Vietnam Day Thirteen

Today we decided that we would sleep in and grab a late breakfast. After the long trip from Hoi An to Hue I think that a sleep in is deserved.
After another typical hotel style buffet breakfast we decided that I was going to be the tour guide today. After next to no thought or pondering I decided that we were going to do a Motor Bike tour around Hue, gonna do it Top Gear style. The family agreed, and the weather was great!. We headed to our tour desk and asked about how we get our hands onto some scooters. Usually you can get them directly from the hotel, unfortunately it was not going to be this easy. The tour desk guy directed us to a street in Hue with a whole bunch of tour operators.
After a short brisk walk we stumbled onto this little tour office. I mean the place wouldnt be any bigger than most peoples bathrooms. I got talking to the guy about wanting to do a Self-Ride Scooter tour. He said, ‘Yes, this no probrem’ (the ‘r’ is there on purpose) We negotiated a price and settled on 6USD for the half day and we buy our own peterol. Whilst some local rounded up some bikes and helmets for us, I discussed the route. By the time we had deliberated on the destinations the local returned with several sized helmets and three automatic scooters. As Brendans head is so large we thought that we would have to get him a collinder, Top Gear style! We managed to get helmets that fit us reletively ok and before we knew it we were on our way.
Our first stop was the petrol station just up the road. It cost us 50kVND (2.5AUD) for about 4L of gas, this would be more than enough for the trip. However I later discovered that my petrol guage along with the Speedo were non-operational. Whilst we were filling up, as usual, a random local offered to be our guide. And as usual we denied, then denied again, then denied again (basically telling him to fuck off)
We got on our way and decided that we would head toward the hotel as it is a good reference point, and it was on the way. On our way thru the streets of Hue that random local from the servo showed up again! Waving and again suggesting to be our guide. We just kept riding!!
We turned onto one of the main highways and were on our way to the Tu Duc tomb, on of the early royal dynasty tombs.
Riding these tiny little bikes was such an adrenalin rush! Brendan and I had to make sure we didnt just ‘Gun It’ and get busted for speeding. We got to our first turn off, and as I was the tour guide I pulled over to check our map. We headed right, hoping that it was the correct direction. This highway went on for a while before we had to turn off again.
We just cruised, enjoying the wind in our faces and the hecticness of Vietnamese traffic rules. Basically beep, indicate, overtake, give way to larger vehicles and you should be fine.
Whilst we were cruising down the hwy, we caught up to another couple of tourists, they asked us if we were going to the Tu Duc Tomb, we said ‘Yeah, follow us if you wish’ before we knew it tho, they were no longer behind us.
After a few stops, and asking for some directions we finally arrived at the Tu Duc Tomb. This place was beautiful, just an old dynasty temple and a georgeous lake with a little rotunda. These places ares so humbling and spiritual its hard to describe but to say just that.
We bumped into the tourists we passed on the hwy earlier, we got chatting and they suggested we go to the Ming Mang Temple. After some more conversation and family deliberation we decided to head towards it. We checked our map and worked out the rough route to get there. We got to a turn in the road and looked up the direction that we are supposed to go, and it didnt look to inviting. Just a small single lane (maybe narrower) semi-concrete/dirt track. We headed up a little until we reached a local house. We kindly asked them for directions and they were so kind and helpful.
On a quick side note, all of the Vietnamese people are so kind and inviting to tourists it has made the whole trip that much more enjoyable. Truly beautiful people.
So… as i said, they were so helpful. “yes you go up this way, but be very careful, dangerous road, slippery in some places from heavy rain’ Wow, thanks for the help and the advice!! We got on our way, it was a bit scary at some points, otherwise pretty easy.
The road winded its way thru the local country side, past houses and fields. It was truly beautiful (i know im saying that alot, but it is dammit!) Before we knew it the tiny track opened up onto a massive highway, and again we bumped into some more tourists. They were also heading toward the Ming Mang Temple, and were kind enough to point us in the right direction.
We kept riding, got into a town, got lost, asked for directions, got lost, asked for more directions, got lost again! After a some more directions we got going onto the right track, We arrived at a temple but it was not the Ming Mang Temple. It was the Lang Khai Dinh Temple, the Ming Mang temple was another 30min ride. As we were running out of time, we decided to just do this one then head back.
The Lang Khai Dinh temple is a royal temple from, well I honestly cant remember when he was in rule, but just that it was…… yup… beautiful. The attention to detail in the murals made of glass and the statues of soldiers at the gates are truly amazing. The only bad thing about this visit was the bus load of un-appreciative french tourists that entered the same time as us. Apart from that, what an amazing place.
We looked at the time and decided we should head back to town. So we jumped onto our bikes and began our return journey to Hue. The road back took us thru a majour town. A town that has roads full of pot holes and trucks. I got to one point were it was either dissapear into the pot hole or go around it onto the opposite side of the road with a truck coming towards me. Of course I chose the truck option. I went out around the pothole and at the last second leant way from the oncoming truck, I could hear my mum gasping on the bike 20m behind me. It was so close, just centimetres away from spending the rest of my trip in a hospital bed. But OH MY GOD! What a Rush!!!!
Of course we got lost on the way back so we stopped and asked again, we got put back onto the right direction and before we knew it we were back to the outskirts of Hue. We thought we would head to the Citadel, the walled center of the old town. By the time we got there it was almost time to take the bikes back. So we decided to just do a lazy lap around and take in the sights. Before we knew it we were on our way back thru peak traffic toward the tour place.
We got back and then decided to get some dinner. We walked passed this place and booked our DMZ tour for day after next. We also got dinner here and then walked back to the hotel.
We decided to take a quick dip in the pool before going to bed. The pool was soo deep! Even when you walked in on the steps you are neck deep.
Didnt stay long in the water as it was cold as, washed off, showered then bed. What a long, exhaustin but AWESOME day!

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