Backpacking travel in Hue : Full Guide

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Vietnam Backpack Travel Guide – Hue has gone through 7 centuries of establishment and development. In 1802, Hue became Vietnam’s capital when Emperor Gia Long, the first King of the Nguyen emperors (Nguyen dynasty), chose the location for the imperial city. The city remained the nation’s capital until 1945, when Bao Dai, the last of the Nguyen emperors, abdicated and a communist government was established in Hanoi. In the Vietnam War, Huế’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Thanks to the long precious history, Hue has integrated material and spiritual values, which become its own unique special Culture.

 

Ảnh – Danny_Tran

©Bản quyền hình ảnh : Trong bài viết có sử dụng một số hình ảnh được tìm kiếm thông qua công cụ Google Image của các tác giả Danny_Tran, Huy Col, Phu Dang, eric, tuananhdrums, HQN, [ 117 Imagery ], Zet168, huyco, Huynh Minh Nhat, Tam Nguyen, tatdat_bkdn, Ee Shawn, vnkomodo, dangtranquan, xuanthanh_arc, takepic, tyart.vn, Linda DV, miahkdtt, Lê Nhật Quang, AgelsGold, Kelvin Nguyen, Cam Ly Dinh, Nguyen Phu Duc, Nguyen Minh Son, Trần Minh Tâm, Artuan.com, romke, Linh Simple, Nhat Dung, Meogia, hachi8, Minh Duc Nguyen, Trung Dang, Nguyen Thanh Khiem, Robin Liao, huexuavanay, Life nhằm minh họa rõ hơn cho nội dung bài viết. Bản quyền những hình ảnh này thuộc về tác giả. Chính sách của Cùng Phượt về bản quyền hình ảnh các bạn có thể theo dõi tại đây.

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Hue Introduction

Ảnh – Phu Dang

Hue originally rose to prominence as the capital of the Nguyen lords, a feudal dynasty which dominated much of southern Vietnam from the 17th to the 19th century. In 1775 when Trinh Sam captured it, it was known as Phu Xuan. In 1802, Nguyen Phuc Anh (later Emperor Gia Long) succeeded in establishing his control over the whole of Vietnam, thereby making Hue the national capital until 1945, when Emperor Bao Dai abdicated and a government was established in Hanoi.

Nhã nhạc cung đình Huế (Ảnh – Life)

For approximately 400 years, Hue was the political and cultural centre of the Feudal State of Viet Nam. This explains why there are hundreds of historical and cultural remains located in the area. As such, (Complex of Hue Monuments was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1993. Once again,  in 2003 Nha Nhac, Vietnames Court Music was recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO.

Best time to visit Hue

Ảnh – huycol

Hue is one of the tourist destinations in Vietnam which attracts tourists around the globe because of its genial climate. Peaceful and calm city of Hue is best during the dry season. The city has two seasons, dry and wet. The period of December to April is the dry time and September to December is the wet season. Throughout the dry season humidity stays low making the environment comfortable and pleasant.

However during the wet season the weather stays gloomy and uncomfortable. Often rain makes the condition worse for vacation. Streets fill with rain water making it hard to travel in the city. There are many tourist spots in Hue that can be visited in the dry season. Throughout the year the weather stays cool and comfortable except few months. If you want to hide from the sun and heat, then Hue could be the best place where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful time away from busy city life. The best time to see the city is in the month of April, however you can pick any month of the dry season to come here to enjoy your vacation.

Getting there

Ga Huế (Ảnh – eric)

By Air

Vietnam Airlines is currently the only airline that serves Phu Bai International Airport (about 15 km South of Hue city center). Domestic routes connect Hue to Hanoi – 3 flights daily, and Ho Chi Minh city – 4 flights daily. Travel time is approximately 1 hour, either from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and costs about $100-120$ (two way)for economy class ticket.

By Train

Travelling to Hue by train is really a pleasant way; the state-run railway network runs the entire length of Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. There are daily train stopping at Hue, with two tightly departures at 19.00 and 23.00. There are express trains with soft-berth air-conditioned compartments with reasonable prices, which are very convenient. It is highly recommended that you buy your ticket directly at the station to avoid paying more.

Train Schedule from Hanoi and Saigon to Hue

SE1 and SE2 : [Departure from Hanoi at 19h30 – Arrival Hue at 8h48] [Departure from Saigon at 19h30 – Arrival Hue at 15h23]

SE3 and SE4 : [Departure from Hanoi at 22h00 – Arrival Hue at 10h27] [Departure from Saigon at 22h00 – Arrival Hue at 16h39]

SE5 and SE6 : [Departure from Hanoi at 9h00 – Arrival Hue at 22h42] [Departure from Saigon at 22h00 – Arrival Hue at 5h31]

SE7 and SE8 : [Departure from Hanoi at 6h00 – Arrival Hue at 19h47] [Departure from Saigon at 6h00 – Arrival Hue at 1h28]

TN1 and TN2 : [Departure from Hanoi at 13h10 – Arrival Hue at 3h39] [Departure from Saigon at 13h10 – Arrival Hue at 12h06]

