During my last trip to Savannakhet from Mukdahan on the Songkran Festival 2010, I was determined to be back again for a further travel to Hue city, the former Vietnamese royal city in central Vietnam. Most travellers would arrived in Hue city from either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city through either bus or train services while others arrived directly at Danang airport. My indochina adventures started from Vientiane, capital of Laos, where I travelled from here to Savannakhet onwards to Hue and a vice versa trip from Hue back to Savannakhet, then to Mukdahan. From Mukdahan, I took the bus to Bangkok and then from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet for a short trip to Poipet in Cambodia. Travelling hours was one of the most challenging experience that I encountered with this adventures as well as the harsh weather in Hue which positioned me in a dangerous predicament while travelling from Hue to Danang and Hoi An. Coupled with a 12 hours journey (Hue-Danang-Hoi An-Hue) on the motorbike on heavy rain, that itself would be the mother of all toughness and challenges for this trip. The journey by bus from Vientiane to Savannakhet took about 8 hours where it started at 20.45 and arrived Savannakhet bus station at 5.00. From Savannakhet bus station, I took the International Bus at 10.00 the same day to Hue and reached at about 19.00, which was another 8 hours of journey. From Hue to Savannakhet it took another 8 hours of journey, departing at 8.30 and arrived at Savannakhet at 18.00. The journey to Mukdahan from Savannakhet including time spent crossing the border immigration took about 1 hour where bus arrived directly at Mukdahan bus station. From Mukdahan to Bangkok the journey was 10.30 hours, departing 1920 and arrived at Mochit bus station, Bangkok at 6.00 the next morning. Total road travel for Vientiane-Savannakhet-Hue-Savannakhet-Mukdahan-Bangkok took in altogether 35.5 hours road travel time. The bus condition overall were satisfactory though they looked old which for the Savannakhet to Hue journey but for 8 hours of travel time, this was still manageable. The Lao VIP bus from Vientiane nevertheless was impressive which was still new and comes with double sleeper deck with lower and upper level, which means travellers can sleep comfortably throughout the journey. It also has a toilet at the rear of the bus. As for the Thai bus, the VIP buses are very new and comfortable with more leg rooms and cost THB760 for Mukdahan-Bangkok trip while the lower end bus cost THB470 with frequent stops along the way to pick up passengers and it's less comfortable. Bus from Vientiane to Hue costs 140,000 kip with 30,000 kip went to the guesthouse from where I book the ticket from and this is common practice for all guesthouses and hotels where the 30,000 kip is a tuk-tuk or songtheaw charges from their premises to the bus station. (THB20 = 5,000 kip). The bus ticket from Savannakhet to Hue cost 110,000 kip while from Hue to Savannakhet it cost VND300,000 where VND100,000 will goes to the guesthouse or hotel for a motorbike taxi or car taxi or coach. (USD1=VND19,500)
Laos is a country with many wonderful people around while being blessed with great natural landscapes including marvelous waterfalls and rivers as well as old wats and temples that has been listed under the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Vientiane, the capital of Laos has never been quite the place that can be termed a "capital city" in my opinion because it still maintained the very much slowness of the people's movement, businesses were very much confined to small restaurants, coffeeshops and sundry shops though there are now a handful mid-sized contemporary supermarkets, buildings are still relatively low which confined up to 5 floors with exception of Don Chan Palace Hotel, less traffic congestions around the city and there is no bus services within the city as most city dwellers will depend on tuk-tuk to take the places. Arriving at Wattay or Vientiane Airport (as was being stamped on passport), I was struggling to look for tuk-tuk to get to the city. From informations that I had been searching from the internet, it seemed that there was no tuk-tuk allowed in the airport area, which means travellers will need to get out from the airport compound to flag down one. There were few taxi drivers waiting at the arrival hall main entrance but surprisingly these drivers never harrassed anyone from what I could see because I myself was not being approached by any of them upon stepping out from the airport. As I was looking around and trying to locate the place to flag down a tuk-tuk, I asked a few taxi drivers at a corner of the parking lots and they told me that tuk-tuk will only be available if they happened to pass through the airport while dropping passengers to the airport and headed back to the city. Since it was getting late in the evening, I thought it would be good to just hop into the taxi. It costs as expensive as USD6 or THB200 (Thai Bath widely accepted) for a short trip of about 20 minutes to the city from the airport. I recalled from the informations that I searched, tuk-tuk cost around 50,000 kip, which was still equivalent to the costs of taxi, so, it was a better deal with a taxi in fact. So, I decided to take the taxi. Travellers can actually booked the taxi from the taxi counters on the left end of the airport exit which also costs the same price but perhaps more reliable. Why? I thought it should be so because upon arrival in the city, the taxi driver left me at one section of a lane and left in haste after accepting the money from me. And this is the taxi not from the taxi booking counter. But I was lucky because the place where I was dropped was very near to the centre of backpackers corner near the Mekong River. Since I was still unfamiliar with the city apart from recalling a few road/street names, I walked around and stop at a corner of a small pub cum restaurant and spoke to a man presumably the owner of that