Hue Minh Mang Tomb
Hue Minh Mang Tomb

Hue Travel Guide

Hue was the capital city of Vietnam from 1802 - 1945, controversially considered the most beautiful city in Vietnam. There's no doubt that Hue is a city of harmony with the encircling green mountains, the meandering rivers, the Vietnamese traditional houses nestled in trees….Everything of Hue seems to be just in the right place and in perfect harmony.

Gate to the Imperical Citadel of Hue
Gate to the Imperial Citadel of Hue

Hue is charming with combination of the new and the old. The Perfume River bisects the city into the northern and southern parts. To the north is the ancient citadel surrounded by moats which was home to the royal court of Vietnam in the 19th century. From the riverside, the citadel boasts its grandeur with the mossy walls and the colossal flag tower. Touring the ancient citadel you can visit the Palace where the king lived, the quarter for the royal family and concubines, the royal library….Lots of damages during the war are still found here though.

Hue flag tower
Hue flag tower

To the south is where hotels, cafes and fine dining restaurants are found. There are ranges of luxurious hotels lining the river bank boasting the elegance and luxury. The smell of coffee pervading the air, a lyrical song echoing from the river, some school girls in Ao Dai bearing shiny smiles walking hand in hand...Hue has a charm that words fail to do the judge.

Phu Van Lau -- Nghenh Luong Dinh
Phu Van Lau - Nghenh Luong Dinh - Hue Vietnam

To the west of the city is where the royal tombs are found. The Vietnamese kings thought that the west is the direction of sunset and permanent rest. That was why they built different royal tombs in the western part of Hue city. Here the kings would rest permanently in complete peace and tranquility.

The Imperial Citadel Hue Vietnam
The Imperial Citadel Hue Vietnam

Each of the royal tombs was designed by the king himself and the architecture of each tomb tells a lot about the king and the context of Vietnam at the time. Many tombs were constructed, completed and used by the king when they were still in reign. The royal tombs of Hue are definitely fine pieces of arts.

Hue Tourist Attractions and 14 Best Things to do In Hue Vietnam

Highlights include the ancient citadel; a cruise on the Perfume River to visit the royal tombs of Minh Mang, Tu Duc, Kha Dinh; the Thanh Toan Roofed-Bridge and the matchless Vietnamese traditional cuisines. Hue should not be missed on your trip to Vietnam.

1/Hue Imperial Citadel:
A cyclo tour (push rickshaw) to visit the site is recommended the trip takes you from 2 or 3 hours to half a day. Visiting the Imperial Citadel, you’ll go back in time learning about the Royal Court, the Royal Working Office, Royal Family living quarter, Concubine Quarter, Royal Worshiping Quarter, the Royal Libraries,... It is recommended to do the trip early in the morning or later in the afternoon in the summer when the temperatures are intolerable at mid day. 

Hue Ngo Mon Gate
Hue Imperial Citadel

2/The Perfume River
The river flows through the heart of Hue diving the city into 2 main areas before rinsing its water into the East Vietnam Sea at Thuan An. The Perfume River is important in providing water source, shaping up landscape of Hue City, witnessing the history and influencing the local culture… You can have a boat trip on the river to visit city’s important attractions, to sample Hue traditional music on a boat, a dinner cruise,...

Perfume River Hue Vietnam
Hue Perfume River

3/Thien Mu (Linh Mu) Pagoda:
The pagoda is on the northern bank of the Perfume River and can be visited by either car or boat. The pagoda can be visited in combination with the Imperial Citadel. The pagoda is 5km from the city center.

Thien Mu Pagoda Hue Vietnam
Thien Mu Pagoda Hue Vietnam

4/The Dong Ba Market
This amazing market is located on the northern bank of the Perfume River, 1km from the city center. This is an amazing place to get a peep into local life, from jewelleries to Hue special food. The market can be visited in combination with the Imperial Citadel.

