Top best things to do in Hue are the best tours and things you must visit, enjoy, and explore if you have ever traveled to Hue city. Below are the most useful recommendations in Hue for you!
Table Of Contents
- Best Things To Do In Hue Imperial City
- 1. Hue Imperial Citadel
- 2. Hue Royal Tombs
- 3. Tiger arena hue- the unique arena in Asia
- 4. Huyen Tran Princess Temple
- 5. Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities
- 6. Perfume River and Truong Tien Bridge
- 7. Bach Ma National Park
- 8. Hue Foods
- 9. Hue imperial city guide
- 10. Book a Hue bicycle rental service
- 11. Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs
- 12. Bathing At Elephant Springs
- 13. An Bang Cemetery – City of Ghosts Hue
- 14. Hue Festival
- 15. Markets in Hue
- 16. Lang Co, Thuan An beach, Cau Hai, and Lap An Lagoon
- 17. Thuy Tien Abandoned Water Park Hue
- 18. An Dinh Palace Hue
- 19. Ancient Hue An Hien Garden House
- 20. Thanh Toan Bridge Hue, Vietnam
- 21. Hue Craft Villages
- Where Should I Stay In Hue City?
Best Things To Do In Hue Imperial City
Hue was the imperial capital city of 9 Nguyen lords from 1558 and then of the Nguyen Dynasty- the last dynasty in Vietnam from 1802 to 1945.
For more than 4 centuries, Hue was an extensive complex of special royal architectural and cultural relics. In 1993, the Hue imperial complex was honorably recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Thus, the city has become a must-see destination in Vietnam.
On the northern bank of the Perfume River in the middle of the city. The magnificent imperial citadel emerges, showing the absolute power of the Nguyen dynasty. Additionally, the citadel’s royal palaces, monuments, and beautiful landscaping retain their imperial solemnity.
1. Hue Imperial Citadel
As you know, the total area of the Hue imperial citadel comprises 3 sections of 520 hectares.
The first one is the Citadel- the protecting area. Next, the second is the Royal city– the working area of the Emperor, civil servants, and military servants. And the last one is Forbidden city- The residence of the Emperor, the royal family, and eunuchs.
Moreover, surrounding in each section, there is a seven-kilometer-long moat for decoration, protection, and to be like air-conditioning.
The architecture of the Imperial Citadel is a mixture between Oriental philosophy and Vietnamese tradition. As you can see, all the main structures are on an axis and very symmetrical. Moreover, the citadel has four main gates. The Noon Gate (Ngo Mon Gate) was the Gate only for the emperor- son of Heaven.
- Read more: Hue Imperial City of the Nguyen Dynasty
2. Hue Royal Tombs
If you come to Hue, you should book Hue Tours to visit the majestic tombs of the Nguyen Emperors that are on the West of the Imperial Citadel. Located on hills, facing the Perfume River with perfect Feng Shui.
These tombs show the peak of Vietnamese architecture and the Emperor’s power, but each tomb reflects the personality and soul of the Emperor as well. Therefore, exploring fabulous tombs is a must-do when traveling to Hue.
Minh Mang Tomb– the tomb of the second Emperor. Khai Dinh Tomb– The tomb of the 12th Emperor, and Tu Duc Tomb– the tomb of the 4th Emperor. As you know, they all prepared the tombs for themselves before they passed away. Because they thought that, in this life, they were Emperors, after life they would be Emperors again.
2.1. Minh Mang Tomb
The beautiful tomb of the second Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty with the perfect Fengshui. Lies on the Tam Tai Son mountain with a total area of 28 hectares.
Plus, Minh Mang tomb is the perfect place for forever sleep and was also the used in the after-life of the Minh Mang emperor. Thus, to have a deep understanding of the tomb, you can have a look at Minh Mang Royal Tomb
- Read more: Minh Mang Royal Tomb
2.2. Khai Dinh Tomb
Next, Khai Dinh Tomb is the fabulous tomb of the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty. It is the smallest tomb in the tomb system of the Nguyen dynasty. However, it is the most luxurious and beautiful tomb.
Furthermore, the tomb of Khai Dinh is the Top of the inlaid color-glass, ceramics, and porcelain. Hence, Khai Dinh Royal tomb is a must-visit attraction in Hue imperial city.