By buses

From Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Hue is a rather long overnight bus trip. Open tour bus to Hue tickets can be purchased in tourist area of all three cities. You can choose a stop in between Hanoi and Hue such as Quang Tri (which has the DMZ lines that used to separate North Vietnam and South Vietnam); Quang Binh (home to the World Heritage Phong Nha caves) to make the trip more bearable. On the other hand, the route from Ho Chi Minh to Hue is filled with worthy stops, such as Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang etc…

Getting around Hue

Xích lô là phương tiện đi lại khá phổ biến ở Huế (Ảnh – tuananhdrums)

One of the nicest things about Hue is that it’s an easy place to get around on foot and by bicycle. The town centre is compact and its tree lined streets are uncongested by the standards of the rest of the country. Travel to sights nearby the city is through picturesque country along mainly quiet lanes. For the less energetic, cyclos are a good option around town and xe om motorcycle taxis can get you to all the sights outside of town

Be sure to negotiate your rate with your cyclo or xe om before climbing aboard. They tend to be very reliable in Hue and many travellers will team up with the same cyclo or Xe Ôm drivers for the duration of their stay. For those with less time on their hands, car access puts all of Hue’s sights a short journey away. Taxis are also plentifully available and can be hired by the day for metered or fixed price journeys to nearby sights. Usually best to settle on a fixed price and remove scope for nasty shocks.

For the travelers who would like to enjoy a free tour around the peaceful city, it is a great idea to rent a motorbike or bicycle depending on their hobby. One of the most advantage of the way to travel is they can leisurely move from one destination to another with only the help of a map with instruction.

 Read more : Motorcycle Rental in Hue

Hotels and resort in Hue

Đến Huế vào dịp cao điểm cũng không lo thiếu phòng ngủ (Ảnh – Internet)

Trên địa bàn Huế hiện nay có khoảng 600 cơ sở lưu trú với gần 10 000 phòng, 17 000 giường nên ở Huế gần như không có hiện tượng cháy phòng xảy ra. Các bạn có thể tự tìm cho mình khách sạn phù hợp thông qua danh sách các khách sạn nhà nghỉ ở Huế, hoặc có thể tham khảo một số lựa chọn mà Cùng Phượt đưa ra dưới đây.

Hue Attractions

Hue once served as the capital of Vietnam. Even though this is no longer the case many Vietnamese still rate the city highly as a centre of historical and cultural value. There are many pagodas, tombs and other types of buildings that link the past to present around Hue’s beautiful countryside. Many of them were ruined (but luckily not totally destroyed) by war but many managed to escape without any damage. Such places include the Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda and Long An Palace Museum.

Hue Imperial City

Ảnh – Huynh Minh Nhat

The grounds of the Imperial City were surrounded by a wall 2 kilometers by 2 kilometers, and the walls were surrounded by a moat. The water from the moat was taken from the Huong River (Perfume River) that flows through Huế. This structure is called the citadel. Inside the citadel was the Imperial City, with a perimeter of almost 2.5 kilometers. Inside the Imperial City was the imperial enclosure called the Purple Forbidden City in Vietnamese, a term similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing. The enclosure was reserved for the Nguyễn imperial family.

Cửa Hiển Nhơn (Ảnh – Internet)

Hue Imperial City was constructed between 1805 and 1832 on an expansive area of more than 5 square kilometers on the northern bank of Perfume River. Nguyen emperors had used thousands of laborers to build this mighty citadel, encompassing three circles of ramparts: the Defensive Fort (Capital City), the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City. Unfortunately, much of them were ravaged by typhoons and wars. The government has recently shown an enormous determination to restore their lost grandeur. Though not much has been done so far, the relics in themselves still have a little for everyone. Even if you are not keen on architecture or history, you should not miss a relaxing wander around the site.

Ngo Mon Gate (Noon Gate) is the most impressive among 10 entrances into Hue Royal city and perhaps the most beautiful structure remaining. It actually has five gates with the central one reserved for the emperors. The two adjacent were used by mandarins and the outermost were for servants. On top of the gates is Lau Ngu Phung (Five Phoenix Pavilion). Its biggest hall is where the kings proclaimed great events, including the announcements of the names of successful doctoral candidates who passed a number of rigid royal exams. This was also the place King Bao Dai declared his abdication and surrender to the North Vietnam in August 1945.

Thanh lưu ly (Ảnh – eric)

Thai Hoa Palace (other names: Throne Palace or the Palace of Supreme Harmony) is the heart of the royal city. There are two separate halls: the first serves as an anteroom and the second is the main hall in which the throne of 13 Nguyen kings is housed. Thai Hoa Palace was used for royal courts, ambassador-welcoming rites and solemn ceremonies like Coronation Day or Emperor’s Birthday Anniversary. Its architecture is typical of Oriental palaces, featuring two great dragons on the top and yellow tiled roof. Its interior reflects the emperors’ majesty with elaborate columns lacquered in gold and red. The throne is covered with a luxuriously brocaded canopy. You may earn a chance to get a photograph of yourself in the royal gown sitting on that throne.