5/King Minh Mang's Tomb (in power from 1820-1841):
King Minh Mang was among the most visionary kings of the Nguyen Family and of the Vietnamese kings. Minh Mang’s tomb is as philosophical as the king himself. The design of the whole complex reflects balance. The visitors will pass from one section to another: the epitaph and yard, the worshiping section, the pavilion and the tomb. There are lovely lakes on both sides of a walkway in the middle. The whole complex is amid a peaceful wood. Visiting the tomb and learning about the king..., you’ll have a great time here. The tomb is by the Perfume River and can be visited on a long boat trip. The road trip is 13km from Hue City center.

Tomb of King Minh Mang
King Minh Mang's Tomb

6/King Tu Duc's Tomb (in power 1847-1883):
The tomb is 5.5km from Hue center and can be visited by car, by boat, by motorbike or by bicycle. The tomb has a lovely architecture with lakes, garden, theater… A part of the tomb complex are in good harmony with the others. King Tu Duc designed the plan himself and had some time living here before he died. Names of different structures reflect somehow cynical part in the King’s characters.

Tomb of King Tu Duc
King Tu Duc's Tomb

7/King Khai Dinh's Tomb (1916-1925)
The King was in power when Vietnam was under the French’s rule and while his power was not real, his tomb is certainly a real piece of precious arts and interior decorations. The tomb is further inland and is 9km from the city center. 

 

Khai Dinh Tomb Hue Vietnam
King Khai Dinh's Tomb

8/ The Royal Arena (Ho Quyen)
The Royal Arena was where battles between elephants and tigers took place. At first it was a training ground for the Royal Army to train their elephants for battlefields, then it it turned into entertainment for the Kings, the Mandarins and Hue’s people.

The first battleground was on the Da Vien Island on the Perfume River. After some incidents that the tigers escaped and caused dangers to the king that King Minh Mang ordered the construction of the Royal Area in 1830. The site is 5km southwest of Hue center.

9/ The Tu Hieu Pagoda
In Vietnamese “Tu Hieu” means filial piety. The pagoda was built first in 1843 by Nhat Dinh, a Buddist monk. It was called “Thao Am An Duong”, the place where the monk practiced Buddhism and took care of his old mother. His filial piety touched King Tu Duc as the King himself had the virtue, too. After Monk Nhat Dinh died, the King named the pagoda to “Tu Hieu” to praise Filial Piety and donated fund for expanding the pagoda.

The pagoda is in a lovely wood and there is also a cemetery for eunuchs who had contributions to the construction and maintenance of the pagoda. The pagoda is 5km southwest of Hue.

10/ Thanh Toan Covered-Bridge
Thanh Toan Bridge was first built in 1776 by a villager who was the wife of a mandarin under the Nguyen Dynasty. The bridge helped the villagers to cross the river and was where they took refuge in harsh weather or after hard farm work. The lovely architecture combined with idyllic surroundings makes it worthwhile to visit. The bridge is 9km southeast of Hue city center and you best cycle leisurely to visit it.

 

Thanh Toan Bridge
Thanh Toan Covered-Bridge

11/Music cruise on the Perfume River
There are evening cruises on the Perfume River that you could get a taste of Hue traditional music as well as getting to know local culture. The cruise is for 1 hour.

12/Hue Royal Music (Nha Nhac)
Hue Royal Music is listed to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. Sampling the music right at the Royal Theatre (Duyet Thi Duong) in the Imperial Citadel is a good way to learn about cultural aspect of the Nguyen Royal Court in the past.

13/Hue cuisine
Vietnamese cuisine is getting better known in the world nowadays, Hue cuisine is certainly among the best in Vietnam. Traveling in Hue, do not miss any chance to taste Hue street food, it is mouthwatering and certainly yummy! There are several dishes in Hue, each of which has a distinct taste.

14/Hue Royal Dining
Royal Cuisine includes the taste of the food and the food decoration and both of which are pure arts! Visiting Hue, you can taste local cuisine at several restaurants in town. There is an option to get dressed up as Kings and Queens with additional costs, too.

 Tours and holidays in Hue

Hue has always been an exceptional experience for our travellers. You may want to discover about the royal life of Vietnam through the citadel, the royal tombs or the royal cuisine.

Tinh Tam Lake
Tinh Tam Lake (Lake of Meditation) 

You can engage in the hustling bustling daily life which can be found anywhere in the city; be it on the Perfume river, on the streets or on the exotic Dong Ba Market which sprawls the river bank. Having a cruise on the Perfume River with stunning scenery shouldn't be missed. The fine local cuisine or Vietnamese Royal cuisine in many of the garden restaurants which are covered in green offers a relaxing experience.

