Huế: 9 Things To Do In The Imperial City Of Vietnam

If you fell in love with the charm of Hội An and hoping the rest of Central Vietnam be the same, you probably going be disappointed. But if you’re looking to see some beautiful historical sites, Huế is the place to be!

Home to the ruling Emperors and fashionable elite, Huế was once the nation’s imperial capital during the Nguyen Dynasty. Situated on the banks of the Perfume River, Huế is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with pagodas, tombs and temples. Although much of Huế’s historical sites were much neglected during the imperial era, many landmarks were preserved so that visitors today could still enjoy and get a taste for the real Vietnam.

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Take a scenic train ride

Whether you are travelling from Đà Nẵng to Huế or vice versa, you can’t miss this scenic route: Hải Vân Pass. The more preferred way is to ride along this road by motorbike only if you’re an experienced rider. Alternatively, take a train and enjoy the view. I wouldn’t recommend this as a day-trip as it’s a 3-hours journey just for one way.

Catch a sunset along Perfume River

The Perfume River is one of the most famous waterways in Vietnam and Huế is the perfect place to take it all in. There is a lovely waterfront promenade along the banks of the river which makes a great place for a scenic walk in the evenings.

Opening Hours: Daily, 24-hours

Entrance Fee: Free

Admire the designs of Imperial Citadel

Today, only a handful of buildings within the citadel still stand; in former times, there would have been more than 160. Much of the city has been deteriorated over the years but restoration is currently undergoing. There was a part of the citadel known as “The Forbidden Purple City,” which, much like China’s Forbidden City.

The opening hours for the Imperial City of Huế is from 8:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m Friday to Wednesday. Every Thursdays the opening hours extend till 10:00 p.m, allowing visitors to experience the complex by night. The entry ticket to visit the Imperial City Of Huế costs 150,000 VND (US$6.50).

Visit Mausoleum of Emperor Khải Định

Although a hugely unpopular Vietnamese ruler, the Tomb of Khải Định is one of the most elaborated of the Emperor Tombs in Huế. A mix of Eastern and Western styles, Emperor Khải Định built his tomb to mimic it’s culture’s ornate style. Built into the steep hillside, the stark white and black exterior contrast its colourful interior. 

Opening Hours: Daily, 07:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m

Entrance Fee: 150,000 VND (US$6.50)

Wander around Tomb of Tự Đức

The Tomb of Tự Đức, the longest reigning ruler in the Nguyễn Dynasty, is one of the most visited in Hue. It was designed by the Emperor himself and there is a lovely lake in the middle of the grounds filled with lily pads. Despite the splendor of the tomb, the Emperor chose to be buried in a secret location and the site is yet to be discovered.

Opening Hours: Daily, 07:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m

Entrance Fee: 100,000 VND (US$4.50)

Awed at Thien Mu Pagoda

The Pagoda of the Celestial Lady is a stunningly tallest religious building in Vietnam. This beautiful 7-tiered pagoda was originally constructed in the 1600s and has been reconstructed, damaged, and restored several times over the centuries. It was used as home of eunuchs during the Ancient Citadel in Huế and today is home to 70 monks living here.

Opening Hours: Daily, 07:30 a.m – 5:30 p.m

Entrance Fee: Free

Eat at Anthony Bourdain’s Huế Lady in Dong Ba Market

Anthony Bourdain was an American celebrity chef and hosted travel documentary focusing on the exploration of international cuisine. During his stay in Hue, he sampled what he has stated as being “the greatest soup in the world” – Bun Bo Hue, found in Dong Ba Market.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with Vietnamese Desserts

Chè is any traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, dessert soup or pudding. Varieties of Chè are made with mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, tapioca, jelly, fruits, and coconut cream. Choose your favorites from a variety and mix them up!

Explore Paradise Cave in Phong Nha National Park

Quite a recent discovery in 2005, Paradise Cave (Thiên Đường Cave) was named by British cave explorers who were impressed by the beautiful and spectacular stalactites and stalagmites inside this cave. Having a length of 31-kilometers, it is the longest dry cave in Asia. Opened in 2010, only 1-kilometers of the cave is accessible to the public without a guide.

Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!

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Aloha! I'm Bunzy, a curious dreamer who is passionate about roaming around the world getting lost, experiencing new cultures and meeting the locals. My superpower is to be able to sleep anywhere, anyhow!

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