The former imperial seat of government and Hue's prime attraction, this is a great sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, walls, gates, shops, museums and galleries, featuring art and costumes from various periods of Vietnamese history. Thanks to its size, it is also delightfully peaceful, a rare commodity in Vietnam. The citadel was badly knocked about during fighting between the French and the Viet Minh in 1947, and again in 1968 during the Tet Offensive, when it was shelled by the Viet Cong and then bombed by the Americans. As a result, some areas are now only empty fields, bits of walls and an explanatory plaque. Other buildings are intact and a few are in sparkling condition. For the rest, while restoration has been going on for 20 years, there is still quite a long way to go. Allow several hours to see it properly. Inside you can pay USD1.50 (30,000 dong) to dress up in the king or queen's clothing and sit on the throne for a fun photo opportunity.
Built between 1864–1867, the complex served as a second Imperial City where the emperor went for "working vacations". Tu Duc's contemplative nature and poetic spirit is reflected in the landscape and arrangement of the 50 buildings that at one time stood here. A vast, sprawling complex set around a lake, with wooden pavilions and tombs and temples dedicated to wives and favoured courtesans (Tu Duc had 104 to choose from). The courtesans' quarters are in ruins, with only outlines and crumbling walls left amid waves of overgrown grass and silence, but other areas are stunningly well-preserved. The emperor's tomb itself, tucked away in the back, is surprisingly modest. The final courtyard is nearly empty with just a stone coffin in the middle. (The tombs of Empress Le Thien Anh and Emperor Kien Phuc, who briefly ruled in 1884, are also here.) Try to dodge the crowds for this one.
The Hostel is a part of Tigon Premium Hotel, a two star hotel, offering comfortable and affordable accommodation for budget traveller. Strategically located in the central of backpacker area of Hue, the Hostel overlooks the Perfume River and the city’s most iconic landmark, Trang Tien Bridge. In addition to prime location, Tigon Hostel provides its guests with modern facilities, friendly services right in two Star Hotel with especially cheap price. It's a good choice for young travellers who love to share the dorm and be active making friends during their stays. Mixed dorm with no breakfast is $5; mixed dorm 10 bed $7; male/female dorm 6 bed $8; deluxe city view dorm 6 bed $9; private single $18; Twin $24; Double $22. Check out with them to get best price and offer.
Dating from 1925, this is the best preserved of the lot and, while comparatively compact, quite grand at first sight. While it follows the classic formula of forecourts leading up to the tomb of the emperor, complete with statues in attendance. Architecture buffs will spot some European influences. The tomb itself is completely over the top with incredibly detailed and opulent mosaics of cavorting dragons. Try to get to this one early, as it is a favourite stop for Asian tour-bus groups. Also, you may want to leave the tourist path and head up the hill on the right side of the tomb, where a small temple stands. You will have a great view of the tomb and the valley it faces.
Go local and try some delicious early morning coffee with chocolaty overtones, hot or iced, while watching river life on the canal. The woman who brews it up also offers banh mi, French bread with your choice of fillings. Another woman shares the same area of pavement and sells very reasonably priced banh canh, a popular local breakfast soup. A real plus here is the cleanliness. The coffee glasses are spotless. After your coffee, you can continue walking along Bach Dang to reach 2 famous local pagodas, both nearby.
An alternative tour experiences platform, they enable locals to offer authentic and unique activities to travelers such as cooking Vietnamese Cuisine with a local family, paper lantern workshops, traditional music instruments and even a course where you can make your own traditional paper masks or leather products with local craftsmen. A social enterprise, they work with many underprivileged people who either serve as hosts or facilitators/guides. A great way to interact with local people and take in the culture.
In this opulent complex, the main buildings are arranged on an east-west axis, including a courtyard surrounded by warrior statues and several temples and pavilions. Several bridges cross two lakes before the axis ends before the vast burial mound (which is circled by a fence). The mausoleum features large gardens and lakes: a pleasant place to sit and relax. If you're dropped off by boat note that there is a stretch of souvenir sellers to navigate during the short walk to the mausoleum entrance.
A must-see if you are interested in the earlier conflicts, back when the airport was a dirt strip. During the Vietnam War, an American garrison was assigned there and built up the airport with concrete bunkers, a paved airstrip and a few other luxuries. The airport was vital in keeping Hue supplied during the Easter Offensive of 1972 when "Charlie jumped the line". The airport retains the original buildings built by the Americans; however, they have been retrofitted for use by the Vietnamese.
From the makers of the ever popular Hanoi Backpacker's Hostel. Hue Backpacker's is the newest addition to Chu Van An and is rapidly becoming the spot to stay and hang out. Cheap accommodation, very clean, spacious balconies to relax and read a book, and they've got an elevator for your luggage. Free Internet, Free Wi-Fi and friendly & helpful staff. The downstairs area is also a bar and restaurant serving arguably the best burgers in Hue and other Western delights.
