History of Hue
Hue in central Vietnam is the former capital of the Nguyen Dynasty which lasted from 1802 to 1945 until the takeover of Ho Chi Minh. The major attraction in Hue is the 19th century citadel surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls. The citadel surrounds the Imperial City which was the home of the Nguyen Dynasty.
During the American-Vietnamese War Hue was also the site of one of the longest fought battles in the war, “The Battle of Hue”. As Hue was right between the border of the North and South it became vulnerable to confrontation throughout the war. The city suffered tremendous damage to historic buildings and artifacts as a result of American bombing and devastating loss of life especially after the infamous “Hue Massacre” committed by the communist forces.
Food in Hue
The undisputed king of Hue dishes, is the one and only Bun Bo Hue. Ones trip to Hue is not complete without slurping down a Bun Bo Hue. Slightly more spicy and sweet compared to its cousin soup Pho it is recommended to have this for breakfast at one of Hue’s many street vendors offering the soup.
Hue Rice Dumplings are also a typical staple of Hue that should be tried when here. Banh Beo, Banh Nam, and Banh Loc are the 3 most typical dumplings of Hue. From 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM the local women will be selling these on the streets as they prefer to have them as a snack before dinner. Hue is known for having simple yet very sophisticated dishes.
What to see in Hue
First on the list when visiting Hue is to check out the Imperial City where the Nguyen Emperors resided. Much of the structure was destroyed as a result of war but the restoration is on going. Give yourself a half a day to walk in the old walls of the citadel and take in the history. Below you can see opening hours for the Hue Imperial City
|Day||Hours accessible to public|
|Monday||8am – 5:30 pm|
|Tuesday||8am – 5:30 pm|
|Wednesday||8am – 5:30 pm|
|Thursday||8am – 10 pm|
|Friday||8am – 5:30 pm|
|Saturday||8am – 5:30 pm|
|Sunday||8am – 5:30 pm|
3. The Perfume River
Flowing through the center of Hue is the majestic Perfume River. Tourist visiting Hue enjoy taking a boat ride along the river. Also a popular area to have a walk or jog alongside the river and take in the local life.
4.Khai Dinh Tomb
The last of the imperial tombs to be completed in Vietnam, the Kai Dinh Tomb is must stop when visiting Hue. In his life time Emperor Khai Dinh spent a considerable amount of his life in France so the tomb has a mix of Vietnamese and French influence. It takes 127 steps to climb to the top where you will arrive at the temple fortified by statue guards.
5.Hai Van Pass
The most famous road in Vietnam is the Hai Van Pass, which connects Hue to Da Nang. The weaving cliff side roads give you a terrific view of the coastline. The Hai Van Pass was made famous in Top Gear and has now seen an influx of visitors making sure take this route. Be sure to stop on the highest point on the pass to take some photographs. The Ha Van Pass can be done on your own via motorbike or you can take a guided tour with a bus or car.
Tours to do in Hue
Why not combine both a local sightseeing tour taking you to all the main attractions in Hue while getting an introduction and an opportunity to sample some of the best food in Hue. Surely this is the most recommended tour to book when in Hue. Figuring out what food to order for foreigners can be tricky so it helps having a guide tell you what to do.
This recent addition to Hue tours has become quite popular. This tour will take you to all of Hue’s major pagoda’s and temples and give you an insight into Buddhist culture in Hue. Included in the tour is also a stop at a tea house and a chance to sample some vegan food. Additionally you will get a chance to practice meditation and mindfullness with local nuns.
The Hue Charity Tour is the first socially responsible tour in Hue that visits Hue orphanages as well as a social services center. Funds raised in this tour will be used to help children in the orphanages and buy school supplies and clothes. Additionally you will make a stop at a local market in Hue where treats will be bought for the Children.
Where to Stay in Hue?
If you would like to stay right by the river without stretching your budget too much, this is definitely where you want to be. Set on the southern bank of the Nhu Y River (a tributary of the Perfume River), Hue Riverside Villa is hidden away at the end of a rambling alley running off Nguyen Cong Tru—follow it down past Kore Cafe (which has excellent riverside coffee under a huge shade tree here) and keep going—the brick–faced reception area will sneak up on your right.
The rooms are few in the hotel but are all well sized and offer a great place to rest and relax.
Incredibly difficult to locate but absolutely worth seeking out! It is mid priced but offering a luxurious romantic boutique hotel experience. Great for couples as the rooms are very romantically decorated. Be sure to seek this one out if you are here for your honeymoon especially.
There is no shortage of cheap hostels to chose from in Hue but Amy 2 Hostel is certainly our pick out of all of them. The bar cafe area and sparking clean rooms makes this the go to low budget hostel in Hue. Located just 5 minutes away from the bar street but still not considered as a “party hostel”.
Why Visit Hue?
Local Vietnamese consider Hue to be the cultural capital of Vietnam. Visitors should not skip going to Hue for this reason alone. Sampling the renowned Bun Bo Hue while taking a day to stroll around the main cultural landmarks is considered by many to be one of the highlights of their Vietnam trip. For anyone interested in the turbulent history of Vietnam Hue is a must visit destination as well. The people of Hue are renowned for being very relaxed and easy going as well. For a taste of the real Vietnam, Hue must not be skipped!
Getting Out of Hue
After your stay in Hue you have several options depending on if you are heading south or north. If you are heading south then of course be sure to take the Hai Van Pass to Da Nang. For those that are heading north, they usually go straight to Hanoi. However there is plenty to see and do in between Hue and Hanoi. One of these stops is Vinh. In Vinh you can do visit one of Vietnam’s most beautiful national parks, Pu Mat National park. The park is right by the border of Laos and can be visited on a 2 day tour departing from Vinh. For a truely “off the beaten path” experience this can not be recommended enough.
Booking Trains, Buses and Flights in Vietnam
The local booking platform Baolau is our recommended tool to book your trains, buses and flights when in Vietnam. There will always be street vendors where you can book from, but for the easiest and fastest experience Baolau is the way to go.