Royal Tomb. Mike Aquino.
A 19th century citadel, extravagant mausoleums of emperors past, historic pagodas—in Hue, many remnants of the ancient capital of Viet Nam remain. Located on the bank of the Perfume River, Hue showcases the country’s rich royal history and culture.
While it’s best to join organised tours to see the city’s known historic attractions with ease, you can also take a cyclo or rickshaw ride along the bank of the river on your way to the Citadel. The UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Citadel accommodates the Imperial Enclosure, the emperor’s residence, temples and palaces. To explore it, enter from the Ngo Mon Gate and take a stroll through its atmospheric grounds, desolate gardens, and intricately-designed gates.
Afterward, visit some of the Royal Tombs of Hue’s Nguyen dynasty emperors. Spread out on the bank of the river, stop to see the architecturally impressive Tomb of Minh Mang and the magnificent Tomb of Tu Duc with its pine trees and beautifully designed structures. Still along the riverbank, continue your sightseeing on a dragon boat to Thien Mu Pagoda. Built in 1844 atop a hill, Thien Mu Pagoda is the most famous pagoda in Hue.
When you get hungry from exploring Hue’s past, there’s no better city in Viet Nam to have a feast. Thanks to its rich history, Hue is also known for its cuisine—from the aesthetically delicate plates of food created for the royalty to the boldly flavoured rustic dishes. Don’t leave without feeling like an emperor and treating yourself to a degustation-style spread for an indulgent meal and sampling some of Hue’s street-side dishes such as the local noodle soup bun bo Hue, the local dumpling banh loc goi, and the spicy and soupy rice dish com hen for a foodie adventure.
Tour guide at Hue. Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.
Hue cultural dance. Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.
Entrance into Citadel. Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.
Citadel at Hue. Mike Aquino.
Similar Southeast Asia Experiences
For other former royal towns in Southeast Asia, visit the city of Luang Prabang in Laos; Bagan in Myanmar; and the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia. For other cultural experiences, visit Malaysia’s cities of Melaka, Penang and Ipoh; check out Singapore’s cultural precincts; and go shopping for cloth in Chiang Mai in Thailand.