Hue is the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Located in central Vietnam, the ancient city of Hue was home of the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th Century. Hue is famous for its spectacular royal tombs of the emperors and for Hue Citadel which is Royal Palace of the Imperial City.
Hue has almost everything, from scenic beaches, majestic scenery of mountains to the ancient architecture and unique cultural traditions that have been there for generations. Trip to Hue will bring you an extremely memorable experience.
Hue Imperial City (The Citadel)
The Imperial City or the Citadel is a walled palace in Hue. Hue Citadel was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1993. The large complex of buildings features hundreds ruins of ancient palaces, temples and monuments from the times when Hue was the royal capital of Vietnam's Nguyen Dynasty.
Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, is a historic temple located 4 kilometers from the center of Hue. This seven-story pagoda sits on the hill on the northern bank of the Perfume River. This is the destination attractive not only for Buddhists but for anyone looking for the place to enjoy charming natural scenery and calm one’s mind.
Tombs of Hue
Some of the most famous tourist destinations in Hue, that attract a large number of tourists every year, are the tombs of the Nguyen kings. The most important tombs of Hue that you should visit are Tomb of Tu Duc, Tomb of Minh Mang and Tomb of Khai Dinh.
Tomb of Tu Duc
Tomb of Tu Duc is located on Van Nien Hill in Duong Xuan Thuong village, 5 km south of Hue. This imperial tomb is the most impressive of the royal mausoleums in Hue as its unique architecture is in the harmony with natural scenery. The tomb was built for the Emperor Tu Duc who was the longest-reigning monarch of Nguyen Dynasty. Tomb of Tu Duc looks like as a large park with a magnificent scenery.
Tomb of Minh Mang
Tomb of Minh Mang, also known as Hieu Lang, is one of the most famous mausoleums of emperors in Hue. The royal tomb is located on the western bank of the Perfume River, about 12 km south of Hue City. In the complex of the Royal Tomb of King Minh Mang you can find various palaces, temples, pavilions and other structures fitting well with the ponds and surrounding landscape.
Tomb of Khai Dinh
Tomb of Khai Dinh, also known as Ung Lang, is located at the foot of the mountain Chau Chu, 9 kilometers south of Hue. The tomb was built for the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty - Khai Dinh. Tomb of Khai Dinh is an unusual imperial tomb as its architecture is a good combination of modern European and classical Vietnamese architecture.
Hue Natural Attractions
In addition to the ancient historical and cultural sights of Hue, there are also many fascinating natural attractions in Hue such as Lang Co Beach, Thuan An Beach, Canh Duong Beach, Thac Nhi Lake, romantic Perfume River, Tam Giang Lagoon, Thua Thien Village and many others. Getting out from the city to explore the nature of Hue province can make an extremely wonderful journey.
The complete list of Hue must-see tourist attractions can be found here: Top Tourist Attractions in Hue.
Update ticket prices for top tourist attractions in Hue can be found here: Price of Tickets to Complex of Hue Monuments.
Traveling to Hue
There are many ways that can be used for traveling to Hue. Some of the most popular means of transportation for getting to the imperial city are briefly described below.
Flights to Hue
Flying is the most time-saving way for getting to Hue. The city has its own Phu Bai International Airport (HUI), which is located about 13 km from Hue City center. However, currently only 3 airlines (Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific) are operating at Hue Airport serving passengers on two domestic routes: from Hanoi (6 daily flights) and Ho Chi Minh City (18 daily flights). It takes only about 1 hour 30 minutes to fly to Hue from these cities.
From Hue Airport to City Center
Taxi: Taking a taxi is a convenient way to travel from Phu Bai Airport to the city center. You can find taxis parked outside the airport. The price varies depending on the company and type of the car, but taxi fare from Hue Airport to city center should be about 200,000 VND. It takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the city.
Bus: Bus is the main mean of public transport for locals traveling from Phu Bai Airport to the center of Hue City. Two public bus routes connect the airport with the city: No. 2 and No. 11. The earliest bus departs at about 6:00 and the latest leaves about 22:00. Bus ticket costs only 5,000 VND per person and it takes about 30-60 minutes to reach Hue center.
Airport Transfer: Private transfer is a good option if you are travelling in a group. Private transfer from Phu Bai Airport to anywhere in Hue City costs about 300,000 VND for 4-seat car.
