Welcome to Hue, the Imperial Capital of Vietnam. Hue does not have big population unlike Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, with a current population of 287,217. Whichever country you came from, you’ll definitely see our cultural differences. So here’s the guide you can use while traveling in the city, which you can also use in other places in Vietnam.
(Hue city – Hue tour)
Communicating with locals. Please be patient as English is practically a new language to Vietnamese.
You may or may not be from an English speaking country, but please know that it is harder for a Vietnamese to pronounce English words compared to other Asian countries. Try to speak slowly and clearly. Better yet, use sign language.
Getting Around. You can walk, rent a bicycle, hire taxi or motorbike taxi (xe om).
If you prefer walking, crossing the streets might be the most challenging part of it. It surely is different from your home country. You may get overwhelmed by the large number of motorbikes swarming from all sides. You may notice that most of the streets do not even have stop lights and/or pedestrian lane. It is very rare that motorbikes will stop and wait for you to cross, so take a deep breath, look and study the flow of the traffic, gain your confidence and walk slowly and consistently, it is very important to walk straight ahead and not stopping for it is easier for Vietnamese drivers to go around you than to stop for you. Crossing main streets of Vietnam might be one of the most exciting parts of your travel.
Renting a bicycle is one of the common ways in getting around this small city. You can go around with it just make sure you know some hand signals to prevent any accident on the way. The city does not have any bicycle lane so you will have to ride around the city with all the other vehicles. Do not be shocked if you get beeped every time, it’s a polite way of Vietnamese drivers in warning that they are coming your way.
( Ride bicycle around Hue city – Hue tour)
You must’ve heard from your fellow traveler that they got ripped off when they hired taxi or xe om. Though this may be true, not all drivers are like that. Just to avoid any inconvenience, better if you ask your receptionist to the transaction for you. Let them call you a taxi or motorbike they trust, these drivers are most likely are a lot nicer than the others. You might even want to give tip to them. No, they do not require you, but you can if you want.
Vietnam is not a place to practice driving motorbike. Though Vietnamese are extremely confident with their driving skills, they are also reckless. If you do not have any experience driving in your home country, do not try it hear. You may just turn into one of the many travelers whose holidays got cut off and needed to go back home for surgery or worse, dead.
Chilling, drinking and partying. Before anything else, make sure you have your passport, wallet and any valuables locked in before leaving your hotel and/or hostel. Just bring enough money. Beer, food and hard liquor are really cheap in Vietnam. You can get drunk with just a few dollars. People will tell you to drink responsibly but then again if you can’t just remember not to get into fight with anyone most especially the locals, you might just learn how Vietnamese defeated they China, France and USA outside museums.
Do not do drugs. You will meet people on the streets and will offer you weed, do not take it. You may think it is legal in this country and police won’t care get tempted on the frequent offer of the guy outside your hostel, no, it’s illegal and police will make sure you will remember that once they caught you on possession of drugs or weed. But it’s very cheap you say? Well, good luck on getting high with tea.
You may forget everything you just read but always remember this, under any circumstances, do good and you’ll be fine.