From many interesting Vietnam Popular Destinations, Hue city is the place we can not miss. Located on the bank of Perfume River; Hue, the capital of Thua Thien Hue province in Central Vietnam, is 700 km southern Hanoi, 1100km northern Ho Chi Minh City, and only a few miles from the sea.
Hue city - a charming city with special attraction
Not until 1945 was Hue city the national capital, the political, cultural and religious center of Vietnam under the control of Nguyen Dynasty. Most well-known for its historic values; Hue had been recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Hue is a charming city which has special attraction for not only domestic but also international tourists.
The most famous monument in Hue is the Imperial city which occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the Perfume River. The citadel is a distinctive combination between medieval military fortress structure in Europe and Vietnamese traditional fortress form.
The other great attractions in Hue are the Tombs of the Emperors, which are located along the Perfume River south of the city including Minh Mang tomb, Khai Đinh tomb, and Tu Đuc tomb. Also notable is the Thien Mu Pagoda, the largest pagoda in Hue and the official symbol of the city. They are accessible by taxi or bike from the city, but the best way to see them is to hire a river boat and go for a cruise. Joining a tour to visit Hue, tourists will realize how beautiful it is.
Besides, Hue city is also famous for Hue royal court music. Hue royal court music is the type of court music under feudal time, which was played in annual festivities under the reign of Nguyen dynasty in Vietnam. It is recognized as a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity by the UNESCO in 2003.
Hue city has a variety foods from folk dishes to Royal dishes. According to Food professionals, Hue dishes account more than 1300 of total 1700 nationwide dishes Royal dishes. The most interesting dishes you have to enjoy when you come to Hue are Hen rice, beef noodle soup, Loc cake, sweet soup…Hue food is typical with special flavor as well as the attractive art of cooking and decoration when preparing to eat, which gives the foodies amazing feelings and pleasure style when tasting the food of Hue.
Festivals are also attractions of Hue. There are two main kinds of festival here. Royal festival reflects the life and ritual activities of Nguyen dynasty, almost paying more attention to the ritual than the ceremony. Folk festival consists of multi activities such as Hue Nam festival in Hon Chen temple which follow Champa’s belief, handicraft’s father memory festivals, and some cultural activities as boat racing, westling,…Each year, the city celebrates the fantastic festival to introduce the Vietnamese traditional food, flowers, trees, kite flying and Vietnamese traditional costumes.
Hue people are very friendly. This friendliness is a combination of two distinguished characteristics: loving to talk and being very “shy”. The special thing every visitors coming to hue will never forget may be the image of young women with “non la” (conical hats) and ao dai (Vietnamese gown). For a long time, it has become a symbol of Hue people and Hue tourism.
Nowaday, there are many Hue tours that visitors can choose to explore Hue city such as Hue city tour, Perfume river tour, Hue sightseeing tour,… With these tours, visitors can learn more about the history, culture, cuisine and architecture of Hue as well as understand more about Hue people.
Location and history
Located on the bank of Song Huong- Perfume River; Hue, the capital of Thua Thien Hue province in Central Vietnam, is 700 km southern Hanoi, 1100km northern Ho Chi Minh City, and only a few miles from the sea. Not until 1945 was Hue the national capital, the political, cultural and religious center of Vietnam under the control of Nguyen Dynasty. Most well-known for its historic values; Hue had been recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
What to see in Hue
If you are a history buff, or simply love discovering exotic cultures, Hue- Vietnam’s former Royal Capital is definitely on the top list of your travel plan. The city represents the outstanding demonstration of the power of the vanished Vietnamese feudal empire, including a complex of monuments, tombs and pagodas that attract tourists coming from all over the world.
• Hue Citadel:
Occupying a large, bounded area on the north side of Perfume River; four citadels were comprised to create the Capital City: Hoang Thanh (Imperial City) for royal palaces and shrines, Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City) for royal residences, Dai Noi (Inner city) and Tran Binh Dai, which exclusively ancient architecture. Tourists are expected to spend at least one day to visit the whole complex. They can also catch a taxi, hire a bicycle, rent a “xich lo”- Vietnamese cycle if do not feel like walking around the site.
• Emperors Tombs:
There are several tombs of ancient emperors scattering along the Perfume River: such as Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh, etc. On Cam Khe Hill, Minh Mang Tomb was built in 1843, with the area of 18 hectare, 3-meter-high defended wall, and nearly 20 architectural constructions. Lying in the middle of a pine forest, Tu Duc Tomb belongs to Duong Xuan Moutain, 8km far from Hue.
