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Traveling to Hue Vietnam for the first time – Things you need to know

October 10, 2023

Hue City, situated in central Vietnam, is a captivating location that combines the vibrant colors of history, culture, and natural beauty to produce an entrancing masterpiece. It functioned as the imperial capital during the Nguyen Dynasty and is now among the most famous Vietnamese urban centers, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This stunning city boasts ancient pagodas, royal tombs, and historic citadels dating back centuries, highlighting its rich past. In addition to its historical landmarks, Hue City is known for its exquisite surroundings comprising the serene Perfume River and picturesque mountains, providing a calming and peaceful ambiance for visitors. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or cultural diversity, Hue City will undoubtedly leave an everlasting impression on your heart and soul. To experience this exceptional country with your loved ones, book Vietnam packages today.

Hue Imperial Citadel, Vietnam

Hue Imperial Citadel, Vietnam

Best Places to Visit in Hue City

There are many best places to visit in Hue city, Vietnam. Here are some of the best:

1. Imperial City (The Citadel): This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit when in Hue. It is a massive complex with stunning architecture and beautiful gardens.

2. Thien Mu Pagoda: Located on the banks of the Perfume River, this iconic pagoda is the tallest religious building in Vietnam. It offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is an important symbol of the city.

3. Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang: One of the most impressive mausoleums among the royal tombs, the Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang showcases intricate architecture, beautiful gardens, and peaceful surroundings.

4. Perfume River: Enjoy a boat ride along the Perfume River, which runs through the heart of Hue. This scenic river is lined with temples, tombs, and other historic landmarks.

5. Tinh Tam Lake (Lake of the Serene Heart): A tranquil spot located within the Imperial City, Tinh Tam Lake offers a peaceful ambiance and beautiful scenery. It is a great place for a leisurely walk or bike ride.

6. Thanh Toan Bridge: This ancient pedestrian bridge is located in a rural village near Hue and is an architectural gem. It is an ideal spot to learn about local rural life and capture some beautiful photographs.

7. Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum: Housed in the former residence of a queen, this museum showcases a vast collection of traditional art and artifacts related to the Nguyen Dynasty.

8. Dong Ba Market: The largest market in Hue, Dong Ba Market is a great place to experience the local food, culture, and shopping. It is especially known for its wide range of fresh produce and local specialties.

9. Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities: Located within the Imperial City, this museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from the Nguyen Dynasty. It provides fascinating insights into the royal history and culture of Hue.

10. Tha Om Garden House: Step into a traditional Vietnamese garden house and get a glimpse of the local life and architecture. Tha Om Garden House provides an authentic experience of a traditional Vietnamese home.

Minh Mang Royal Tomb, Hue

Minh Mang Royal Tomb, Hue

Transportation in Hue City

Hue City offers various transportation options for getting around the city and exploring the surrounding areas. Here are some popular transportation options in Hue City:

1. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Hue City and can be hailed from the streets or booked through ride-hailing apps like Grab. Taxis are convenient for short distances or when traveling with heavy luggage.

2. Cyclos: Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycle taxis that are commonly seen in Hue City. They can be a unique and leisurely way to explore the city, especially for shorter distances. Negotiate the fare with the cyclo driver before starting the journey.

3. Motorbikes: Motorbike rentals are widely available in Hue City, and this is a popular option for many travelers who want the freedom to explore at their own pace. Make sure to wear a helmet and carry a valid driver’s license if you choose this option.

4. Bicycles: Bicycles can be rented from hotels or various rental shops in Hue City. It’s a great way to explore the city’s attractions, especially the Perfume River area and the Imperial City. Keep in mind that the traffic in Hue City can be busy, so be cautious while cycling.

5. Public buses: Hue City has an extensive bus network that connects different parts of the city. Public buses are a more affordable option for getting around, but the schedules and routes may not always be easy to understand for non-locals.

