi and is home to 1969 islands.


As you can see we were blessed with the weather. The day before and after was grey, dull and it rained heavily. This is one of those places I want to go back to. I haven’t ticked it off the list just yet.


Best food: We had a great seafood lunch on our cruise around the islands

Best attraction: The cruise around the islands. Try and do an overnight one if your budget allows.