Hue travel guide

Hue Tourism | Hue Guide

You're Going to Love Hue

Hue was once the capital of Vietnam until the Nguyễn Dynasty fell in 1945. The city is focused around the commanding Perfume River.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Hue

1. Imperial Citadel

This ancient citadel was once filled with temples, pavilions, gates, and museums. Some notable sites include Thái Hòa Palace, Trường Sanh Residence, and Ngọ Môn.

2. Tombs of the Emperors

Some of the ancient rulers buried here include Minh Mang, Tu Duc, Khai Dinh, and Thieu Tri.

3. Ho Chi Minh Museum

This museum offers free entrance and shows historic photographs and artifacts from Ho Chi Minh and Hue.

4. Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs

This spa is one of the best hot springs in Vietnam, and also provides opportunities for ziplining and high wiring.

5. Thien Mu Pagoda

This pagoda high on a bluff offers great views of the Perfume River. It is famous enough to be considered the symbol of Hue city.

What to do in Hue

1. A Half-Ruined Testament To Hue's Turbulent Past

Hue's famous "Imperial City" is head and shoulders above the city's other historical attractions. This spectacular complex was once the center of Vietnam's royal dynasty. Built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in a style mimicking the Forbidden City in Beijing, and surrounded by walls that stretch for a mile and a half, this UNESCO World Heritage site is crammed with halls and pagodas. Despite being half-ruined during the Tet Offensive in 1968, it's still a powerful place to wander around.

2. Hue's Civic Icon

Also known rather poetically as the "Pagoda of the Celestial Lady" this sublime tower can be found right next to the equally poetically named Perfume River. Built with a harmonious seven story construction, it dates back to the dawn of the 17th century, but the current structure was put up in 1844. Be sure to see the famous turtle sculpture in the right hand pavilion, and the left hand pavilion, which houses one of the world's largest bells. And simply relax in the shadow of the city's iconic structure.

3. A Monument To Imperial Excess

An essential complement to visiting the Imperial City, Thế Miếu is a temple complex dedicated to the emperors of Vietnam, and one of the country's holiest sites. The main Hien Lam Pavilion is the center of attention, and rightly so, with its three-tiered design, but it's also worth ducking into the side temples, where you'll find shrines to every one of the Nguyen emperors (who ruled from 1802 until 1945). These shrines are dominated by massive urns. And that means massive. At around 2,000kg each, these are some hefty monuments to the glory of the long-expired dynasty.

4. Souvenirs Sold Straight From The Sampans

Another major riverside attraction, Dong Ba is one of Vietnam's largest marketplaces. As with many Vietnamese markets, it has to be next to the river to allow traders to dock their heavily laden sampans, but it's not a floating market. Stalls are spread out across 16,000 square meters, and cover everything from fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, to electronics, street food, clothes, and ornaments. Quirky gift ideas abound, including "non la bai tho" hats with poems embroidered into them, and me xung candies that should last the journey home.

5. A Beautiful Imperial Resting Place

The tomb of Khải Định is another one of Hue's (rather morbid) imperial treasures. This time around, it's a magnificent complex dedicated to the twelfth Nguyen ruler, who died in 1925. The man himself wasn't the greatest of rulers, becoming too close for comfort to the French colonial state, but he got a lavish send-off nonetheless. Located on Chau Chu mountain, around 7 miles outside the center of town, the tomb is stunning, mixing traditional Annamese styles with an obvious French influence.

1. A Half-Ruined Testament To Hue's Turbulent Past

Hue's famous "Imperial City" is head and shoulders above the city's other historical attractions. This spectacular complex was once the center of Vietnam's royal dynasty. Built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in a style mimicking the Forbidden City in Beijing, and surrounded by walls that stretch for a mile and a half, this UNESCO World Heritage site is crammed with halls and pagodas. Despite being half-ruined during the Tet Offensive in 1968, it's still a powerful place to wander around.

2. Hue's Civic Icon

Also known rather poetically as the "Pagoda of the Celestial Lady" this sublime tower can be found right next to the equally poetically named Perfume River. Built with a harmonious seven story construction, it dates back to the dawn of the 17th century, but the current structure was put up in 1844. Be sure to see the famous turtle sculpture in the right hand pavilion, and the left hand pavilion, which houses one of the world's largest bells. And simply relax in the shadow of the city's iconic structure.

