hue-festival

Travel Tips For Visitors during Hue Festivals

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With the coming back of Hue Festival to mark the national tourism year 2012, Hue is entering the most amazing time, when tourists from all over the world are flooding into the city to celebrate the event. How can you make the most of your time and money when coming to this former imperial capital of Vietnam. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind:

With the coming back of Hue Festival to mark the national tourism year 2012, Hue is entering the most amazing time, when tourists from all over the world are flooding into the city to celebrate the event. How can you make the most of your time and money when coming to this former imperial capital of Vietnam. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind: 

Getting in and out

From Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, passengers can approach Hue by bus, air, train or even by motorbikes, a speciality of Vietnam transportation.

By train

Tickets on the Reunification Express Train from Hanoi to Hue should cost between $25 and 45 (ticket price varies based on seating options) , and from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue between $35 and $60. Hue train station is a straight 40 minute walk to most of backpacker hotels, the best of which are listed under ‘Accommodation’ below.

Ticket can be directly purchased from railway station office or online. Travellers are advised to bring water bottles enough for drinking and washing hands. Fast food is another recommendation in case meals offered by train officer may not suit your taste.

By bus

The times around Vietnamese holidays are particularly flooded with ticket bookings and tickets cannot be assumed available for same day travel, so book ahead if possible.

One of the most reliable and foreigner-friendly open bus ticket services is The Sinh Tourist. Its offices are located near backpacker havens in Hanoi (40 Luong Ngoc Quyen St., Hoan Kiem Dist. and 64 Tran Nhat Duat St.). Tourists coming to Hue from Ho Chi Minh City can reach to 246-248 De Tham St. Dist.1 and 24-26 Pho Duc Chinh St., Dist. 1 for bus ticket.

Buying bus tickets from the bus station may not be a wise choice, as they are sold out quickly when the Festival is approaching, and some private bus operators are not clear about prices. Count on a good travel agency to snap up tickets first to you.

By air

For those interested in getting to Hue by airplane, Vietnam Airlines is only one among many options. Beware that their tickets are usually sold out very quickly before the festival time. Another choice is Jetstar, which operates two flights a day from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Hue. Booking online conveniently is available from both carriers.

Hue airport is 15 kilometers away from the city center and a ride by taxi between the two points should cost no more than 180,000VND by taxi.

If plane tickets from those above cities to Hue are sold out, opt for Da Nang as the intermediary destination, as it has more connections. From Da Nang to Hue with distance of 112 km, taxi fare is around USD40 and prestigious taxi groups such as Mai Linh, Thanh Hung are recommended.

Accommodation in Hue in festival time

With a wide range of accommodation facilities in Hue, you don’t have to worry about rooms being fully booked. There are plenty of budget traveler hotels and mid-range hotels, as well as a couple of hotel splurge on offer. The largest cluster is around the short lane of Pham Ngu Lao (including Le Loi, Hung Vuong, Chu Van An, Nguyen Cong Tru).

Some top choices of Hue accommodation available are as follows:

For budget ones, Hue Backpacker's Hostel, 10 Pham Ngu Lao Street, (from US$6), Bamboo Hotel, 61 Hung Vuong (from US$10) and Bao Son Hotel, 39 Nguyen Cong Tru (from US$10) may be what you are looking for.

Mid-range ones can be considered are Hanh Dat Hotel, 15 Pham Van Dong St. Vy Da, Thua Thien Hue (from US$25), New Star Hotel, 36 Chu Van An street (from US$45), and Thai Y Hotel Hue, No 10 Pham Van Dong (from US$17-35).

For splurge one, La Residence, 5 D Le Loi (walking distance from the train station) (from US$136) and Saigon Morin, 30 Le Loi Street (from US$100) can be good choices.

Get Around

Like other Vietnamese cities, Hue is flooded with various means of transportations, namely taxi, motor bike and bicycle for hire and cyclo.

By Taxi

Usually taxi trips start at 15,000 dong for the first 2km and tick upward at 11,500 dong/km. Some well-established taxi brands are Mai Linh, Thành Đô and Thành Hưng. Make sure you will not take an unlicensed one or you maybe overcharged beyond your imagination.

By Bike

During the peak hours of the festival, taxis may not always be available. Your safe bet is to hire a motorbike, which are available for $5/day from hotels and shops and join the locals as they swarm across the bridges and along the main roads at a leisurely pace.

Cycling is also a good option, with plenty of bikes available for $1/day. Shops that hire motor bikes and bicycles are located along Hung Vuong street and the backpacker haven surrounding Pham Ngu Lao and Chu Van An street.

By Cyclo

Be prepared to haggle for reasonable prices and if possible, agree absolutely on your price before you go. The generally acceptable price is 50,000 VND per hour, and make sure that you’re agreeing on Dong, not USD, as some cyclo drivers are dishonest and will secretly charge you USD instead of Dong.

Prepare your bargaining skill

There are abundant pretty things available for tourists to choose, most of them are handy craft things and for those who are interested in gastronomy, street food in Hue is worth a try. However, the merchants there tend to quote price indiscriminately and therefore as a rule of thumb, don’t be afraid to negotiate down to ½ to 1/3 of the quoted price.