Most travellers miss out on visiting Hue Vietnam altogether or only give the city a day on their way to Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh City. Hue turned out to be one of our favourite cities in Vietnam, we even extended our stay to a week to enjoy all that Hue has to offer the traveller.
Hue (pronounced hway) has a lot to offer the visitor from the best of local cuisine, war history, French colonial architecture, pagodas, Emperor’s tombs, the Imperial City that rivals China’s Imperial City and more.
Hue, once the former capital of Vietnam between 1802 – 1945, is located in Central Vietnam, on the banks of the Perfume River. It is located 700 km south of Hanoi and 1100 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. Da Nang is 2 hours from Hue and Hoi An is located 3 hours.
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- 1 Join our Vietnam Travel Planning Group Here
- 2 We have 4 Youtube Videos on our visit to Hue
- 3 Hue Vietnam Map
- 4 Things To Do in Hue
- 5 Where to Eat in Hue
- 6 More Best Things To Do in Hue
- 7 Hotels in Hue
- 8 Airbnb in Hue
- 9 General Information on Visiting Hue
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Hue Vietnam Map
Things To Do in Hue
Visit The Imperial City
One of the top places to visit in Hue is the Imperial City. The Imperial City started construction in 1804 and finished almost 30 years later in 1833. Gia Long who was the first Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty commissioned the building, it stayed within the Nguyen Dynasty until 1945 when the last Emperor Bao Dai abdicated.
The Citadel encompasses the outer walls and the moat that surrounds the Citadel. There are 5 entrances to the Imperial City. The middle entrance was for the Emperor, on the right-hand side the entrances were for civil personnel and on the left-hand side for the military mandarins. Horses and elephants entered through the side entrances.
Once you pass through the Noon Gate you will enter the first building – the Palace of Supreme Harmony. NB You are not allowed to take photos inside the Palace of Supreme Harmony and of the Emperor’s Throne.
The most important building was the Purple Forbidden City situated in the middle of the complex. The Purple Forbidden City was for the Emperor.
During the Vietnam War of 1968 when the North Vietnamese attacked Hue many of the buildings inside the Imperial City were bombed. Unfortunately, there were only 10 that managed to survive. Slowly the buildings are being renovated.
Thai Binh Pavilion (Royal Reading Pavilion) was originally built in the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri during 1841 – 1847 for royal relaxation.
In 1993 Hue’s Imperial City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To Mieu Temple
A must-see when visiting the Imperial City complex is the To Mieu Ancestral Temple that was dedicated to the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. The temple was ordered to be constructed in 1821 by Emperor Minh Mang. Inside the temple, there are photos of the 10 Emperors that died. The temple was one of the very few buildings that survived the war.
Thien Mu Pagoda
The Thien Mu Pagoda is also known as the Linh Mu Pagoda is located on the banks of the Perfume River 5 km from the centre of Hue on Ha Khe Hill in the village of Huong Long. The religious site was built in 1601 by Emperor Thieu Tri. There are 7 layers and each one of those layers represents a buddha that came to earth in human form.
You can reach the Thien Mu Pagoda by the river or by road and it is usually included in a city tour.
Cruise the Perfume River (Song Huong)
You can travel the Perfume River in a local tourist boat or enjoy an evening dinner cruise from Huong Pier in a traditional dragon boat. The Perfume River got its name from the trees that lined the river upstream that dropped their perfumed petals in the river.
Most city tours include a cruise on one of the many tourist boats from the Thien Mu Pagoda to the city centre. Along the way, you can view some of Hue’s historical monuments.
The Trang Tien Bridge that spans the Perfume River is spectacular at night as it is lit up with many LED lights.
Dong Ba Market
Anthony Bourdain’s favourite Vietnamese soup Bun Bo Hue can be found within the market located at Tran Hung Dao Street on the northern side of the Perfume River. Dong Ba Market is the oldest market in Hue and spreads over 16,000 sqm. The market sells fruit and vegetables, spices and herbs, clothing, handicrafts, kitchenware, seafood and meat. The food court is located on the ground level.
Address: Tran Hung Dao Street Hue City
Opening times: 03.00 am to 8.00 pm
Thanh Toan Bridge
Thanh Toan Village and Than Toan Bridge lies 7 km east of Hue City and spans a small canal. It was built in 1886 at the time of Emperor Le Hien Tong. The wooden bridge is 17m long and 4 m wide with 2 rows of wooden platforms and railings on both side of the bridge.
The village has a daily market that sells fruit and vegetables, kitchenware and clothing as well as speciality dishes of rice noodles and chicken pancakes.
Address: Lang Thanh Thuy Chanh Thura Thien Hue
Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts
Artefacts such as gold, porcelain, elaborate gowns from the Nguyen Dynasty and the Royal Throne is exhibited. It takes around 30 minutes to visit.
Entrance Fee: VND50,000 (USD2.15)
Opening hours 07.00 am to 6.00 pm.
Address: 03 Le Truc Phu Hau Thanh Pho Hue Thua Thien Hue
Hue War Museum
Visit the Hue War Museum aka Thua Thien Hue History Museum. Outside in the grounds, there are exhibits of warplanes, artillery, tanks, helicopters and a jet fighter. Inside there are more artefacts and photographs with poor English descriptions in relation to the Vietnam War.
