The Imperial City of Hue was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty which largely corresponded with the time when the French controlled the whole region. The Dynasty fell when the Communists took control and Vietnam won independence. The City remains as a reminder of that period of history and as a result, Hue is regularly included in Vietnam tour packages. If you are considering a Vietnam holiday, you should talk to a Vietnam travel agent with the expertise to select the highlights of Vietnam and who will advise you on the best places to visit. When it comes to Hue, here are the main attractions:
• The Imperial Citadel (Dai Noi) and the Old City in general is on the north side of the Perfume River. There are a number of temples, walls and moats as well as pavilions in the complex. There was extensive damage during both the struggle for independence and the Vietnam War. Some buildings have survived intact and you should allocate a few hours to fully explore the complex. Restoration projects are ongoing but it is slow progress.
• The Imperial Tombs to the south of the river are the other main attraction of Hue. One of the best ways to see them is to take a cruise which a Hue travel agency will happily arrange. Depending upon the time you have, the main tombs to see are:
Minh Mang’s tomb is probably the best. There is a large site enclosed within a wall where forest and water create a peaceful atmosphere. There are two lakes with bridge crossings, statues, temples and pavilions.
Tu Duc Tomb dates back to the 1860s and the Emperor spent a great deal of time there. Formerly, there were around 50 buildings here. Some parts are still in excellent condition with temples dedicated to wives and courtesans often more impressive than the Emperor’s tomb itself.
Khai Dinh’s tomb is the most recent. It was built in 1925 and is the best preserved of the tombs of Hue. It is an impressive and fairly small site with the tomb itself very detailed with mosaics depicting dragons.
• Thiem Mu Pagoda has some valuable images of Buddha in gold and silver. It looks down on the river and represents the symbol of the City.
• The Thanh Toan Bridge is made of wood and is a short distance out of Hue. It is a rural setting that is worth some of your time if you are in the area.
• Tam Giang Lagoon is fresh water and very productive; shrimps are the main economic activity but it is also a place that tourists will surely enjoy.
• Thuan An Beach is at the mouth of the river and is just a few minutes from Hue. It is a lovely place to swim or just relax and take in the fresh air.
• Lang Co Bay is a little further away. There is a village with the waters a great source of seafood and a beach for tourists to enjoy.
• Bach Ma national park is an ideal destination for adventurers and nature lovers. Bach Ma Trekking tour is highly recommended for one day trip.