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The ancient thành phố of Hue was the country"s capital during the mid-1700s và then again for over a century starting in the early 1800s. The bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War was fought in Hue, and the city"s ancient monuments, including 19th-century Imperial đô thị complex, were severely damaged. Today, visiting this historic attraction is one of the đứng đầu things to bởi vì in Hue.

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Aerial view near the Imperial City, Hue

Hue sits on the banks of the Perfume River, so-called because during spring, the local orchards shed their flowers into the river, causing the water to lớn smell lượt thích perfume. The river is an essential part of the history & heritage of Hue, but it"s also a vital part of modern Hue.

The Trang Tien Bridge is a popular background for nighttime photos when it"s completely illuminated, và the waterfront offers plenty of things to bởi in the form of cafés & restaurants for those out on an afternoon stroll. Most of Hue"s main tourist attractions are mix against or within minutes of the river.

Hue is trang chủ to many sites worth visiting, including emperors" tombs; a number of pagodas, including the famous Thien Mu Pagoda; và French-colonial buildings set along the river. For more ideas on the best places lớn visit in this ancient capital, take a look at our menu of attractions and things to vì in Hue.

1. Imperial đô thị Hue

Imperial city Hue

A UNESCO World Heritage site of bright reds & yellows, the Imperial thành phố is Hue"s most important attraction and the first stop in your discovery of the city.

A walled area inside the historical citadel of Hue, the Imperial đô thị was once the capital of Vietnam. In 1804, Emperor Gia Long consulted geomancers to lớn decide on the most auspicious location for the 10-kilometer-long walled citadel, which was eventually placed southeast to lớn face the Perfume River.

The grounds of the imperial city are surrounded by towering walls & a moat and include temples, gardens, palaces, & residences. However, of the original 160 large buildings that dotted the grounds of the city, only 10 survived Vietnam War bombings.

Many of the buildings that still stand are now empty và can be explored freely by visitors, but some have been restored (or are under restoration), including halls, city gates, & shrines.

2. Bầu Hoa Palace

Thai Hoa Palace

Perhaps the most important construction of the Nguyen dynasty—the last dynasty in Vietnam—the thiết kế of this palace is meant khổng lồ represent a deep yin/yang balance, where both the physical and the spiritual are in perfect harmony.

Although the palace survived the Vietnam War bombings, extensive repairs had lớn be done lớn the inside to restore the damage caused during the battle of Hue.

The bầu Hoa Palace sits at the heart of the Hue Citadel, right after crossing the Ngo tháng Gate. A lotus lake và a long courtyard walkway provide an impressive welcome to the palace.

The main room of the palace is a large hall with a timber roof and 80 timber columns. Originally meant for royal ceremonies và events, it was also the crowning place for Emperor Gia Long và the area where he received visitors—both during official business meetings & when the doors were, in rare occasions, open to the public. A covered golden throne sits in the center of the hall.

3. Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda

Also known as the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, this seven-story pagoda is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city of Hue. It was built in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoàng, who was told about a local legend.

According khổng lồ the legend, an old lady dressed in blues, greens, và reds foretold a pagoda would be built in that place and people would come to it to lớn pray for Vietnam"s prosperity.

Over the next two centuries, the temple was expanded, và special details và buildings were added, including a massive bell that can be heard 10 kilometers away và a number of additional praying halls, towers for storing sacred texts, & meditation halls.

Beautiful gardens, including a bonsai garden, are mix around the buildings—many of them hidden from view at first until you take this path or that path towards another area of the pagoda grounds.

Parked under an open space, you"ll also find a oto used during the Diem Regime protests. In a fight for religious freedom, quang Duc, a monk from Hue, drove khổng lồ Saigon, parked this car và then set himself on fire. The story of his life & self-immolation are told through words & pictures posted on this temple.

4. Royal Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh

Royal Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh

Located just outside Hue, on the steep Chau Chu mountain, the tomb was built for the twelfth Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, who died in 1925.