pub. I was looking for a guesthouse to settle down and asked for directions to the backpackers corner. After a brief explanation, I was still confused perhaps because of the language barrier because he speaks a little bit of english and later I found out that he was a japanese. Thanking him, I walked on from Setthathirat Road, as what a tuk-tuk driver told me and as I walked, I could see many people move into the side streets along Setthathirat Road, where according to the japanese man I met earlier, there is a street markets which I later discovered was along Fa Ngum Road just along the Mekong River. I decided to take a turn into one of the side streets and then moved into the 5 storey guesthouse by the name of Mixay Paradise. Many foreingners can be seen moving in and out from the guesthouse and I thought, this would be a good place to settle down. Nice guesthouse with a large entrance, a living hall where guests can chill out reading magazines, newspapers or chatting and TV area to catch up news or just for leisure. a dining hall for breakfast and also a corridor at the left side of the entrance with tables and chairs for chilling out drinking, eating or chatting. Only THB400 for a single bed room with fan and aircond, hot and cold shower and the room was amazingly clean and comfortable and comes with free breakfast. Each floors with a balcony where guests can view people walking along the streets or chill out with fellow travellers.
After checking into the room, off I went out again to check out the market at Fa Ngum Road. The market was packed with locals as well as travellers. This market was set up due to the Boun Ouk Phansaa festival which marks the end of the rainning season. The highlight of this festival is the Racing Boat Day which happened to be the next day. The road along the Mekong river was lined up with makeshift stalls selling all sorts of items from shirts, ladies and men assortments, food, drinks and other consumer goods alike. One can sample the many local food and purchase some inexpensive shirts and goods as this festival market can be dubbed the largest that could be found in Laos and only available on Boun Ouk Phansaa. The original market was located at another area but a smaller version which will be shifted back after the end of the Boat Racing Day. Children and young adults as well as family members can be seen joining in the festivity and were in the good mood for a festival celebration. After a walk and shower, firecrackers can be heard from the living area of the guesthouse and it appeared as if it was a Chinese New Year celebration with people feasting, singing songs aloud as well as the sound of firecrackers from every corner of the streets. Roads were also slightly congested with cars, tuk-tuks and motorbikes moved in the Setthathirat Road. The streets leading to Fa Ngum Road from Setthathirat Road were all blocked for the safety of revellers and security was tightened to ensure no dangerous items were brought into the market area. Just as in Cambodia and Vietnam, the indochina bread is also widely available in Laos including Vientiane. As the hunger strikes, I bought one of this bread know as "Khao Jee Pate" where half the size of the whole bread costs THB40 or 10,000 kip and a cold Beer Lao from the sundry shop cost around THB40.
The next morning, it was drizzling and after breakfast, I ventured out to look for a best deal for a city tour. I spoke to a tuk-tuk driver across the guesthouse and according to his explanation, it cost 80,000 kip for a 1 hour tour which can takes up to 2 places. I thought this may not be the best deal, so I walked further and bumped into couple of tuk-tuk drivers chatting while waiting for business to come. The cost was in fact the same as what had been told by the earlier tuk-tuk driver. So, i decided to go for the 1 hour tour to Phra That Luang and Patuxay tower. Phra That Luang is the sacred symbol for the Lao people and a visit to Vientiane wouldn't be complete without a visit to Phra That Luang. This stupa has a very unique design and has never been commonly seen in any other wats or temples in the Indochina region. From my travel experience, I have only witnessed 2 wats that reflected the similarity with Phra That Luang stupa architecture, where one was in Wat Chalong Phuket and another at the wat in Ubon Rachatani near the 2 colour river cave temple. Phra That Luang is a golden stupa surrounded by a large and high rectangle border walls with each corner having small Buddha stupas arranged along the walls with the main stupa in the middle of the wat. To get up to the main stupa, there are four entrances with each entrance having Buddha stupas and staircases. At the bottom of the main stupa after the entrance, visitors can walk along the base area which is square in size. Outside Phra That Luang is a large open space where visitors can take a walk and there are 2 wats around this open space, one on the left and another on the right. Phra That Luang is best view from this open space and many visitors were seen in this area snapping photos. There is also a small street traders outside the open area. My next stop was the Patuxay tower in the Lane Xang Avenue in the middle of Vientiane city. This tower overlooked to city from 2 sides with the main area having a park with water fountain and a boulevard with many tourists and travellers would been seen at this area to take the best shots of the tower while another quieter side is at the back entrance of the tower overlooking Lane Xang Road. Visitors can also pay a small fee to get to the top of the tower with one level of the tower having few souvenier shops that sells mostly tshirts and other small items as gifts or memorablia. From the top of the Patuxay, the view was great where you can get to see the boulevard and the Lane Xang Road all the way to Setthathirat Road. There is also a white building which is the building of the Ministry of Agriculture & Forests on the left of Patuxay from the area that overlooks the Lan Xang Road.
