The former capital is rich in culture, surrounded by various tombs, palaces, and temples. We’ve picked out our eight favorite things to do while staying in Hue.
Boat Ride on the Song Huong River
During the autumn, the flower orchards around the river fall into the water, giving it a perfume-like aroma. Hence, it is also known as the Perfume River. Enjoy a guided boat ride along the river for some scenic views of Hue.
Lang Co Beach
Lang Co is a good stop-by beach with a majestic view if you are ever on your way from Hue to Hoi An. You can enjoy a BBQ seafood lunch at one of the beachside shack cafes. Due to the different tides levels, it is not recommended that you go for a swim, but the view is scenic.
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Dong Ba Market
If you want to immerse yourself in the culture of Hue, then spend some time at Dong Ba Market.
Dong Ba Market is considered the largest marketplace in central Vietnam. This open-air market attracts 5,000 to 7,000 people daily and is bursting with local culture.
And while a lot of Dong Ba Market features items geared toward tourists, it largely caters to locals.
This is the best place to go if you want to shop for freshly prepared Vietnamese food. When trying the different foods in the market, make sure to try some che, (or sweet soup), which Hue is well known for.
Don’t miss out the tasty “che” (sweet soup) in Hue
Enjoy Your Bowl of Bun Bo Hue
This Vietnamese noodle soup originates from Hue, a city in Central Vietnam. This dish is greatly admired for its balance of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. The broth is the main ingredient that gives the soup its distinctive flavor. It requires preparation time by simmering beef bones and beef shank in lemongrass with fermented shrimp paste and spicy chili oil. The noodle used is thicker than the Pho, and other complex ingredients include beef brisket, pork leg, blood pudding, thinly sliced pork sausage, diced scallions, white onions, laksa, lime wedge, cabbage, perilla, banana flower, bean sprouts, mints, and tofu.
Read more on our MUST-TRY Vietnamese foods
Visit the Citadel and Royal Tombs
Lies in the heart of Hue is the ancient citadel – which marked what used to be the capital of Vietnam. Another great way to taste the culture is by visiting a few of the tombs surrounding Hue, Vietnam.
It should take a whole morning to fully observe the citadel of Hue as there are countless of monuments and old buildings to check out. Here, you can get a deep historical understanding of the feudal era in Vietnam, or – if you are not much of a history enthusiast, you can spend time capturing the captivating Vietnamese architecture of the past. Be mindful that the weather in Hue can get really hot, while the dress code for historical sites in Vietnam is conservative. We advise visitors to choose modest yet breathable clothing; carrying drinking bottles and umbrellas is also a good idea.
In terms of the king’s burial, while there are seven to choose from, the famous tombs are the tombs of Minh Mang, Tu Duc, Khai Dinh, and Dong Khanh, as they are within the center of the city.
Tu Duc’s tomb, located 5km south of Hue, has expansive grounds, so if you want to see it all, then be prepared to set aside plenty of time. However, you won’t be seeing the tomb where Tu Duc was laid to rest, as he was buried in a secret location elsewhere in Hue.
The tomb of Khai Dinh is different from what you might expect, especially if you visit it after checking out Hue’s other tombs. Due to Emperor Khai Dinh’s close association with France, it has a mixture of Vietnamese and European architecture.
Thien Mu Pagoda
When deciding what to do in Hue, make time to visit this pagoda.
Overlooking the Perfume River, the Thien Mu Pagoda, or “Heavenly Lady” pagoda, is seven stories tall and seen as an unofficial city symbol.
You can also view the Austin motorcar that the monk Thich Quang Duc used to drive to Saigon in 1963 for his self-immolation protest against the Diem regime.
Thanh Toan Bridge
While this isn’t the most time-consuming site to visit, it still has cultural significance and is lovely to see.
Located about 7km east of Hue, Vietnam, this Japanese-style footbridge was arranged to be built by Tran Thi Dao, who was the wife of a high-ranking local official.
She suggested the bridge be built to help transportation and communication since the canal separated the village. In 1925, an altar was placed on the bridge in her honor.
Nowadays, you can stroll under the covered bridge and find locals relaxing in the shade.
Bach Ma National Park
If you are staying in Hue, plan for at least a day’s visit to Bach Ma National Park. Although, there is so much do here that you could stay overnight and make it a two-day trip.
It’s about an hour outside of Hue, the drive is worth it and the coastal route that takes it there is an adventure in itself.
With over 1,400 species of plants, this park prides itself on its biodiversity. You can also spot plenty of native wildlife, featuring over 1/3 of the bird species found in Vietnam. A bird watcher’s dream!
Aside from observing local flora and fauna, you can hike one of the many trails to take a dip in a bracing waterfall or check out the villas built by the French in the 1930s that have been left to the elements.
Read more on Spectacular National Parks in Vietnam
Final Thoughts on Planning a Trip to Hue
When planning a trip to Vietnam, make sure you don’t skip out on the rich culture and excitement Hue offers. As stated earlier, Hue has many attractions, and we’ve only listed our eight favorites.
For less hassles in your trip, look up a trusted luggage shipping service so you can arrive in Vietnam at ease.
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