A 2 or 3 night stopover in Hue is a great experience while travelling up or down the length of Vietnam. There are plenty of things to see and do in Hue that can easily fill the day, such as markets, temples, pagodas and food.
Here are six of the fun and interesting things to do in Hue:
Dong Ba Market
A visit to the local markets in Vietnam is always a worthwhile to see when travelling through the country. Dong Ba Market is packed with stalls selling clothing, spices, ceramics, souvenirs, food and other accessories. This market attracts thousands of people every day, and is quite an experience with its wide range of unique and exotic items on display. The market is open all day until 8.30 PM, but it is best to visit early in the morning for the freshest foods.
A major reason for tourists to visit Hue on the Vietnam family tour is the Imperial City (also referred to as the Forbidden Purple City). Even though certain parts of the palace are in ruins, there is still plenty to see of the still-standing and beautiful buildings and temples. The history, architecture and colours of the Imperial City are quite mesmerizing.
The Perfume River flows through the centre of Hue. A relaxing cruise along the river is a perfect way to see the city views, while also getting to stop at popular tourist sites that are easily reached by boat. Also, a walk along the river's edge is a further great way to take in the sights the river has to offer. There are plenty of local shops and restaurants close to the river that open in the evening, and the area looks its best when the lanterns are lit. Local food vendors sell a wide range of snacks and there are plenty of musicians to be heard nearby.
Thien Mu Pagoda
A big attraction in this historic city is the Thien Mu Pagoda which is the oldest in this part of the country. It is located a short distance from the Imperial City and makes a very enjoyable and easy bike ride along the Perfume River to reach the destination. This pagoda is Vietnam's tallest religious building and stands seven stories high. A visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda is best experienced on the clear day to get a full appreciation of this historic temple.
Taste the regional food
While travelling the length of the country on the Vietnam travel, many travellers will come across a few dishes that only seem to be available in a particular region. In Hue, this can include a crispy Vietnamese pancake and Nem Lui (lemongrass skewers). The pancakes in Hue are different from elsewhere because they are thicker and smaller and stuffed with bean sprouts, shrimp and beef.
Explore the streets
Renting a bicycle for the day is a great way to explore the fairly large city of Hue. Rental fees are only $1-$2 per day and give a perfect opportunity to get out of the city with its fair share of heavy traffic and explore the more peaceful parts, such as biking along the sides of the Perfume River.