Other options: For more Information about how go from Hue Airport to city center check How to get from Phu Bai Airport (HUI) to Hue City.
Flights to Da Nang
Alternatively, you can fly to Da Nang International Airport (DAD) and then transfer from Da Nang to Hue. Many tourists choose to travel this way because Da Nang Airport receives a larger number of flights from various destinations and it is convenient to explore two central cities that are only 100 km apart.
Flights from Bangkok
Da Nang Airport is the nearest to Hue international airport that receives direct flights from Bangkok, making the trip to Hue from Thailand really easy. Low cost carrier AirAsia serves this route as well as Bangkok Airways and Vietnam Airlines. Flight deals for this route can be found here:
Train to Hue
Travelling by train is also a popular option for getting to Hue because it’s relatively cheap and safe and to take a train. Train is also a suitable choice if you want to admire the natural scenery and beautiful landscapes along the route. Hue Railway Station is located right in the city center.
Train tickets from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Hue normally cost from 500,000 VND per person. If you want more comfort and better service, choose a more expensive seat type.
The train schedule from Hanoi to Hue:
- SE1: Hanoi 19:30 - Hue 8:48
- SE3: Hanoi 22:00 - Hue 10:20
- SE5: Hanoi 09:00 - Hue 22:42
- SE7: Hanoi 06:00 - Hue 19:00
- TN1: Hanoi 13:10 - Hue 03:39
The train schedule from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue:
- SE2: Saigon 19:30 - Hue 15:23
- SE4: Saigon 22:00 - Hue 16:39
- SE6: Saigon 22:00 - Hue 05:31
- SE8: Saigon 06:00 - Hue 01:28
- TN2: Saigon 13:10 - Hue 12:06
Bus to Hue
Bus is probably the most appropriate choice for traveling to Hue because of its convenience and affordable price. But you should also consider carefully before taking a long distance bus as the journey takes long and it’s far from being comfortable, especially for taller people. There are many buses to Hue from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the travel time is usually by 2-3 hours shorter than taking a train.
Find various transportation options on the most popular routes:
For other routes to/from Hue, use this search form.
From Da Nang to Hue
Train: Train is good choice for traveling from Da Nang to Hue. The distance between Da Nang Railway Station and Hue Railway Station is about 110 km. There are 6 daily trains from Da Nang to Hue, and the average travel time is about 2.5-3 hours. Train tickets can be booked online here: Second Class Train from Da Nang to Hue.
Taxi: Taking a taxi from Da Nang to Hue is very convenient for group travels, but the price is quite high as normally the transfer between two cities costs from 1,000,000 VND to 1,800,000 VND, depending on the number of seats and the route. In Da Nang, there are several taxi companies and some of the most reliable ones are Mai Linh Taxi, Vinasun, Tien Sa.
Motorbike: This is the most economical way to travel as motorbike rental prices are only 80,000-150,000 VND per day. However, riding motorbike is somewhat dangerous. Traveling from Da Nang to Hue by motorbike through Hai Van Pass is the best way to enjoy this magnificent scenery.
Tour: You can easily take a day trip from Da Nang to Hue to visit the famous landmarks and must-sees in Hue. You can join this Hue City Tour from Da Nang and visit the historical sites in Hue City in a day.
Hue to Hoi An
Hoi An is a popular town in central Vietnam. Traveling between Hue and Hoi An is also easy as there are plenty of transportation options to choose from. If you are planning to travel from Hue to Hoi An or vice versa, for detailed information check: Best Way to Travel from Hue to Hoi An.
How to get around Hue City
Boat: It's a very popular transport in Hue City. You can take a dragon boat to sail along the Perfume River to visit the most important attractions of Hue.
Cyclo: Riding a cyclo, a three-wheeled cycle taxi, is the authentic way to discover Hue which became a popular way to get around the city. You can take a leisurely stroll around this beautiful ancient city. The price of the ride is about 80,000-100,000 VND per 30 minutes
Bus: Public bus is popular and easy way to around the city. Currently, Hue public bus system has 14 regular routes that let you roam even far away from the city.
Walk: If you want to explore Hue on your own, then just walking around the city is another good option. You can easily take a half day walk in Hue Imperial Citadel to learn about Hue History and Vietnamese Royal Culture.