Hue is the only place in Vietnam Royal Music (listed as a World Heritage by the UNESCO) is available. Otherwise, a cruise on the Perfume River with Hue music by local singers offers special experience.

If you want to learn more about the authentic countryside, then you may want to hire a bicycle and ride to the villages with green vegetation just a few hundred meters from the city center.

Lang Co Beach Hue
Lang Co Beach Hue
 


Paradissa's recommended tours and travel itinerary in Hue:A Royal Cart in Hue

Day 1: Normally people won't have their first morning in Hue or have the morning free strolling on the riverfront. The afternoon should be for exploring the Imperial Citadel with the Forbidden City. It's easy to get back to the time of the royal time in Vietnam and it's more atmospheric visiting this complex in the afternoon. The citadel tour should be around 2 hours.

Day 2: You can enjoy the freshness of the Perfume River with a cruise to the Thien Mu Pagoda (the Heavenly Lady Pagoda) and the Tomb of Tu Duc Kinh. The tomb is exceptional good with the setting and architecture. The history of Vietnam and the life of this king would bring you lots of knowledge about Vietnam right before and right after the French's arrival.

You should travel back to town for lunch or mid day break allowing your fellow travellers to have some time to rest before soaking in more experience in the afternoon. In the afternoon, you can continue onto the Royal Tombs of Minh Mang and Khai Dinh which also offer exceptionally good architecture and extravaganza. For those who want to have a glimpse of more tourist sites, then you can plow the Royal Arena, the Tu Hieu Pagoda.

There are several tour companies and travel agents in Hue offering tour guide service and day tours around the city and to the DMZ, and bike tours in the countryside.

Paradissa’s luxury travel packages in Hue include
- Luxurious stay at the finest hotels town;
- Push-rickshaw (Cyclo) tour of Hue Imperial Citadel;
- A slow-paced tour of Hue Royal Tombs, the green countryside and garden houses;
- Royal Cuisine Dinner accompanied by Royal Music of Hue at the finest restaurant in town;

Accommodation in Hue
There are many hotels in Hue ranging from simple guest houses to luxurious 5 star hotels and spas. 
There are many luxurious hotels located on the bank of the Perfume River which offer fresh river view with bustling daily life activities.

Getting there and away from Hue
You can travel to Hue from Ha Noi, Da Nang or Sai Gon. There are many daily flights between Hue and Ha Noi/ Ho Chi Minh City which take an hour. 

There are some daily trains from Ha Noi for Hue which takes 12 hours. The trains are air-conditioned and with hard seat, soft seat or soft-sleepers. The train is a good way to travel in Vietnam since it saves you time and money.

From Hoi An or Da Nang you may want to travel to Hue by road which takes 3 hours. The road trip offers stunning countryside scenery. It's recommended that you have stops on top of Hai Van Pass and on Lang Co beach since these places offer sublime natural beauty.

Hue train station
Hue train station

How to around Hue
On foot: Hue Citadel and Hue shopping and dining are fairly small and can be explored on foot easily. You may want to stroll on the riverside with fresh river breeze, or around the citadel which offers relaxing timeless moments, or get lost in the exotic atmosphere of the Dong Ba market on the Perfume River bank.

Xe Om (Motorbike taxi): There are many Xe Om drivers waiting for clients on many street corners. It's necessary you agree on the price before setting off.

Xich Lo (Rickshaw): Xich Lo is a relaxing way to see Hue and a good way for the others to see you. This offers exotic experience since the it maneuvers you in the busy traffic; everyone is so close that you can't imagine how people don't crash into you! There are many travellers admitting that they had not had their eyes open when on Xich Lo, but the experience was unbelievable!

Hue Hot-line numbers (Hue Tourism Promotion Center)
These numbers are for visitors to Hue to call Hue Tourism Promotion Center in case of tourism inquiry, urgent help (robbery, accidents, loss of belongings), reporting scams or bad quality of travel services in Hue.
0234. 3828-288 or
0234. 3501-111