After Patuxay, I was dropped off at the same place that I took the tuk-tuk from and that costs me 80,000 kip but worth the trip because Phra That Luang and Patuxay were quite a distance from Francois Ngin Road. I walked all the way along Setthathirat Road further up from Francois Ngin about 1 to 1.5km and passing through Lane Xang Road and stumbled upon Wat Sisaket on the left of Setthathirat Road. Wat Sisaket could be the oldest temple in Vientiane and the architecture was based on the Thai style of Buddhist wats. Just like Phra That Luang, the main wat is surrounded with a rectangle border walls with each walls having Buddha stupas arranged along them with the walls carved and smaller stupas placed in these carved walls making this one of the most unique oldest wat. The main temple housed the single Buddha stupa and a prayer hall. Just across Wat Sisaket is the Haw Phra Keaw, which is the similar version with the one in Bangkok. Though the Lao version of Wat Phra Keaw was less impressive that its Bangkok's counterpart, the temple architecture are equally good if not better than the one in Bangkok. It was no longer use as a temple but turned into a museum displaying items related to Buddhism. This temple was formerly a royal temple and housed the Emerald Budhha just as the one in Bangkok.
Just when I was returning to the guesthouse, I was again bumped into the bunch of the tuk-tuk drivers I met earlier where they where having their lunch under the tree with few bottles of Beer Lao on the table and glasses ready to have a feast, most likely with the money that my tuk-tuk driver, Bounxuong got from me. They invited me to sit with them for a couple of glasses of Beer Lao. Since I was thinking of where to head to next, I never hesitated to joined in. We had a good chat over some cold beer lao while they had their barbequed beef meat for lunch. Bounxuong was about 45 years old with 2 grown up children. Another tuk-tuk driver, Cad, was the funniest guy among the group and was kind of a "happy-go-lucky" guy. He was the one that I spoke to 1st when I asked for the cost of the tuk-tuk tour but he let Bounxuong to drive me. I asked him why he did that and he told me, it was an undertsanding among them. They treated each one like brothers in a family. For every 1st business of the day, the most senior members will stand to gain first. Cad was formerly working with a private company but due to the stresses from the job as well as limited freedom, he chose to quit and became a tuk-tuk driver. He further added that the pay can be less than a permanent job, but he never regretted quitting and be a driver because he enjoy the freedom while working as tuk-tuk driver. These were some of the nice people that I encountered in Vientiane and I can see through these tuk-tuk drivers that, Lao people can live through simple life and be very happy with what they have.
My next target was Xieng Khuane Buddha Park which was located near the Thai-Lao border of Nong Khai. This journey takes about 1 hour on a 40km journey from Vientiane city. The journey took me through some of the best upcountry landscapes of Vientiane with most of the lands covered with rice fields. I also has the opportunity to check out where Lao Beer Company (LBC)'s factory, the producer of Beer Lao and Tigerhead drinking water was located. Xieng Khuan Buddha Park was a open space park with a open field covered with some large trees on the left of the park and also the Mekong river, overseeing Nong Khai in Thailand flowing at the rear of this park. The highlight of this park is the large Reclining Buddha and the giant sculpture which has a very unique rounded design resembling a huge pumpkin. In and around the park there were many statues reflecting various characters scattered within the park. Visitors can enter the giant sculpture which has three levels reflecting Hell, Earth and Heaven at the entrance resembled the open jaw of a eerie Demon character but be aware that you need to bend your bodies to enter due to the length of the entrance door. On the base of the sculpture, there were many small Buddha stupas placed in it with many small open windows along this rounded sculpture on each floors . At the top of the sculpture, visitors can walk along the rounded uneven pathways and viewing the whole park from the top can be scenic and interesting.
