Hue city

Remote Hue city Published on: 17-06-2016

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  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Hue is well known for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in UNESCO’s WHC. Hué was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre

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Why Hue city is special ?

Straddling the truly beautiful Song Huong (Perfume River) the city first rose to prominence in the 18th through 19th centuries when it was the seat of power for the Nguyen lords. It remained the national capital until 1945, when then-emperor Bao Dai abdicated as the nation was sliced into two. This imperial legacy manifests itself today through the fortified city (better known as the Citadel) and a collection of tombs – from the grungy to the grandiose – dotting the landscape around the modern city.

During the American War, Hue's location roughly half way betweenHanoi (540 kilometres away) in the north and Saigon (644 kilometres away) in the south, 15 kilometres west of the South China Sea and just south of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), meant it saw heavy fighting. The tombs themselves saw little damage, but the Citadel and central city were badly damaged during the Tet Offensive of 1968.

Hue's complex history has earned it a reputation as a political, cultural and religious centre, but nowadays, visitors to contemporary Hue will find a city thatonly dimly reflects its past, and only does so as a begrudging nod to its Western visitors. Like Ha Long Bay to the north, the complex of tombs, pagodas and palaces throughout Hue and its surrounds has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, but to the Vietnamese psyche of many, shaped by centuries of war and struggle, and tempered by nearly 40 years of communist rule, this heritage is largely irrelevant and disconnected from the present. The overwhelming sense one gets from the city, on even the most casual visit, is of an unstoppable forward drive, and of a people looking to the future.


What to explore at Hue city?

  1. Forbidden City: Lies on the northern shore of the Perfume River just a 15-minute walk from the Hue Backpackers’ Hostel. At the entrance of the Ngan gate into the Citadel are the Nine Holy Cannons cast from melted down bronze wares from the Tay Son dynasty. The cannons are named after the four seasons and five elements (metal, earth, wood, water and fire) and are known as the “Holy Invincible Generals”. They have never been used for military purposes and are the guardian spirits of the Citadel.
  2. Thien Mu Pagoda: Also on the north shore of the Perfume River about 3km from the Citadel. You can get there by dragon boat along the river, or for those feeling more energetic, a pleasant bicycle ride. The Thien Mu pagoda is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital. Today it is the home of the Austin motor vehicle which drove Thich Quang Duc to his self-immolation in Saigon in 1963 in protest against the Diem regime. It is still home to many monks and a holy site visited by many everyday.
  3. Tombs of the Emperors: 7 tombs in all scatter the countryside around Hue and are monuments to 9 of the 13 rulers of the Nguyen Dynasty, usually built and designed during the emperor’s lifetime. The 3 most visited are Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. The remaining 4 are less visited but still have interesting features, with Duc Duc, Thanh Thai and Duy Tan being housed in the same tomb.
  4. Japanese Bridge: Named because of its resemblence to the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An. Its construction was initiated by Tran Thi Dao, the wife of a high ranking Mandarin in the court of Emperor Le Hien Tong, sometime between 1740 and 1746. Originally it was built to offer better transportation and communication for the village that lines either side of the canal. In 1925 Emperor Khai Dinh ordered the villagers to erect an altar dedicated to Tran Thi Dao on the bridge. Many locals still travel to the town to visit her tomb.
  5. Dong Ba Markets: The largest market place in central Vietnam, this is definitely a place to visit to immerse yourself in the local culture. Tourists can see all the typical features of a traditional Vietnamese market, such as, the sampan landing, the bus station and the bazaars. Dong Ba market is considered a paradise for snapshots of daily activities as well as for shopping with everything from souvenir items to bronze goods, Hue sesame sweetmeat, conical poem hats, just to name a few. Should you find interest in Vietnamese food or culture, you’d better come here to explore.

How to get to Hue city?

What is the ideal and cheap way after all?

