Asia,  Destinations,  Trains, Planes & Rideshares,  Travel Diary,  Vietnam

From Tam Coc to Hue by overnight bus

Previously: Ninh Binh Day Tour

Journal date: November 13-14, 2023

I booked this bus through my hostel for something like $20 USD. It included transport over to the bus station (which was just down the street, haha!) and a small snack bag and a large water bottle.

The bus trip

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos for this bus because I got sick right before with a cold. Of course, I didn’t have any cold meds with me and when I visited the (very small) pharmacy in town, I could only get regular Ibuprofen. A hostel friend gave me some Lemsip which did help. Rather than spend my last day exploring Tam Coc like I meant to, I hunkered down in the common room after check out and took a nap.

The downside of overnight buses is that they leave very late, so that means a lot of waiting between check out and onward travel. If you’re not sick, it usually works out better for sightseeing plans. 😛

Like previously, I booked the VIP cabin bus which has nice big bunks to lounge in. Regular sleeper buses also have bunks to lay down in, but they’re 3 to a row and rather small. The VIP sleeper buses have 2 bunks to a row, and they’re big enough to fit two people into if you need to.

The roads between Tam Coc and Hue weren’t bad, and I slept fairly well.

Arriving in Hue

Next hurdle: the bus gets into Hue at a staggering 6:00 am.

This is an insanely early time as no hostels or hotels are open, and barely any restaurants.

Befuddled by my night in the road, I let myself get picked up by a motorbike taxi and taken to my hostel for a VERY overpriced 200,000 dong / $8.20 USD (Grab bike prices were like 17,000 dong). Luckily I was able to get inside and drop off my luggage, at least. The driver took me to a cafe that was open and I grabbed some coffee and a parfait.

Then I booked a private day tour with the same driver for $20 USD (somewhat better priced I suppose). This was just transport and some very small explanations of the places we visited.

A day tour in Hue

The tour was pretty fun, and since it was a private one I could take as long or as little as I wanted at each stop. We stopped at the major Hue sights, including the abandoned water park and a couple temples. We of course stopped at the incense village, where locals make incense by hand and offer them to travelers for a small inflated price. I did buy some cinnamon incense cones, which I ended up sending to my brother for a souvenir.

I think I went faster than expected though because the tour ended a bit sooner than originally booked, so the guide dropped me off at the Citadel for a few hours.

The Citadel

This is maybe the main attraction in Hue, and well worth visiting. It’s the old Imperial City constructed in 1803, and in pretty good shape. It’s also an UNESCO World Heritage Site and undergoing restoration in some parts.

The Citadel is HUGE, and a complete loop takes several hours to walk through. You can rent an English audio tour thing, which is well worth it because it’ll explain what you’re looking at– or you can get a real-person tour guide for a little more. I got the audio thing and took a shorter tour route, as it was starting to rain by early afternoon.

Hue Melody Hostel

I then walked back to my hostel via the river (where I saw some really cool boats) and checked in. I stayed at Hue Melody Hostel, about 10 minutes or so from the river and about 20-30 minutes walking from the Citadel.

My bed!

Because I was sick, I booked a private room on an upper floor which came with an ensuite and a mini fridge. The room was basic but comfortable, and the owner and his family were SO nice. They gave me fruit before check in and checked on how I was doing during my stay. The hostel is right near a walking street (night market) and some really good restaurants.

Hue is a pretty cute little town with some amazing historical sights, well worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Next: Flooding in Hue!

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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal.

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