- Read more: Tomb of Khai Dinh
2.3. Tu Duc Tomb
The Tomb of Tu Duc emperor is a special tomb because there are 2 sections in the tomb of the 4th Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty. The first section was the second residence and the second one is the burial area.
Tu Duc was an unhappy life emperor during his reign since the French first came to Vietnam, so he lost his power. When he was young, he had smallpox, so he could not give birth. Also, the last one is he had a bad reputation for killing his brother.
The tomb of the Tu Duc emperor is the tomb of the artist and poet. To explore the Tu Duc emperor Tomb, please book Hue Tours or read our article Tomb of Tu Duc – The Tomb of Modesty.
- Read more: Tomb of Tu Duc – The Tomb of Modesty
2.4. Imperial Tomb of Dong Khanh
Another tourist attraction in Hue is the tomb of Dong Khanh, also called Tu Lang, which is one of the Nguyen Dynasty’s mausoleum systems.
An exceedingly well-balanced fusion of Asian and European art architecture may be seen in the Dong Khanh Tomb. Additionally, UNESCO listed Dong Khanh Tomb as a World Cultural Heritage Site on 11/12/1993.
3. Tiger arena hue- the unique arena in Asia
4. Huyen Tran Princess Temple
Huyen Tran Cultural Center – Huyen Tran Princess Temple is a unique spiritual tourist destination that attracts many tourists. Visitors can understand more about the history of Huyen Tran princess – daughter of emperor Tran Nhan Tong and empress Kham Tu when visiting this place.
With an ample area of 28.5 hectares, Huyen Tran Cultural Center is a complex of temples and shrines with a unique landscape system. Thus, visitors can enjoy the fresh air, learn more about the culture and offer incense to show gratitude – pray for peace and luck. Hence, it is one of the best things to do in Hue.
5. Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities
Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities is a museum under the management of Hue Monuments Conservation Center. This building is the Long An palace, which was built in 1845 under the emperor Thieu Tri.
The museum’s main building is wooden, with 128 precious wooden pillars. On the pillars are carvings of four spirits: Dragon – Qilin – Turtoise – Phoenix, and more than 1000 poems in Chinese characters. Significantly, the Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities is the place to keep the complete artifacts about the Nguyen Dynasty and the life of the ancient dynasty.
Therefore, the museum currently stores and displays about 9,000 antiques from the Nguyen Dynasty’s court and nearly 100 Champa antiquities. Plus, managing nearly 3,000 other antiques on display at palaces, mausoleums, and temples belonging to the complex of Hue monuments.
6. Perfume River and Truong Tien Bridge
A long time ago, we cared very much about Feng Shui, so an important part of Hue’s attractiveness is the beauty of the Perfume River and Ngu Binh mountain. Following Nguyen Xuan Hoa, a local of Hue, said: “The Perfume River is a natural wonder of Hue city”. It has rare romantic beauty.
Its green waters meander across the plains, through forests and villages like the beautiful hair of a virgin girl before entering the Tam Giang Lagoon”. At night, the Perfume river is also extremely shimmering with lights. Hence, you can walk around the riverbank or at the ironwood bridge in the Perfume river to relax.
Following what the Emperor did, taking a dragon boat on the Perfume River to enjoy the romantic sights of the city while listening to royal court music and local folk songs is a wonderful experience. In addition, Truong Tien Bridge over the Perfume River is another symbol of Hue.
Moreover, the Truong Tien Bridge and the Perfume River have been great sources of inspiration for poets and songwriters.
Mr. Phan Thuan An- a famous Hue cultural researcher said for Hue people. Truong Tien Bridge is the highlight architectural site of the city. It is strongly imprinted inside the hearts of Hue people.
Nowadays, the Hue imperial city is also famous as a festival city because of its biennial festival which attracts top Vietnamese and foreign performing artists. Authentic architecture, unique landscapes, and delicate gastronomy make Hue become a beautiful and romantic city and a must-visit destination!
Book Hue Tours at Culture Pham Travel is the best way to enjoy Hue!
- Read more: Perfume River Hue
7. Bach Ma National Park
On the journey to discover Bach Ma National Park, you can stop at Hai Dai hope, Do Quyen waterfall, Bach Ma Five lakes natural masterpiece, and ancient French villas. Or Bach Ma Village tourist area is located in the buffer zone of Bach Ma National Park.
