Among popular tourist destination in Vietnam, Hue is unique. It is a quiet and relaxing city, rich in history, architecture and art.
Hue was established as Vietnam’s imperial capital under the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945 when Bao Dai, the last king of the Nguyen, abdicated. It is the city of romantic charm with the iconic symbols the Perfume River and the famous Trang Tien Bridge.
Hue is best known for its imperial Citadel, royal tombs and ancient pagodas. On the north bank of the Perfume River, Hue Citadel includes a 520 ha fortress like grand complex built in the early 1800s and enclosed by 2m thick and 10km long wall. Within these walls lies the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City, former home of the royal family. Further up the river several kilometers, Thien Mu Pagoda with its distinctive seven-storey octagonal tower is regarded the symbol of Hue.
The various royal tombs of the Nguyen emperors scattered around the city’s rural area. Among them, the elaborate tombs of Tu Duc, Khai Dinh and Minh Mang are particularly impressive with pavilions, temples, courtyards and lake. These places can be easily reached by a leisurely boat along the river, or car or motorbike.
The Vietnamese regard Hue as the pinnacle of Vietnamese fashion, language and cuisine. The images of Hue women wearing the traditional Ao Dai and Non Bai Tho (poem hat) are supposed to be the most graceful in all of Vietnam.
The Hue ascent is the most distinct and pleasing to the ear. The Hue cuisine is said to form the heart of Central Vietnamese cuisine. Hue dishes set apart from other regions by the pickiness in processing and refined presentation which is affected from royal cuisine. Local dishes such as banh khoai, is said to be the tastiest.
For a day trip from Hue, visit the Bach Ma National Park on a colonial-era hill stations with cool climate, stunning mountain landscape, spectacular waterfall and natural trails. The park offers a great choice for hiking and bird watching.
For those interested in Vietnam War, go to some former battle spots in what was once known as the Demilitarized Zone or “DMZ”.
Around 70km south of Hue, located at the bottom of Hai Van Pass, the idyllic fishing town of Lang Co boasts turquoise lagoon, white sand beaches and fresh seafood. Lang Co is an excellent break on the journey to Hue.
Hue can be visited within a day from Da Nang or overnight stop on the way to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. The best time to travel here is from May to August when it tends to be driest.