Next destination would be to Hue city, in the central of Vietnam, formerly a royal city for Nguyen Dynasty, but first, from the Southern Bus Station, Vientiane for a 8 hours journey to Savannakhet. The whole journey to Savannakhet from Vientiane was pleasant where the VIP bus comes with a sleeper berth, where travellers/passengers get to sleep comfortably throughout the journey. However, there was a slight glitches where the songtheaw that was to pick up passengers from various guesthouses was late by about 40 minutes. Arriving at Savannakhet bus station at 5.00, I waited at the station for the ticket counter to open to purchase a ticket at 10.00 for the Savannakhet-Hue International Bus journey. For those who planned to stay on at Savannakhet and moved on further south to Pakse later, there are some tuk-tuks around the bus station to take you to the guesthouses in the town centre as well as you can walk further to the left of the station to Savanxay Market, where there are more tuk-tuks around to get you to your preferred destinations. I was here at Savannakhet in my last Songkran trip to Ubon Ratchathani, where a short trip to Mukdahan and then crossing the 2nd Friendship Bridge to Savanakhet brought me to Savanxay Market where I vowed to return for a travel adventure to Hue and so here I was now. In Savannakhet itself, there are various interesting activities that can be arranged such as to explore the town's old buildings and surrounding sights, visit to various villages that dotted inside the road to Sepon/Densavanh, the That Ing Hang Stupa, the Ho Chi Minh trail and to sample some local Lao food. Shopping at Savanxay Market for some inexpensive items can also be quite interesting with many items that suits just about everyone are available here and there is a wet market within the market building, where after a morning breakfast you can walk around and get some stuffs that would suit you, which was what I did while waiting for the bus to depart to Hue.
The Savannakhet-Hue bus departed right on the dot at 10.00 with the seats about 65% full, mostly with students and young adults. There were also some family members who were travelling for short holidays. The sights were mostly filled with rice fileds as well as the indigeneous
community houses scattered all along the road to the Densavanh/Lao Bao border. There are also few rivers flowing through these road to the Vietnam border and thus, bridges were also common sights as the bus crosses the river with the most notable one being the Lao-Hungary Friendship bridge. The bus stops for lunch at around 13.00 at one Vietnamese restaurant which is quite common in this area where Vietnamese shops and restaurants can be found within the border provinces of Laos and Vietnam. This was also what I had seen when travelling from Phnom Penh from the Bavet/Moc Bai border to Ho Chi Minh city several years ago. Vietnamese restaurants in such places usually serve rice with range of other side dishes such as pork, fish and vegetable as well as traditional "fur" noodle and my previous trip from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh city, the food was only USD1 each for fur or rice with dishes. For this one I wasn't quite sure because I didn't had any as I was still full after a late breakfast at Savannakhet of a lao coffee with "mieng dip" a fresh spring roll wrapped with fresh lettuce and bean sprout dipped with sweet chilly sauce with crunch peanut (very similar to Vietnamese style) as well as barbequed pork. If I could remember correctly, it should be around THB40, which is slightly over USD1. Over at lunch at this Vietnamese restaurant, I had a talk with a senior elder man, who was from Bangkok and he shared some old stories with me about him. He related that he was born in Hue and was given away to a Thai family from Bangkok at the age of 4 by his parents due to the American/Vietnam War. He was brought to Savannakhet and then Mukdahan to Ubon Ratchathani before he finally grew up in Bangkok under the care of the Thai family. He continued to say that he still have relatives in Hue and that he was travelling to Hue to meet his distanced relatives and to check out the direction so that he could travel by car from Bangkok to Hue in his next trip and also beyond Hue to Nha Trang. A very nice elder man but never talk much if you wouldn't ask him. Back to the road condition, overall, it was alright but along the way there would be many damaged spots noted due to unknown reasons, probably to slow down the vehicles in view of the indigeneous houses that dotted along this road that may criss-cross to get to each side of the road and also to guard the animals from these community crossing the roads.