Featured in various songs and poems, Thien Mu Pagoda has become an essential part of Hue City. With the symbol of the octagonal 21-meter-high tower, the pagoda is the perfect combination of artificial architectural work and picturesque nature. Tourists can also visit other pagodas such as Tu Dam, Tu Hieu, Huyen Khong.
What to do in Hue
Besides visiting ancient monuments and tombs, coming to Hue, you can also have a chance to bath and lying under the sun on the most wildly beautiful beaches in Vietnam. Thuan An and Lang Co beach are among the most wonderful ones, twinkling in sunshine with limpidly blue ocean and white silky sand. Moreover, there are some mineral hot springs available like Thanh Tan in Phong An, Phong Dien; where tourists can totally be relaxed after a long walking day.
At the height of 1450 meter; Bach Ma Mountain, 60km southern the city, represents the four-season type of weather of the temperate zone.
Many tour agencies also arrange a boat trip along Perfume River; in which tourists can witness the splendid sceneries while enjoy Hue specialties and watching royal art performance.
What to eat in Hue
Hue is the place where dining is not to satisfy human basic needs, but a form of art. Hue’s gastronomy is elegant, light and noble, different from other regions’ of Vietnam. Spices, especially chili, play an important role in Hue’s cooking and cuisine decorating art. Nowadays, consuming Hue dishes, it will be extremely interesting for everyone to know that they are trying what mostly were served to the Emperor in the past.
One of the dishes that you cannot miss in Hue is “com hen”- rice with baby clams- a very simple and low-priced specialty. A bowl of “com hen” will bring you the sweet-smelling flavor of rice and herbs, mixed with the buttery, sour, bitter taste of spices, grease, baby clams.
Other flour-based dishes are worth trying: banh bot loc (rice pastry with meat and shrimp), banh la cha tom (soft pastry wrapped in leaves with meat, shrimp, and egg), banh hot thit quay (roast pork pastry), banh la (sweet sticky rice wrapped in leaves)… Bun thit nuong (rice vermicelli with grilled meat), Bun bo gio heo (rice vermicelli with beef and pork) are loved by many tourists.
Hue is also famous for its extraordinary special “che”- sweet soups. There are nearly 50 kinds of “che”, from the simple, common to elaborate ones. Four typical kinds of “che” that Hue citizens most proud of are: che khoai tia (purple sweet potatoes sweet soup), che long nhan boc hat sen (longan wrapped in lotus seed sweet soup), che troi nuoc nhan tom thit (floating sticky rice cake with shrimp sweet soup) and che dau van bot loc (bean and rice pastry sweet soup).
Hue, the ancient capital and now a tourist drag, still remains its vaguely quaint beauty. Once you have time, let’s experience a night on Scent River. On one bank of it, large verdant grassland at the foot of Ngo Mon gate of Dai Noi palace is ideal for some walk. On the other bank, there are some lovely informal cafes, with hundreds of seats outside (normally full of families and pilgrims). You can also hire a boat for 2 hours and listen to Hue royal music on boat, or a slow but cool cyclo across Trang Tien Bridge.
Wanting to explore famous food in Hue? An address to enjoy traditional sweetened porridge is 17 Hung Vuong Street. It is not very common for tourists, but worth trying.
Searching for good bars and cafes near your hotel? There are many. Brown Eyes Bar at 56 Chu Van An Street has warm atmosphere, friendly staff, music at request, free internet access and cheap prices never inflated for tourists. It stays open late till the last guest come out, and you can dance the nights away. Another bar, which seems attractive to youngsters, is DMZ cafe, located at 60 Le Loi Street. It is always very animated: sometimes 300 seats are all filled up. You can enjoy Hue and Italy food and leave your writing or drawing on the walls. Many expats love Why Not? Bar for its convenient location (at 21 Vo Thi Sau Street, not very far from the main tourism centre), appetite food and soft music. Despite its small space, Thu cafes at 3/34 Nguyen Tri Phuong is indeed delightful. You cannot know why strangers can get together as friends so easily here, which give everyone a happy time and the wish to come back every night. Besides, the cheap original beer and board games around the bars are highly recommended for your entertainment.
Nightlife in such a small city can be very emotional. Are you ready for it?