As an engineer, Mazlan had the opportunity to travel and work abroad. He has traveled to over 30 countries.
Is Hue worth visiting? Is it just a historical town with ruins, temples and tombs?
These were some of the questions asked by the organizing committee.
Our office had decided to have its annual company trip to an overseas destination. So the organizing committee had the tough job of making this selection.
Choosing a destination to cater to people with different tastes and needs is not easy. Also, the selection process has to follow certain company's guidelines and criteria.
The travel criteria that the organizing committee had to work on were:
- to choose from destinations served by the low cost airline, Air Asia
- maximum budget of US$375 per person inclusive of flights, hotel, three meals a day and local transport and tours
- four days and three nights stay
- travel during the weekend and inclusive of the public holiday period (i.e. traveling during the peak period)
- variety of things to do at the destination
Hue Travel Rating
Travel to Danang, Hue and Hoi An
There are several airlines that fly to and from Malaysia to most capital cities and secondary cities in Southeast Asia.
Hence, with these many choices, it was tough for the organizing committee to decide on the final destination.
They finally chose the package tour to Danang - Hue - Hoi An in Vietnam as it met all the above criteria.
Booking flights on the low cost carrier, Air Asia, well in advance helped reduce the flight budget part. Hence, early planning was crucial to meet this need.
In this travel package we flew from Kuala Lumpur low cost carrier terminal to Danang International Airport. Upon arrival, we traveled to Hue, stayed one-night and then traveled to Hoi An and stayed for two nights. On the fourth day we had half-day city tour of Danang. Then, we visited some of its attractions before taking the late afternoon flight back to Kuala Lumpur.
This review will cover holiday and travel in Hue. Travel review for Hoi An and Danang will be in separate articles.
UPDATE: Air Asia has now stopped flying from Kuala Lumpur to Danang
Kuala Lumpur to Danang
Our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Danang, Vietnam left 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. It was almost full capacity on the Airbus A320-200. I spent the entire 2.5 hour flight time reading the informative in-flight magazine and sleeping! There was no turbulence, and we had a smooth landing.
Immigration and custom clearances were fast and with no hassle. Malaysians do not need a visa or to fill in the entry permit form; hence it was a fast clearance.
The immigration officer was too serious and did not say much. It would be neat if he smiles and say 'Welcome to Vietnam' or something welcoming instead of showing a serious face.
Then again, immigration officers from most countries have the habit of looking serious.
Who Needs Visa to Vietnam
Vietnam entry visa is a must for all except citizens of the countries shown in the following table.
The Vietnamese consulate or embassy in your country can issue visa before your departure. Or you can apply online for a pre-approved letter. Then, collect the entry visa upon arrival at any of Vietnam's International Airports.
Citizens of the Following Countries can Visit Vietnam without an Entry Visa
|Countries||Can Stay up to|
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Laos
Brunei, Russia, Korea, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland
Danang to Hue
Upon clearing with the immigration and custom, the local travel agent put us on two buses for the 3.5 hour journey from Danang to Hue.
It sounds like a long and boring journey, but I was pleasantly surprised. The coastal and hillside drive is one of the most scenic and beautiful drive in Central Vietnam.
Why America Lost Vietnam War
Our journey took us through winding and steep mountain road, rural road and scenic coastal road. The scenery and setting along these routes were amazing. I figured this must be one of the reasons, why America lost the Vietnam War. The scenic backdrop distracted them!
This journey alone was well worth the trip, and if you happen to arrive on a long haul flight, I can guarantee you will stay awake and be mesmerize by the scenery.
Hue is only 62 miles (110 km) north of Danang, but the traveling time is an incredible 3.5 hours! The long and winding road along the mountain slope and the busy road along the rural and coastal area force the driver to drive at a much slower speed. In fact, this is the only road (our travel guide described it as highway) linking the country from north to south. Hence, you will also find trucks plying this route, which sometimes make it difficult to overtake.
It was a scenic drive, so the 3.5 hours were bearable.
Hue, a World Heritage Site
Hue is located in central Vietnam, about 684 miles (1,100 km) north of Ho Chi Minh City and 435 miles (700 km) south of Hanoi.
Hue used to be the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945. It was ruled under thirteen different emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. The many palaces and temples make this historic city an important part of the Vietnamese heritage, known throughout the world.
When Hue lost its position as the capital of Vietnam, the city was neglected and suffered economically. However, when UNESCO recognized Hue as the World Cultural Heritage Site and Master of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 1993, it started to see visitors and businesses improved.
Places of Interest in Hue
Things to Do in Hue
There are many things to do and see in Hue. The historical sites, Imperial architectures and French Colonial architectures gave us several choices and these include palaces, pagodas, tombs and temples.
We had only one day and one night to explore Hue and our tour guide took us to Hue's main attractions, which were Thien Mu pagoda, Imperial Citadel, Khai Dinh Tomb and the Perfume River boat cruise. We also stopped by at the local Dong Ba market for shopping.
Vietnamese Dong Exchange Rate
The currency of Vietnam is Vietnamese Dong (VND) and uses the symbol ₫. The exchange rates at time of writing are as follow:
- US$1 = ₫ 20837.6 VND
- GBP1 = ₫ 33177.0 VND
- EUR1 = ₫ 26691.6 VND
- AUD1 = ₫ 21622.5 VND
1. Perfume River Cruise
We took the Perfume River boat cruise to Thien Mu pagoda instead of driving to the site. After the long bus ride the previous day, this 1-hour dragon boat cruise was a pleasant change and an excellent way to visit the pagoda.