The riverside Flag Tower is found right in front of the citadel. For many, this is the city’s symbol, witnessing the rise and fall of powers. The tower, according to the chronicle of Nguyen Dynasty, was of 17.40-metre height, including three flat-topped pyramids, one piled upon another. On the third terrace, there were 8 small buildings housing 8 cannons. The Flag Tower has undergone repeated restoration and reconstruction. The first wooden flagpole was erected in 1807 under the reign of King Gia Long. It was renovated and embellished in 1829, 1831 and 1840 during the reign of King Minh Mang. In 1846, King Thieu Tri reconstructed both the tower and the pole as they were thought to be ill-looking. In 1904, the pole was crashed by a typhoon and then with the help of the French, it was replaced by a new one made from cast iron. In August 1945, the feudal flag was pulled off the tower as King Bao Dai surrendered to Ho Chi Minh Revolutionary Government. In 1947, after the French controlled the citadel again, the pole was barraged and a concrete pole was constructed in 1948. During the Vietnam War, especially in the 1968 Tet Offensive, the Citadel was seriously destroyed by bombardments of both Vietnamese and American forces, but the flag tower survived. The red flag with gold star of North Vietnam had flown on its top for three weeks before being crashed down by American bloody counterattacks and eventually rose again in Spring Uprising April 30, 1975.

The Mieu Temple is the biggest place of worship ever built in Vietnam. It was constructed in 1821 and dedicated to the 10 Nguyen kings and their queens. There are 9 compartments in the main building and 11 others in the front building. First, only 7 red and gold-lacquered altars were erected to worship 7 Nguyen emperors. The three reddish ones dedicated to three anti-French kings (King Thanh Thai, King Duy Tan & King Ham Nghi) were added later in 1959. In the yard of the temple, there are Nine Dynastic Urns standing under the shade of Hien Lam Pavilion. Each urn represents the power of one emperor. They are the biggest bronze urns ever cast in Vietnam, including seven ones of more than 2 tons. All are sculptured with motifs of moons, stars, clouds, mountains, rivers, flowers and various landscapes of the country. Most importantly, The Mieu was least hit by wars, so you can see the temple today as what it was before.

Điện Thái Hòa (Ảnh – Tam Nguyen)
Inside Thế Tổ Miếu (Ảnh – tatdat_bkdn)

Imperial City Gates

  • Đông Nam gate (Southeast Gate), also called Thượng Tứ gate
  • Chính Đông gate also called Đông Ba gate
  • Đông Bắc gate (Northeast Gate) also called Trài gate or Mang Cá nhỏ gate
  • Chính Bắc gate (cửa Hậu/cửa Mang Cá lớn)
  • West gate
  • Thể Nhân gate (cửa Ngăn)

Forbidden City Main Gates

  • Ngọ Môn gate
  • Hòa Bình gate
  • Chương Đức gate
  • Hiển Nhơn gate

Temples and Places of Worship

  • Triệu Miếu
  • Thái Miếu
  • Hưng Miếu
  • Thế Miếu
  • Điện Phụng Tiên
Điện Cần Chánh (Ảnh – Ee Shawn)

Hue royal tombs

Tomb of Tu Duc
Toàn cảnh khu Lăng Tự Đức (Ảnh – vnkomodo)

Emperor Tu Duc enjoyed the longest reign of any monarch of the Nguyen dynasty, ruling from 1848-83. Although he had over a hundred wives and concubines, he was unable to father a son (possibly he became sterile after contracting smallpox). Thus, it fell to him to write his own epitaph on the deeds of his reign. He felt this was a bad omen, but the epitaph can still be found inscribed on the stele in the pavilion just to the east of the Emperor’s tomb. This stele is the largest of its type in Vietnam, and had to be brought here from a quarry over 500 kilometers away–a trip that took four years.

Tu Duc began planning his tomb long before his death in 1883. The major portions of the tomb complex were completed from 1864-67, along with future temple buildings that served as a palatial retreat for Tu Duc and his many wives during his lifetime. Construction of the tomb demanded so much corvee labor and extra taxation that there was an abortive coup against Tu Duc in 1866. This was put down, and for the remainder of his life, Tu Duc continued to use the tomb’s palace buildings as his place of residence.

Amenities for the living are unmatched at any other tomb in Vietnam. Here, the Emperor could boat on the lake and hunt small game on the tiny island in the lake’s middle. He could recline at Xung Khiem Pavilion and recite or compose poetry in the company of his concubines. After trips on the lake, the boats would moor at Du Khiem Pavilion, from which the Emperor and his entourage could walk directly west into the palace area of the tomb.

Ảnh – dangtranquan

After the Emperor’s death in 1883 his adopted son Kien Phuc took over as the Nguyen Emperor. Perhaps because he only ruled seven months before dying, a separate tomb was not established for him. Instead, he was laid to rest in a small corner on the grounds of Tu Duc’s tomb. Between the tombs of Tu Duc and his son is the tomb of Empress Le Thien Anh, Tu Duc’s primary wife.

Interestingly, despite the grandeur of the site and the amount of time Tu Duc spent here, he was actually buried in a different, secret location somewhere in Hue. To keep the secret safe the 200 laborers who buried the king were all beheaded after they returned from the secret route. To this day, the real tomb of Tu Duc remains hidden for future generations to discover.