The bus arrived at the Densavanh/Lao Bao border at around 16.00. After stamping out from Densavanh Immigration, Laos, I walked for about 800m across to Lao Bao Immigration, Vietnam to get a stamp in. The bus would wait for everyone to clear immigration procedures before continuing its journey to Hue. From Lao Bao to Hue, it took about another 3 hours journey. After crossing the Lao Bao border, there are various hotels and guesthouses and shops and small restaurants to cater to visitors to the Khe Sanh Combat Base used by the American soldiers in fighting the North Vietnamese insurgents, Viet Cong along what is known as the Ho Chi Minh trail as well as the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) of the North and South Vietnam. The Ho Chi Minh trail was an area used by the Viet Cong to fight against the South and American soldiers and stretched as long as 16,000 kms, which also covers beyond Vietnam into Laos and Cambodia. During the American/Vietnam War, the US had continuously try to damaged the trail but never successfully cut the supply trail of the Viet Cong army. While passing through Khe Sanh, I could see the Dakrong Bridge which is to get across to the Ho Chi Minh trail. Khe Sanh was being utilised as an American airstrip base for thier cause again Viet Cong and though the war was over for many years, the are still many undetonated bombs left along this area during the war and are nuisance for the travellers and Vietnamese living in these villages around Khe Sanh. There are many tribes community along the Khe Sanh area and they live in the traditional homes built with either woods or the palm leaves. The sights along Khe Sanh to Dong Ha are filled with mountains and rivers and were rather scenic during the day time apart from the tribes people homes that can be seen all along the road. However, from Lao Bao to Dong Ha through Khe Sanh, the road was winding and can get uncomfortable if the bus travels on high speed but the bus I was in had been travelling in a very smooth way without much problem.
The bus then reached Dong Ha at 17.00 with some passengers disembarking from here. Many motorbike taxis were seen waiting to pick-up passengers here just as they get down from the bus, so it seems that transportation wouldn't be difficult to reach for as long as you are the any transport stations in Vietnam. Reaching Hue bus station at about 18.00, again the similar sights as in Dong Ha can be seen here with motorbike taxi men swarmed into passengers offering to take them to their next destination. I was of no exception. The fare cost USD 1 for a trip of about few kms away to the city centre. I told the motorbike driver that I was looking to stay at guesthouse around the city area. So, he dropped me at a back lane in the city which later I dicovered was a lane between Chu Van An and Pham Ngu Lao St. which happened to be a backpackers corner. This guesthouse by the name of Halo Guesthouse or Ha Loc in Vietnamese was actually a family business operated by the mother who takes care of the receptions and tour queries while the son is a tour guide who brings travellers for tours around Hue city and beyond. The elder lady could speak broken english while the son could speak slightly better. For a double bed room with hot and cold shower and aircond, it costs USD10 a night. After taking a look at the room, I decided to stay but in fact I wasn't feeling comfortable at all with this place and in most cases, i would have moved to another place but for unknown reasons, I stay put. Later after a shower, I went down to see the elder lady to obtain further informations on the city tour. She gave some explanations about the tours available and places and sights being covered and when asked about the tour prices, I found it to be overpriced. Any how, since it was late and for convenient purpose, I booked the city tour with her. Then, I proceeded to search for a place for a vietnamese dinner with a city map provided by the guesthouse and I walk to Pham Ngu Lao St. This is a small street with inexpensive guesthouses, hotels, small restaurants, bars, shops, travel agents and mini markets dotted the 2 sides of the streets. The infamous DMZ Bar is located at one end of the Pham Ngu Lao Street between the intersection of the latter and Le Loi St while the other one, Why Not Bar at the other end of the intersection between Pham Ngu Lao St and Vo Thi Sau. These 2 bars are packed with foreign travellers looking for a night out to have some cold beers, nice food as well as to chill out with fellow travellers and play pool. Why Not Bar has a hotel just a few shops away from the bar which not surprisingly being named Why Not Hotel. There is another famous restaurant here by the name of Little Saigon. As I looked around, I went to checked out on Why Not Hotel as it look impressive and nice from the outside. I took a look at the room which was small that comes with single bed, hot and cold shower and aircond which costs USD10. I thought this would be a better place to stay, so I booked for the next night. I also checked out on a city day tour with this hotel and that confirmed that Ha Loc Hotel has been overcharging by a few dollars enough for me to costs me a night of guesthouse stay and that was a lesson learnt.
