The ancient capital of Hue still retains the tangible and intangible cultural heritage that showcases many values symbolizing the wisdom and soul of the Vietnamese people. For several centuries, the quintessence of the whole country has been refined by a rich culture. Therefore, when thinking of Hue, people immediately remember the citadel, the golden palace, the magnificent temples, the majestic tombs, the wonderful landscapes. Here are the best things to do in Hue!
1. The Imperial City – The Ancient Citadel
The Hue Citadel is located on the north bank of the Perfume River, Hue City, Thua Thien – Hue province. The Hue Citadel’s building is the ingenious combination between Western architecture and Eastern architecture. The Hue Citadel is the pride of Hue people, which has the beauty of coolness and majesty.
Inside the Citadel, is the Thai Hoa Palace, which is a place of imperialism; and the Forbidden City – the residence of the king and the royal family. The other relics inside the Citadel that you cannot miss are the Flag Pole, Hue Temple of Literature, Dien Tho Palace, Tinh Tam Lake, Hue Royal Maritime Museum. I am sure you will admire and be surprised by the pride and beauty of the architecture here. To learn about the legend as well as the history of the last dynasty in Vietnam, you should take a look at Hue Imperial City Tour with local guides.
Visiting time from 7:00 to 17:00 every day.
Fares apply to both Vietnamese and foreigner : 150,000 VND per person.
2. The ancient tombs of the Nguyen dynasty’s kings
If you come to Hue, you can see, in addition to the important ancient Citadel in history, the vestiges of the Nguyen dynasties that are preserved in magnificent tombs, temples and palaces. There are four most important and well-known mausoleums. They include Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc and Gia Long. They are located on the west side of Hue Citadel and are not close to each other.
The locations of these tombs in turn are:
- Minh Mang Tomb: Cam Khe mountain, Huong Tho commune, Huong Tra town, Thua Thien – Hue province.
- Khai Dinh Tomb: Thuy Bang Commune, Hue City.
- Tu Duc Tomb: Thuong Ba village, Thuy Xuan ward, Hue city.
- Gia Long Tomb: Dinh Mon village, Huong Tho commune, Huong Tra district, Thua Thien-Hue Province.
In spite of these detailed locations provided above, these tombs are quite hard to find since they were built in the mountainous area. Therefore, it will be better if you are accompanied by some local guides. You can take a look at Hue City Tour.
Visiting time from 7:00 to 17:00 every day.
Ticket: 100,000 VND per person.
3. The local foods
It is not a joke when I say Hue cuisine is one of the best in Vietnam. For some travellers, the reasons they come to Hue can be only food! So you cannot miss the dishes in this city. Below are some suggestions for you.
Hue noodles with beef
It has a bold taste and is made up of round and soft bun noodles, bone broth, meat rolls and thinly sliced beef, chopped green onions and red chili. There are so many places serving this dish such as Dong Ba Market, Hai Ba Trung Market, Ly Thuong Kiet Street. The best time to eat is from 6:00a.m to 11:00a.m.
Rice dumpling dish, bloating fern-shaped dish
These cakes are usually made from rice flour and cassava. They are small and wrapped in banana leaves. In the heart of the dish are green beans or chopped shrimp and pork. The food is sold in everywhere in Hue, but the center of the city is probably the most popular venue, especially Le Huan, To Hien Thanh and Phan Dinh Phung Street.
If you are unsure where to eat or want to enjoy more kinds of dishes, you should take a look at this tour below. The local female guides will take you to so good restaurants that I cannot recommend enough!
Hue Street Food Tour
Price: From $33
Duration: 5 hours
4. Glittering Truong Tien Bridge from the Walking Street
Truong Tien Bridge, also called Trang Tien Bridge is the most famous bridge in Hue. It crosses the Perfume River. After more than 100 years of history, the charming Truong Tien Bridge on the poetic land has undergone many changes and traumatic events with the ancient capital of Hue. The position and fate over the past 100 years has made Truong Tien Bridge become a part of the history of the ancient land. You won’t regret going for a walk on the Walking Street and watching Truong Tien Bridge lights up at night. Also, there are many souvenir shops selling handicraft products on the street.
