The Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam
Holidays to Hue, Vietnam
The fascinating city of Hue (pronounced ‘hway’) was Vietnam’s Royal Capital from 1802 until 1945, when the title was passed back to Hanoi, and it has managed to retain its regal air despite the various battles which took place during the French and American wars. The city is crossed by the Perfume River, so-called because of the flowers that fall into it from the orchards upstream which make their way down to the city each autumn. Now a UNESCO listed site, the city is divided into three distinct areas: The Citadel, Phu Cat, and the European City – although there’s not much to see here.
Stretching for three miles along the waterfront, the nineteenth century walled citadel contains the Imperial City, site of the former emperor’s residence, various temples and state buildings. Although the site was badly bombed during the wars, testified to by the broken masonry and cracked tiling you’ll spot, it’s still a fascinating site to visit and you can easily spend a day exploring the sights here; hire a bike or rent a ‘xich lo’ if you get tired of walking. Start at the Ngo Mon Gate and make your way anticlockwise.
Phu Cat was the original merchants’ quarter where ships brought in their goods for trading and is now a busy district of shophouses and pagodas. Once home to the Chinese community, five Assembly Halls still stand on Chi Lang where immigrants used to socialise, the most interesting of which is Chua Ong. On your way to Phu Cat, you’ll pass the covered market at Dong Ba, the commercial centre of the district. You can pick up everything here from fresh fruit to the famous “non bai tho”, a conical shaped hat whose history dates back thousands of years that’s synonymous with Vietnam.
Pine-covered hills form the outer limits of Hue where the Nguyen emperors built their royal mausoleums. There are several tombs scattered along the Perfume River, the most impressive of which is Tu Duc, set on expansive grounds around a lake. On the other side of the river, the 21-metre high tower of Thien Mu Pagoda has become the symbol of Hue. Its distinctive seven storeys overlooking the Perfume River are each dedicated to a manushi-buddha – a Buddha in human form – and are decorated with intricate paintwork.
Hue’s gastronomy scene is not to be missed and is renowned throughout Vietnam. Its most famous dish is “bánh bèo”, a variety of small steamed rice cakes, usually stuffed with fried pork or chopped shrimp and served on tiny ceramic plates. Don’t leave without trying chè, a sweet dessert soup usually served over ice that’s often made with coconut milk and fresh fruit.
Experience Vietnam’s most revered cuisine
The scented Perfume River is a great place to people-watch
Visit the old Imperial City, packed with history
Hue trip ideas
Here are some trip ideas in Hue. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777
Places to stay in Hue
Here are some of our favourite accommodation options in Hue. All of our hotels and lodges are hand-picked by our Travel Designers. Need help deciding where to stay during your trip? Call our Travel Designers now and they’ll help you pick the best hotels suited to your needs: 020 3510 5777
Things to do in Hue
Here are some of the things you can do in Hue. When you've chosen your favourite experiences, just give our Travel Designers a call and they'll put a trip together for you. If you need help choosing an experience, or if you want to learn more about it, our Travel Designers will be more than happy to talk to you. Just call them on: 020 3510 5777
Map of Hue
When to go to Hue