Hue is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Vietnam. Located on the bank of Song Huong- Perfume River, royal tombs and an excellent museum; Hue, the capital of Thua Thien Hue province in Central Vietnam, is 700 km southern Hanoi, 1100km northern Ho Chi Minh City, 100 km from Danang! Over 1 hour flight form Hanoi or Ho chi minh city to Hue airport. You may book directly flight to Danang international airport or Hue airport just easy. From 1802 to 1945, Hue was the capital of Vietnam and home to the Nguyen dynasty. After the Vietnam War, Hue’s unique history fell to ruin because the imperial era wasn’t viewed favorably by the communist authorities. These days, however, the city’s temples and landmarks are national treasures, with millions of tourists arriving every year to see these fascinating sites.
Bach Ma National Park: Ninh Binh town, Tam Coc is one of the best nature destinations in Vietnam although it remains firmly off the tourist trail. Tam Coc is known for its karst landscape which is similar to the better known Halong Bay, although here you will find some scenic limestone hills which are dotted amongst emerald green rice paddies. Halong Bay has larger cliffs, although it is also more crowded, so Tam Coc is the place to come if you want to get off the beaten track and you can explore the area by boat which takes around two hours.
The Imperial City: The center of Ninh Binh is Phat Diem Cathedral which sits in the middle of some scenic canals and rice paddies. This would have been the central place of worship for the commune of Phat Diem which was also called the ‘Vatican of Vietnam’ during the colonial period. The cathedral dates from 1898 and was built using a mix of Vietnamese and Western styles which include two gothic chapels and some massive iron wood columns. The scale of the cathedral and its location are extremely impressive and this is one of the top sights not to miss in Ninh Binh district.
The Emperor’s Tomb: Bich Dong Pagoda is a cluster of majestic mountain cave temples elegantly residing around the area. These ancient shrines and historic pagodas are scattered in intervals along the hillside, some dating back to as early as the 15th century. You’ll have to walk and climb to get to each monument, but the journey en route treats you to lavish views of the valley and luscious greenery.
The Perfume River: Slowly making its way amidst Hue, the tranquilizing Perfume River gives a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city life. The river is named after the tropical aromas which it attains from the rich flora and fauna. The river is fenced by historic monuments of the city and the cool breeze and flowing water help in creating an enchanting aura. One of the beautiful places to visit in Hue, people prefer spending time on the banks watching boats sailing on the water. While you can see joggers running by the banks in the morning, small shops and restaurants open up in the evenings. Families come here to spend some quality time while some musicians play lovely music.
Thien Mu Pagoda: It is an iconic monument located at the background of the Hue City symbolizing the imperialism of the ancient city. One of the best places to visit in Hue, this seven-storied pagoda is an icon of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Even after being destructed a number of times, the charm and beauty of this place have not faded at all. It is still considered as a religious heritage and one can easily locate monks wandering here and there.
Elephant Springs: Lying amidst Hue and Da Nang, this place is still under recreation zone if seen from the tourist viewpoint. This place is located at a distance of 17 km from Hai Van Pass and poses as one of the best places to visit in Hue for a refreshing break from the journey. Amidst the cold water, plenty of small and big size stone give it a look of elephants. Especially a large stone portraying the elephant, situated next to the waterfall, depicts continuous water flowing from its nose making it an interesting scene.
Lang Co Beach: Lang Co Beach is one of the best beaches to visit when you are on a trip to Vietnam with family. This beach is situated away from the hustle and bustle of city life. You will find that the place is very peaceful and clean. The water is quite clean and you can easily go for a dip. The waves cab get quite high so swimming is not really an option. But the beach is surrounded by a resort that offers life guard services making it a very safe beach for the whole family. You will not have any problem finding the place though it is a bit away from the actual city life. This is definitely a must go to places if you are visiting Vietnam and want to spend some quality time with your family.
Truong Tien Bridge: The Truong Tien Bridge in Vietnam is a prominent bridge that marks an important sight and landmark that attracts numerous visitors all round the year. The bridge is a very nice place to observe, especially during the night time when it is lit up with electrifying lights. The prominence to the markets adds glamour to the attraction. Although, the location is just a bridge but holds an immensely deep history as well. The location of the Truong Tien Bridge is apt for taking soulful photographs and observing the place.