5. Drink beer in a bar in Tourist Area
Pham Ngu Lao, Vo Thi Sau and Chu Van An are the 3 streets in the tourist area. There are so many things to do there. You can easily drop by a bar to enjoy the foods and drink beer. The foods and beer served there are very tasty. Most of the tourists coming to Hue always spend time on this area. However, you shouldn’t buy the souvenir there since the price is quite high compared to other places.
6. Highland Cafe in Vincom – the highest building in Hue City
The coffee in Hue is really tasty and unique. One of the best cafes in Hue is Highland. There are many kinds of drink you enjoy in the Highland. You can easily find out the cafe in the highest building in Hue city. Besides, after having a cup of coffee, you can also explore Vincom which is the biggest entertainment center in Hue. Clothes, accessories, foods are sold inside. You even can watch movies in a cinema on the 5th floor.
7. Hue Folk Songs on a Dragon Boat
Why don’t you try floating down the Perfume River on a Dragon Boat and listen to Hue folk songs? The boat ride starts off by leaving the harbor down the Huong River. At night, the citadel on both sides of the river and is decorated in colored lights. In the middle of the river, the boat’s engine will be shut down and it will float down the river, returning to a quiet space on the river and the music performance will start. The singer’s sweet voices and melodic sound will relax you. We believe that this is a great experience you should not miss.
8. Thien Mu Pagoda – a silent place in the heart of Hue ancient capital
Hue is known as the Buddhist Centre of Viet Nam. There are more than 300 ancient pagodas in the city. Among those, Thien Mu Pagoda is the oldest, that is more than 400 years old. This is an ancient temple situated on Ha Khe hill, on the left bank of the Perfume River. It is about 5 km from the west of Hue City.
The sound of Thien Mu bell is not only the soul but also the heart of this dreamy land. The pagoda is designed with a unique and impressive architectural style. The Phuoc Duyen Tower is beautiful symbolic link to the Thien Mu Pagoda. Its height is 21 metres. It has seven story’s and is located in front of the pagoda. On each storey, there is a statue of a Buddha. When you come here, you will pour out all your sorrow, anxiety, keep your soul at peace and take you back a gentle nature.
9. Bach Ma National Park
Bach Ma is the name of a famous mountain range in Hue. The scene here is like a fairyland covered in clouds and mist. The space is like a majestic and charming picture. Bach Ma Mountain attracts tourists due to its waterfalls and green forests. In particular, the climate here is cool, not as sultry as Hue city. Bach Ma Mountain area has an extremely diverse and rich biological resources. Whilst visiting Bach Ma Mountain, in addition to enjoying the sight of the sky and clouds, tourists can also visit a rich natural world. Bach Ma has about 501 species of plants; 55 rare and precious animals. Walking on small trails leading to the forest, visitors can easily catch up with animals and strange birds such as white-spotted pheasants, delacour’s langur, ‘sao la’ (pseudoryx nghetinhensis), monkeys. The way to Bach Ma National Park from Hue city center is quite hard. If you are unsure how to get to it, I highly recommend you try Bach Ma National Park Tour with local guides.
Ticket: 60,000 VND for 1 adult
20,000 VND for 1 child.
10. Lang Co Bay – the impermanent in the breath of nature
Lang Co beach stretches for about 10km and is located in Lang Co town, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien – Hue province, close to Highway 1A and near Hai Van pass. Lang Co is poetic with white sand dunes, clear blue sea and ranges of green mountains. Coming here, people stretch their chests to take a deep breath, give up the noise and dust of city. Setting foot on this coastal area to see Lang Co’s bright smile and the smell of the sea, you will feel how relaxed you are. Being able to watch a sunset from the white sand beach would be a blessing in itself.
11. Sunset over Tam Giang lagoon
Tam Giang Lagoon is located in the 4 districts of Phong Dien, Quang Dien, Huong Tra and Phu Vang in Thua Thien-Hue Province. It’s wild beauty makes everyone feel excited yet relaxed at the same time. Tam Giang Lagoon is the biggest lagoon in Southeast Asia and a lifeline for many locals. We recommend that you should go for a boat ride and watch the sunset over the lake between 16:00 – 17:30, depending on the season. Don’t forget to buy seafood here! Everything is fresh, delicious and very cheap.