Tomb of Minh Mang
Lăng Minh Mạng (Ảnh – xuanthanh_arc)

The Tomb is 12 km form Hue, on Cam Ke mount, near Bang Lang fork, on the west bank of the Perfume River. In September 1840, the construction of the tomb began. In January 1841, while the work was implemented Minh Mang was sick and passed away. Emperor Thieu Tri, his successor to the throne, continue this task according to his father’s plans. Emperor Minh Mang corpse was buried in Buu Thanh on August 20th of 1841. The construction was fully completed in 1843.

Same as the most of all Nguyen Dynasty royal tombs, Minh Mang Tomb is a complex of 40 constructions: palaces, temples, pavilions, etc. Many said that it’s a perfect combination of man-made and natural beauty of Hue, where architecture fits harmoniously into the surrounding landscape.

Ảnh – takepic

It’s designed as a symmetric axis (called Than Dao) running from the Great Red Gate to the foot of the Surrounding Wall behind the King’s tomb. Apart from this gate at the center, there are 2 other gates: the Left Rad Gate and the Right Red Gate, which led to the Honour Courtyard – where two rows of mandarins, elephants and horse’s stone statues are standing. At the other side of the 3 gates, on Mount Phung Than is the square Stele Pavilion, where the stele “Thanh Duc Than Cong” inscribed with the King’s biography and merits written by his son, is placed. Sung An Temple, where King Minh Mang and his wife are worshiped, can be accessed through Hien Duc Gate. There are 3 stones bridges on the other side of this temple, with the marble one reserved only for the king. Finally, the Hoang Trach Gate heads to the Minh Lau Pavilion. It is placed on top of three terraces representing heaven, earth and water. Closer to the tomb area, the New Moon Lake (Ho Tan Nguyet) is crescent-shaped and embraces the circular wall surrounding the grave (Buu Thanh). Looking from afar, the complex looks like a human being with the hill as his pillow and his hands and feet reaching to the river. From the front gate to the back door is almost 700m. The fence is high but does not block the view to mountains and Cam Ke Hill nearby.

Tomb of Khai Dinh
Ảnh – tyart.vn

In 1916, Khải Định became the Emperor of Vietnam. The Emperor worked closely with the government of France, and by the end of his reign he was considered to be nothing more than “a salaried employee of the French government.” Due to this close collaboration, he was very unpopular amongst the people of Vietnam. Like a number of Vietnamese emperors, Khải Định desired the preparation of a tomb in anticipation of his death, but he was the last member of the Nguyễn Dynasty to make this decision. Construction began in 1920 and concluded in 1931, with the Emperor increasing tax by 30 per cent to fund the lavish mausoleum. Before his 1925 death, the Emperor visited France where he was likely influenced by the architectural styles there, evidenced by the European influences in his Oriental mausoleum. The tomb was completed by Bảo Đại, Khải Định’s successor in 1931.

Lăng Khải Định (Ảnh – Linda DV)

Khải Định’s tomb surface area is much smaller than the tombs of his predecessors. However, the building itself is far more elaborately designed than others of its era, being a mix of a number of architectural styles. The tomb is of a rectangular structure leaning against Chau Chu Mountain in the outskirts of Huế. The side walls are formed by the biggest sculptures of dragons in all of Vietnam. The tomb is home to an imperial audience court, featuring a reinforced concrete stele monument, as well as twelve stone statues representing bodyguards. Close to the top floor is the Khai Thanh Palace, featuring intricately designed glass and porcelain decorations on the walls. The ceiling of the palace is decorated with nine intricate dragons. The rear room of the palace is home to a temple containing Khải Định’s grave, an altar to him as well as a statue of his likeness, casted in Marseilles

Hue’s garden houses

Một góc nhà vườn Huế (Ảnh – Phạm Đức Đạt)

The garden houses are a unique feature of Hue. The houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court. Hue traditional architecture has long been close associated with the natural environment. The garden houses reflect this association. Each is highly inpidual – house and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blend with each other in a harmonious context.

Nearly all the garden houses have direct links with the Imperial Court. Some are descendents of royalty or mandarins, others received patronage from the royal family. The garden houses are an important feature in Vietnam’s cultural landscape. Not only are they old and attractive, but also invaluable resources for understanding the practical applications of the ancient sciences that governed their construction. Even in Hue, very few remain intact, and those that survive do so solely because of the Vietnamese tradition of the beliefs and rituals of ancestor worship.

Recently, the owner of Ty Ba Trang garden house died, and his successors decided to turn the house and garden into a large cafe. The former owner was the famous Professor Nguyen Huu Ba, a renowned musician, who made the house a museum of Hue’s traditional music, and blended the elements of song and melody with the design of the garden and the architecture of the house. Sadly, the intangible knowledge and wisdom stored in the garden house, and the insights into a past way of life, are now lost forever.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Chùa Thiên Mụ (Ảnh – Wikipedia)

Built in 1601 between a river and a pine forest, the Thien Mu Pagoda (“Heavenly Lady Pagoda”) in Hue is one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. Among the many interesting artifacts housed at the complex is the car that took the monk Thich Quang Duc to his self-immolation in 1963 Saigon.

