Hue City, Vietnam is the gorgeous capital city of the country and there is an abundance of history despite the destruction that occurred there during the war. One of the most intriguing parts of this city is the Perfume River, but the entire city will mesmerize you with its blend of old and new. During the day, you will experience tranquility, while the nights bring just the right amount of action to keep you out until the wee hours.
The Best 5 Places to Visit in Hue City, Vietnam
1. Experience the Hai Van Pass
As you are traveling to Hue City, Vietnam from either Da Nang or Hoi An, you will find yourself going past the Hai Van Pass. Many people are in too much of a hurry and simply go through the Hai Van Tunnel, but if want to truly experience this part of the country, you must see the Hai Van Pass itself. Hai Van Pass is a mountain road that will take you around and up and down the coastline, offering stunning views during the entire ride. The best place to capture the views is from the highest point of the pass, but you can pull over just about anywhere along the way, as long as you’re safe, to capture photos and take a break.
You must be careful along Hai Van Pass though, because the sharp curves are dangerous since you cannot always see the oncoming traffic. Add in the thick fog that oftentimes covers the roadway and the mountain and you can see how horrific one wrong move could be. However, as dangerous as this section of roadway can be, it is definitely worth the time you will spend there.
2. Visit the Imperial City
If you are looking for something historic to do in Hue City, Vietnam, you do not need to look any further than Imperial City. Many of the past Emperors and their families lived within the palace inside the walled fortress and you will wonder what their life was like surrounded by the water of the moat. Thankfully, this beautiful area is currently being restored, because so much of it was destroyed during the war.
If you take a taxi to Imperial City in Hue City, Vietnam, please make sure that the driver knows to take you to the main gate. That is the only place where you can enter and if you are dropped off at the wrong one, you will have a lot of walking to do in order to get to where you need to be.
3. Take a Ride on the Perfume River
As spectacular as the Perfume River is from the land, it is even better to experience the flowing water while riding along it. A boat tour is the perfect way to see the sights of Hue City, Vietnam from the river itself, while also seeing more of the water. If you are not a boat person, you can stick to the land and simply walk or run along the river’s edge. It is sometimes best to experience the ambiance around this river in the evening, because that is when the charming little shops and restaurants open and all the lanterns start to glow under the nighttime sky.
4. Visit Minh Mang Tomb
The Emperors in Hue City, Vietnam never had to wonder what they were doing in this part of the country, because they spent years having tombs built for their death. The Minh Mang Tomb is one of the most popular tombs in Hue City, which is surprising since it only took three years to construct from start to finish. Emperor Minh Mang didn’t see the completion though, because he died only four months after construction began. Despite the quickness of the completion, this area ended up spectacular. You will see gardens, lakes, canals, and more surrounding this important tomb.
5. Visit the Massive Thien Mu Pagoda
The Thien Mu Pagoda is the tallest pagoda, or religious building for that matter, in the entire country. This pagoda is seven stories and it sits on top of the Ha Khe Hill, which overlooks the Perfume River. While the temple was constructed in 1601, it wasn’t until 1844 that the tower was added. While at the Thien Mu Pagoda, you must look carefully for the car that was driven by Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, who set himself on fire in protest. You will find the car at the side of the building behind the main prayer hall.
These are the five best places to visit when you are in Hue City, Vietnam, but there are many others that you should add to your itinerary as well. I recommend that you begin with these and then see the others as time allows during your stay.