Vietnam - Getting to know Hue
Hue was Vietnam’s capital until 1945, when Bao Dai, the last of the Nguyen emperors, abdicated from the throne. Many of Hue’s attractions are historic, and found along the banks of the Perfume River, which flows through the centre of the city. The Imperial Citadel is unquestionably the central highlight and cannot be missed as you pass through the city centre or along the Perfume River; however travellers that give the city a full day will discover many more highlights. Amongst our favourites are the Thien Mu Pagoda and the elaborate mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh.
With its very central location close to the former DMZ. Hue suffered greatly during the American-Vietnamese war when the north invaded the American occupied south and today there is much evidence of this. If you have the time we suggest a visit to the DMZ region, the Highway of No Joy near Quang Tri, as well as the Vinh Moc Tunnels. They can all be visited as a day trip from the city.
What to do in Hue
- On the north bank of the river is the Imperial Citadel, built in a similar style to Peking’s Forbidden City, enclosed by 10-metre thick walls and surrounded by a moat.
- Further up the river is perhaps Hue’s best-known religious site, Thien Mu Pagoda, with its distinctive seven-storey octagonal tower.
- The elaborate mausoleums of the Nguyen emperors, more like palaces than tombs, are scattered around the countryside on the outskirts of Hue. The mausoleums of Vietnam Emperors Tu Duc, Khai Dinh are particularly impressive being extravagant complexes of pavilions, temples, courtyards and lakes.
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How long in Hue?
A full day, or ideally a day and half, will be sufficient time for most visitors, often eager to head further south to charming Hoi An.