Emperor Khai Dinh was actually highly disliked by his people, since he sympathized with French colonizers & ordered many nationalist leaders khổng lồ be arrested. He"s also responsible for forcing a change to a Romanized Vietnamese alphabet in 1918, which resulted in people abandoning the original local language (a set of Chinese & Sino-Vietnamese); there are almost no people left alive who can read the original old Vietnamese language.

Emperor Khai Dinh"s tomb is one of the most imposing tombs ever designed in Vietnam, perhaps because he oversaw the construction himself with funds raised by increasing taxes by 30 percent. The result is an imposing và elaborate construction that mixes Eastern và Western details.

The tomb is flanked by two giant long sculptures và features an imperial audience court, 12 statues that serve as bodyguards, a palace room richly decorated with porcelain và glass, and a small temple with an altar where the actual grave is located.

5. Dieu De Pagoda

Dieu De Pagoda

Named after the "Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism, this small golden pagoda in the center of Hue has been the site of activism, protests, và some political violence during the 1960s—the best-known case being in 1963, when civilian Buddhists confronted Diem"s army trying lớn protect the pagoda from being raided. Thirty people died và 200 were wounded in one night.

Today, the pagoda has become a symbol for freedom, and it"s visited not only by Buddhists but also activists from all around the world. Sitting right on the Dong cha canal và surrounded by lush vegetation, the pagoda provides a peaceful escape from the heat & the tourist crowds.

Four towers surround the temple and provide a trang chủ for bells, while the main hall houses a Gautama Buddha statue.

6. Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts

Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts

Housed inside the former Long An Palace, this museum offers a fascinating look into the culture & history of the city. The massive collection of over 10,000 objects includes everything from ceramics and silver objects to lớn personal belongings & royal clothing of former Vietnam Emperors, furniture, Phap Lam enameled metal art, và lots of paintings và detailed murals.

All exhibits are labeled in English, and many include background details to lớn help visitors better understand the history behind it & who used it.

While photography inside the museum is not allowed, this one-story wooden palace and the beautiful gardens around it provide plenty of picture-worthy corners waiting khổng lồ be discovered.

7. Hope Center

Traditional fabric weaving in Vietnam

The Hope Center was created lớn help disabled and disadvantaged people, as well as ethnic minorities in Hue, by offering them a chance to lớn learn lớn sew. The center produces uniforms for schools và hospitals, as well as a number of handicrafts, including basket making, textile weaving, and handmade jewelry và bowls.

Most textile items are produced using A Luoii fabric, dyed and produced by the Ta Oi ethnic group.

Visitors can see weaving và work being done on-site and buy items lớn take with them. It"s also possible khổng lồ practice shaping and firing your own pottery or making handmade, recycled products you can then take home.

All classes, tours, and events here are organized và guided by the people who work at the center, so you"ll get a chance lớn interact with them and learn how the place is changing their life.

Official site: http://hopecenterhue.com.vn/index.php

8. The khổng lồ Mieu Shrine

To Mieu Shrine

Modeled after the Imperial Ancestral Temple in China"s Forbidden City, the lớn Mieu temple was built to lớn allow ancestor worship of past emperors. Although no actual remains of the emperors themselves are buried here, there are nine urns to represent nine Nguyen emperors.

Each emperor also has his own altar, with photos of himself và the empress (or empresses for those with more than one wife), small offerings, và incense.

A massive stone gate, sweeping grounds, và lots of solitude make this temple a favorite sightseeing destination of those exploring Hue. Only a quarter of the original structures survived the Vietnam War, và very little work has been done lớn restore the ruins, so the place is a quiet reminder of difficult times while allowing you a chance to lớn admire the grandeur of the temple still there.

9. Thanh Toan Bridge

Thanh Toan Bridge

This wooden, 18th-century, tile-roofed footbridge is located around seven kilometers outside Hue. The Japanese-style bridge was built over a small river, allowing locals lớn cross over from one side lớn the other without a boat, but also providing an escape from the heat for rural workers who would otherwise spend all day in the sun.

Inside the bridge, a small altar is dedicated to lớn the memory of Tran Thi Dao, the rich widow who originally paid for the construction of the bridge.

