Situated on the banks of the sleepy Perfume River, the imperial city and ancient feudal capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue, still retains much of its regal and grandeur of the days of old. Home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to the preservation of important historical attractions like the Imperial Citadel, Forbidden Purple City, and beautiful tombs of Emperor Ming Mang, Tu Duc, and Khai Dinh, Hue is the perfect place to start a journey into the ancient and recent history of not only central Vietnam, but the country as a whole. Feel the spirituality in Thien Mu Pagoda, brought to international attention during the Vietnam-American War. Dine on the exquisite and refined way of food preparation with the eponymous Bun Bo Hue, a type of spicy noodle and beef soup named after the city it was created in, and other classics like Bun Thit Nuong and Com Hen.
Time to visit
From December to April, the weather in Hue is dry and cool, leaving ample time to enjoy the many historical attractions. Most annual festivities are held in April. From late May to June is the time for heat waves with the temperature can reach over 40°C (104°F). Rainy season can occur in October and November.
Surprisingly cheaper than other destinations in Vietnam, Hue has lovely hotels and urban resorts around the legendary Perfume River. Although the choice is not as extensive as Hoi An or Da Nang, hotels in Hue are generally cheaper and offer a good value for money. Boutique accommodation with heritage rooms are priced between 35 – 75 USD per night, while stays along the pristine beaches of Lang Co start at 100 USD per night. Most hotels rent bikes free of charge to visit the charming city.
Food & drink
Hue is often credited with the creation of over 1000 dishes during the time of the Imperial Dynasties. The delicate mix of sweet and spicy flavours pairs nicely with the intricately prepared and styled meals. When in Hue, be sure to try the iconic Com Hen (clam rice), Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef soup), Banh bot loc (chestnut starch cakes), Banh canh (thick noodle soup), Nem lui (Lemongrass skewers). Expect to pay between 2 – 4 USD for meals in local restaurants and 6 – 15 USD in nicer restaurants with wi-fi and beautiful garden settings.
Wi-Fi is prevalent throughout the city in most cafes, restaurants, and hotels. SIM Cards can be bought from main brands such as Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphone from 2 – 3 USD and internet data for 1 – 25 USD at nearly every shop on the street. In case of emergency, dial 113 for the police, 114 for fire, 115 for ambulance and first-aid. Most younger generations can speak a word or two of English, however even though many have studied, locals can be quite shy to speak to foreigners. Be patient and keep a smile on your face-everyone is trying their best!
Private car, taxi, motorcycle, bicycle, cyclo.
Transportation costs in Hue are not expensive. Private car or taxi are the best option. Traveling by cyclo within Hue City Centre or driving a motorcycle at a cost of around USD 5 per day like the locals is also a good choice.
How to get to Hue
Hue is easy to reach from other popular tourist destinations in Vietnam by air, train or private car.
- option 1: Take the flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to Hue
- option 2: Fly to Da Nang and take the chance to visit this amazing city. Travel to Hue by road
The north-south train line between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City has a stop in Hue. The rate varies depending on the speed of the train, type of seat/sleeping berth.