With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

Hue Beach

Posted by Heliocentrism on May 20, 2017

Saturday April 8 – 9, 2017

Time to Relax

Gone were the Hanoi times of hot days and cool evenings. Hue was blazing hot during the day and manageably hot in the evenings. This was not the weather we wanted to go sightseeing in. Walking around took too much effort at these temperatures. Breathing took too much effort. It was time to relax.

Mark and I headed to the beach. We heard many backpackers going on and on about Hue beach. They would rent a scooter and drive out there in the afternoon and come back to Hue in the evening. We wanted more. We would stay at the beach for several days.

We found accommodations in a grass hut bungalow. That sounded real-island-like. We packed our stuff, leaving behind more clothes to lighten our bags and headed over. It looked like a dream come true as we walked down the semi-tiled path to the beach and to our hut.

We entered the hut. There were six bunk beds, meaning the bungalow could sleep 12 people. Each bed had a fan and a mosquito net. But, only 2 were made up and ready to be slept in.

Sometimes the wind just blows the doors open.

“Where are the lockers?” Mark asked.

The lady showing us around opened a cupboard made of dried grass and bamboo. The door was held close not by a lock, but by friction. She pointed inside.

I took a look. I could see that some termites had had quite a feast there recently. “How does it lock?” Mark asked knowing fully well that it could not be locked. The lady shook her head.

“Well, we’re the only guests in this hut,” Mark thought. “As long as we keep the front door locked we should be okay.”  Then he asked, “Where is our key?”

The lady showed us the door, pointing to an obvious lack of a key hole. “No key,” she said. Then she walked outside to show us the bathroom.

We looked at each other wondering if it was too late to get our money back. It would not do for us to be robbed the first month of our around-the-world trip. We weren’t given too much time to think about things. The lady was out the door. “This is the bathroom.”

We followed her. The bathroom was very rustic. The toilets were okay, I guess. But, the showers could have done with more walls or a bigger door at least. There were three showers each with a set of 2 feet long saloon doors about 3 feet off the ground. No locks. No curtains.

It was actually the shower for the beach goers. It was meant to be the place where swimmers rinse the salty ocean water off themselves. These people would be clothed in their swimsuits and didn’t need complete privacy.

Mark and I would be using these same semi-open showers as showers. We would not be wearing clothes.

But, we didn’t want to admit that the place was a dump. Or at least that we pick the dump option of this resort. Our hut hotel was operated in conjunction with another resort, one that cost 350 euro a night.

The pamphlet for our bungalow was made up of mostly photos of that resort. The resort had several indoor pools. Some rooms had their own pool. There was an outdoor pool and a room of marble pillars, for some reason. On the last page in the corner was a picture of our hut.

The huts were the “backpacker friendly” accommodations at 8USD per night. So, we weren’t expecting much, just a locker and a private shower… the essentials.

It’s way past shower time.

After our tour we sat on the beach to discuss things. “What are we going to do?” I asked Mark.

“I guess we can put all our stuff in the bamboo cabinet and hope no one looks in there. If all our stuff is put away, maybe people will think the hut is empty and that there is nothing to steal.” Mark tried to sound reassuring.

“And I guess we could shower really early in the morning and really late at night…” I added.

Things didn’t seem so bad. We ordered food from the kitchen and took photos of the beach. Maybe everything would be okay…

That used to be Mark’s face.

For the first few days things did seem alright. We woke up with the sun and took showers. We got dressed and put all our stuff away. But then we got more comfortable and started hiding everything except our swimsuits and towels; they needed to dry.

We tried swimming. The beach was very nice, but the water was too rough to relax in. Even when the water only came up mid-thigh, it would be just a matter of time before a wave would come along and knock you over. I could only be in the water for about 15 minutes before getting tired of being thrown about.

Sand flea bites one week later

Then one night we stayed out on the beach a little too late. We got bitten up by sand fleas. This got us to our breaking point.  We were ready to get the hell out of Dodge.

While we were at the beach we made friends with other guests. Not the guests from the 350 euro a night resort, but other guests like us. They told us about beaches further south that were better and calmer than this beach in Hue. Mark and I decided then and there that we would beach hop our way to Ho Chi Minh City.

Checking reviews on google, booking.com, and hostelworld.com.

This time, we would choose our hotels more carefully. This time we would read online reviews and make sure our next stay will be more pleasant.

I know how complaining about our stay at a beach may come off. Three weeks earlier we had jobs, responsibility, and winter coats. No matter how you looked at it, this was an improvement.  …sand fleas and all.


Vietnam
(Việt Nam)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, train, boat, or bus.
  • Make sure to get a visa before going to Vietnam. Although some nationals can get a visa at the border for a few days, many cannot or will need a visa for longer stays.
    • Visit the Vietnamese embassy in your country to get a visa.
    • Or you can apply for a visa online if you do not live near an embassy or consulate.
    • Remember if you enter Vietnam on a single entry visa then leave, you must wait 30 days before returning to Vietnam on another visa.

Phone:

Website:

Videos:

Notes:

  • Don’t worry if you cannot get Vietnamese dong from your local bank back home. You can get your dong at the bank in Vietnam. (DO NOT get money at the airport. You will never get a good rate. Use an ATM/bank.) Don’t get too much; no one will buy it back from you. Many hotels, fancy restaurants, and tour agents will take US dollars or Euros. Though who knows what exchange rate they will use? You will need dong for taxis, small shops, and local restaurants and vendors.
  • When you get to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh pick up a map of the area from any hotel, hostel, travel agency, or tourist information center. Once you have one of those you’ll be able to find anything.
  • Having a map of the area in Hanoi is very important. Every block has a different street name so once you know the name of street something is on you can easily find it with a map.
  • Wherever you choose to stay, make sure you bring a picture and the address of the hotel. One common trick that taxi and motorbike-taxi drivers like to pull is to take you to the wrong hotel. When you say, “I asked for ABC Hotel!” They will tell you that the name changed. They usually get a commission for bringing tourist to certain hotels.
    • Sometimes hotels do change names. But most likely a hotel will not change names between the time of your booking accommodations and your arrival without telling you.
    • Also, asking the average Joe on the street for ABC hotel will do nothing. Locals don’t stay in hotels, so they don’t remember hotel names. But Mr. Joe will know where 123 Hanoi St. is.
  • Also for taxis, NEVER agree to a flat rate fee. The flat rate fee will always be way higher than it should be. Always demand that the cab driver use the meter. If he doesn’t want to use his meter, get out. Taxi drivers are a dime a dozen. This is true in most countries.
  • For motorbike taxis, settle on the cost of the ride before getting on. Ask fellow travelers for advice on how much a ride should cost.
  • Watch out for cyclo drivers that claim not to have change as a way to get more money out of you. If you need to, wait for one of those fruit vendors to come along and buy something from her to make change. You really should ask the cost to your destination and make sure you have exact change before you get in the cyclo. 
  • It’s best not to say anything bad about Ho Chi Minh while in Vietnam. He is still very much loved by his people.
  • There are companies that charge 10USD to take you from Hanoi to the airport. They are all around Hanoi. Use one of those instead of jumping into a random cab.
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