Tháp Phước Duyên (Ảnh – Wikipedia)

The Thien Mu Pagoda has its roots in a local legend: an old woman once appeared on the hill and said that a Lord would come and build a Buddhist pagoda for the country’s prosperity. Hearing of this, Lord Nguyen Hoang ordered the construction of the pagoda of the “Heavenly Lady” (Thien Mu).

Construction began in 1601 under Lord Nguyen Hoang, and it was renovated by Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan in 1665. Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu contributed a great bell in 1710 and and a stele erected on the back of a marble tortoise in 1715. The Phuoc Dien Tower in front was added in 1864 by Emperor Thieu Tri. The pagoda was heavily damaged in 1943, but was then fully renovated for over 30 years thereafter.

Readmore : Buddhist temples in Hue

Hue museum of Royal Fine Arts

Bảo tàng còn có tên gọi là Điện Long An (Ảnh – Wikipedia)

Hue museum of royal fine arts is located inside Long An palace. This is the earliest museum established in Hue with the first name ‘Musee’ Khai Dinh’. Precinct of museum has an area of 6.330m2; the main zone is in the middle of museum with an area of 1.185 m2 and storage, garden… Long An is situated in Bao Dinh palace established in 1845 Bac Ngu Ha. It is the place that Thieu Tri (1841-1847) accommodated and relaxed.

People has reasonable when using Long An to become museum. This is wonderful architectural structure, built base on royal architecture of the Hue. The palace includes 128 pillars. Almost artifacts in the museum had collected and preserved since 1913. Now, artifacts display up to 10.000 unit. It is made from all kinds of material such as: gold, silver, stone, wood, leather, paper… Over the destruction by the time, some artifacts is not intact. However, coming here now, tourists still contemplate hundreds of specious artifacts such as: royal clothes, poem, silver products… Apart from artifacts displayed, museum still stores thousands of artifacts which brought from neighbor country. This is made with high quality. On the precinct of museum, there have storage that stores more 80 artifacts which collected in O Chau area in 1927. In general, Long An palace not only is ancient palace but also have special attractiveness for tourists when visiting Hue. Hue museum of royal fine arts is situated in No.03, Le Truc, Thuan Thanh, Hue city, Thua Thien Hue city. This place gathers the collections of bronze, stone … instruments of Nguyen Lord.

Huong River (Perfume River)

Chiều trên Sông Hương (Ảnh – HQN)

The Perfume River has two sources, both of which begin in the Day Truong Son mountain range and meet at Bang Lang Fork. The Ta Trach (left tributary) originates in the Truong Dong mountains and flows northwest towards the fork. The river then flows in south-north direction past the temples of Hon Chen and Ngoc Tran, then flowing north-west, meandering through the Nguyet Bieu and Luong Quan plains. Continuing on, the Song Huong (Huong River) flows to the north-east to Hue and passes the resting place of the Nguyen emperors. The river continues, passing Hen islet and various villages, crossing the Sinh junction (capital of ancient Chau Hoa) before emptying into the Tam Giang lagoon. From Bang Lang to the Thuan An estuary, the river is 30 km long and runs very slowly (as the river level is not much above sea level). The river darkens as it winds along the foot of Ngoc Tran mountain, where there is a deep abyss.

Thuyền Rồng trên sông Hương (Ảnh – [ 117 Imagery ])

With the architecture of Hue, Huong River has special meaning. From the Kim Long mansion (1630-1687) to Phu Xuan mansion (1687-1712)…they used Huong River as the natural trench to protect Hue ancient capital. Huong River associates with cultural life of the Hue. All forms of traditional culture such as ca Hue, row skiff racing… are intact. Huong River is also the river associated with songs, music. The river inspires to artists make some poems, pictures or famous songs.

Ngự Bình mountain

Núi Ngự (Ảnh – Wikipedia)

Ngu Binh Mountain is also known as Ngu Mountain or Hon Mo or Bang mountain with 103 meters height on the right of the bank of Huong river. It is far about 4 kilometers from Hue city to the south. Two sides of this mountain have two small mountains: Ta Bat Son and Huu Bat Son. The Nguyen royal dynasty decided Hue palace.

Along with Huong River, Ngu Binh Mountain is the gift of the Nature, blend with Huong river to become the symbol of Hue nature. People usually call Hue as the area of Huong River- Ngu Mountain. From many years ago, tourists come here and enjoy the spectacular scenery. On the nice day, from the Ngu Binh Mountain, you can contemplate the whole city with sparking palace, ancient pagoda and Huong River. Seeing to the East, white sand-bank of Thuan An beach along with the blue of Dong Sea creates the beautiful picture that people will have unforgettable impression.

