In Hue there is a very common scam where someone will walk up to you with a few coins, typically euro coins, and ask you if you can change them in to either a euro note or a dollar note.
This seems very innocent as you can generally not change these coins in the bank and this might just be a tourist employee who got this as a tip.
This is true for many other parts of the world but in Hue these people are con artists who will somehow make sure that the 2 euro coins they changed with you are suddenly 1 euro coins by the time you check them and they have run away, so do not accept to change coins in Hue if someone comes up to you and ask you that in the street.
I hired a dragon boat for a day to cruise the Perfume river.
This was booked through my Hotel and cost 332,000dong.
When I was on the boat, they said it would only be for 2hours, and I knew that they charge 30000dong per hour, so was not happy.
I said, I wanted at least 6hours, so they rang the Hotel. The Hotel told me I had to pay more money if i wanted 6 hours, which I refused to do.
After arguing with the boatman, he agreed to take me. We went up and down the river at an extremely slow pace, probably saw in 5hours, what you could see in 2-3 hours.
Unique Suggestions: Just go down to the local boatmen, and bargain for a price, it will be a third of what i paid.
Beware taxis ripping you off with a set fare to take you to your destination. Always use the meter (sometimes you have to even watch that ... should be 10 to 12,000 VND flagfall). We arrived at Hue station and were offered a taxi for 60,000 VND which went down to 50,000 VND. We insisted on using the meter and said that we wanted the most direct route! Off we went... I knew from hotel instructions that the route was straight down alongside the Perfume River, so when the driver put on his indicator I pointed to the map and indicated for him to go straight ahead! The cost was only 28,000 VND. It's a pity that you have to always be 'on your guard' and people like this make you distrust everyone... Dee
There seems to be more food shops in Hue than usual that claim to be listed in the Lonely Planet book (whatever edition that might be!). We tried one recommended by our trishaw riders and displaying such a sign outside the shop. I ate the savoury pancake, supposed to be a speciality of Hue. Nothing much except it was rather crispy. It was supposed to be accompanied by a peanut sauce, salad of green veg and cucumber. What happened was my friends also ordered food which were to be accompanied by similar side dishes. The shop just served all eight of us two servings of the side dishes! They told us to share!
Unique Suggestions: Insist they give you the correct number of side dishes for different orders or if ordering similar dishes, for different people.
We arrived at our beautiful old hotel in the riverbank late in the evening with the rains of a taifun going down, wo we could not even take a walk,. We returend to the hotel bar and ordered some plate of snacks, beautiful snacks they do have here!!!.
We watched a group of french and a group of american and a group of japanese tourist being made fools, dressed in shorts and tennisshoes(very appropriate for dinner!!!) then wrapoped in kimonos and and yellow silk hats then being served a so called imperial dinner. We asked for the menu, tghe same delicate stuff was ebing served to us wothout hats, but seemingly people llike to be fools. At the end they had to make something we call polonaise through the restaurant, the bar and the hotellobby. I would have died of shame....
Unique Suggestions: At least : do not do the final polonaise parade, it is so ridiculous, Everybody sitting in that bar and lobby area was joking about them....
Fun Alternatives: If you're with a group, if you can afford it, take that dinner off and go out for dinner, unless you like that stuff...
Hue is a hard place for those of you who do not want to be bothered by cyclo drivers, beggars, pimps... I don't know why, but in no other place in Vietnam the people are as importunate! Best to close your ears and walk by quickly.
Moreover, the prices seem to be somewhat out of range: I was actually asked to pay 10.000 VND for parking my motobike - that's ten times as much as in Hanoi!
Unique Suggestions: Haggle over every single Dong!
It's only 5 minutes to cross the Perfume River from the West Bank to the other side
but the boat operator charged us 20000 dong per person
It's a shame but we only knew it when aboard.
Stupid we didn't ask him first.
I felt like throwing all his goods in the water