Besides, at the foot of the Bach Ma mountain range, there is a large and extremely beautiful Truoi lake. Therefore, you can take a boat and leisurely paddle out in the middle of the stream to admire the beautiful Bach Ma mountains. Then dock at Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery, located across the lake, to visit this monastery.
8. Hue Foods
As you know, Hue was the residence place of 13 emperors and the capital city of the Nguyen dynasty. Long times ago, in the morning, the emperor had 18 dishes, lunch 36 dishes, and dinner 18 dishes, in some important ceremonies, he had 54 dishes.
Not only for eating but also for smelling and looking. It was like an art. So the food in Hue is the best in Vietnam. Therefore, traveling to Hue city, you must enjoy and taste Hue foods.
As you can see in Hue, there are many kinds of foods and restaurants that serve Vietnamese and Western foods. Some excellent restaurants in Hue we highly recommend are Hanh Local food restaurant at 11 Pho Duc Chinh street; Elegant restaurant at 29 Vo Thi Sau street; Les Jardins de la Carambole restaurant at 32 Dang Tran Con Street.
If you would like to enjoy Hue specialties at many different local food restaurants you should book Hue Street Food Tour at Culture Pham Travel to taste all the best local foods that just can find in Hue. Besides, if you want to cook Hue food, you can book our Hue Cooking Class Tour.
9. Hue imperial city guide
Hue is a city that is rich in history and relics, beautiful landscapes, and delicious foods, so there are many different ways to visit, explore and enjoy Hue. For example, walking to visit Hue imperial city (The Citadel); Renting a scooter to visit the Royal Tombs; abandoned water park, and so on.
Additionally, taking a dragon boat to go along the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda is a great experience. Nevertheless, if you would like to get a deep history of the Nguyen dynasty Hue and Vietnamese culture, you should book:
- Hue deluxe group tour
- Hue city tour full day
- Hue city tour by cyclo – half day tour
- Hue street food tour
- Hue to hoi An stop at the City of Ghosts
In Vietnam, Hue is as known as the cradle of Buddhism. There are around 300 pagodas in Hue, and they all are beautiful. Some Hue pagodas are Tu Dam pagoda, Huyen Khong Son Thuong Pagoda, Bao Quoc pagoda, etc.
However, the 3 oldest and as know as the national pagodas in Hue are Thien Mu pagoda, Tu Hieu Pagoda, and Dieu De pagoda.
10. Book a Hue bicycle rental service
Hue is often regarded as one of the best cities in Vietnam for cycling. There is much less traffic here than in other regions of our country. Hence, you can ride along the poetic Huong River banks while visiting all the major sights that have made Hue renowned.
You can hire a bike and set off on your own, or you can book a Hue countryside tour that will take you around Hue city or into the nearby famous countryside village, such as Thuy Bieu village, Thanh Thuy Chanh village, etc. Hence, riding a bike around Hue is one of the top things to do in Hue that you cannot ignore.
11. Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs
Another thing to do at Hue is book a private car to Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs. It is a famous destination in Hue that you should not miss when you have the opportunity to travel to the ancient capital.
When coming to Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs, you will enjoy relaxation and comfort with spa treatments. Moreover, it is amusing and energetic when participating in games, such as water park games and adventure games.
Not only resort tourism, but Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs also attracts adventurous tourists with outdoor sports games such as balancing on a cable (Highwire), freestyle swinging (Zipline), picnic fishing, etc.
12. Bathing At Elephant Springs
Elephant Springs Hue attracts visitors thanks to the big rock in the shape of a cute elephant and cool natural lakes. When you come here, you can also enjoy delicious food and the famous Hue specialties of the locals here.
13. An Bang Cemetery – City of Ghosts Hue
What’s else? In addition to the Hue attractions above, An Bang cemetery is a unique and strange place you should visit. It is a famous cemetery, considered the most impressively beautiful elaborate and extravagant in Vietnam. The cemetery is located in An Bang coastal fishing village in Vinh An commune, Phu Vang district, Thua Thien Hue province, 35 km east of Hue city.
An Bang Cemetery is famous not only in Vietnam but also in the world and is called by domestic as well as foreign press “An Bang ghosts city”, “Hue city of ghosts”, “mansion of the dead”, and “paradise tomb”.