Thai Hoa Palace:For a city that is filled with repertoire of historical landmarks and sightseeing opportunities, Vietnam does not fail to impress once again with the historical Thai Hoa Palace, which is again, a prominent landmark in the city and a historical castle. Although the palace is nothing too elaborate and alluring at first sight, however, once within the precincts, one will be able to observe and appreciate the numerous symbolic statues that line within the captivating palace. The main entrance of the palace is a glimpse into the rich history of the city. The palace is influenced by the Chinese style of construction and was used in the earlier centuries by emperors for holding relevant meetings and ceremonies.
Tam Giang Lagoon: The Tam Giang Lagoon in Hue city is a prominent water body that attracts tourists on large scale. The lagoon presents a soulful opportunity to explore the vast expanse of natural beauty and scenic views. This is also the perfect spot to explore the life of local fishermen who make a living off these waters. Sometimes, they will also allow you to join in the fishing and have local sea food too. Although the lagoon is a little away from the city, it is a visit you should not miss. The fishermen will also help you learn about the culture of this place and the history as well.
Bun Bo Hue (Hue Beef Noodle Soup): Bun bo hue (Hue beef noodle soup) is a regional speciality comprising thick rice vermicelli and various toppings in a thick soup. Unlike pho, this dish is a combination of sweet, sour and spicy as it’s flavoured with boiled bones and shank, annatto seeds, lemongrass, ginger, fermented shrimp paste, chilli oil, and sugar. As for the toppings, expect congealed pig blood, beef or pork knuckles, beansprouts, lime wedges, cilantro, diced green onions, banana blossoms, mint and basil. You can also ramp up the spiciness by adding fresh chillies and fermented fish sauce to your bun bo hue.
Nem Lui (Hue Lemongrass Skewers): Nem lui is a kebab-like dish using lemongrass stalks, which is wrapped with marinated meat (usually pork or beef) then grilled over a charcoal stove. Diners are also served with a side of rice paper, lettuce and cucumber slices, rice vermicelli, and fresh herbs. It’s available as an appetiser at just about all local restaurants and hotels in Hue. For added flavour, dip nem lui into a local sauce made with ground peanuts, fermented beans, sesame seeds, shrimp paste, chopped garlic, chillies and shallots.
Che Hat Sen (Lotus Seeds Sweet Soup): Che hat sen is one of the many local desserts you can find in Hue, containing lotus seeds and green rice flakes in a sweet broth. Thanks to its cooling properties, locals often have it in the summer to combat the heat but you can enjoy this pretty much any time of the year. One of the most highly recommended dessert shops in Hue is Che Hem on Hung Vuong Street.
Banh It Ram (Fried Sticky Rice Dumplings): Banh it ram is a Central Vietnamese speciality that pairs steamed sticky rice dumpling with a crispy patty that’s also made with sticky rice. Similar to a Japanese mochi but eaten as an appetiser instead of dessert, the dumpling is topped with a savoury mix of green scallions, shrimp and pork.
Banh Loc Goi (Tapioca Dumplings): Banh loc goi, made with tapioca starch rather than rice flour, is filled with marinated shrimp and milled pork before it’s wrapped in oiled banana leaves and steamed until cooked. To enjoy this Hue snack, simply unwrap the banana leaf and dip it in a platter of nuoc mam pha, a sauce made with vinegar, shrimp stock, fermented fish sauce, sugar, and fresh chilies.
Bánh Khoái (Hue Royal Pancake): “Banh Khoi” (khói means smoke) since it is being cooked on a wood stove. However, people miss-spell “khoi” into “khoai”, therefore it is currently called “khoai” which means happy cake in English. The base of Bánh Khoái is made of egg rice flour. Once it turns into golden color, the chef place some slices of pork, shrimp, egg, bean sprouts on top then fried until crispy.
Va Tron Salad (Hue Fig Salad): Va tron salad was once a dish prepared only for royalty in Hue, combining boiled figs, sliced carrots, mushrooms and onions with either shrimp or shredded pork. Although it’s traditionally served at such as family gatherings and weddings, there are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants offering this unique dish all year long. This particular type of green fig is only available in Central Vietnam, making it a must-try for first-time visitors in Hue. Our favourite way of enjoying va tron salad is by mixing in some fermented shrimp paste, roasted sesame seeds, and fried shallots.
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