Vietnam 2016: living cheap in Hue

by | Mar 29, 2016 | Food & Drink, International Travel, Travel

The Vedana Resort graciously allowed us to take their free shuttle into Hue, which was appreciated, but for some reason we stopped at a different hotel. It seemed like our driver wanted us to drop our luggage with this hotel while we went to the Citadel, but it didn’t make much sense and there was a bit of a language barrier. In the end we decided to go directly to our pre-booked hotel… but we didn’t know exactly where it was. Turns out we were only two blocks away, but we enjoyed the $1 cyclo rides nonetheless :)

my first (and only!) cyclo ride of the trip

The Hong Thien Ruby Hotel is located down a narrow alley, which the cyclos could navigate, so we were soon enjoying a fruit plate and juice. Given our 10:30am arrival we couldn’t check-in yet, but they held our bags and gave us a map for exploring. Later that afternoon we checked into the room and noted the following:

  • bed very firm, too much so for us
  • good size room, view to leafy tree area
  • strong wifi signal
  • down an alley, which made it quieter for sleeping
  • breakfast – small menu we could order from, including omelets, scrambled eggs, baguette, vietnamese dishes.

Hue was bigger than either of us expected, with a good amount of traffic. Our walk to the Citadel was good practice for later street crossings in Hanoi, and also took us through a nice riverfront park and across a bridge.

park along the Perfume River

The Citadel was large, more buildings than expected, worth a good 2-3 hours altogether.

Hue Royal Palace  red doors @ Hữu vu

Hue Royal Palace  Hue Royal Palace

Hue Royal Palace  Hue Royal Palace

Hiển Lâm Các @ Hue Royal Palace

There were quite a few bars and restaurants near our hotel, and we decided to try happy hour. Buy 2 mojitos, get 1 free seemed a popular offer, so we stopped at Gecko Pub which had a pleasant outdoor seating area. Definitely a tourist spot, but relaxed and enjoyable.


For dinner we had reservations at Elegant Restaurant and Lounge. I ordered the grilled minced pork on lemongrass (nem lui hue) along with an absurdly bright San Francisco drink (orange, lemon, pineapple, strawberry, grenadine). Leandra ordered the duck with passion sauce and a white wine. We were seated near two British couples, and we compared notes on places visited / to-visit over dessert.

gecko-2  gecko-3  gecko-4

The next day we had some time to kill before heading to the airport, so I grabbed my book and relaxed at the nearby cafes while Leandra took a cooking class at Kangaroo Hue.

cooking class prep @ Kangaroo Hue  Banh Beo Hue (royal steam cake)

all the dishes I cooked!
Leandra cooked all of this food! And brought some to me so I could snack on the way to the airport.

Hue was the least expensive city we visited, but it also held the least appeal for us. Perhaps the beaches would have been nice in better weather, but we felt like we saw what we wanted with the one night we had.

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Valencia, Spain (Mar)
Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)