Thien An hill and Thuy Tien lake

Đường lên đồi Thiên An (Ảnh – Zet168)

Thien An is a complex of many pine-covered hills in the south-west of Hue city, near Khai Dinh tomb. Thien An monastery is located at the top of the hill. Around the hill, there are Thuy Tien lake and the ancient Ba Vanh tomb, where the trace of an old event remains. With quiet scenery and pure atmosphere, Thien An hill and Thuy Tien lake prove to be interesting place for relaxation on the weekend. A plan to create a large recreation site establishment in the near future has been initiated.

Vong Canh hill

Từ trên đồi Vọng Cảnh (Ảnh – huyco)

Vong Canh hill belongs to Hue city, Thua Thien-Hue, it is far about 7 kilometers from Hue center. Standing on the Vong Canh hill, you can enjoy the poetic scenery of Hue city, especially the tombs of the reign Nguyen. Vong Canh hill has 43 meters height, on the foot of hill, it is bordering the bank of Huong River and oppose to Hon Chen temple.

The way to the hill has a plenty of pines. Standing on the Vong Canh hill, you will have overall see sight with ancient relics and beautiful scenery of natural space around here, especially, the beauty of Huong River. The hill is the place that river and mountain gather to create interesting space.

Tourists can come here in the sunrise or sunset; they will feel the poetic beauty of the hill, the river. Many years ago, lords and kings often enjoyed the pristine scenery of mountain and river.

From sunrise to sunset, the soft-silk-strip Perfume River charms bystanders by the atmosphere that it brings to the life surrounding. Vong Canh Hill overlooks the marvelous and elaborate modifications of the water colors upon various nuances of sunlight and sky.

Vong Canh itself is now covered with pine trees and daisy. Once, there was a purpose-built watching tower on the top of the hill, though only parts of its foundation remain until today. Besides, Water plant Van Nien – which is the oldest in Central Vietnam and an Oriental-styled building designed by a French architecture, just 300m from Vong Canh, is also a visit-worthy destination.

Hon Chen Temple

Điện Hòn Chén (Ảnh – miahkdtt)

Standing just on the bank of the Perfume River inclined to poetic dreams and 10 km upstream of Hue, the Hon Chen temple for cult of Po Nagar, the Goddess of the ancient Cham minority. After then, the Vietnamese continued the cult and name the Goddess as Heaven Goddess Y A Na.

This temple for Goddess appeared in this place centuries ago, but with a very simple design, and after then, reconstructed with a larger and more beautiful architectural scale in 1886.

The Hon Chen temple is situated at a lovely site seated on the slope of the mountain Ngoc Tran (Jade – cup) with sheer cliff and mirroring in the deep blue water of the Perfume River.

Tịnh Tâm lake

Hoa Xoan bên Hồ Tịnh Tâm (Ảnh – Lê Nhật Quang)

Lying on the left bank of Đinh Tien Hoang Road at the Thuan Loc and Thuan Thanh wards, the lake is one of the well-known beauty spots of ancient Hue.

The lake has a rectangular-shaped with 1,420m in circumference and is surrounded by brick walls. In the past, you can see several islets on the lake: Doanh Chau (Sea Islet), Bong Lai Islet (many remarkably beautiful monuments were erected) and Bong Doanh Tinh Tam Lake is a man-made beauty spot in which the Nguyen Kings often took pride. King Minh Mang had composed 10 poems about 10 scenes of the lake, while King Thieu Tri listed it among 20 beauty spots of Hue

Bong Lai islet situated in the south, right in the middle is Bong Doanh palace with the architecture of 3 main compartments and 2 extra ones, tiles roofed, facing the south, surrounded by brick parapet. In front of palace is Bong Doang gate and bridge connecting islet and river bank. To the east of Bong Doanh palace is Thuy Ta Thanh Tam house facing the east, Truong Luyen palace face the west to the west. There is a gate and bridge with the same name: Hong Cu.

Ảnh – AgelsGold

On Phuong Truong islet: In the middle is Nam Huan pavilion facing the south with 2 floors, tiles roofed. In the north, Tinh Tam pavilion faces the north; Hao Nhien pavilion in the east, in the west is Duong Tinh pavilion.Tu Dat temple is located between two islets in the system of tiles roofed corridor including 44 compartments, connecting Bich Tao Bridge in the south and Hong Cu Bridge in the north.

Doanh Chau islet: Admist Tinh Tam is Kim Oanh dam linking eastern and western edge. To the east of dyke is the Luc Lieu Bridge. In the south, dam connects with a 56 compartments’ corridor, the Bach tan in the middle.

Thuận An beach

Biển Thuận An (Ảnh – Kelvin Nguyen)

Thuan An beach is situated near by Thuan An mouth, where Huong River runs to Tam Giang lagoon and then to the sea…

In the beginning of the 19th century, King Minh Mang named the place as Thuan An, assigned to build Tran Hai frontier post for the defence of the Capital. Far from Hue 15 km, only 15 minutes by car, tourists are able to reach the beach. Plenty small boats, junks drift up an down the river in the left of the route, and on the right there are houses, temples, pagodas, rice field, and gardens successively spread out….

Thuan An is a very enjoyable place for all tourists after a full day to visit Citadel, mausoleums, pagodas, and Hue scenery… Thuan An is also the place, where Hue people gather to enjoy the fresh air and sea-bathing in summer time. Intensive activities of the beach lasts from April to September, while Hue temperature being fairly hot.