1. Take an open bus.

There are many agents in town offering open bus from Hoi An to Hue. The drive south along Highway 1 is fairly scenic and the road is surprisingly good, though very twisty. It costs approximately $9, and takes 4.5 hours, with a 40minute stop at Marble mountain. They drop you off at a hotel inHue, then you have to find your hotel by your own. Cheap travel, good scenery at the Hai Van pass. Book Open Bus ticket online at Yourlocalbooking

2. Take a taxi.

Take a taxi – private car from Hoi An to Hue is the most expensive way. The price is between $55 and $85. Of course, you can feel more comfortable in this way which offer you stops to take photos at Lang Co Beach on way or any place you want. Beautiful! Can be booked at any hotel or the dozens of booking offices in Hoi An. You can ask the driver to pass the Hai Van Pass (great trip) or go through the new tunnel. It takes about 4 to 5 hours over Pass, less through tunnel!

3. Go to Da Nang and then transport by train

You can take a car from Hoi An to Da Nang train station which costs about$15 to $25 (around 30 minutes)or you can get a minibus at 5$ per person through a few agencies in town, but the times don't match well. Then take a train ticket with the cost around $5 (that included agency’s fee if you don’t buy it directly at the train station). The train will take you just under three hours to get to Hue. You can go to for all train schedules

3. Go to Da Nang and then transport by train

You can take a car from Hoi An to Da Nang train station which costs about$15 to $25 (around 30 minutes)or you can get a minibus at 5$ per person through a few agencies in town, but the times don't match well. Then take a train ticket with the cost around $5 (that included agency’s fee if you don’t buy it directly at the train station). The train will take you just under three hours to get to Hue. You can go to for all train schedules

4. Hire a motorbike from Hoi An

Transport yourself to Hue on a motorbike will be an interesting experience. Hire a motorbike in Hoi An and make your own ride to Hue. It takes nearly 4 hours from Hoi An to Hue by motorbike. You can stop at any place to take photos or to see beautiful scenes as long as you want. There is no better way to see the views than on the back of a motorbike. You can visit to hire a motorbike that suitable to you or ask your hotel whether they has bike rental service. Wandering Hoi An there are also lots of rental agents for you to choose. Just make sure you know how to ride a bike and the traffic rules in Vietnam. Read this hoian-tourism

5. Join an adventure tour

If you want to ride a motorbike by yourself but still not sure about the rout or you want to sit behind a rider, join an adventure tour. You will have no worry about your luggage as their bikes are equipped to carry it or they will transport it by a lorry. Once you come to Hue, your luggage is already there. Travelling north to Hue, theytake you through Danang tovisit Marble Mountainsthen stop at the famous ChinaBeach with its fine white sand beforetravelling over the Hai Van Pass. After that, they let you stop for photos at Lang Co Beach. Next,they let you visit Elephant Springs where you can cool off in the rock pools. Finally, you pass villages and rice paddies to come to Hue. You can book service with

The price is $48- 60$/ person.


Selling points

  • Old Vietnam
  • Grand and Well restored..!!
  • Impressive history
  • Not to be missed
  • Slowly being resurrected!
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Hue city

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TripAdvisor View more

Hue Imperial City (The Citadel) needs about 2-4 hours trip. It's located at the center of Hue and it's on a large area.The place by it's self is nice and interesting but that's it.If you are interesting with Vietnam/ Hue History it's worth while to visit.

TripAdvisor View more

Don't really understand all of the less than five star ratings. How many palaces spread over acres and acres are there in the world? It did take quite a beating during the war but it is being restored. Most of them buildings surrounding the 12 or so hude interior courtyards have something to see. The emperors garden was probably ly the most beautiful. There are a couple of nice atmospheric colonial style administrative buildings on the periphery. Similar in design to Tianenmen in Beijing but not restored as well Yet.

TripAdvisor View more

This historic landmark is a beautiful reminder of events both recent and ancient. This site was a citadel for ancient kings as well as the site of a Vietnam-American War battle. This is definitely worth a few hours visit. Also, get a guide that speaks excellent english if you can - it makes the experience much better with a guide who can crack jokes!

TripAdvisor View more

Nicely preserved complex with nice examples of architecture - both buildings and landscape, nice gardens to wander around and full access to all buildings. Great example of feng-shui applied in the design of the building and complex

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