History and UNESCO buffs, get ready. Hue, in central Vietnam, is the formal imperial capital and was the seat of the Nguyen dynasty. This grand city is the home of a plethora of interesting historical and archeological sights, many of which are UNESCO world heritage listed.
How to get to Hue
You can reach Hue by plane, train or bus. If you don’t have much time, domestic flights are easy, convenient and quite affordable. Trains connect Hue with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang. Many people who travel in Vietnam will travel in between the two major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh with several stops in between. If you prefer public transport, then train or bus are your best options.
I traveled by bus in between these two cities, and Hue was one of our stops.
Where to stay in Hue
There is a huge range of accommodation available in Hue that will suit any budget. If you are traveling by bus, your bus driver will probably drop you off in front of some hotel that they have a partnership with. We were pretty lazy, so would usually just stay at this hotel, and usually found them to be affordable and of decent quality.
What to see in Hue
History and archaeology buffs, get ready, this is your city.
- Hue Citadel, Imperial Palace: The former imperial palace, this is Hue’s most popular attraction. A large proportion of the imperial citadel was destroyed during the Vietnam war, but it is being steadily rebuilt. Signage is poor, so you might want to download some information or buy a guide to the citadel before your visit. It is a large site, making it easy to get away from other tourists and get lost in the atmosphere. You can easily spend half a day wandering around the site.
- Tombs of the Emperors : There are several tomb complexes that you can visit and plan to spend at least a day. The tombs are located outside of the city, so you will want to think about your transport options. If you are feeling adventurous you can cycle to the tombs. Joining a tour group is also an option. However I recommend spending a little bit more and hiring a motorbike driver/ guide. For about $20 you can hire a guide for the day which will allow you to spend as much or as little time as you please at each to@mb.
- Thien Mu Pagoda : This pagoda is a great little spot for some photo opportunities and is a popular stop off point for tour groups. We used an easy technique called photo stacking to remove a Chinese tour group from our photo below. We even wrote a guide on it, believe me… its easy!
What to eat in Hue
Hue cuisine has the fussy eating emperors to thank. Some dishes particular to the city of Hue are:
- Bun bo Hue, a noodle soup served with slices of beef and lashings of chili oil.
- Sesame candy
- Banh Khoai, a type of pancake filled with bean sprouts, shrimp and pork.
Tips to make your trip to Hue a success
- Many of the sites are a fair distance apart. We did a tour with a local motorbike guide, and found this to be exceptionally good value. As it was a private tour we were able to spent as much, or as little, time at each sight as we pleased.
- We recommend at least two days to explore the sights at a leisurely pace. One day for the centrally located Imperial Citadel, and one day to explore the Tombs and other sights that are outside of the city.