Sometimes, tourists are very crowded, and there are not enough places for their camping. Besides sea bathing, tourists are able to visit Thai Duong temple, where Thai Duong Goddess is very esteemed by villagers or visit the temple devoted to the whale, the sacred animal of the local people.

Cảnh Dương beach

Biển Cảnh Dương (Ảnh – huyco)

Canh Duong is one of most beautiful beach of Thua Thien Hue, about 60 km from Hue city. With the length of 8 km, 200m wide, bended in arc shape, located between the two mountains: Western Chan May and Eastern Chan May, all those create a very beautiful and attractive landscape.

Gradually sloping beach, white and fine sand, transparent and limpid sea water and fairly windless, the beach is ideal for all activities of tourism and sport.

Lang Co beach and Lap An Lagoon

Bãi biển Lăng Cô (Ảnh – Cam Ly Dinh)

With its 10 km in length, Lang Co beach bordered a section of the 1A National Highway, nearly Hai Van pass, and 24 km from Bach Ma area. With its gradually slopping, white sand beach, the average depth of under 1m and the average temperature in the bathing season of 25°C, Lang Co is an ideal beach for tourists.

In Lang Co sea, there are various kind of shrimps, lobster, sea shrimp, crab, butter-fish, mackerel fish, oysters…Not far from the beach, there is Chan May scenery, Lang Co fishing village.

Chiều trên đầm Lập An (Ảnh- huyco)

Lap An Lagoon, located within Lang Co Bay in Thua Thien – Hue province, is an 800 ha brackish water lagoon and a favorite destination for photographers, especially in the late afternoon. The Lap An Lagoon is infamous for its plentiful marine resources and persified ecosystem, thanks partly to a large area of mangrove forests that surround and protect it.

Hải Vân gate

Đèo Hải Vân (Ảnh – Nguyen Minh Son)

Hai Van gate is the most important gate located on a tributary of the Truong Son head to the sea. It is the geographical boundary of Da Nang and Hue. It away Da Nang city 20 km to the south, 80 km to the north of Hue city. Hai Van Pass is the longest and highest slope in Vietnam, the highest place of the pass of Hai Van is “Hai Van gate”, it’s higher than 496m above sea level and was built since the Minh Mang reign.

Hải Vân Quan (Ảnh – Nguyen Phu Duc)

At Hai Van gate you have to go along the small path, you just can walk only, there is a flat ground, you can park your vehicle and go visiting around, take pictures … go straight forward the Hai Van gate appeared in front of you. Hai Van gate was built of brick, in the old time people had to pass through this gate must shown their ID paper. Time passe by and with severe erosion, the Hai Van gate is now covered with moss, but the architecture is definitely solid.

Bạch Mã mountain

Hoàng hôn trên đỉnh Bạch Mã (Ảnh Trần Minh Tâm)

Bach Ma (White Horse) Mount is 60 km south of Hue city. It is still a famous resort. It is about 1,450m above sea level in a transition zone of the northern and southern climate, so it bears a temperate climate, similar to Sapa, Tam Dao, Da Lat, etc. There, the green vegetation is abundant all the year round. The animals are also rich with chirps and calls all days and nights which sound both wild and familiar…

Bach Ma Mount also has many limpid brooks and picturesque waterfalls. At the 16th kilometer on Cau Hai – Bach Ma road, turning left and walk for 20 to 30 minutes, tourists will also find 400m high, 20m wide Do Quyen waterfall which suddenly appears as if it were suspended in the sky… In the summer, rhododendron flowers are blooming on both sides of the fall like two huge flowery silk carpets. In the centre of the resort is Bac (Silver) waterfall, only 10m high and 40m wide and look like a spotless white curtain swayed by the wind.

Ảnh – Artuan.com

More than half a century ago, the French recognized the beauty of Bach Ma and began to develop it. Within 5 years (1942-1946), 139 villas were continuously built under the foliage of old trees and by sheer cliffs.

From the top of Bach Ma, people can view landscapes of Hai Van Pass, Tuy Van mount, Cau Hai lagoon with heaving fishing boats and even the shimmering electrical lights of Hue city at night as well as the huge and boundless Eastern Sea.

Thanh Tan Hot Springs

Cổng vào khu du lịch Thanh Tân (Ảnh – Linh Simple)

Located 13 kilometers north of the city, this relaxing retreat offers natural views, fresh mountain air, and healing waters rich in calcium and sulfur (but miraculously, without the smell). Discovered in 1928, Thanh Tan Hot Springs is believed to have medicinal effects on all those who venture to take a dip. Skeptics find warm waters wash away the stresses of daily life at the very least. Springs are pided according to heat level. Several smaller wave pools, water massage pools, and even a large pool and waterslides are available for swimming as well.

Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery

Là một trong những Thiền Viện có vị trí khá đẹp (Ảnh – Trung Dang)

Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery is a monastery of the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen sect. It is situated at the foot of Bach Ma Mountain on the edge of Truoi lake in Loc Hoa Commune, Phu Loc District, Thua Thien – Hue Province.

