As soon as we got back to Hanoi we showered in our friends dorm room and then waited for our bus at 6pm to take us half way down the country to Hoi An. However, at 8am we could have a stop over in Hue until 12pm and would then continue down to Hoi An. We decided to use this opportunity to explore Hue and what it had to offer.
Our bus arrived about half an hour late but it was rush hour so we weren't too worried. Night buses, or sleeper buses are actually in my opinion quite a nice way of travelling. Each bus will vary but ours had a toilet, folding chairs and complimentary blankets. The bus stops every few hours for toilet breaks and food. I slept throughout most of the night and arrived in Hue relaxed and ready for the day. However, although they are great cheap methods of travelling be careful of your possessions on night buses. On our journey we heard of two thefts and I later heard from a fellow traveller we met in Halong Bay who had his Ipad stolen on a night bus. When you leave the bus at the break stops either the driver or the public walks freely through the bus and takes things if they can. Make sure you take all of your belongings off with you to avoid this. Similarly when getting off the bus either at the break or at your destination, make sure you are aware of your items. There may be numerous people surrounding the bus offering taxis and other services. One girl on our bus lost her phone in this confusion of people. Apart from being vigilant we had a good experience of the night bus and arrived in Hue on time at 8am.
We were bused to the local youth hostel where we were able to leave our rucksacks and looked at a map to decide how we were going to use our 4 hours. We chose to head to the Imperial City in Hue. The Imperial City was the ancient capital of Vietnam and therefore where the oldest palaces and temples are. We paid around £6 to get in and explored all the different temples inside the city. It was huge and had different temples and palaces for different kings and their queens. We also had one of the best Mango smoothies from the whole trip in the city as well. I would recommend spending some time in the Imperial City, it is very beautiful and had lots of information on the different histoires. We spent the majority of the time there and also briefly went through one of the local markets. There is some history around Hue of the demilitarised zone of the Vietnam War and this was evident even in the few hours we were there through the tanks and other remnants of the war on display.
By the time we had finished walking through Hue to the Imperial City and back it was almost time to head back to the hostel to pick up our bags and head back to the bus to Hoi An. We stopped off at a few shops along the way and were back at the hostel in plenty of time. Hue was really pretty but talking to those staying there was not worth a visit longer than a few days as the things to do there are limited and extremely so if you don't ride a moped. If you do there are some great sites out from the city and therefore would be a great base. We got onto the next bus for a short 4 hour journey to Hoi An and got there in the evening having successfully travelled half of the country in a day.