Hue, Vietnam, beckons travelers with its rich history, captivating culture, and stunning natural beauty.  Immerse yourself in a bygone era as you explore the city’s ancient imperial sites, serene pagodas, and charming neighborhoods. To guide you on this unforgettable adventure, here’s a curated list of the Top 11 things you must do in Hue, Vietnam. Delve deeper into each of these experiences in the following sections, so stay tuned!

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

1. Embarking on the scenic train journey from Da Nang to Hue

The train journey from Da Nang to Hue is a scenic delight, offering stunning views of the Vietnamese countryside. The journey takes around 3 hours and passes through mountains, rice paddies, and villages.

As you leave Da Nang, you’ll see the city’s skyscrapers and beaches recede into the distance. The train then begins to climb into the mountains, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. You’ll see lush green rice paddies, dotted with traditional Vietnamese villages.

The train then descends into the city of Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. As you arrive in Hue, you’ll see the city’s many temples and pagodas. Whether you are a nature lover, a culture enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing way to travel, this train journey is for you. Book your tickets today and start exploring the beauty of Vietnam!

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

2. Discover every corner of the Imperial Citadel – Hue’s Forbidden City

Located majestically on the banks of the poetic Huong River, the Imperial Citadel of Hue, also known as the Kinh Thanh Hue, is one of the cultural world heritages recognized by UNESCO. It was once the capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty, preserving unique historical and architectural values.

Stepping into the Imperial Citadel, visitors feel like they are lost in another world, with towering walls, magnificent palaces, and peaceful gardens. Visitors can explore the majestic gates such as Ngo Mon, Cua Hien Nhon, or Cua Chinh Dong; admire the typical architectural works such as the Thai Hoa Palace, where important ceremonies of the court took place; or the Dien Tho Palace, where the king rested and worked.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

Going deeper into the Imperial Citadel, visitors will find the Forbidden Purple City, the living area of the king and the royal family. This area is surrounded by high walls and has many gates, showing strict security. The Forbidden Purple City includes many palaces, temples, and gardens, each with its own unique beauty.

Walking through the Forbidden Purple City, visitors feel like they are being taken back in time to the past, feeling the majesty and splendor of the Nguyen Dynasty. This place also preserves many fascinating historical stories, about talented kings, fierce wars, and anecdotes about court life.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

The Imperial Citadel of Hue is a must-visit destination when traveling to Hue. This place is not only a historical relic but also a cultural symbol of Vietnam. By exploring the Imperial Citadel of Hue, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the history, architecture, and culture of Vietnam in a deep and impressive way.

3. Taking a boat ride and listening to Hue royal music on the Hương River

Imagine yourself gliding down the gentle Hương River (Perfume River), the warm Vietnamese sun on your skin. As the iconic Truong Tien Bridge shimmers in the distance, a gentle melody fills the air. This is the magic of a traditional Hue dragon boat ride with a performance of royal Hue music.

  • Hue Royal Music: A Journey Back in Time

Hue royal music, or Ca Hue, is a captivating art form with a rich history. Once performed exclusively for the Nguyen Dynasty emperors within the Forbidden Purple City, it’s now a cultural treasure you can experience firsthand. The music features a unique blend of instruments like the penetrating tones of the đàn bầu (monochord) and the soothing sounds of the đàn tranh (zither). As the melodies unfold, you’ll be transported back to a bygone era of imperial Vietnam.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
  • The Enchanting Dragon Boat Ride

Your journey begins aboard a beautifully decorated dragon boat, a traditional vessel that adds to the regal ambiance. As you sail along the tranquil river, verdant landscapes and historical landmarks like ancient pagodas unfold before you. The gentle lapping of water and the cool breeze create a serene atmosphere, perfect for soaking in the music and the scenery.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
  • Where History Meets Tranquility

This unique experience combines cultural immersion with a touch of luxury. Imagine sipping on a refreshing drink while captivating melodies wash over you. It’s a chance to unwind, appreciate the beauty of Hue, and connect with its rich history. Whether you’re a music lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a relaxing escape, a Hue dragon boat ride with royal music is an unforgettable experience.

4.Visiting the imperial tombs: Minh Mang Tomb, Tu Duc Tomb, Khai Dinh Tomb

Hue, the former capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), boasts a fascinating collection of royal tombs. These elaborate structures offer a glimpse into the lives, beliefs, and architectural styles of the Nguyen emperors. Here’s a glimpse into three of the most prominent tombs:

4.1 Minh Mang Tomb

Located about 12 kilometers from Hue city center, the Tomb of Minh Mang is known for its majesty and serene setting. Emperor Minh Mang (reigned 1820-1841) was the second emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sprawling complex featuring three courtyards, each with its own unique architectural style. Stroll through the elaborate gateways, admire the stele pavilion, and climb the scenic ramparts for breathtaking views of the surrounding gardens and countryside.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

4.2 Tu Duc Tomb

Nestled in a lush valley, the Tomb of Tu Duc is the largest and most poetic of the Nguyen Dynasty tombs. Unlike other tombs built for permanence, Tu Duc’s tomb served as a temporary resting place before his final burial location was chosen. The complex features a lake, a pavilion for royal performances, and numerous palaces reflecting Chinese influences. Take a boat ride on the lake for a picturesque vantage point of the tomb’s tranquil beauty.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

4.3 Khai Dinh Tomb

The most recent tomb complex, built for Emperor Khai Dinh, tands out for its unique blend of European and Vietnamese architectural styles. Unlike other tombs featuring traditional wooden structures, the Khai Dinh Tomb uses concrete and colored glass fragments, creating a more modern aesthetic.  Ascend the 127 steps adorned with dragon statues to reach the burial chamber, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Visiting these imperial tombs is a captivating way to delve into Vietnamese history and appreciate the artistry and grandeur of Nguyen Dynasty architecture. Remember to dress modestly when visiting these sites, and plan to spend at least a few hours exploring each tomb complex.