6. Private car or van hire: If you prefer a more comfortable and personalized experience, you can hire a private car or van with a driver. This option allows greater flexibility in terms of itinerary and stops, and it’s ideal for larger groups or families.

It’s important to note that traffic in Hue City can be busy and chaotic, especially during peak hours. Take precautions and follow traffic rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable transportation experience.

Top Restaurants in Hue City

Hue is famous for its imperial history and delicious cuisine. Here are some of the best restaurants in Hue that are known for serving authentic and mouth-watering Vietnamese dishes:

1. Ancient Hue Restaurant: Located in a traditional Vietnamese-style building, Ancient Hue Restaurant offers a range of Hue specialties, including the famous Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup). The restaurant has a lovely ambiance and friendly staff, making it a popular choice among locals and tourists.

2. Les Jardins de la Carambole: This French-Vietnamese fusion restaurant is housed in a historical building and features a beautiful garden setting. Les Jardins de la Carambole offers a diverse menu, blending Vietnamese flavors with French techniques. Their creative dishes and charming atmosphere create a unique dining experience.

3. Quan Hanh Restaurant: Known for its traditional Hue cuisine, Quan Hanh offers an extensive menu featuring local delicacies such as banh beo (steamed rice cakes), banh khoai (crispy pancakes), and com hen (baby clams rice). The restaurant’s relaxed atmosphere and affordable prices make it a great choice for culinary adventurers.

4. Y Thao Garden: Situated in a traditional Hue garden house, Y Thao Garden offers a tranquil dining experience. The restaurant specializes in exquisite Hue cuisine, prepared by skillful chefs. Diners can enjoy classic dishes like banh xeo (Vietnamese savory pancake), nem lui (grilled pork on lemongrass skewers), and a variety of fresh seafood.

5. Nook Café & Bar: Nook Café is known for its charming setting and friendly staff. The cafe offers a mix of Vietnamese and Western dishes, making it a favorite among foreign visitors. With its cozy ambiance and delicious food, Nook Café is a great place to relax and enjoy a meal.

These are just a few of the best restaurants in Hue, each offering a unique dining experience and showcasing the rich culinary heritage of the city. Whether you are looking for traditional Hue cuisine or international flavors, Hue has something to satisfy every palate.

Top Hotels in Hue City

There are several highly-rated hotels in Hue City, Vietnam. Here are some of the best options:

1. La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa: This luxury hotel is located along the picturesque Perfume River and offers elegant rooms and suites with classic French colonial touches.

2. Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa: Situated in a peaceful rural setting, this resort offers traditional Vietnamese-inspired accommodations and a range of amenities including a spa, swimming pools, and a cooking school.

3. Eldora Hotel: This boutique hotel is centrally located in Hue City and offers stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, and a restaurant serving both Vietnamese and international cuisine.

4. Indochine Palace Hotel: Known for its opulent décor, this five-star hotel features spacious rooms, multiple dining options, a spa, and a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the city.

5. Alba Wellness Resort: Located amidst lush greenery, this resort is focused on wellness and offers comfortable rooms, a large outdoor pool, a spa, and organic dining options.

6. Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa: Situated on the shores of a tranquil lagoon, this eco-friendly resort offers luxurious villas, a floating spa, and outdoor activities such as kayaking and cycling.

7. Muong Thanh Holiday Hue Hotel: This modern hotel is conveniently located near famous attractions such as the Imperial City and Dong Ba Market. It offers spacious rooms, a rooftop pool, and a buffet restaurant.

These are just a few examples of the best hotels in Hue City, and there are plenty of other options to suit different needs and budgets. It is recommended to check reviews and amenities of each hotel before making a reservation.

Best Day Trips from Hue City

Hue City serves as an excellent starting point for trips throughout the rest of the country. Some of the top day trips from Hue City are listed below:

1. Da Nang: Just a short drive away, Da Nang is known for its beautiful beaches, such as My Khe Beach, and iconic attractions like the Marble Mountains and Dragon Bridge.