Built in 1848. This emperor and his wife were the most revered and loved throughout the country. Although he only ruled for 7 years, he was the most sorely missed. In a time of strife and economic problems, he was careful with the country's treasury and improved his people's living standard. His last wish was to be placed in a tomb that was not extravagant, parting ways with the tradition of creating lavish final resting places for emperors.
Similar to My An, but without the odour of sulphur. This site is surrounded by woods, which are pleasant to explore. Has graduated sections. Start with the cool section and work your way up. The hottest section is actually closed off, as it is too hot to bathe in. There are also private pools for 2 or 4 people and a swimming pool. There is a tiny restaurant on site. This is also where the local bottled Thanh Tan mineral water comes from.
Many tour companies and hostels offer "Top Gear" motorbike tours over the Hai Van Pass, through Da Nang and over to Hoi An. For someone who knows how to properly operate a motorbike or scooter this can be a very rewarding experience. Keep in mind that you will usually go through Da Nang at around rush hour in the afternoon, which can be very hectic and potentially dangerous if you are an inexperienced rider.
Exceptionally good value. The spotless, air conditioned rooms are well-furnished with modern amenities and include lockable wardrobes. The included breakfast is substantial. The staff are very attentive, and will learn your name. They will warmly welcome you back after each foray outside, and provide you with free drinks (lemon juice, corn water) every time you enter and whenever you sit in the lobby.
Wonderful old Hue-style ''nha vuon'' garden villa on a quiet side street, formerly the residence of a princess, converted by a bonsai enthusiast into a restaurant serving imperial cuisine. There are three set menus. All have 11 courses and are guaranteed to fill you up. The food wins full points for presentation, but is unfortunately somewhat toned down for the foreign palate.
One of the biggest restaurants in Hue. Prices are good, food is excellent, extremely clean. All is served by a professional staff, international experienced chef. It is also a complex of ancient houses among huge garden area. Nice food carvings. Cheapest wine is USD25 a bottle and beers started at USD3.50, rather steep when you are paying USD1 for a beer anywhere else.
Family-run hotel named after the wild urchin who'll make his displeasure known if you spend too long on the Internet-ready computer downstairs, thereby keeping him from online puzzle games. The rooms are spotlessly clean, with satellite TV, hot water and mini-fridges; each floor has a balcony, and it's not too loud outside. Breakfast is available for USD1.
The Hope Center offers disabled and disadvantaged people a place to learn and work. Garment manufacturing is the mainstay. However, a range of handicrafts are also made. In particular the beautiful handwoven cloth by A Luoi women is unique in its design and manufacture. Scarves, hand bags, purses and hand crafted jewellery are for sale. Well-worth a visit.
This family-run restaurant only serves original Hanoi-style bun cha: a dish with pork spring rolls, some meatballs, cabbage and carrot sauce with hot peppers, and bundles of noodles to dip in the sauce. As with all Vietnamese dishes, the hungry may have to order twice. Nice atmosphere while keeping the genuine atmosphere of a local restaurant.
Including the citadel, 3 tombs and a garden house. Tour available at many hotels. Entrance cost is not included and money will be asked in the bus (55,000 dong for citadel and tombs, 10,000 dong for garden house). Buffet lunch included. You can choose to only visit some of the places if you want. "Best" tomb is probably last one, Tu Duc.
Lovely cafe on a quiet side street and therefore still unspotted by the LP crowd. Atmosphere with soft music and green bamboo around and half the prices than in the tourist area 200 m around the block. Lots of different coffees and cakes, where especially the very recommendable coffee with cacao flavour is not easy to find in Hue.
Perched on a bluff over the river and housing some very fine gold and silver Buddha images. The Thien Mu Pagoda overlooks the Perfume River and is the official symbol of the city of Hue. Thien Mu means "elderly celestial woman", and refers to an old legend about the founding of the pagoda. Brimming with opportunities for great photos.
This is the real thing, local, not adapted to the Western palate. Try it with their chili sauce. The lady sitting behind the soup cauldron is Cam, the cook and namesake of the business. She only speaks Vietnamese, but just look in the pot, as the locals do, The price varies with how many different things you choose.
A humanitarian project of the Spiral Foundation. This shop sells eco-friendly handicrafts made by disabled artisans in Hue. Many of the products are made from recycled items, including recycled soda cans and recycled telephone wire baskets. All net proceeds fund heart surgeries for poor children in the Hue area.
Tucked away in the heart of the guesthouse/cheaper district. Friendly staff, good rooms and rates are negotiable. Free Wi-Fi and PCs available for guest use. Air-con. Satellite TV. Laundry service at 20,000 dong per kilo. Restaurant downstairs serves good food and very reasonably priced.
Another of Hue's great attractions are the Tombs of the Emperors, on the Perfume River south of the city. They are accessible by taxi or bike from the city, but the best way to see them is to hire a river boat and go for a cruise. Plan to make a full day of it.
Excellent traditional Hue food, try the meat rolls (wrapped in mint leaves) or the fried spring rolls. Incredibly crunchy. Not too crowded, kind of hidden on the first floor. Don't miss it. All dishes (have small and big versions, so you can order a few.
