Tag Archives: hue

Part # 17: Panorama Vietnam

Vietnam #1: It’s a Long Ass Flight to Vietnam
Vietnam #2: The Best Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam #3: A Lesson in History and Propaganda
Vietnam #4: The Streets of HCMC
Vietnam #5: Is the Mekong Delta Worth It?
Vietnam #6: My First Overseas Doctor Visit
Vietnam #7: Welcome to Central Vietnam
Vietnam #8: Two-Wheeling in Vietnam
Vietnam #9: Don’t Skip Hoi An
Vietnam #10: A Hot Day in Hue
Vietnam #11: Exploring Hanoi
Vietnam #12: Hanoi Hilton
Vietnam #13: The Best View in Hanoi
Vietnam #14: Sheraton Hanoi Hotel
Vietnam #15: Need a Reason to Go to Vietnam: Here it Is.
Vietnam #16: How to Pick a Ha Long Bay Cruise

While I love taking and posting my own pictures, I don’t have a panorama option on my DSLR. Thankfully, Lisa’s camera does, and she loves taking panoramic shots. She does a great job, and it’s a neat way to get a feel for this fascinating country.

Thanks Lisa!


A row of motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City


A row of shops in central Ho Chi Minh City


The beach at our Hyatt hotel in Danang


Fishing boats in the Hoi An countryside


Lang Co Bay en route to Hue


A street corner in Hanoi


Sitting on a tree in Hanoi overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake


The stunning and incomparable Ha Long Bay


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Vietnam #10: A Hot Day in Hue

Vietnam #1: It’s a Long Ass Flight to Vietnam
Vietnam #2: The Best Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam #3: A Lesson in History and Propaganda
Vietnam #4: The Streets of HCMC
Vietnam #5: Is the Mekong Delta Worth It?
Vietnam #6: My First Overseas Doctor Visit
Vietnam #7: Welcome to Central Vietnam
Vietnam #8: Two-Wheeling in Vietnam
Vietnam #9: Don’t Skip Hoi An

All the guide books say Hue is a must-see city. Hue (pronounced Hwhay) was the capital city of the Nguyen dynasty from 1802 until 1945 when the communist government was established in Hanoi. Hue’s ancient complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located on the banks of the Perfume River, the walled city boasts palaces, shrines, and other monuments.

Getting to Hue is not that difficult. You can take the train for a pittance, but we took a taxi for the three hour drive north from Danang. That may sound expensive, but the three hour door-to-door drive cost all of 50 U.S. dollars or 25 dollars per person. That’s the equivalent of a 20 minute cab ride in D.C. The taxi was extremely comfortable, and we had the added benefit of stopping for pictures along the way.

*2015-12-01 11.30.49 **2015-12-01 11.29.13The road to Hue winds through the mountains, offering gorgeous views of the sea below.

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The ancient capital is pretty, but the intense heat sucked all of our energy. After walking all over southern Vietnam, we thought we could easily manage the 25 minute walk from our hotel to the ancient city. Wrong. We quickly gave in to the insistent pedicab drivers hawking their services. Note: The pedicab is really not meant for multiple people…We could not stop laughing.

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After we left the ancient complex, we passed a display of old military vehicles. The explanations were the best part.

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“57MM anti-aircraft artillery of the liberation army used during the liberation campaign in Thua Thien Hue in the spring of 1975.”

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“The MIG-21 is a fighting jet-plane of Vietnam military aviation. In the resistance against American imperialists from 1954 to 1975. Vietnam military aviation used this type of jet-plane to shoot down he enemy aircrafts, especially B-52 flying fortress of American imperialists.”

Now, for my absolute favorite part of the day. Ancient ruins are nice and all, but nothing makes me happier than taking pictures of local children. I know, I know, it’s weird – this obsession of mine. But look how cute these kids are.

The young boy loved playing with my camera so much, I couldn’t take any pictures. So I gave him my iPhone to play with, and he was ecstatic.

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12 Nights of Vietnam Hotels for $92.50

I hope you’re not tired of listening to me gush about the  power of miles and points. WARNING: There is more gushing to come. We leave for Vietnam in one week (!!!!!), and we’ve been busy planning.

The short story is we booked 12 nights at pretty nice hotels for $92.50 a person. Here’s the breakdown:

Ho Chi Minh City: Five nights at Intercontinental Asiana Residences for 95,000 IHG points, one free night, and $40.

Da Nang: Three nights at the Hyatt Regency for 18,000 Hyatt points, one free night, and $75.

Hue: One night at the Eldora Hotel for $70.

Hanoi: Three nights at the Sheraton Hanoi for 10,000 SPG points.

The long story is, well, much longer.

As soon as Lisa and I booked our flights to Vietnam, I made a map and chart of all the possible hotel options. I did an audit of my hotel points and asked Lisa to do the same. I had spent many of my points in Scotland, so I need to figure out which points I needed to restock.

We started with Lisa. I had convinced her to get the IHG credit card for a bonus of 70,000 points. A couple of months later, Lisa was sitting on 75,000 IHG points. That was enough for three nights at the Intercontinental Asiana Saigon Residences in Ho Chi Minh City at 25,000 points a night. Ho Chi Minh has a number of nice hotels – from Hyatt, to SPG, to IHG, to Marriott – but the Asiana Residences offered apartment sized rooms with an actual living room and kitchen. That was a no-brainer. I just had to cobble together points for two additional nights. Luckily, the anniversary on my own IHG credit card reset on October 1, granting me another free annual night. Four nights down, one to go. Thanks to IHG’s 10 percent rebate on redemptions and my Chase points, I managed to accrue 20,000 points. That plus $40 gave us our fifth night.

Next up is the coastal city of Da Nang. This was a simple process of elimination. Da Nang has two points hotels: The swanky Intercontinental and the Hyatt Regency. We were fresh out of IHG points so I needed to cobble together three nights’ worth of Hyatt points. My Hyatt credit card give me a free annual night at a category 1 – 4 hotel. That’s one night. I transferred 12,000 Chase ultimate reward points and booked our second night. For our third night, I used 6,000 Hyatt points and $75. Three nights – done.

Our next stay is in the ancient city of Hue. There are no points hotels, but plenty of great, affordable options. You can book a motel for as low as $15, but we splurged on the four-star Eldora Hotel for $70.

Our last hotel stay is in Hanoi. We decided to stay in the ultra-bargain Sheraton (where my SPG credit card will get us access to the lounge!) for 3,000 – 3,500 points a night.

And that’s how we booked 12 nights of hotels for $185. Split between two people, that’s only $92.50 a person!


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