Motorbike: For those who love adventures, motorbike is an extremely convenient transportation for getting around Hue. You can rent a motorbike for only 100,000-150,000 VND per day.
Other options: Getting around Hue is pretty easy and it doesn't cost that much either. For more transportation options check: How to get around Hue City.
Where to stay in Hue
In terms of the areas of Hue that are convenient to stay, you basically have few choices. Detailed information about choosing accommodation in Hue can be found here: Where to Stay in Hue.
The most popular area for tourists to stay in Hue is the city center, on the southern bank of Perfume River between Nguyen Cong Tru and Huong Vuong streets. There are plenty of hotels, hostels and homestays available.
Some of the best rated Hue hotels are listed below.
There are also many luxury resorts with offering top-level service outside the city. Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa, Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa, Ana Mandara Hue Beach Resort are the popular names that are ready to offer you dream vacation nearby Hue beach. However, room rates at these resorts are relatively higher than at the hotels in the city.
What to eat in Hue
Hue is not only impressive by its nostalgic beauty of historical sites but also by Hue cuisine that lets you enjoy countless delicious specialties. You can experience the authentic taste of Hue by joining Hue Street Food Walking Tour.
Some of the most popular Hue cuisine specialties:
Nem Lui Hue: Hue lemongrass skewers with grilled pork sausage or meatball served with freshly-cooked vegetables, dipped in the special sauce.
Bun Bo Hue: Beef Noodle which is present in all cities in Vietnam. However, only in Hue can you feel the soul of this dish. A bowl of Bun Bo Hue usually has a piece of pork leg, small pork blood and a few slices of thinly sliced beef with the typical aromatic flavor of fish sauce, and spiciness of chili pepper. The price for each bowl is only about 15,000-25,000 VND.
Mussel Rice: This dish is made from white rice served with mussels, peanuts, fried pork, and raw vegetables that are mixed together to create a distinct flavor. Mussel rice is quite cheap as one bowl costs only about 10,000-15,000 VND.
Banh Nam, Banh Beo: These are 2 types of cake that you should not miss when coming to Hue. The price of each type of cake is only 1,000 VND per piece.
Banh Bot Loc: This is a transparent chewy dumpling made from tapioca flour and filled with minced fatty pork or bacon and shrimp. Although Banh Bot Loc is extremely popular, you will definitely not forget the delicious taste of this dumpling after trying it in Hue.
Hue Pancake: Hue pancake is called Banh khoai and is made from rice flour batter with turmeric and topped with shrimp, pork slices, bean sprouts and spring onions.
The complete Hue food guide can be found here: Hue Food Specialties.
Souvenirs from Hue
Hue has many interesting things you can buy as souvenirs to bring back home to your family or friends.
Conical hats: Hue hats is one of the symbol of the ancient capital and it is a meaningful gift.
Sesame candies: Sesame is considered as one of the cultural symbols in Hue. Hue sesame candies are made up of bean flour, malt, and rice cakes.
Melaleuca oil: This oil is very famous in Hue with its effective use in preventing cough and cold for children, pregnant women and adults.
Ginger jam: Ginger jam is one of the nutritious delicacies that Hue people often use as a dessert.
Best time to travel to Hue
The weather in Hue is divided into 2 distinct seasons: rainy season and dry season.
In particular, the rainy season starts from September to February with typical rains and frequent storms. During the end of the year, the temperature can be as low as 9 degrees. If you will travel to Hue during the rainy season, you will get a chance "to taste" something called "Hue rain" that many people come to experience. That is the feeling when sitting in a coffee shop in front of Hue Citadel, sipping hot aromatic coffee and watching the rain falling down with indescribable feelings.
The dry season is from March to August, with bright sunny days and temperatures reaching even as high as 40 degrees. During this season rains are quite rare so you can easily visit the historical sites of Hue and mountainous areas as well as refresh in the cool blue sea.
Each season in Hue can give you different unique experiences.
If you are a fan of festivals, you should visit Hue during one of city’s festivals such as Royal Palace Night, Ao Dai Festival, Street Festival, Food Festival, that are taking place from the middle of April to the beginning of May. At this time of the year, you will discover the unique festive culture of Hue.