The next morning, it was rainning as I was about to head out for the day tour to 3 royal tombs, the Forbidden Citadel and the Thien Mu Pagoda. But as it approached 8.00, the rain has started to fade with small drizzle. I met with the son of the Halo Hotel owner, who was my guide of the day, a young man whose main job is teaching while being a tour guide is a part-time job. The tour started with the Forbidden Citadel right in the middle of the city crossing over to the other side from here at Pham Ngu Lao St to Tran Hung Dao/Le Duan St from Phu Xuan Bridge. The city was seperated by the Perfume River and has 4 bridges. The other 3 are Da Vien, Bach Ho and Truong Tien Bridge.
Travellers could actually alternatively take on a tourist boat cruise to visit the royal tombs and Thien Mu Pagoda instead of by the motorbike. The Citadel buildings looked great with their architectures related very closely to the chinese style design but they are definitely requiring further and grave attention by the Hue local authority as well as Vietnamese government to preserved the buildings in view of the age of the buildings and the state of affairs of the structures of the buildings within. Entering from Phu Xuan Bridge, 2 Gates, Quang Du and Ngan Gates can be clearly visible as we entered to the compound of the Citadel. In the centre of these 2 gates is the flag tower which flew the Vietnamese red flag with a single big yellow 5 point star. The pole stood there proudly just in front of the Ngo Mon, the main gate entrance to the Forbidden Citadel. Entrance to the Citadel was VND55,000. This citadel was completed by the Minh Mang Emperor in 1833. The centre entrance was reserved for the emperor together with a bridge that connects to this central door. On the second floor of Ngo Mon, one could view the Citadel courtyard nicely from here. Ngo Mon was used by the emperor to address his officials and the people. Further walk inside from Ngo Mon is the Thai Hoa Palace where the emperor sits in state and received foreign dignitaries. After Thai Hoa Palace, its the Forbidden Purple City which has been mostly destroyed during the Tet Offensive due to the American army invasions as the Viet Cong used the Citadel as their base to fight against US army after invading Hue city. The only buildings left are 2 mandarin palaces on both sides of the area. Next was the Tu Duc Tomb. This tomb was very similar to the Forbidden Citadel in its architectures where it served as a second imperial city and for the emperor's working vacations. The city buildings were surrounded by a lake with the wooden pavillions and tombs of the emperor and his wives. After Tu Duc Tomb, the next was the Minh Mang Tomb. This is a rather simple tomb as compared to Tu Duc Tomb with bridges crossing the 2 lakes within the mausoleum compound. There is a courtyard surrounded by warlord statues, temples and pavillions. The Khai Dinh Tomb is the grandest among the 3 tombs. This tomb was built in 1925 and is a compact mausoleum. There are few structures within the tomb complex to be noted which is from the base being the left and right mandarin house, further up in the middle is the honour court and the stele pavillion and the final building at the top is the Thien Dinh Palace. The walls of Tien Dinh Palace are fully decorated with glasses and laid with porcelain tiles while floors are laid with flower tiles and ceiling painted with 9 dragons. After Khai Dinh, I went on to visit Thien Mu Pagoda which is loacted on the hill near the Perfume River. Reaching the base of the pagoda , the scenic Perfume River can be seen from here. The pagoda has 7 storeys and was a symbol of the former royal imperial government.In between this was the detour to some souvenier shops and also paintings and artworks stalls. For those who had interests in such items, they can be purchased from here at reasonable prices. The tour ended with a boat trip from Thien Mu pagoda pier for about 30 minutes trip to the Toa Kam boat station near the Truong Tien bridge not far across Le Loi and Pham Ngu Lao intersection. This boat journey brought me across all the 4 bridges along the Perfume River and from here, the sights of Hue city was be viewed on a good perspective. Over at night, I had some food at the place I stayed, Why Not Hotel and it served food from its bar & restaurant chain at Why Not Bar. The food here is inexpensive and comes with quality as what I had tasted and observed. (more on this later). I ordered the vietnamese bread with ommelette and cheese in which the egg with cheese to be cut and stuffed into the bread as well as the tiny pieces of fried vietnamese spring rolls (traditional vietnamese food and can be found everywhere in Vietnam) and a bottle of iced HUDA beer. As in Lao PDR with its Beer Lao, Hanoi with Bia Ha Noi, Bangkok with Singha, Hue has its own beer brand, which is HUDA. Its actually the short name for Hue-Danish beer, a beer bottled in Hue and developed through the Danish brewery technology and its quite a phenomenon here just like Beer Lao in Lao PDR.
(to be continued...................................)