The only negative was that it was hot...so hot.
I booked myself a private transfer from Hoi An to Hue with Hoi An Private cars as I needed to work in the morning and had a booked a food tour for the evening in Hue so the buses and train (both considerably cheaper but longer and less flexible options) times didn't work. On the way you drive pass the beautiful My Khe beach in Danang - A stunning stretch of beach formally referred to, during the war, as China Beach. We stopped at the summit of Hai Van pass for me to take some photos before driving pass the lovely Lang Co beach and onto Hue. It's a good 2.5 to 3 hours drive and the roads are pretty good and with the exception of the odd dodgy overtake on corners it was a great drive.
I had booked myself into the Hotel Saigon Morin which is in a great location in the heart of Hue, with fantastic views of view of the Truong Tien Bridge (which is lit up at night with changing colours) and Perfume River. The Morin is a lovely colonial style hotel originally built in 1901 and refurbished in 1997. Huge rooms and in my case a balcony looking out to the river.
I had booked myself on Urban Adventures 'Royal City Street Eats' which is an evening food tour by cyclo where I sampled some of Hue's best local dishes and ended up at the Tu Phuong Vo Su Pavilion for coffee (inside the Citidel) which was just stunning.
The following morning I met up with Van (who also took my tour last night), and did a Hue city tour (again with Urban Adventures)which included a walking tour of the Citadel, a visit to the Dong Ba Market, a vegan lunch at a local monastery (Pagoda), a visit to the seven-tiered Thien Mu Pagoda, and a relaxing cruise back to the hotel along the Perfume River. I also tried making incense sticks -its safe to say I won't be giving up my day job!.
Van, spoke very good English, was knowledgeable about the history and culture and made both tours interesting and enjoyable.
On the second night I had a nice meal at Stop and Go Café which was just around the corner from the hotel and on the last night I ate along the riverfront at Ancient Town Restaurant. A lovely spot away from the stalls and shops along the walking street.
While I was in Hue I went and looked at a few other hotels - Eldora, Scarlett Boutique Hotel, Alba Spa Hotel, La Residence and Indochine Palace. All lovely hotels with their own unique selling points.
I booked a transfer back with Stop and Go Tours (same place as the restaurant) and my driver Hung would have to have been the best driver I have had in Vietnam to date.
Back to Hoi An in time for the full moon but I opted to avoid the Ancient Town after last month and ate around the corner, complete with a lion/dragon dance put on.
That day and night were incredibly hot and the next day it was already 33 degrees at 8am. We had a power cut for 30 minutes and I thought I was going to die (from the heat). Normally there is a great breeze off the balcony during the day but it was so still. (pic of my house - 3rd from the end/bridge)
I was comforted by the fact that everyone was feeling it including the locals but I was desperately in need of a pool and some 24/7 air conditioning so I booked myself into Hoi An Trails Resort for a few days. I had wanted to check it out so it gave me the perfect excuse. My room included breakfast (obviously as most Vietnamese hotels do) and a daily 15 min food massage and a cooking class which I naturally made the most of.
While I was this end of town I checked out Dingo Deli for lunch, which is a favourite hangout spot for expats. I had dinner at Son Restaurant (232 Cua Dai), where I had eaten 4 + years ago on a recommendation from the then chef at the Nam Hai. The food is still great.
And I had a night out with the one of the owners and sales manager for Wide Eyed Tours (who have a great product) at Soul Kitchen on An Bang Beach - a great spot and a great night out.
Hard to believe I have just over two weeks left...