This Central Vietnamese city was designated as capital by the Nguyen Dynasty who ruled for a century and a half until Ho Chi Minh and his party took control in the middle of the 20th Century. It suffered during the Vietnam War as the American artillery and bombs damaged many precious buildings in response to the Viet Cong briefly holding the city and killing 3,000 locals in a 24 hour period. Happily war is no more than a memory and Hue tours within a Vietnam travel package provides an insight into this ancient imperial capital that was so important at one time.
The City sits on the Perfume River (HuongGiang), the old city on the north bank and the modern one on the opposite bank. The riverside has quite naturally become a popular place with locals and tourists alike .
Vietnam’s climate varies by region so it is difficult to avoid rain completely. The Truong Son Mountains south of the City attracts moisture and the result is that there is often mist and drizzle. That drizzle can turn into rain during tours in Hue. The months with most rain are late winter early spring, February to the beginning of April so an umbrella and clothing to take the chill off the temperature are advisable. As the year progresses temperature rise and any rain that falls will likely be heavy but they will not last very long.
Hue is an important part of comprehensive Vietnam tour packages. Travellers may have started in Hanoi to the north or Ho Chi Minh City in the south and Hue is a mid-point in either case. A good Vietnam travel company will put together an itinerary for tourists wanting to get an appreciation of this unified country and Hue travel packages are usually part of that. To read more, please click our Hue travel guide.
The Old City
The really interesting part of Hue, the old imperial city, is very compact. You will have a guide on organised Hue tour packages but there is no real need for transport for much of the day. The highlightis undoubtedly the Imperial Citadel (ĐạiNội) was the the Nguyen Dynasty’s seat of government. There are a number of temples and pavilions. Moats and walls were the means of defence and it is certainly worth spending time in the museums and galleries to find out more about the history of this region. Even though this is the city’s major tourist attraction it is a wonderfuly peaceful area.
There have been two periods when unfortunately the Citadel was damaged. First of all during the French- Viet Minh struggle in 1947 and then by American bombing in 1968. The result is that there are empty spaces and ruins of once proud walls. Although restoration has been going on for 20 years there is still plenty to do.
• The Ngọ Môn Gate is the main entrance where the Emperor would address the people. There is a lovely courtyard with a great view from the position that the Emperor used to take.
• TháiHòa Palace has a hall where the Emperor would receive foreign dignitaries.
• The Forbidden Purple City just behind the Palace sadly now holds little attraction.
• TrườngSanh Residence was the home of King Tu Duc’s mother, Empress Tu Du.
The Hue Jungle Crevice was the place the Viet Cong were able to kill 3,000 so quickly. They were pushed over the cliff.
The Emperors’ Tombs
These tombs are on the Perfume River bank south of Hue. One of the best ways to get there is on a river cruise. They primarily date from the late 19th or early 20th centuries. At that time the Emperors were little more than figureheads under the French. The Tomb of Tu Duc, the Tomb of Minh Mang and the Tomb of Khai Dinh are the pick and give visitors on Hue tour packages a good insight into Vietnamese architecture.
• Tomb of Minh Mangis situated inside a wall and covers several hectares of woodland with water making it a very relaxing place to be.
• Tomb of Tu Duc was built between 1864 and 1867 and is a complex of over 50 buildings around a lake.
• Tomb of Khai Dinh dates from 1925 and is probably the tomb in the best condition. Dragons seem to be everywhere though there are European influences in the architecture.
Most Vietnam tour packages allow clients a certain amount of free time. Some may want to hire a cycle ot motor bike to do some exploring. There are one or two things worth a little time if they are not included within the prepared itinerary.
• Thien Mu Pagoda on a bluff above the river has some great gold and silver Buddha images. It is regarded as the symbol of Hue.
• Phu Bai Airport is worth a visit if you are interested in war history. It played a significant role in the Vietnam War and many of the original buildings are still there.
• Thanh Toan Bridge is a beautiful wooden footbridge outside the city from where you can watch the locals and their daily activities.
• The Institute for the Blind offers a herbal steam roon and a full hour massage. My An Hot Spring and Spais another place to relax after a hectic day.
• Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs are a little further away while Thuan An Beach is an option; 15 kilometres from Hue.
• Thuan An Beach is 15km from Hue and a chance to swim in the East Sea.
• Tam Giang Lagoon is about 30 minutesd driver from the city center of Hue offers fantastic sunset cruise to take beautiful photos, learn how to catch fishes with a net before having fresh seafood for dinner.
• Bach Ma national park is on the way from Hue to Hoi An is perfect destination for adventurers who love trekking and exploring wild nature. A must - not - miss site.
• Lang Co bay with beautiful beach has long been known as the ideal stop for lunch break from Hue to Hoi An. The emerald sea, white sandy beach and delicious seafood await your visit.
Vietnam’s history covers many centuries. Visitors who want an appreciation of the 19th and 20th Centuries in Vietnam must surely go to Hue? It was the capital during the Nguyen Dynasty while even though emperors lacked any significant power during the French occupation Hue is the best representation of those days. War certainly damaged some of the original buildings yet it would be a major omission on Vietnam tours not to spend at least some time in this old imperial capital.