Most of the tombs of An Bang have a typical design following the tomb of King Khai Dinh. Then transform more or less depending on the preferences of the person requesting the construction. Hence, there are many tombs designed as royal tombs.
14. Hue Festival
Hue Festival is a huge cultural event of Hue City held every two years. There is a week (usually in April, May, or June) for each festival season which is the occasion to honor the cultural and historical values of that Vietnam’s ancient capital city. The first Hue Festival was in 2000.
At the start of the Hue Festival, Tourists can enjoy colorful and grand opening ceremonies with special performances by several domestic art groups and from other countries. Hence, Hue Festival has been well known as a space of cultural exchange between people in over the world.
During the Hue festival, there are a lot of cultural events coming about such as the Dialogue of drums and percussion instruments, Massive Street Arts Performances, Art Exhibitions, Hue Poetry Festival, and the Week of Vietnam’s historical films and Hue cuisine festival.
Apart from that, you can come and explore some traditional values of Vietnam at the “Oriental night” Show, Gastronomy Quarters, Traditional Kite Flying Festival or watch the “Ao dai” Grand Show, and sporting activities like boat race, human chess, etc. Particularly, many ancient sceneries of the Nguyen Dynasty are also reproduced and provide visitors an insight into Vietnam’s feudal era.
Besides, some typical events include the Xa Tac Offering Ritual, Nam Giao Offering Ritual, and the Royal Refined Music of Hue, which UNESCO recognized in 2003 as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Hue Festival is famous as an international festival where cultures of many countries converge together and where Vietnamese traditional and cultural treasures are widely presented to the world.
15. Markets in Hue
As you know, the Vietnamese have a good habit that we will go to markets every morning to buy fresh ingredients to cook for their family. The market is not only the place where people sell and buy things but also a tight community.
If you travel to any country, you should visit the markets because, in the markets, you will understand the local life and the soul of the destination. There are many markets in Hue but the biggest is the Dong Ba market.
The open time is from 4 a.m to 6 p.m. You can find out everything you like at Dong Ba even 25 USD Rolex watches.
16. Lang Co, Thuan An beach, Cau Hai, and Lap An Lagoon
16.1. Lang Co beach
Lang Co beach is one of the most poetic beaches in Vietnam and it was recognized as the most beautiful bay in the world.
Unlike other beaches, Lang co is still a wild beach with over 10km long beach with white sand, pure seawater, and tropical forest in the mountains of Thua Thien Hue province.
Not only attractive of its beauty but Lang Co is also great with various fresh, cheap seafood such as shrimp; snails; oysters; cuttlefish; crabs, and lobsters. Especially, seafood in Lang Co is famous because they are so cheap but super fresh and tasty. Therefore, tourists who come to Lang Co cannot help tasting the delicious seafood here.
16.2. Thuan An beach
Thuan An is the closest beach, just 15 km from Hue city center. It is a very beautiful, peaceful beach in Thua Thien Hue province. If you would like to escape from the busy and noisy life, Thuan An beach is the perfect option.
Not only gorgeous with white fine sands but also the seafood at Thuan An is very fresh, cheap, and tasty. Spending a day at Thuan An beach, you will have a great chance to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and understand the life of local fishermen at Thuan An.
16.3 Cau Hai Lagoon
Located about 40km southeast of Hue city, Cau Hai Lagoon is the largest freshwater lagoon system in Southeast Asia. The route from Hue city to Cau Hai lagoon is easy to find. Thus, you need to follow the route from Hue to Da Nang along the 1A highway, then in the Phu Loc district, look to the left, and you will see the beautiful Cau Hai lagoon.
16.4. Lap An Lagoon
Thua Thien Hue province is not only rich in relics, historical places, and history but also gets blessed with a masterpiece from nature. Lap An lagoon is the bright pearl and the highlight of Hue.
Nestled at the side of the fabulous Bach Ma national forest and Lang Co beach; Lap An lagoon looks like a gorgeous girl in the fabulous Lang Co sea picture.
What’s else? There is a local fishing village nearby Lap An, it is easy you can see many small fishing boats floating on the brackish water and huge fishing nests of local people in the middle of the poetic lagoon!
Travel to Lap An, you will be lost in a peaceful and charming beauty, that helps you forget all the stress and sadness of daily life.
