Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
96Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
As our taxi pulled up outside our bags were whisked off to the reception, we were sent into the breakfast room and presented with cold towels, fresh juice, fruit and biscuits. This was just the start of the best hotel stay ever. We were for no apparent reason upgraded to the honeymoon suite which had river views, a double Jacuzzi bath tub, a dvd player and even a pair of goldfish. Each night of our stay we received a special treat from Fresh fruit to cream cake and red roses. You have gotta love an upgrade!
There is pretty much only one reason you would go to Hue and that is to go to the DMZ (Demiliterization Zone) and the Vinh Moc Tunnels. The DMZ was the official division of North and South during the Vietnam War and whilst it is a long trip from Hue it is combined with a trip to the Vinh Moc tunnels so you don't have much but to go there. The tour has several stops enroute and as we quickly discovered they were all terrible; our particular favourite was the stop at the minority village, this actually involved the bus pulling over at the side of the road outside a wooden house that a minority tribesperson lives in. After a few more pointless and uninspiring stops we made it to the DMZ and unsurprisingly it is just a large expanse of land which has a few planes, tanks and helecopters. There were a few trenches dug out and the obligatory vendors chasing after you to try and sell old dog tags, bullets and medals. Tim enjoyed this significantly more than I did so I was not at all disappointed to be back on the bus and headed to a hotel for lunch. En-route suddenly our bus started to make the most terrible noise and filled with smoke, we all bundled out onto the pavement and watched on as the driver whipped out a brand new fan belt and had the bus back on the road in a matter of minutes. Something makes me think this is not an unusual breakdown. Lunch was something of an experience, there were about 16 of us in a hotel restaurant big enough for about 200 and whilst we tried to chat with the other people on the tour and enjoy our lunch the hotel staff spent the entire time walking past with their phones taking sneaky (and some not so sneaky) photos of us
After lunch it is finally time to head to the Vinh Moc Tunnels, the main reason that we are all on this tour. The Vinh Moc tunnels are significantly different to the Cu Chi Tunnels in HCMC, given that rather than being used by the soldiers for fighting, these tunnels were used by villagers to live in and shelter from the bombing. The tunnels were constructed in 1966 and were used until 1972, the tunnel complex was set over 3 levels and included wells, kitchens and even a maternity. Around 60 families lived in the tunnels and at least 17 children were born inside them. The tunnels are 2,000meters long and have 6 entrances to the top of the hills and 7 entrances to the South China Sea. The main difference between the Vinh Moc and the Cu Chi tunnels is the size of them, at the Vinh Moc Tunnels we were actually able to walk through with just our shoulders hunched over unlike Cu Chi which required us to be on our hands and knees. I was still happy to get out of the tunnels and certainly wouldn’t fancy 7 years living in them! As we were due to leave the tunnels we still had a few more pointless stops to make but one couple pointed out that they had a train leaving Hue at 7pm and had been told that this tour finished at 6pm. In fact the tour was due to finish at 7pm so we had a rather stressed and hectic journey back to Hue. Thankfully we made it and after a long 12 hour day touring, I was over the moon to have a good dinner and retreat to our honeymoon suite with a DVD for an early night.
Amazingly in Hue our paths crossed again with our new found friends Roo and Tony, and this time Roo’s sister Vicki was also in tow
Our last day in Hue and we felt it was only right to visit the Citadel, not because we had any desire to see any more palaces or temples, but because we had heard that there was a fancy dress stall where we could dress up as an Emperor and Empress. So in the red hot sun we set off and treated ourselves to a cyclo ride across the city to get to the citadel
Our last evening in Hue and we were packed and ready to head to the train station for our trip to Hanoi, the hotel had booked us a taxi and sent us on our way with a bottle of water and a cool towel