We took a tourist bus from Easy Tiger in Phung Nha to Hui for 130, 000 VND. Our hotel staff got up early and made us breakfast which was very nice of them. There was a security man at the hotel who slept in a cot overnight by the bar. We was asleep when we got there so we tried not to wake him up.
Tourist buses will generally pick you up at your hotel and drop you off near the tourist section of towns rather than at the bus stations. Our hotel was next door to Easy Tiger, Easy Tiger was the first scheduled stop, the bus then went through the whole town picking people up and for reasons I can’t explain our hotel which was next door was the last scheduled stop. We caused a bit of a fuss when we wanted to get on the bus when it was stopped in front of Easy Tiger.
It was a 4 hour ride to Hue. The bus makes a couple of stops in Hue and one was pretty close to the hotel. We stayed at Koch Son Than Thien- Friendly Hotel. The room was nice we even had chairs in the room a TV we could actually figure out so we were able to watch English news. The shower was great and so was breakfast. Overall it was a great spot and I would highly recommend it.
The owners are local and there is a book in the lobby telling the story of their family and how they survived the war. Definitely an interesting read. They were helpful and friendly. When we were there they dealt very patiently with a tourist who was upset because they left a camera on a bus and it had not been found. This had nothing what so ever to do with the hotel! There is even a guitar in the lobby for anyone who wants to strum a few cords. Breakfast was included and good. The last day we were there there was a tour of Koren tourists who all had thermoses which they filled with coffee from the breakfast buffet before they left.
We rented bikes for $2 and rode around the city. It was OK in most places but there were a few intersections which were terrifying on a bicycle. Hue has lots of Cyclos, they are basically bikes with a seating area for one passenger on the front.
One of the more amusing sights in Hue is long chains of Cyclos carrying bus tours of Korean Tourists through the streets of town. They hold up the car traffic for blocks!
We rode around the walls of the imperial palace my fender broke and we did some on the spot repairs with a piece of wire we found on the street.
We continued along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda The Monks in Vietnam were generally in brown robes were as most of the Monks we saw in Thailand had orange robes. Traditionally Monks robes were supposed to be made of “pure cloth” – the cloth no one wanted. The useable pieces were sewn together and dyed by being boiled with vegetables and spices. Today’s Monks and Nuns use cloth with is purchased or donated.
When we arrived the Monks were out doing the gardening. There is something odd about watching a Monk with a weed wacker that just seams wrong!
In the early 1960’s Buddhists were out of favor with the government and in 1963 nine Buddhists were killed by the government. Thich Quand Dic, who was a Monk at Thien Mu at the time drove himself to Saigon, left his car at an intersection and set himself on fire. The moment was captured in a photograph which was seen around the world. Referred to as “The Burning Monk” and seen as a turning point. The presidents sister-inn law’s comment was “Let them burn and we shall clap our hands” this did not help the situation, the president and his brother were assassinated the following year. The car can be seen at Thien Mu Pagoda and is considered an important relic.
We made it back to the hotel safely and discovered that the area behind the hotel is a walking street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. It was full of people lots of young local people and some westerners. There were local bands playing and the spring rolls were great!