Below is a detailed travel guide containing all thing to do in Hue. Ranging from place to eat, sleep and see. These are our experiences that we would recommend.
Hue is the ultimate city for any history buff. Known as the imperial city of Vietnam, Hue is a historical epicentre for all things culture and art. Emperor Gia Long founded the Nguyen dynasty back in 1802 and moved the capital from Hanoi to Hue. He built the infamous Citadel in an attempt to unite the North and South and take on foreign invaders. If you enjoy learning about ancient history than Hue is definitely a place you must visit whilst you are in Vietnam.
HOW TO GET THERE
The best and most fun way to get to Hue would be via motorbike. For us, we rented a bike and rode the Hai Van Pass through to Hue. Since we were working from the South to the North, we arrived to Hue after a long day of riding! The Hai Van Pass is one of the most famous strips of road in the entire world and is a great day trip out. It has some of the most incredible coastal views we have ever seen and we strongly suggest that if you feel comfortable on a bike that you give it a go!
THINGS TO DO IN HUE
Visiting the Imperial City is a must if you are in Hue. This walled enclosure within the citadel is ginormous. This gigantic complex was home to many Emperors who worked and conducted business there. Filled with various palaces, residences, and gardens the imperial city encapsulates the history of the empire that used to rule these parts of Vietnam.
Thien Mu Pagoda
This seven story pagoda is known as the unofficial symbol of the city. It is one of the most beautiful pagodas we have been to and we were so happy we took the afternoon to visit. We do recommend visiting in the earlier hours when it is a bit less crowded. Walking around the grounds is a great peaceful escape from the city. One great thing about this pagoda is the incredible view of the perfume river below! Definitely try to check this place out if you are ever in Hue.
The abandoned waterpark was one of the most eerie places we have ever been. Walking around was a bit spooky, but also super cool! The waterpark opened in 2004, but shut down a few years later due to the high cost of operations. Upon arrival, you are expected to pay a small entrance fee to walk around. Once inside you are given the freedom to explore as you wish! The grounds themselves are actually rather large and it is easy to get lost, so make sure you visit with friends!
Tiger Fighting Arena
Three years ago when George visited the tiger fighting arena, it was open to the public. However, this time we visited, it was actually closed off and under renovation. We were lucky enough to meet a few local men who were working on its renovation, who graciously allowed us to walk to the top, but strictly said, ‘no photos.’ This old arena was an actual place where emperors would fight their tigers against their royal elephants. You can still see some of the claw scratchings from the tigers within the stone walls.
Tu Hieu Pagoda
This is another extremely gorgeous and peaceful pagoda. Located in the middle of the forest, this pagoda is surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh King
We didn’t actually visit this tomb and have heard mixed reviews on it, however it is one of the more popular things to see in Hue, so if you are into ancient history definitely give it a go!
Hue is actually well known for its amazing food! There are plenty of restaurants to go around. We actually asked the lovely ladies at our hotel if they would take us on a mini food tour one night and we tried some of the traditional dishes. Banh Nam- steamed flat rice dumpling filled with shrimp and wrapped in a banana leaf! Bun Bo Hue- a famous noodle soup with beef a specialty of Hue. Overall, you should definitely try some of the local cuisine when in Hue!
HINGS TO DO IN HUE – WHERE TO EAT
Madam Thu Restaurant
This restaurant was absolutely delicious! It is one of the most popular spots in Hue and we could understand why! The food not only extremely tasty, but affordable. The staff there are also all very friendly and English speaking. They also provide you with warm towels and tea before your meal.
Dong Ba Market
This is one of the most famous markets filled with an eclectic mix of things to buy. Everything from spices, clothes, metals, and food. The Dong Ba Market is a great place to immerse yourself in local life and experience a different way of life!
Within the market is the Dong Ba Lady, famous for her feature in one of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episodes. According to Bourdain, the Dong Ba Lady serves up the best bowl of soup he had ever tried! After we heard about that, we knew we had to give it a go. Be sure to order a bowl of the Bun Bo Hue soup!
We will admit, it was not as good as it was hyped up to be, but it was an experience to remember! Tip: Finding her may be hard as there are many food vendors inside. Some will try to get you to sit at their stall, insisting that they are her… they are NOT. Look for the large lit up sign with Anthony Bourdain on it. We will insert a photo below of what her stall looks like! Good Luck!
WHERE TO STAY
We had the best stay at Shark Homestay. We opted for a private room with a balcony which was great for us to enjoy our coffee in the morning. The staff there are extremely helpful and can help you book any tour necessary. They went above and beyond to make us feel at home. They also have a really delicious complimentary breakfast included in the stay, which is a great way to save money throughout the day! Find it here on booking.
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