2. Hoi An: Another charming city located near Hue, Hoi An is famous for its well-preserved Ancient Town, lantern-lit streets, and delicious local cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to get tailor-made clothes and explore the Thu Bon River.

3. Bach Ma National Park: If you’re a nature lover, a day trip to Bach Ma National Park is a must. Enjoy hiking through lush forests, visiting stunning waterfalls, and admiring panoramic views from the mountaintop.

4. Thuan An Beach: Just 15 kilometers from Hue, Thuan An Beach offers a relaxing escape from the city. Spend the day sunbathing, swimming, or sampling fresh seafood at one of the beachside restaurants.

5. Perfume River: Take a boat trip along the Perfume River to experience the picturesque landscapes and visit famous attractions like Thien Mu Pagoda and the Imperial Tombs. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and learn about Hue’s rich history.

6. Nam Giao Esplanade: Explore the historical site of the Nam Giao Esplanade, an ancient sacrificial platform used by the Nguyen Dynasty. Learn about the traditional rituals and customs of the past while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

7. DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Tour: Embark on a guided tour to the DMZ, which marked the territorial boundary between North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Visit historical sites like the Vinh Moc Tunnels, Khe Sanh Combat Base, and the Ben Hai River.

8. Lang Co Beach: Located between Da Nang and Hue, Lang Co Beach offers pristine white sand and crystal-clear water. Relax on the beach, enjoy fresh seafood, or take a dip in the calm sea.

9. Tam Giang Lagoon: Discover the largest brackish water lagoon in Southeast Asia, Tam Giang Lagoon. Take a boat ride to observe the local fishermen’s daily life, enjoy the sunset, and spot diverse bird species.

10. A Luoi Valley: Venture into the lush A Luoi Valley, known for its picturesque scenery and ethnic minority villages. Trek through the mountains, interact with the local Co Tu people, and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the region.


Q: How do I get to Hue City, Vietnam?
A: Hue City is easily accessible by air, road, and rail. The Phu Bai International Airport serves the city, and there are regular domestic flights from major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Hue is well-connected by road, with buses and taxis available from nearby cities. Additionally, there are regular train services linking Hue to major destinations like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Q: What are the must-visit attractions in Hue City?
A: Hue is famous for its historical sites and cultural landmarks. Some of the must-visit attractions include the Imperial City (Citadel), Thien Mu Pagoda, Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh, and the Perfume River.

Q: What is the best time to visit Hue City?
A: The best time to visit Hue City is during the dry season, which lasts from March to August. The weather is pleasant, and you can explore the city comfortably. However, do note that Hue can get crowded with tourists during this period. If you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (September to November and February to April).

Q: Are there any traditional festivals to experience in Hue City?
A: Yes, Hue City is known for its vibrant festivals. The most famous one is the Hue Festival, held every two years in April. It showcases traditional music, dance, and other cultural performances. The Thua Thien-Hue Traditional Craft Festival, held every two years in April, is also a great opportunity to witness the local craftsmanship.

Q: What are some local delicacies to try in Hue City?
A: Hue is known for its unique cuisine, influenced by the imperial heritage. Don’t miss trying the dishes like bun bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup), banh khoai (Hue-style pancakes), banh beo (steamed rice cakes), and banh nam (flat rice dumplings). Also, try the royal dishes which were once reserved for the Nguyen Dynasty.

Q: What is the best way to get around Hue City?
A: Hue City is relatively compact, and many of the attractions are within walking distance. However, you can also rent bicycles, motorbikes, or take cyclos (pedicabs) to explore the city. Taxis are readily available as well. Public buses and tourist shuttles also operate within the city and to nearby attractions.

Q: Are there any nearby day trip options from Hue City?
A: Yes, there are several day trip options from Hue City. You can visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), where significant battles took place during the Vietnam War. Another popular day trip is to the Thanh Toan Village with its famous Thanh Toan Bridge and agricultural activities. The Lang Co Beach and Bach Ma National Park are other nearby attractions worth considering.