Top Things to Do in Hue

Top Things to Do in Hue

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Aug. 12, 2021

Hue, in central Vietnam, was the capital of the Nguyen dynasty from 1802 to 1945. The city is well known for its history and for being one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

There’s plenty to see and do in this royal city. Anyone with a special interest in the history of Vietnam will enjoy unlocking the secrets and history of the country’s former capital.

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Explore Historic Ruins — Hue Citadel

Recommended length of visit: a day

If you are interested in exotic cultures, the citadel should definitely be near the top of your travel targets in Hue.

This royal city consisted of four citadels: Imperial City, Forbidden Purple City, Inner City and Tran Binh Dai. These are a great complex of temples, pavilions, moats, walls, gates and museums, from various periods of Vietnamese history.

Although some of the buildings are damaged and currently being renovated, a few are still in sparkling condition. Rambling across the whole citadel, you’ll be amazed by this place, a truly impressive fortress with a fascinating history.

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Witness Splendid River Scenery — a Dragon Boat Trip on Perfume River

Recommended length of visit: from three hours to a day

Hue is huddled round the Perfume River, which splits the city into north and south.

Taking a dragon boat during the day, you will appreciate the rural scenery along the river and attune your ears to the voice of nature.

At dusk, you can just silently enjoy the glorious sunset in the evening breeze. You yourself will have merged into the beautiful scene.

At night, moonlight on the river adds to the general beauty of the picture. You can enjoy night performances of Vietnamese folk dance.

This is the place to be, the soul of Hue.

Seek Serenity — Thien Mu Pagoda

Recommended length of visit: one or two hours

Thien Mu Pagoda, standing beside the beautiful Perfume River, is a famous ancient temple in Vietnam. It is 400 years old and also a UNESCO heritage site.

Wandering round here, your first impression will be of the octagonal 21-meter-tall tower. The perfect combination of man-made architecture and picturesque nature may make your imagination run wild.

Of course, since it’s a temple, you may also see monks here, going about their daily routines.

You will feel both inspired and humbled by the ancient structures and enduring calm of the temple.

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Discover the Meaning of Life — Tombs of the Emperors

Recommended length of visit: a day

There are seven royal tombs in and around Hue. Visiting these must be one of the highlights of visiting the city.

The architecture of these tombs mimics that of Ming and Qing tombs in China. Some have crumbled into picturesque semi-ruins while others are still spectacular in architecture and bas relief.

The finest are the Tombs of Tu Duc and Minh Mang, both of which are excellent examples of Vietnamese Buddhist aesthetics and architecture.

Wandering inside the tombs, you can’t help feeling that this is the life! No matter who you are, all your wealth and power will be gone when you die. So please appreciate what you have.

See a Rainbow at Night — Trang Tien Bridge

Recommended length of visit: half-an-hour

Trang Tien Bridge links the ancient city in the north with the new urban district in the south. Built in 1897, destroyed in 1904 and rebuilt in 1906, this is a bridge with a long history.

In daytime, it looks like a normal bridge. It’s fun to drive across during the rush hour.

After sunset it changes color. The bridge is lit up with a constantly changing rainbow of colors, making it quite a spectacle.

Just enjoy the view from the beer hall on the west side or the night market stalls on the east.

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Enjoy the Beauty of Nature — Bach Ma National Park

Recommended length of visit: a day

If you like nature and hiking, Bach Ma National Park is a must. It’s amazing to hike through the jungle and walk through the water.

The scenery here is astounding and the environment invigorating. At the end of your hike, you can see stunning views from the mountain: wonderful waterfalls, awesome swimming holes and cool animals.

Here you will have great exercise and enjoy breathtaking views.

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Welcome to Paradise — Lang Co Beach

Recommended length of visit: half-a-day

Lang Co Beach is sixty km from the royal city. It’s one of the top fifty must-see views in the world listed in National Geographic.

Bathing and lying under the sun on this wildly beautiful beach, or overlooking the sea from the highland above, you’ll realize it’s worthy of its good reputation. As the breeze blows through your hair and the waves tickle your feet, you’ll be gifted with a tiny taste of paradise.

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Be an Emperor for One Meal — Taste Imperial Cuisine

Recommended length of visit: two hours

There’s lots of delicious food in Vietnam, including filtered coffee, Pho Bo (rice noodles with beef) and spring rolls. But in this royal city, you simply must not miss imperial cuisine.

Such cuisine was originally prepared for emperors and their officials, but now you have chance to sample it. Although the emphasis is more on presentation than taste, an imperial banquet is well worth trying. You may be surprised by its opulence.

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