3. A Monument To Imperial Excess

An essential complement to visiting the Imperial City, Thế Miếu is a temple complex dedicated to the emperors of Vietnam, and one of the country's holiest sites. The main Hien Lam Pavilion is the center of attention, and rightly so, with its three-tiered design, but it's also worth ducking into the side temples, where you'll find shrines to every one of the Nguyen emperors (who ruled from 1802 until 1945). These shrines are dominated by massive urns. And that means massive. At around 2,000kg each, these are some hefty monuments to the glory of the long-expired dynasty.

4. Souvenirs Sold Straight From The Sampans

Another major riverside attraction, Dong Ba is one of Vietnam's largest marketplaces. As with many Vietnamese markets, it has to be next to the river to allow traders to dock their heavily laden sampans, but it's not a floating market. Stalls are spread out across 16,000 square meters, and cover everything from fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, to electronics, street food, clothes, and ornaments. Quirky gift ideas abound, including "non la bai tho" hats with poems embroidered into them, and me xung candies that should last the journey home.

5. A Beautiful Imperial Resting Place

The tomb of Khải Định is another one of Hue's (rather morbid) imperial treasures. This time around, it's a magnificent complex dedicated to the twelfth Nguyen ruler, who died in 1925. The man himself wasn't the greatest of rulers, becoming too close for comfort to the French colonial state, but he got a lavish send-off nonetheless. Located on Chau Chu mountain, around 7 miles outside the center of town, the tomb is stunning, mixing traditional Annamese styles with an obvious French influence.

Where to Eat in Hue

Ancient Hue Royal Cuisine and Gallery offers authentic imperial food in an ancient house with manicured gardens. Meal prices are higher than at other locations in Hue, at ₫800,000 per person.

When to visit Hue

Hue in October
Estimated hotel price
C$ 18
1 night at 3-star hotel
Hue in October
Estimated hotel price
C$ 18
1 night at 3-star hotel

Hue's weather is very unpredictable, and is often misty or rainy in every season.The best time to visit is in the summer months between June and August when you have the highest visibility and driest weather.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Hue

Plane

Phu Bai International Airport (HUI) is located south of the city center, with most visitors connecting to the city by private taxi, which costs around ₫200,000.

Train

There are several trains leaving daily from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang for Hue. The overnight sleeper train from Ho Chi Minh City takes 23 hours and costs ₫750,000.

Car

Take the QL14 highway from Ho Chi Minh to arrive in Hue in just under 20 hours driving time.

Bus

Buses reach Hue from spots like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. A journey from the city of Hoi An to Hue Bus Station costs ₫200,000 and takes 6-7 hours.

Airports near Hue

Airlines serving Hue

Lufthansa
Good (2,392 reviews)
Air France
Good (439 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,180 reviews)
SWISS
Good (494 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,327 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (1,102 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (396 reviews)
Finnair
Good (742 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (352 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (83 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (181 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (533 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (291 reviews)
Thai Airways
Good (72 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (99 reviews)
Gulf Air
Good (58 reviews)
China Airlines
Excellent (97 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (197 reviews)
EVA Air
Excellent (192 reviews)
Vietnam Airlines
Good (24 reviews)
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Where to stay in Hue

Imperial Citadel - this historic area has a large amount of monuments, temples, and museums for exploring Vietnam's history.

Popular Neighborhoods in Hue

Phu Hoa - this area is home to Dong Ba Market, a popular place to shop that was even featured on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" show.

Phu Hoi - this area is home to Pham Ngu Lao, a street with the highest concentration of hotels and boutique lodging in Hue.

Where to stay in popular areas of Hue

Most booked hotels in Hue

Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa
Excellent (9.2, Excellent reviews)
C$ 104+
Indochine Palace
Excellent (9, Excellent reviews)
C$ 97+
Cherish Hue Hotel
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
C$ 36+
Saigon Morin Hotel
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
C$ 56+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Hue

Public Transportation

Travel by cycle or motorbike for the fastest transfers in the city. Prices are negotiable and should be negotiated, but generally cost around ₫100,000.

Taxi

Fares start at ₫10,000, with a typical journey around the city center costing around ₫50,000.

Car

Daily rental car prices start at ₫250,000 and can be picked up from the airport, train, or bus station.

The Cost of Living in Hue

Shopping Streets

Shop at Healing the Wounded Heart Shop to support disabled people in Hue who are selling eco-friendly handcrafts. Big C market is the biggest shopping mall located in the heart of downtown, with big label brands and traditional store fronts.

Groceries and Other

Big C market is also the biggest and most central shopping food market in Hue. A dozen eggs costs ₫29,000.