Situated on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue was the seat of the Imperial Vietnamese court for 150 years. Established at the height of the Nguyen dynasty, the city’s architecture is elegant and graceful, and is inhabited by residents who are proud of their city’s place in Vietnamese history.
Centered around the sprawling Imperial City, central Hue has an open, relaxed feel, and bicycles still outnumber motorbikes on the streets here. It is possible to explore the city on foot, though sites are spread out and hopping on a motorbike or cyclo will save a sweltering walk through the humid heat.
The Truong Son mountain range runs parallel to the west of the city and is often swathed in heavy mist. Rain can fall for weeks at a time during the cold winter months and powerful typhoons can strike during late summer and fall.
Food lovers will have plenty of delicious imperial cuisine to choose from in Hue, as most restaurants here serve dishes taken straight from the Imperial kitchen.
Caught in the crossfire during the Tet Offensive in the American war, much of historic Hue was destroyed in 1968. What remains is still impressive, and visitors can easily spend several days dining on cuisine straight from the kitchens of Vietnamese emperors and walking amidst what remains of the vestiges from Vietnam’s rich past.
The main attraction in Hue is the Citadel, which was the political capital of Vietnam along with the serving as the home to the large royal family.
The Nguyen Lords who ruled Vietnam from Hue built their capital to resemble Beijing’s Forbidden City. The Forbidden Purple City was at the very center of the royal enclosure, off limits to commoners. Decisions were made from the Hall of Mandarins, and local legend has is that the emperor was served 500 dishes at every meal – and was never served the same dish twice in a calendar year.
The Tet Offensive in 1968 heavily damaged The Citadel, and it lay in ruins for several decades before being restored. Visitors can wander the resorted buildings that have been restored by UN programs aimed at preserving Vietnam’s history, though much work remains.
Hue’s largest and most famous religious building is the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Nguyen Dinh Chieu was a Buddhist monk who lived at this monastery overlooking on the banks of the Perfume River. His suicide in Saigon through self-immolation stunned the world, and the car he drove to Saigon in 1968 is still on display at the pagoda.
Many Vietnamese emperors are buried in Hue. Most of these tombs are located in the hills to the north of the city. Khai Dinh’s tomb is one of the most ornate, with the tomb of Minh Mang and Tu Duc among the most popular with tour groups, who come to explore the intricate gardens and statuary modeled on Chinese designs.
The DMZ (De Militarized Zone) lies 15 miles (30 kilometers) to the north of Hue. Here visitors can tour the remains of the tunnels built along the 17th parallel, along with the iconic bridge that spans the wide Ben Hai river.
Budget Hotels in Hue
Mid Range Hotels in Hue
Luxury Hotels in Hue
La Residence- Hue’s most impressive resort hotel, located on the banks of the Perfume River