The Perfume River is also known as the Song Huong River and you will discover that it crosses through the city of Hue. This river was given its name from the flowers that fall into it from the orchards that are plentiful upstream. Once the flowers hit the water, the entire river has a perfume-like smell. You will only have this magnificent aroma during the fall season though, so you may want to plan your vacation accordingly.
Water pours into the Perfume River from two different water sources. Both those water sources begin within the Dãy Trường Sơn mountain range and they meet up at the BãngLãng Fork. The Ta Trach flows from the mountains to the northwest and once it gets to the river, it goes in a south-north direction before going to the northwest.
The best time to be at the Perfume River is at night, when the Trang Tien Bridge lights up from the LED lights that are installed on it. While the lights draw people in, it is also all the activities that take place around the river at that time that bring people there by the thousands.
Most of the city’s popular attractions are along the banks of Perfume River, so you will spend many hours walking along the shoreline, as you go from one to the next.
Of course, you can also see all the major sights from the water, if you take the time to take one of the many cruises or boat rides that are offered. The dinner cruise is the most popular option and it will have you boarding a traditional dragon boat and sailing away from the shoreline for a few hours. As you indulge in your dinner, you can sit back and relax, while listening to your tour guide sharing the secrets of this sacred city. Live folk music usually plays in the background as well, so you will get a complete local experience with your cruise.
You can normally hear the folk music from the shore, especially as the dragon boat is getting closer to the shoreline. This means that you can have a similar experience by just walking along the river and seeing things up close.
If you want to be out on the water, but you do not want to take the time for a long dinner cruise, you can always choose to rent a paddle boat and simply explore the nearby areas of the river on your own.
It is best to visit the city of Hue during the warmer months of the year, when it is not considered the rainy season, because the rain makes the river swell and boat rides can be almost impossible. If you do happen to visit during the rainy season, you may need to stay on land and miss out on seeing the entire city from a different perspective.
You will find that it is extremely easy to get to Perfume River from wherever you are staying within the city. While numerous buses and taxis will take you over to Perfume River, you may prefer to get onto a cyclo for your trip. Going places on a cyclo is very affordable, and their popularity is shown with all the different options available out on the streets.
Riding a cyclo over to Perfume River is excellent, but it would be even better if you take a tour of the entire city, or at least the riverbanks, on one. These tours will allow you to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds around you, as someone else does all the hard work of taking you around.
You may think that you won’t have too much time to spend down at Perfume River during your trip, but you will quickly change your mind once you realize how much time you will actually be spending there. Since you will be going to many of the attractions around the river, you will find yourself walking next to, or near, Perfume River multiple times each day.
Therefore, don’t worry about cramming more time at Perfume River into your days and nights. Simply understand that you will naturally be nearby the river numerous times, as you follow the rest of your itinerary.
We recommend planning your time in Hue very carefully, so you can truly appreciate everything that this city has to offer. Add many of the monuments and temples to your list of things to do, as well as some shopping at the local market, and simply spend your downtime throughout the day enjoying the beauty of Perfume River.
Of course, it will be much better if the flowers are in the water, because the aroma will be much better than it is almost every other day of the year!