Escape the hustle and bustle of Hue city and discover a peaceful haven called Bao Vinh Ancient Town. 

5. Strolling around Bao Vinh ancient town

This hidden gem offers a glimpse into the past, showcasing traditional Vietnamese architecture and a slower pace of life. Step into Bao Vinh and feel transported to another era. Wander along narrow streets lined with timeworn wooden houses, their mossy facades whispering stories of times gone by.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

6. Checking in at Thuy Xuan incense village with its vibrant bundles of incense

When tourists first arrive in Thuy Xuan, they are mesmerized by the colorful bundles of incense that are drying on brick yards, which create a vibrant and picturesque scene. The soft scent of incense fills the air, filling the senses and inspiring a sense of calm and relaxation.

In addition to being a hub for production, Thuy Xuan Incense Village preserves priceless customs. Explore the workshops, talk to the locals, and discover the elaborate process that goes into making handmade incense. Even more thrilling, guests can attempt producing their own fragrant incense, producing a one-of-a-kind memento imbued with the spirit of Thuy Xuan. Here, guests can experience the splendor of traditional culture, be surrounded by vivid colors, and purchase one-of-a-kind mementos.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

7. Savouring all the delicious Hue specialties like beo, nam, loc cake

7.1 Beo cake

This is a popular and delicate dish. The rice flour cake is steamed in small cups or molds, creating a thin and translucent wrapper. It’s then filled with a savory shrimp, mung bean, and fried shallot mixture. Beo cakes are enjoyed with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

7.2 Nam Cake

These small rice flour patties are dipped in boiling water for just a moment, giving them a soft and chewy texture. They are typically filled with seasoned pork and shrimp paste, then topped with fresh herbs and served with a dipping sauce similar to beo cake.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

7.3 Loc Cake

This is a steamed dumpling made from translucent rice flour dough. Inside, you’ll find a flavorful filling of shrimp, pork, and sometimes wood ear mushrooms. Loc cake are served with a dipping sauce that can range from sweet and spicy to savory and nutty.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

8. Visiting Thien Mu Pagoda

Perched majestically on Ha Khe Hill, overlooking the poetic Huong River, Thien Mu Pagoda stands as an unmissable landmark in the city of Hue. Founded in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang, the first Nguyen Lord of Dang Trong, this ancient pagoda has witnessed countless historical events and continues to be a significant cultural and spiritual site for Vietnam.

Thien Mu Pagoda is a treasure trove of Vietnamese cultural heritage. It houses numerous valuable artifacts, including a four-meter-tall bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, a two-ton bronze bell, and a large drum. The pagoda also boasts a rich collection of historical records and religious texts, offering valuable insights into Vietnamese history and beliefs.

9. Tasting authentic Hue-style bun bo Hue (Hue beef noodle soup)

Bun Bo Hue is a signature dish of the Imperial City, renowned for its bold, spicy, and unforgettable flavor. The broth is simmered from beef bones, lemongrass, Huế shrimp sauce, and spices, creating a rich, fatty, and reddish-orange color. The chewy rice vermicelli intertwines with tender beef slices, brisket, tendon, pork knuckle, crab cakes, and more, offering a unique culinary experience. Enjoying Bun Bo Hue with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, shredded banana flower, lime, chili, and spicy shrimp sauce will leave you with a lasting taste of the Imperial City.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

10.Taking a walk on the colorful Trang Tien Bridge

Immerse yourself in the poetic beauty of the Huong River and experience the tranquil pace of life at Truong Tien Bridge, a symbolic landmark of the city. Take a leisurely stroll on the bridge in the early morning or late afternoon to fully embrace the fresh air and admire the serene river, the timeworn roofs, and the majestic Ngu Binh mountain range.

Steeped in history and culture, Truong Tien Bridge offers visitors a chance to explore nearby historical sites such as the Hue Citadel, Ky Dai, and the Hue Royal Palace. Indulge in Hue’s culinary delights along the Huong River, where you can savor specialties like Bun Bo Hue, Hen Rice, Banh Beo, Nam, and Loc.

A walk on the Truong Tien Bridge is an unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the romantic atmosphere and tranquil rhythm of life and discover the cultural charm of the ancient capital city.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

11. Exploring Hue’s culinary scene at local restaurants

  • Madam Thu Restaurant.

A well-liked dining destination in Hue, Vietnam, Madam Thu Restaurant is well-known for its mouthwatering regional cuisine, especially from the Hue region. The restaurant, which is well situated in the center of Hue City, is well known for its quaint and traditional Vietnamese decor. Madam Thu’s food, service, and ambience have all received rave reviews for years. Numerous Vietnamese dishes, including all of the classics like bun bo, banh nam, and banh loc, are available on the menu at Madam Thu Restaurant. The dishes are carefully and meticulously prepared using only locally sourced, fresh ingredients.

TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM
TOP 11 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN HUE, VIET NAM

Location: 04 Vo Thi Sau Street, Hue City,

Opening hour: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM