Our first internal flight in Vietnam, a quick and cheap Vietjet flight from Hanoi to Hue, was surprisingly pleasant. We left and arrived on time. Our small luggage was too heavy to carry on so we had to check it– at no extra cost, which was surprising. (Other budget airlines really stick it to you for this.) The plane was easy in and out (with two entrances/ exits) and it cost $94 for the two of us.
Hue instantly felt different than Hanoi. Lively but not as chaotic, mellower, with wide boulevards lined with grassy parks dotted with sculpture along the narrow river; and what looked like government buildings. And of course the grand Imperial compound called The Citadel, which has a huge imposing stone wall enclosure.
I was glad we yet again ordered Airport pickup from our hotel because this time we really never would have found the Hue Riverside Villa, hidden down a winding alley, off a bustling street full of packed outdoor bars and restaurants filled with young people.
The Hotel is stylish, eco-conscious (with a filtered water cooler so we can briefly stop using plastic bottles; we also each received glass water bottles that we can take home), five-room place ($29 a night) on the edge of the Perfume River, with glorious views including Of motor scooters zipping over a bridge above the river. When we arrived, an efficient woman sat us down in the small courtyard with a plate of fruit (passion fruit is my new fav, despite its weird look; dragon fruit- don’t like) and told us what we should do and see and offered a driver
We visited three out of the way landmarks – the Thien Mu pagoda and two ornate tombs of emperors. My favorite was the black tomb of Minh Mang, perched high on a hilltop with ornate mosaics. The tomb of Khak Dinh was impressive too – more of a horizontal hugeness rather that vertical like Minh Mang.
We had an excellent grilled pork (Bun thit) at a place Mark, our Hanoi street tour guide, recommended and some stranger fare at Hanh restaurant for dinner.