Hue is one of the most charming towns in Vietnam and is located on the banks of the beautifully named Perfume River. This part of Vietnam has a long and illustrious history as it used to be one of the main royal capitals of the country. As such, history lovers will find a huge amount to enjoy here, from the rambling ancient architecture to the engaging museums that will fill you in on all the details. Many people come here in particular to check out the ancient tombs of former emperors which are dotted all over the city and provide you with a fascinating insight into Hue in the days of old.
As this is a riverfront town, you will also be able to spend time enjoying the cool breezes and the pretty vistas as you stroll along the riverside walkway, and if you want to get out of the town center than you will also be spoiled for choice. There are a number of fascinating day trip locations close to the city, which means that can happily spend a week in Hue and still not see and do everything that this pretty part of Vietnam has to offer.
1.Visit the Tombs of the Ancient Emperors
One of the big draws in Hue is the tombs of the Ancient Emperors and this is the main reason why so many visitors travel here every year.
Anyone with an interest in ancient architecture and history needs to visit the tombs which were built in honor of famous emperors of Hue.
The tombs mostly date from the 19th and 20th centuries and are carved to tell the stories of Buddhist legends.
Some of the main tombs not to miss include the Tomb of Tu Duc, the Tomb of Minh Mang and the Tomb of Khai Dinh.
If you are not sure which tombs to visit on a trip here then you can take a dedicated guided tour.
2.Visit the Tu Hieu Pagoda
Tu Hieu Pagoda is one of the most famous in all of Hue and dates from 1843. This pagoda was also the home of eunuchs during the times of the Ancient Citadel in Hue and nowadays some 70 monks live here.
When you visit you can enjoy two towering temples and also listen to the monks chanting throughout the day as part of their religious rituals.
3.Walk along the Perfume River
The Perfume River is one of the most famous waterways in Vietnam and Hue is the perfect place to take it all in.
There is a delightful waterfront promenade along the banks of the river and this makes a great place to come for a scenic walk in the evenings.
You can also take to the water yourself if you want to get a closer look at the river and rent a paddleboat or opt for an elegant dinner cruise.
4.Sample the food
Hue is often said to have some of the best food in Vietnam and with that in mind you need to make sure that you sample all the delights on a trip here.
As Hue was once one of the most important royal cities in Vietnam, it was also one of the premium producers of famed Imperial Banquets.
Many restaurants all over town still serve these in the traditional style and you can sit down and enjoy a meal that unfolds over multiple courses.
If you are looking for a sweet treat in the city then make sure to check out the local candy which is made of sesame seeds.
5.Explore Huyen Tran Princess Temple
The Huyen Tan Princess Temple consists of a large complex which is covered with lakes of lotus flowers.
The monastery of Emperor Tran Nhan Tong is also located here and you will also be able to stroll in picturesque orchard gardens when you visit.
Other highlights include a library which holds important documents relating to previous kings and historical figures during the Tran Dynasty.
6.Visit the Imperial Citadel
The Imperial Citadel in Hue would have been the previous center of the government and is made up of a vast complex.
When you walk around you can admire the moats, carved gates and royal pavilions, and there are also a clutch of engaging museums on the grounds.
If you like Vietnamese costumes, textiles and art then make sure not to skip the main galleries here.
7.Have a blind massage
If you want to support the local community and also relax and unwind at the same time, then you need to make an appointment at the Institute of the Blind.
Here you will find a number of blind massage staff who will give you a massage and all the proceeds go to helping those who live at the institute find employment.
At the end of the massage you will also get to spend time in the onsite herbal steam room.
8.Admire the Thien Mu Pagoda
Another famous pagoda in Hue is the Thien Mu Pagoda.
This temple sits overlooking the Perfume River and is known for its gold and silver images of the Buddha.
The pagoda is so well known in Vietnam that it is also the official symbol of Hue and you can take in beautiful views over the city from this spot.
Other highlights to look out for inside include a huge bells that was cast in 1710 as well as a stone turtle which dates from the 17th century and holds a marble stele.
9.Visit Phu Bai Airport
Phu Bai Airport is actually no longer a working airport but a museum dedicated to Vietnamese war history.
The airport would have operated as an American garrison during the Vietnam War and you can tour around the complex and even walk on the old, deserted airstrip here.
As well as the former runway, you will also find other historical relics such as bunkers and outbuildings that would have been used by the American military.
10.Soak in the Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs
If you want to get outside Hue then head to the Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs which is around 30 kilometers from the city center.
Here you will find one of the most famous hot springs resorts in Vietnam and there are a number of outdoor tubs available here.
You can also enjoy designated therapy rooms where you can get a soothing massage or other spa treatments.
There are also other quirky activities on offer here such as a high wire and a zip line, or you can play water games in the aqua park.