Hue: Exploring the Vibrant Charm of Vietnam’s Imperial City

Hue Vietnam

Nestled along the picturesque Perfume River, Hue is a city in central Vietnam that boasts a rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes. Known for its imperial past, vibrant markets, and delicious cuisine, Hue offers a perfect blend of history, nature, and gastronomy. In this travel guide, we’ll unveil the top 10 must-do activities, must-see sites, the best hotels to stay, and the finest restaurants to savor in Hue. Additionally, we’ll provide you with convenient options on how to get there from Hanoi and Hoi An, ensuring a seamless journey.

Must-Do Activities in Hue

Hue Vietnam

When in Hue don’t miss these activities:

  1. Explore the Imperial City: Step back in time and immerse yourself in the historical grandeur of the Imperial City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the majestic palaces, ornate temples, and intricate architecture as you learn about Vietnam’s royal past.
  2. Take a Boat Ride along the Perfume River: Hop on a traditional dragon boat and cruise along the Perfume River, soaking in the scenic beauty of the surrounding landscapes. Admire the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of Hue’s iconic landmarks, and witness breathtaking sunset views.
  3. Cycle through the Countryside: Rent a bicycle and embark on a leisurely ride through the charming countryside of Hue. Pedal past rice paddies, local villages, and ancient pagodas, embracing the serene ambiance and glimpses of rural life.
  4. Sample Local Cuisine at Dong Ba Market: Indulge in a gastronomic adventure at Dong Ba Market, the city’s oldest and most bustling market. Try traditional Hue specialties such as bun bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup), banh khoai (Hue-style savory pancakes), and com hen (clam rice).
  5. Attend a Traditional Royal Music Performance: Witness the enchanting melodies of traditional royal music, a cultural gem of Hue. Experience the elegant and rhythmic tunes performed by skilled musicians, bringing the imperial era to life.
  6. Discover Tombs of the Emperors: Explore the elaborate tombs scattered throughout the Hue countryside. Visit the mesmerizing tomb complexes of Tu Duc, Minh Mang, and Khai Dinh, marveling at their architectural grandeur and tranquil surroundings.
  7. Wander the Streets of the Old Town: Stroll through the charming streets of Hue’s Old Town, lined with colonial-era buildings, art galleries, and quaint cafés. Uncover hidden gems, browse local handicrafts, and capture the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
  8. Experience Vietnamese Martial Arts: Engage in an exhilarating experience by watching a traditional Vietnamese martial arts performance. Witness impressive displays of agility, strength, and skill as performers showcase their mastery of various martial arts forms.
  9. Visit Thanh Toan Bridge: Explore the beautiful Thanh Toan Bridge, an ancient covered bridge situated in a peaceful rural setting. Learn about its history, appreciate the stunning architecture, and observe the local way of life in the surrounding village.
  10. Relax at Thuan An Beach: Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by venturing to Thuan An Beach, a pristine stretch of coastline located just outside Hue. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, or simply lounging on the sandy shores, surrounded by idyllic scenery.
Hue Vietnam

Where to Stay in Hue

  1. Azerai La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa: Offering luxurious accommodations in a French colonial-style mansion, this riverside hotel provides excellent service, elegant rooms, and stunning views of the Perfume River.
  2. Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa: Nestled amidst lush greenery, this eco-friendly resort combines traditional Vietnamese architecture with modern comforts. Enjoy the serene ambiance, rejuvenating spa treatments, and well-appointed villas.
  3. Eldora Hotel: Located in the heart of Hue, this boutique hotel features stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, and a central location, making it an ideal base for exploring the city’s attractions.
  4. White Lotus Hotel: Situated in a convenient location near the Perfume River, the White Lotus Hotel offers comfortable and well-appointed rooms. With its friendly staff, modern amenities, and a rooftop swimming pool offering panoramic views of the city, it’s a great choice for travelers seeking a comfortable stay at a reasonable price.

Where to Eat in Hue

  1. Les Jardins de La Carambole: Indulge in a fusion of Vietnamese and French cuisine in a charming garden setting. With a diverse menu and an extensive wine list, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience.
  2. Madam Thu Restaurant: Experience authentic Hue flavors at this family-run restaurant. Sample their famous banh khoai and other local delicacies, all made with passion and love.
  3. Nina’s Café: Tucked away in the charming streets of Hue’s Old Town, Nina’s Café offers a cozy and artistic ambiance. This café-restaurant serves a delightful mix of Vietnamese and Western dishes, including tasty sandwiches, refreshing salads, and flavorful Vietnamese classics. Don’t miss their delicious homemade desserts and specialty coffees while enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.

Getting to Hue

From Hanoi

  1. By Air: Take a direct flight from Noi Bai International Airport to Phu Bai International Airport in Hue. Several airlines operate daily flights between the two cities.
  2. By Train: Board an overnight train from Hanoi Railway Station to Hue Railway Station. The journey takes approximately 13-15 hours, offering a scenic route through Vietnam’s countryside.
  3. By Bus: Travel by bus from Hanoi to Hue, with multiple operators offering daily services. The journey takes around 13-15 hours, and overnight buses are available.

From Hoi An

  1. By Private Car: Hire a private car for a comfortable and convenient journey from Hoi An to Hue. The scenic drive takes approximately 3-4 hours, allowing you to enjoy the coastal views along the way.
  2. By Bus or Minivan: Travel by bus or minivan from Hue to Hoi An, with multiple operators offering daily services. The journey takes around 3-4 hours, and overnight buses are available

Hue beckons travelers with its imperial allure, rich history, and remarkable landscapes. From exploring the Imperial City to savoring the local cuisine and enjoying scenic boat rides, Hue offers a treasure trove of experiences. Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural heritage, relish the delicious flavors, and create unforgettable memories in this Vietnamese destination.

Hue Vietnam

For other wonderful places to visit around Vietnam check out our Destination pages. For other practical tips for travelers in Vietnam refer to our Practicalities pages where you can find information on Visa Requirements, Weather, Money, Health and Safety and how to Keep Connected.