This was my second late August trip to Hue in four years, and the weather in Central Vietnam is often enough very predictable during this time of year - brutally hot with and a heavy dose of rain about 5pm each day that helps to make it a bit more muggy.
If you realize that is what each day will be like, then you are able to plan accordingly in how you are going to tackle seeing as much as you can do. The morning hours until about 10:30am are the key times of visiting local sites and temples if you are going on foot and will be outdoors most of the time. About 3pm - the clouds start to grow thicker and you will start hearing the distance sounds of thunder. This is an ideal time to be out and touring such places as the citadel - or the university areas. Just make sure you know where you want to be when the rain storm finally arrives. We found the Paradise Garden Restaurant to be one such place with great food and a great view of the sunset.
We did get caught in the storm the day we were over at the Citadel roaming about. It became a downpour just as I made it back to the entrance gate fortress. Rather than wait it out, Nhi decided we would go ahead and take our ride back across the river to get something to eat. The waterproofing system of the pedal cab left much to be desired - and Nhi paid for her call on this one, because somehow, it rained even harder as we got to the middle of the bridge! The Louisiana slang for this in English is called "a gully washer"!
The biggest part of being able to do as much as I did this time around in Hue was that Nhi, from the Dong Ha hotel in Thuan An, was taking me around and knew where to go. Taking the Perfume River cruise was the best way to see things, and beat the heat. And she was right on target in figuring I would enjoy the traditional Hue style music on the night dragon boat trip. When the engines cut, and you are drifting in the river floating back towards the bridge watching the light son shore and with the hauntingly beautiful traditional music - that is just one thing that you carry with you as a great memory for the rest of life. It is definitely something that I look forward to doing again - and making sure that anytime I have friends along from Saigon - that I will get them to go as well.
In turn, I was able to introduce Nhi to something new - Indian food. The key sign of someone liking something new that is so very different than what they know - is that there was absolutely nothing left at all in the serving dishes from the items we ordered. I also taught her the old trick of walking into a 4 star hotel and cooling off in their lobby A/C- and then going out back for a drink in their garden. Just something a tourist can get away with - if she is leading them around. No one would say anything different in regards - and in the heat there - it definitely is worth being in the A/C for five minutes looking at a hotel's tourist shop.
There are way more things to do in Hue than one can do in but three days - but no since not trying. I hope to be able to see a couple of the universities there next time. Hue is known for having the best higher education in the country. I passed by a campus - but did not have the chance to wonder in and see it. I also want to go back to the far corner of the citadel and using photos from this trip - take a better look at a different side of history than is shown. I would have liked to have had the reading and map of the Battle of Hue with me as I walked around - instead of the old historical views pre Vietnam-American war. You can sure bet I will have it next time.