Opening times: 08.00 am – 11.00 am and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Entrance Fee: VND50,000 (USD2.15)
Visit the Flag Tower that is located opposite the Imperial Citadel. The first one was constructed in wood in 1807. In 1904 it was replaced with cast iron. The three flat-top pyramids are different heights the bottom is 5.60m high, the middle is 5.80m high and the top is 6m high.
Minh Mang Tomb (Hieu Tomb)
Source from the Minh Mang Tomb
“This is the burial place as well as the place of worship dedicated to Emperor Minh Mang the 2nd monarch of the Nguyen Dynasty who reigned for 21 years from 1820 – 1841. The tomb was built from 1840 to 1843 on Mount Cam Ke (Mount Hieu) about 10 km from the Imperial Citadel in Hue City. It is located on an area of nearly 15 hectares. The Minh Mang tomb faces South and is surrounded with a 2000m long wall. The tomb contains about 40 constructions which are arranged on the main axis in the middle and along both sides of Tring Minh Lake. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Vietnamese Royal Architecture.
The Minh Pavilion is a typical wooden 2 storey construction of the Nguyen Dynasty. It lies on Tam Tai Mountain. Minh Lau means the pavilion of light, the significance of which is to praise Minh Mang’s Emperor talent and contribution. The Pavilion symbolises the Emperor’s provisional step-over before his arriving at the final resting place. It was built in 1841.”
Khai Dinh tomb
Khai Dinh was the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty who reigned for 9 years between 1916 – 1925. Emperor Khai Dinh is buried and worshipped here.
It was built during 1920 through to 1931. Khai Dinh passed away in 1925 at the age of 41. He taxed his people 30% to build his tomb which was modelled on a European Castle from the middle ages. French modern materials were used such as cement, iron and steel and used local Vietnamese mortar and terracotta.
Where to Eat in Hue
Spice Viet Restaurant is located at 15 Lý Thường Kiệt, Phú Nhuận, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế. There are now 4 restaurants in the Spice Viet chain, here in Hue and also in Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.
We love the local Vietnamese farm to table cuisine that they are famous for. All locally sourced produced the menu is innovative, healthy and delicious. If you visit ask for the local speciality of the region
San May Vegetarian Restaurant is located at 8 Thanh Tịnh, Vỹ Dạ, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế. The restaurant is located in a beautiful Vietnamese home and garden. The food is excellent and tasty with an innovative menu and presented beautifully.
Rose 2 Restaurant is located at 06 Chu Văn An, Phú Hội, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế. A family-run restaurant in the centre of Hue that offers good quality local cuisine with vegetarian options.
Lien Hoa Restaurant is located at 3 Lê Quý Đôn, Phú Nhuận, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế. A popular local vegetarian restaurant with locals and visitors. The food is excellent and well priced.
Ca Phe Muoi is located at 10 Đ. Nguyễn Lương Bằng, Phú Nhuận, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế. It is famous for its specialty – salted coffee. You have to try it to believe it. You will look at coffee in a different way after you have had salted coffee from Ca Phe Muoi.
Cozy Restaurant is located at 27 Hà Nội, Phú Nhuận, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế. We visited the Cozy Restaurant as it was rated #2 on Tripadvisor. It did not disappoint. The restaurant was busy and a favourite with travellers. The food was excellent, we would definitely return. They offered vegetarian and vegan options as well as local Vietnamese cuisine.
A touch of Mexican cuisine in Hue is the Jalapeno Restaurant is located at 38 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phú Hội, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế. Great food in an excellent setting. On the weekend evenings, this street turns into a walking street and at times you can enjoy local entertainment as you dine.
More Best Things To Do in Hue
Hotels in Hue
Hotel Saigon Morin
Hotel Saigon Morin is a 4-star hotel at 30 Le Loi Street in Hue City. The hotel is in an ideal position in Hue opposite the Perfume River and the Trang Tien Bridge. The hotel was built in 1901 and has had many VIP guests over the years including Charlie Chaplin. The hotel offers 180 guest rooms, 4 restaurants, a swimming pool and free wifi.
EMM Hotel Hue
The 4-star EMM Hotel is located at 15 Ly Thuong Kiet Street in Hue. The EMM Hotel has a funky decor and offers guests a swimming pool, free breakfast, Spice Viet Restaurant and free WiFi.
Hue Garden Villa Hotel
Hue Garden Villa 2-star hotel has an excellent location for sightseeing in the heart of Hue at #7 Lane 66 Le Loi Street. The hotel is comfortable, offers a swimming pool, free breakfast and free WiFi. We spent a week staying in Hue here and really enjoyed our stay. The staff were excellent and helpful in all things on Hue. A few minutes walk from the hotel is the Weekend Walking Street where the street is closed to traffic.
Airbnb in Hue
Airbnb Hue has a range of properties to suit all travellers and budgets.
General Information on Visiting Hue
Airport Information For Hue
For general information on Hue and other Vietnam airports click here.
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Bus/Rail and Ferry Tickets in Vietnam
Hue Vietnam Weather
The best months to visit Hue is from February to April when there is less humidity and the average temperature is around 22 deg.
The months of January and May has more rain although the rainy season is between the months of August and December.
The hottest months with high humidity are June and July.
Do You Need a Visa for Vietnam
Depending on how long you are visiting Vietnam and what passport you hold you may need to apply for an e-visa online.
We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and pay deposits on any cruises, tours or hotels.
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