Boutique hotel near Perfume River. All rooms have wooden floors and are equipped with IDD telephone, air conditioning, cable TV, refrigerator, bath, (bathtub and shower), hair dryer, coffee and tea making facilities, private computer with ADSL.
Very nice, clean hotel on a small, calm side street near Pham Ngu Lao. All rooms have balcony, air-con, private bath. Rooms for 2 to 4 persons. Free Wi-Fi, bicycle and motorbike rental available. Staff is very friendly and speaks good English.
A real adventure on the off beaten track from Hue to Hoi An by motorbike. Professional and funny guides/drivers (drive by urself also available). $45, dep. 8.30, arr. 16.30, contact: Mr. Duyen, hueamazinghomestayriders.com
Hue's grand old hotel which has been open for over a hundred years. Excellent riverside location, whitewashed colonial charm and a pleasant inner courtyard, although the rooms could use a little fine-tuning.
Enjoy a delicious cup of Vietnamese coffee, or any beverage, in this beautiful setting. The traditional beam house is surrounded by a garden and small stream where you can hear birds and restful music.
Hotel offering 56 air conditioned rooms, all of which have a cable television, an Internet connection and a minibar. Amenities include massage and sauna, an outdoor swimming pool and a souvenir shop.
Live DJ, free pool table and a good vibe. Not far from Pham Ngu Lao, but they offer to pay for taxis from hotels for parties of four persons or more. Stays open till the last one passes out.
New Bar coffee in the center of hue,<p>You can enjoy your drink and listen music near to the river inside the amazing garden.<p>A Vietnamese and French team will be here to helping you.
All rooms are air conditioned, all equipped with 32-inch LCD cable TV, shower with bath and minibar. Bar and restaurant, Internet room, boutique and souvenir shop, and laundry service.
Small and very local. This eponymous eatery specializes in its namesake dish. 25,000 dong gets you a bowl with a generous, mouth-meltingly soft (if fatty) cutlet plopped on top.
Shop for drinking ice tea, coffee, smoothies and juices. Local prices (they are published on a board). Try rau má juice: reputed to be very good for your health.
The rooms are well equipped and the rooftop restaurant and pool have nice views. Rooms from a slightly overpriced USD30, including a decent buffet breakfast.
Air-con, hot water & satellite TV included. Popular with Japanese tourists. Friendly and helpful staff. Some rooms have bathtubs and/or private balcony.
Monks and nuns frequent this restaurant during lunch. A small shop near the door sells Vietnamese language Buddhist texts, prayer beads and icons.
Rooms with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and 32-inch LCD TV with satellite/ cable channels. Restaurant, business centre, fax and photocopying services.
Spotless rooms, spacious, with large bathrooms and TV. There is a balcony to sit on at night, and it's close to all the nightlife in Hue.
At the institute for the blind. All of the staff work and live in this facility and speak a little English. This is where the locals go.
Recommend the chicken breast with mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes, 80,000 dong and well worth every bit of it. Duck also quite nice.
The owner is a good photographer and many of his pictures hang on the wall. The food is good with local and Western favourites.
The most remote of the tombs, quiet and fallen into disrepair as Gia Long, the first Nguyen emperor, was notoriously despotic.
Renovated, it tries to bring to life the French colonial era of the 1920s. It has the largest swimming pool and spa in Hue.
Nice cheap hotel located on the main tourist hangout. Surprisingly clean and big spacious rooms and not far from the river.
Expensive, nice setting, not very authentic, but still good. Cheap by normal standards obviously. The live music is good.
Has the same owner as Holiday Hotel, but simpler rooms. Pickup from train station included, if booked in advance.
Professional and personable staff. Clean, spacious and beautifully designed rooms. Free pickup from train.
Contains photos and information on Ho Chi Minh as well as the history of Hue in photographs.
A nice place to enjoy delicious local cuisine in a well-designed traditional style building.
This is a family restaurant where locals come to eat Hue specialities. Cheap and very good.
Pancakes, nem lui (minced pork grilled with lemon grass on coal) and banh beo recommended.
Has 15 non-smoking rooms, air conditioning, bathrobes, daily newspaper, desk, hair dryer.
In the centre of the city, near the Perfume River. It's a 10 min walk to Hue Citadel.
A nice little restaurant with decent, but very cheap food and excellent fruit shakes.
A charming Belgian-Vietnamese owned bar, with a welcoming interior and free pool.
Built in 1917. In March 2014, this tomb was closed to the public for renovation.
Good hotel. The staff is friendly, the rooms are clean and neat. Free Internet.
The water here has a high sulphur content, purported to have health benefits.
This Japanese restaurant serves excellent food for a relatively good price.
Nice and helpful staff, free wifi, free breakfast, dorm $5, 24h frontdesk
Friendly, quiet location in a backpacker hotel alley off Le Loi.
Serves French food, Vietnamese food and pizza. Quite touristy.
Hotel surrounded by trees. Rooms with river or city view.
It's a little bar owned by the charming lady Thu.