The ancient Imperial Capital of Hué, lies at the mouth of the Perfume River and is considered the fulcrum of Vietnam’s two rice baskets – the Red River Delta and the Mekong Delta. The city is bisected by the Song Huong (Perfume River), named after a scented shrub that grows here. Hué makes a great base for exploring the Demilitarized Zone and is an important literary and cultural center.

Interests

  • Heritage
  • Landscape

Highlights

  • Perfume River
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Imperial Citadel
  • Tombs and Pagodas
  • Incense Stick-Making House

Places to Stay

Eldora Hotel

Style: Boutique

Beautiful interiors and personalized service make Eldora the hotel of choice for many visitors to Hue.

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La Résidence Hôtel (Hué)

Style: Heritage

La Résidence Hôtel & Spa, once the residence of the colonial governor of Annam, is an enchanting boutique hotel on the banks of the Perfume River overlooking the former Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden City.

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Pilgrimage Village

Style: Resort

The Pilgrimage Village is a boutique resort in traditional Vietnamese style located in a quiet countryside about 4 kms from Huè and its historical landmarks.

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Vedana Lagoon (Hué)

Style: Beach Resort

Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa is nestled on the shore of a serene lagoon with stunning views of an immense lagoon, one of the largest in SE Asia.

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Activities in Hué

Half Day Visit To Hue Garden Houses

Visit An Hien garden house (an important heritage in the lives of former Hue aristocrats), about 30min out of town, originally the residence of Emperor Tu Duc’s 18th daughter. Admire the traditional Vietnamese architecture – massive pillars support a large tiled roof, a family altar in the middle, a large rectangular lily-pond with a screen designed to keep out evil spirits. Another example is the former home of Princess Ngoc Son. See the present owners’ artefacts and mementos collection.

Half Day Royal Martial Arts Performance

Visit the serene gardens of Mr Kim’s School of Martial Arts for a 25 minute showcase of different martial art techniques inherited from the Nguyen dynasty, depicting previous efforts of Vietnamese patriots to suppress colonialism.

Half Day Enamel Art

Unravel the artistic process of enamel (phap lam) making, an integral part of imperial structures and use by the Nguyen Dynasty. Combining tradition with art phap lam showcases local artisan inventiveness and independent spirit of Vietnamese culture, economy and politics. Being forgotton for nearly 200yrs, Hue people are now reviving this old art. Meet artisan Triet Do, an expert, and learn of his endeavors to restore this art. Attempt creating your own works/buy one as a souvenir/gift.

Half Day Cycling Around Hue

Venture on cycles through Thuy Bieu village, one of the oldest, most unique villages near the famous Perfume river. See this interesting village and surrounding area, pass family temples, orchard gardens and paddy/corn fields, visit a local home where family members have made incense sticks for generations, glimpse their everyday lives and efforts to keep the craft alive. Cycle on to Voi Re Temple and Tiger arena, to learn how the Emperors in Nguyen dynasty were entertained.

Paradise Cave in Quang Binh

Depart Hue early to embark on the four hour drive to Quang Binh, where you can stop at Ben Hai River and Hien Luong bridge. Now the demilitarized zone of the Vietnam War, it previously divided north and south Vietnam. Continue to the remarkable Paradise Cave. Only discovered in 2005, it is said to be largest and most impressive in the Phong Nha Ke Bang area. Its primitive interior features impressive stalagmites and stalactites. After the return drive, you will arrive back in Hue in the early evening.

DMZ Tour with Vinh Moc

Early morning post breakfast, depart for the DeMilitarised Zone – DMZ. The area south of the DMZ was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles during the American War. Established after the 1st Indochina War, it served as a division line between N&S during the Vietnam War. Militarily significant places are Quang Tri, Rock Pile, Dakrong Bridge, Ho Chi Minh Trails, Khe Sanh, Lang Vay, Hien Luong Bridge at the 17th Parallel and Vinh Moc Tunnels. Observe very evident war remnants at these sites.

Hué City Highlights Tour

Embark on a 10min cyclo ride to see the Imperial past of Nguyen Lords – tombs, pagodas and the Imperial Citadel’s remains (UNESCO site). Here, enter via the lofty main gate; admire magnificent architecture and gardens, and learn of Ancient Hue’s events and intrigue. Some well preserved sections remain intact in spite of heavy bombing, while others have been restored. Drive down to visit Hue’s best-preserved religious monument, the compelling Thien Mu Pagoda, standing on the riverbank with a 7-storey tower. Take a 30min drive out to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb, showcasing east-west design and architectural elements. Visit the serene Tu Duc Royal Tomb built on fen-shui principles, harmonizing with its natural environs. En route back to your hotel, perhaps halt at an incense stick making house.

2hrs Food Carving Experience

Witness food carving – a centuries old tradition handed from one generation to the next – at Ancient Hue. At this pretty restaurant you will meet the artisan for a demonstration of the intricate art of food carving and who will garnish a plate for you. Then you will get your own hand’s on experience to try fruit and vegetable carving – guests back home will be delighted and impressed by your newfound skills!

20 Min-Prayer Ceremony at Ba La Mat Pagoda

With over 30 ancient Pagodas constructed over 300yrs ago and hundreds of 19th century temples, Hue is Vietnam’s Buddhism center. Local Hue people believe that Buddhism is a way of attaining the highest benefits of life without suffering. Experience a short, soulful prayer ceremony for ‘good life’ at Ba La Mat Pagoda, built in 1885 by the venerable monk Vien Giac, formally a mandarin at Tu Duc King’s court. Carry offerings of fruits and flowers (as earlier prepared by your guide) for the monks who will show you the pagoda, home to 16 monks and 6 novices. Holding the candles, close your eyes and whisper your wish. After the ceremony, receive a keepsake of this moment from the monks – a symbolic statue of happiness.

1.45 hr-Prayer Ceremony & Veg Lunch at Ba La Mat Pagoda

With over 30 ancient Pagodas constructed over 300yrs ago and hundreds of 19th century temples, Hue is Vietnam’s Buddhism center. Local Hue people believe that Buddhism is a way of attaining the highest benefits of life without suffering. Experience a short, soulful prayer ceremony for ‘good life’ at Ba La Mat Pagoda, built in 1885 by the venerable monk Vien Giac, formally a mandarin at Tu Duc King’s court. Carry offerings of fruits and flowers (as earlier prepared by your guide) for the monks who will show you the pagoda, home to 16 monks and 6 novices. Holding the candles, close your eyes and whisper your wish. After the ceremony, receive a keepsake of this moment from the monks – a symbolic statue of happiness. Sip a cup of tea and chat with the monks about Buddhism and its impact on local life. Thereafter, sit down to a vegetarian lunch prepared by some Buddhist followers. Your guide will join in the meal, aid in translating the interaction and explain the natural ingredients.

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