Ảnh – Nguyen Thanh Khiem

The zen monastery, which was founded by Most Venerable Master Thuong Thanh Ha Tu, began construction on 30 March 2006. It is one of the first zen monasteries to be built in the central region.

Ảnh – Robin Liao

The main hall includes two storeys and situates on a hill. It is enshrined the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, Bodhisattva Manjusri and Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, which made by sandstones. In front of the shrine is bell tower, drum tower and the triple gate. Behind the main hall is the Patriarchal House that is enshrined Patriarch Bodhidharma and the Three Trúc Lâm Patriarchs, these are also made by sandstones. The pure shelter of Most Venerable the Rector is on the left of the main hall. Monks’ house and Monastery is on the right of the main hall. It also have the Buddha Monument, there enshrined statue of Buddha Sakysamuni made of stone (24m high, 1.500 tons weight). This Temple has spacious landscape.

Tam Giang lagoon

Phá Tam Giang (Ảnh – Nhat Dung)

Tam Giang lagoon has 24 kilometers length with an area of 52 square kilometers, Phong Dien, Quang Dien, Huong Tra, Thua Thien Hue. Stemming from Thuan An harbor, small boat sweeps on O Lau river along the length of the lagoon. More than 15 kilometers, fields and bridges along lagoon, we come to Thai Duong Ha village. After 30 minutes, the boat comes to island on the lagoon; there has Thai Duong ancient village.

Ảnh – Meogia

At the wharf, there is the animated market with a plenty of market area in city, especially in the afternoon, junks and boats comeback along with shrimp, fish, cuttle-fish. Thai Duong Ha communal house village is complex with traditional Vietnamese village and just has specific culture in decorated temple of Thua Thien Hue, they are solemn and sparkle. Each three years, Thai Duong Ha communal house village holds “Cau ngu” festival on January 12th lunar.

Ảnh – hachi8

Thai Quoc pagoda has a combination between modern and traditional architecture but solemn, quiet in the space with many trees. Village road is very clean which is paved with concrete, both sides have many small villa, in front of the house, they worship ancient people. In the village, there have many big churches, unique architecture as sparkling temple. Thai Duong Ha village often brings surprises for tourists when standing “tombs city” which was built as small villa with beautiful patterns. Some “house” is lit up throughout the day.

Chiều trên Phá Tam Giang (Ảnh – Minh Duc Nguyen)

After go along lagoon, tourists can enjoy specialties in this place. Fish, cuttle-fish, shrimp are displayed. Scenery of sunset is the most spectacular beauty in Tam Giang lagoon. The violet of heaven covers the lagoon which creates the beautiful pictures “Tam Giang lagoon”. A number of visitors stop in this place to take some photos; they want to have some pictures about sunset with sparkling view here.

Hue Royal cuisine

Cơm Hến (Ảnh – huexuavanay)

Traveling to Hue, one of top tourist attractions of Vietnam, where has abundant cuisine with royal eating style that remained from the period of the Kings until now.

Hue, where is well-known with imperial palaces, has gathered lots of quintessence across the country for several hundred years. For a long time, the rustic dishes penetrated into the imperial palace and gradually, they became national dishes, national drinks, national spirit… Over time, the delicious dishes were shaped, handed down to posterity and became private culture that nowhere has.

Travelling to Hue, tourists can see and feel that Hue cuisine is an entity of culture in which folk food is the source of royal food and royal cuisine overcome forbidden citadel and then become the popular food. Enjoy the dishes here, visitors will have chance to feel that Hue cuisine is the harmony between the personality of people here and the character of feng shui (nature) to be the unique cuisine in Hue.

Cơm Niêu (Ảnh – huexuavanay)

Come to Hue and learn about the royal cuisine, tourists in Hue may have listened to “Nam Ai” song_ a song, which was handed down from previous generation, listed over 30 meals (king meal) “nem công (spring rolls) , thấu thỏ (rabbit meat prepared with lime and wine…), glutinous rice cooked with split peas (xôi vò), nham bò, fetus chicken, khumlet, stir-fried eel, fried crab-roe, steamed pigeon, Cao lầu (made with noodles, pork and greens), Chinese braised pork, roast pork, pickled vegetables (dưa muối)…” Visitors can find the style of Hue royal cuisine on menus in restaurants and hotels in Hue. Tourists also visit to Tinh Gia Vien_ a restaurant of artisan Ton Nu Ha so that they can find the image of sophisticated dishes in the orchard in old building. Tourists can also visit at 15 Tong Duy Tan street, watch and admire lifelike roses, daisies that be made of green bean flour by artisan Huong Tra.

However, tourists should go to An Dinh ancient palace to enjoy the real atmosphere of the royal palace. At there, the image of the ancient party is revived. It makes visitors feel like staying in an autumn night in Hue, but brings an unreal atmosphere from the old time.

Hue culinary culture including traditional food and royal food is the quintessential part of Hue culture. They are also attractive and make many tourists coming here remember. Royal culinary culture is not only art in processing, decorating meals, but also philosophical concepts, the aesthetic ideas when enjoying food.

Read more : Best food in Hue

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