Hue is one of the wettest cities in Vietnam, with annual rainfall of around 3,000mm. The wettest months are September and October, when there can be flooding. The best time to go, if you want to stay dry, is from February to April.
Near the markets, local women ask you to go for a 1hour tour with them for 30,000dong, its in a long boat on the river.
I did this, she took me in amongst all the locals floating homes, hands were coming out of boats everywhere wanting money.
She then pulled up against her mothers boat, and begged for money. I was in a precarious position, a woman on my own.
I zipped my bag, and just said, no,no, no!!!
She eventually gave up, and rowed slowly out into the centre of the river. I asked to be dropped off, a half hour only as I felt very unsafe with her.
When I paid her, she tried to keep the change.
DO NOT TAKE A BOAT TRIP WITH THESE WOMEN, IT TURNED OUT TO BE A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION!
This was a really bad experience for me. Don't trust them.
Hue is a great place but the rain will all of you. It’s best to be psychologically prepared for this. Good rain gear is easily acquired in town for a nominal price. Word of advice, go for the good stuff. The cheap rain coats will be more trouble than they are worth. Go for the heavy duty rain gear. It’s worth the extra dollar.
Also, you might want to think about getting a good hotel so you have somewhere nice to be if you don’t feel like going out.
Outside the Citadel friendly women sell glasses of ice cold cane juice -- yummy. After I drank it I saw them washing the glasses on a filthy bucket. By the the time I got back to my hotel I had severe diarrhea and chills. Fortunately, I had brought medicine with me. Lesson learned -- never drink stuff that has not come from a bottle or can, as it might lead to terrible sickness.
I have just been to Hue with a friend last week. On our first day, it was quite sunny so we decided to do a tour of citadel just walking from the hotel and back. The citadel was quite interesting and is a real must-see when in Hue!
After lunch, we went out for a walk and some cyclo boys talked us into touring the "old" Hue - they argued it was more interesting than the modern Hue. They told us they would tour us around for an hour and it would only cost us about US$6.50. What they never told us was that it was pro-rated and that they were gonna try and prolong the trip so they could charge us more.
So, even if the scenery was not really interesting, they would ask us to get off and take as much pictures as we can. They brought us to Ho Chi Minh's old house (hut, actually) in hue (HCM has supposedly stayed there for several years during his childhood). They even brought us to a nice bar-restaurant in the middle of nowhere and that took a long time to go to as well. "Take maximum pictures!", they insisted. And from there they took us to a pagoda which they said was quite near (but wasn't!). And they tried all the prolonging tactics that they could do on us without us realizing it.
After the pagoda trip, we asked them to take us back to the hotel and there and then, on the way to the hotel, they told us that they had to charge us 2.5 hrs each as they said they've timed it all and to get back to the hotel would be a complete 2.5 hrs at $6.50 each. We don't really mind paying such but the whole trip was not really interesting and we got pissed off by the fact that they had sort of tricked us into it.
Just be careful when dealing with cyclo boys in Hue and I guess in the rest of Vietnam. Even the little shops in Hue give different prices on stuff. One big bottle of La Vie mineral water cost me 20,000 VND (US$1=18,500VND) when i bought it from one of the shops on our first morning there. In the afternoon, I tried to ask from another shop about it and since the lady at the shop didn't speak english, she opened here purse and took out a 50,000VND bill and showed it to me and i was shocked and immediately said no to her. I went to another shop and got it for 9,000 VND. There I began to doubt about the price. That night we ate at a cafe, and i only paid 6,000 VND for the same bottle of water. I was so upset.
One more thing, when you arrive in Hue, just book a taxi at the airport counter coz when we got there it was only 140,000 VND to go from airport to the center of Hue but since we decided to get a taxi from the outside, we ended up paying 190,000 VND.
I arrived by bus in front Sinf Cafe in Hue and once off the bus, I was horded by operators selling from hotels, tours and restaurants. I was on a 14 hours sleeper bus ride from Hanoi and the last thing I want was a group of people starting to push me stuffs. I walked off but there was this operator who followed me for a good 25 minutes and continued his selling speech. I ended up having to give him a hard warning to leave me alone and walked over to Pham Ngu Lao St (another backpackers area) and stayed there.
When booking tickets through the hotel or travel agent, don't pay in full. We were cheated by a travel agent in Hanoi for that. We got hard sleepers instead of soft. In Hue, we paid for 4 berths (2 berths level 1 and 2 berths level 2) in one cabin. Phong Nha Hotel bought for us berths in two separate cabins. They also gave us all level 2 berths. These are on the upper level where you can't sit up at all. The train journey was from 8 am in day 1 to 2.30 pm in day 2 (18 1/2 hours!). Phong Nha Hotel is at 10/10, Nguyen Tri Phuong St., Hue.