When in Vietnam, do like the locals do. As far as transportation goes, that can mean only one way: on a motorbike. Vietnam, a tiny country packed with a population of 90 million, has 37 million registered motorbikes. So if you're going to see Vietnam like a local, that would be on the back of a bike. And in Hue, that means using Hue Rider.
The city of Hue, a Unesco World Heritage Site, should be a stop for any first-time visit to Vietnam. The city, once the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), is now a thriving cultural center and a must-see for tourists. Hue is jam-packed with religious, historical and cultural landmarks, none of which are within walking distance from each other. Rather than waste precious hours on a slow-moving tour or precious dollars by hiring a taxi, consider booking a trip with Hue Rider, a motorbike company that arranges private tours of Hue's sights, for about $15 per person.
Hue Rider's one-day city tour puts you under the knowledgable and passionate guidance of Mr. Hieu, the founder of Hue Rider. No previous motorbike experience is necessary to ride. He and his team of 10 riders take tourists on the back of their bikes to all the popular hot spots, including some of their personal, off-the-beaten-track favorites. Visit the tombs of the rulers of the Nguyen dynasty, Ho Chi Minh's childhood home and village, a temple where you can see Buddhist monks at prayer, rice fields and local villages and much more. Other highlights include the Hue Citadel, American bunkers from the Vietnam War and the Dong Ba market. The tour moves entirely at your pace with the possibility to hit as many or as few places as desired, depending on your schedule.
Monks pray at the Tu Hieu Pagoda, one of the possible stops on a tour organized by the Hue Rider company. Photo Credit: Meagan Drillinger
Seeing Hue on the back of a motorbike puts you on the pavement with the locals and gives you the opportunity to ask questions to people who were born and raised in the city and have seen how it has changed dramatically over the decades.
The one-day Hue tour does not include entrance fees or lunch. However, Hieu arranges for a stop at a local restaurant, where the prices are incredibly affordable and the food is outstanding.
Hue Rider has a variety of other tours as well, including a day trip to the former DMZ. They also offer multiday tours along the route from Hue to Hoi An. Most travelers leaving from Hue will be headed south to Hoi An, and Hue Rider's one-day Top Gear tour is a great way to take the 70-mile journey. Strap your luggage to the back of a motorbike and cruise through the mountain pass hugging the Vietnam coastline. Visit monuments such as Marble Mountain and China Beach, with additional stops along the way. The one-day Top Gear tour is approximately $49 per person, and this tour does include all entrance fees.