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.

THINGS TO DO IN HUE

SIGHTSEEING

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.



SHOPPING:

  • Dong Ba Market: Dong Ba Market in Hue is one of the oldest shopping markets in Hue which sells a variety of products at affordable prices. It is housed in a large grey building which is situated along the Perfume River. This grey building is labeled “Cho Dong Ba” which is the Vietnamese version of “Dong Ba Market”. This market opens every day at 03:00 AM to cater for the locals who come here looking to buy fresh vegetables, fruits and exotic seafood. This is also the best night market in Hue which is flocked by locals during the evenings.
  • Tay Loc Market: Tay Loc Market caters mostly to locals in Hue, but travellers can find plenty of shopping and snacking opportunities during their visit here. A five-minute drive from Hue Imperial City, expect the usual goods sold at any market as fresh produce, household items, and clothing. There are also several stalls selling quality souvenirs such as conical hats and wooden carvings, but be sure to bargain hard to get the best price. Tay Loc Market is best visited in the morning (and an empty stomach) as you can savour cheap local delicacies such as banh beo (steamed rice cakes), fresh spring rolls, and Hue beef noodle soup.
  • Gia Huy Silk Hue: This is a small but unique boutique in Hue which is popular for providing efficient tailoring services. An extensive collection of colorful textile is sold here. The staff members of this boutique ensure that one gets perfect customized clothing. One can design the garment themselves, with some help from the boutique’s staff to get the perfect style and material. They even offer international shipping through Vietnam Post airmail.
  • New Space Art Foundation Hue: This gallery was founded by two brothers, Le Duc Hai and Le Ngoc Thanh who display a unique collection of their folk paintings here. This art gallery is a two storey building and accommodates a garden, lacquer, and photography studios which offer the experience of best shopping in Hue. In order to encourage the spread of art in Hue, these brothers host regular evening art exhibition events in which the spectacular pieces of art made by budding artisans are put on sale.

CUISINE:

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.

NIGHTLIFE:

  • Secret Lounge Hue: Secret Lounge Hue is an open-air bar within a tropical garden setting, offering budget-conscious travellers a satisfying selection of shishas, bar snacks, and strong cocktails at affordable prices. Designed in a traditional Vietnamese style, its indoor dining section has two pool tables, a large TV screen airing the latest sports events as well as daily live band performances, which are held between 20:00 and 22:00. Located on Nguyen Cong Tru Street, Secret Lounge Hue is accessible within a 10-minute drive from Hue Imperial City.
  • Le's Garden Hue: Le’s Garden Hue, located on Pham Ngu Lao Street, attracts mostly backpackers looking to enjoy authentic Vietnamese and western dishes as well as strong booze. A 10-minute drive from the citadel, this open-air nightlife venue is kept simple and cosy with plenty of wooden communal tables, traditional lanterns, and hanging greenery. Highly-recommended are the Vietnamese spring rolls, banh mi, mojito, and caipirinha cocktails. Every Friday and Saturday, Le’s Garden Hue offers a free drink for ladies by popping a balloon containing a note of the drink they’ll get.
  • Victory Bar: All safe and no risk makes a vacation a dull one (for some people, at least). If you want to go crazy in Hue, you should check out this underground nightclub that is located in the middle of Pham Ngu Lao street. The sound system is blaringly loud and we would recommend you to carry earplugs along. It is a bit dark inside so don’t get spooked out if you were expecting a terrace with views of the river, The crowd is mostly that of youngsters and this is a great place to experience the underground Hue nightlife.
  • Brown Eyes Bar: Brown Eyes Bar attracts a good mix of fun-loving locals and tourists with its extensive cocktail menu, loud tunes, and light-hearted entertainment. Set along Chu Van An Street, the bar is also fitted with a spacious dancefloor with local DJs spinning R&B, hip-hop, EDM and house tunes. Boasting a great bar atmosphere, its cheerful staff have a habit of encouraging pool and Jenga tournaments. Guests can enjoy a free shot and snack upon arrival as well as two-for-one drinks promos until 22:00 every night.
  • DMZ Bar: DMZ Bar is a prominent nightlife spot in Hue City Centre, where travellers can enjoy an impressive range of cocktails and wines, Italian and Vietnamese cuisine during their holiday. Established in 1994, its name is derived from the demilitarized zone of the 17th parallel that once divided Vietnam. Open daily, you can enjoy expansive views of the Perfume River at the upstairs garden terrace or play a game of pool by the downstairs bar section.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Motorbike: Cyclo is a useful way to see Hue city and it is popular with many tourists. We will have the opportunity to watch the slow life pass on the old house and the architecture of Hue old capital if we choose cyclo. Currently, in Hue transport services by means of cyclo can be said to be the most attractive in the inner city. Because Hue is an ancient city and has narrow crossroads, if tourists visit somewhere by taxi or other cars, it is difficult to admire the poetic beauty of this city.
  • Dragon boats along Hue: If you want to visit the landscapes by dragon boats, you have to book at least one day in advance through travel services to ensure the highest quality experiences. Choosing the Hue transportation: boat to explore Hue most favorite destinations along the Huong River, you can watch the peaceful afternoon sunset or record beautiful moments of the river. Besides, you also have the opportunity to enjoy Hue royal court music, one of the intangible cultural heritage in Vietnam recognized by the UNESCO.
  • Cyclo around Hue: Cyclo is a useful way to see Hue city and it is popular with many tourists. We will have the opportunity to watch the slow life pass on the old house and the architecture of Hue old capital if we choose cyclo. Currently, in Hue transport services by means of cyclo can be said to be the most attractive in the inner city. Because Hue is an ancient city and has narrow crossroads, if tourists visit somewhere by taxi or other cars, it is difficult to admire the poetic beauty of this city.
  • Taxi/ Private Car: In Hue, there are always flocks of cyclos and motorcycles, but there are fewer meter taxis compared to other cities. Taxis in Hue operate the same as traveling in any city in Vietnam, you can catch a taxi on the street or make a call. Have your destination written down in Vietnamese to show to the driver.
  • Bicycle Rental: The cyclo is the purest part of Hue’s old memory. Because of that, you can easily catch a cyclo everywhere in Hue, all you need just tell the cyclo driver about your destination.