Delightful for those interested in history and culture, Hue is the old capital from the Nguyen dynasty, a vibrant town with ruins and interesting architecture. Located close to Hoi An, it is the perfect stop if you are crossing Vietnam from south to north or the other way around.
The imperial citadel.
From 1802 to 1945, the Nguyen dynasty made Hue the national capital, as noticeable from the main attraction in town: the imperial citadel. Called Dai Nôi in Vietnamese, this is the old fortified city where the emperor and the royal family used to live.
Now partly in ruins due to the bombings and past wars, but there is a lot of infrastructures still standing. It is a beautiful and interesting site for those looking for culture and history.
You can visit different palaces (such as the Thai Hoa, or coronation hall), temples and galleries, understand better the life of the royal family and the city in general, or even just roam around and take photos of beautiful old architecture. The entry is 150.000 dong but it’s totally worth it, needless to say, the place is a Unesco World Heritage so it will certainly enrich your trip with a better cultural understanding of this country!
The traditional court music has been proposed to Unesco as well. Every two years there is a big festival celebrating Hue culture and music being a big part of it. Do research before coming since you may be lucky enough to be able to attend it 🙂
The guardian statues at the Tomb of Khai Dinh.
Don’t miss the complex of Tombs of the Emperors on the surroundings of the city, easily reachable by road but also by boat along the Perfume river. The guardian statues defending the emperor will welcome you and, inside the tombs, there are delightful decorations and intricate ceramics works. The admission for each tomb is 100.000 dong but it is better to buy the 360.000 dongs ticket which includes the entrance to the citadel and three tombs (valid for two days). And definitely the three you must go are the Tomb of Khai Dinh, the Tomb of Minh Mang and the Tomb of Tu Duc.
The architecture of the Tomb of Khai Dinh.
Besides that you can visit the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda, or the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, a symbol of the city. With its seven-storey architecture, it sits peacefully on the river bank of Perfume, the river that crosses the town. The river is also an icon of Hue – take full advantage of it and have a stroll along its promenade. Don’t forget to enjoy the street food!
And indeed, Hue is quite famous for its food. There is a big difference between everyday food (that people commonly eat) and imperial food (that the royal family used to eat)! Some examples of popular local dishes are the tiny mussel rice (com hen) and bún bò Hue, a beef noodle soup that is specific of this city. Don’t forget to try also the grilled meat vermicelli (bun thit nuong) and the khoai cakes (banh khoai) which are fried rice cakes served with different things such as eggs and shrimps.
The colorful incense sellers decorate the city and its surroundings.
Hope this article made you curious about Hue, definitely one of the highest cultural spots in your journey.
Start your Vietnam trip from Ho Chi Minh and then go up the coast from there. You can visit Hue and Hoi An on your way to the north.
Check the options to reach Ho Chi Minh on Camboticket website, for instance from Phnom Penh is just a six hours trip!