There are many different other things to do and Hue Tours that you must visit but the best way to enjoy and explore Hue city is to book Hue Tours at Culture Pham Travel. You just book Hue Tours and Culture Pham Travel will help you enjoy them.
17. Thuy Tien Abandoned Water Park Hue
Thuy Tien Lake (In Vietnamese called Hồ Thủy Tiên) is also named as Abandoned Water Park Hue. It was a famous water amusement park outskirt of Hue city, Vietnam.
This abandoned water park hidden in the jungle has now become popular with tourists who would like to explore something’s horror and who would like to practice photography skills.
To get detailed information about this attraction, please book our Hue Tours or read our article ” Abandoned Water Park Hue“.
18. An Dinh Palace Hue
The An Dinh Palace or Cung An Dinh was the private residence of the Khai Dinh emperor. Between 1917-1919 Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy (later Bao Dai Emperor) had renovated in modern style and became the residence officially.
After Bao Dai abdicated in 1945, he moved from the Imperial City to the An Dinh Palace and lived with his mother and his wife, and his children.
During the twentieth century, this place became the residence for both Vietnam’s last two queens, Tu Cung and Nam Phuong at different times.
It lies on the bank of the An Cuu canal, at 179 Phan Dinh Phung street, Hue, Vietnam. An Dinh Palace is well-known for its beautiful sophisticated decoration. If you cannot visit the Khai Dinh tomb, you can visit An Dinh Palace Hue.
19. Ancient Hue An Hien Garden House
A long time ago, we cared very much about Fengshui. The perfect Fengshui is leaning against mountains and face to the water. We think if your houses have perfect Fengshui, you will get richness and family members are always in good health.
Hue imperial city was the capital city of the Nguyen dynasty. Visit Hue, you should visit ancient garden houses to understand Vietnamese house settings and Fengshui in the ancient houses. Brighten in beautiful garden houses in Hue is the An Hien garden house.
20. Thanh Toan Bridge Hue, Vietnam
The Thanh Toan tile bridge is a wooden arch bridge with a tile roof crossing a canal in Thanh Thuy Chanh village, Thuy Thanh commune, Huong Thuy Town, Thua Thien – Hue province. It is about 8 km southeast of Hue city. This is a wooden bridge classified as rare and has the highest artistic value among the ancient bridges in Vietnam.
Most importantly, the bridge was recognized by the Ministry of Culture as a National Cultural Monument in 1990. Book Hue Tours to visit Thanh Toan Bridge Hue, you also have a chance to explore the real rural soul of the village in the Vietnam countryside.
21. Hue Craft Villages
Hue city is not only famous and attractive for the Perfume River, Hue Imperial Citadel, Royal Tombs, and Thien Mu Pagoda but also for the traditional craft villages. Traveling to Hue city, explore the peaceful and rich history villages to understand more about local life, Vietnamese culture, customs as well as the soul of the people of the rustic village.
21.1 Thanh Tien Paper Flower Village
Passing over 300 years of development with many ups and downs, Thanh Tien paper flower-making village still exists today in every corner of the houses and the lifestyle of Hue. Not only has a cultural and spiritual meaning, but this is also one of the most unique traditional craft villages of the ancient capital of Hue.
21.2 Thuy Xuan Incense Making village
Hue is renowned for destinations that have made up the soul of the ancient capital such as the poetic Perfume River, the Citadel- Imperial City of Hue, Hue festival, many temples and royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors. However, the homeland of a lot of cultural heritages and unique craft villages, notably Thuy Xuan incense making village.
Update Entrance Fee Hue Monuments In 2023:
Where Should I Stay In Hue City?
Hue city is one of the famous destinations that tourists must visit in Vietnam. It is packed with attractive with the poetic Perfume River, Truong Tien Bridge; Thien Mu Pagoda, Bach Ma National Park, and Hue Imperial Citadel, not to mention the great cuisines, nightlife, and craft villages. A stay in the city of Hue will give you close access to everything. Hue city hotels differ in style and price, but most will be within an affordable budget.
KAYAK is one of the Best Hue Hotel Booking Platforms and Culture Pham Travel is sure that you will find the best accommodation at the best price for your holiday in this ancient and beautiful city.
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Great post. I will be dealing with a few of these issues as well..
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