Although the bridge itself is interesting, the trip khổng lồ the sleepy village of Thuy Thanh village, where the bridge is located, is just as special. The ride to lớn the village takes visitors through rice paddies, temples, and lots of examples of what local life is like here.

Once at the village, you can stop by to lớn see the beautiful columns of the thành phố gate or hop on a boat to lớn ride under the bridge và experience the river a different way.

The local Farming Museum, where you can see ancient farming tools used khổng lồ cultivate rice & how they impacted local life, is another great stop before heading back to Hue.

10. Dong tía Market

Vegetable sellers at the Dong cha Market

Outdoor markets are a staple of Vietnamese culture, và the Dong bố market in Hue is no exception. The oldest và largest market in the city, Dong cha covers 16,000 square meters of chaotic space, where stalls selling fresh vegetables sit next lớn handicrafts or souvenirs.

The market opens in the very early hours of the morning (3am) to lớn cater to locals shopping for fresh seafood và other foods, but you can arrive during the day or afternoon to pick up mementos lớn take home.

If you"re after clothes or wearable souvenirs, the market does have an entire second floor dedicated to this, where you can find all types of textiles plus many examples of non la bai tho (the typical conical leaf hat worn in Vietnam).

Other great Vietnamese souvenirs you can find here include lacquerware items; bamboo products; and guoc moc, a type of simple clogs made of bamboo or wood.

11. An Hien Garden House

An Hien Garden House

Garden houses are a very chất lượng architectural feature found in Hue. They usually consist of small wooden houses, sometimes on stilts, surrounded by ponds và lush gardens. These houses are particularly common on the banks of the Perfume River, where they get both fresh air và quiet surroundings.

An Hien (House of Peace) is Hue"s most famous garden house—over the decades, it has been both a private trang chủ and the official residence of the governor of Ha Tinh province.

The entire thiết kế of the building is based on yin/yang principles: the screen on the main door drives away evil energy, while the water in the pool ensures harmony.

The house can only be reached after crossing a stone gate & walking down a 34-meter-long road surrounded by trees. Inside the 19th-century home, much of the original furniture, timber columns, and ancestor altars remain as they were over 100 years ago.

12. Royal Theater

Duyet Thi Duong Royal Theater | Cristian Zamfir / Shutterstock.com

The beautiful red và golden Duyet Thi Duong Royal Theater was built in 1826 exclusively for the royal family khổng lồ enjoy traditional art performances in an elegant, regal setting. Only the emperor and those close khổng lồ him ever saw the inside, though banquets & performances were sometimes held for special guests visiting the court.

After much reconstruction, the theater finally opened to the public in 2004.

As the oldest still-operating theater in Vietnam, this is the perfect spot lớn catch a performance of Nha Nhac-Royal Music. When there are no performances, the theater is mở cửa to visitors who want lớn explore the displays of theater masks & traditional musical instruments. You can even sit on the plush red chairs và get up close lớn the stage.

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13. Alba Thanh tan Hot Springs

Women relaxing in a hot spring

About 30 kilometers outside the thành phố of Hue, these popular hot springs are a great way khổng lồ relax và unwind. Although technically part of a resort that also includes accommodations and a number of other attractions, it"s possible to lớn visit just for the day lớn try the hot springs. Even better, there"s a không lấy phí resort shuttle bus that goes from the đô thị to the hot springs, making it easier khổng lồ transfer back và forth.

The springs have a natural temperature of 68 degrees Celsius at the source, but this is controlled through a series of streams & natural pools until they achieve the perfect temperature, so you can soak in all the physical and mental benefits of the mineral-rich waters while relaxing under the whispering of the trees in the breeze.

For those wanting to lớn stay around a little longer, there"s also a 560-meter-long zipline through the lush rainforest và an adventure rope course to demo your balance. Stick around for a quiet meal overlooking the ponds at the end of the day.


What to lớn See Nearby: Hue is located about two hours north of domain authority Nang. Khổng lồ the south of domain authority Nang, just under three hours from Hue is Hoi An, another destination worth seeing. If you are interested in sun và sand, have a read through our các mục of the best beaches in Vietnam lớn find one near you.

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