best things to do in hue

The Best Things to do in Hue, Vietnam

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Hue is a wonderful city with lots of history and a relaxed vibe. That’s why Hue was one of my favorite places to visit in Vietnam! We spent 2 nights in Hue at a lovely homestay (more info below!) and had enough time to check out all that the city has to offer. Here are the best things to do in Hue, Vietnam, for a 2-day trip.

What is the best time to travel to Hue, Vietnam?

It’s recommended to visit Hue between January to August. Generally, the best time to visit Hue is from January to April and the worst time to travel to
Hue is from September to December. However regardless of whether it is dry or wet season, you should always prepare for sudden weather changes.

Air Travel to Hue, Vietnam

Many visitors don’t know that Hue actually has its very own international airport. Phu Bai International Airport (IATA: HUI) operates flights between major cities in Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia. When I traveled to Hue, I actually took a plane from Hanoi to Hue, which only takes 1:15 hours.

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However, most tourists visit Hue via bus or train from other cities in Vietnam. I highly recommend checking connections and booking your transportation before you arrive. This makes travel planning so much easier.

To do this, I like to use 12go.asia, a helpful platform where you can book trains, buses, ferries, transfers and flights all across Asia.

Best Places to Stay in Hue

Hue isn’t a very large city, yet there are a lot of awesome things to do in Hue and you can easily get from one place to another within the center and surrounding area. However, if you only have a short time in Hue, I recommend staying near the center in one of the hotels below.

Luxury Hotel in Hue

Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for a luxurious take on Vietnamese culture with first-class hospitality, extensive spa treatments, and different onsite bars and restaurants, the Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa is the perfect choice for you.

The resort is located in the quiet outskirts of Hue but you can easily hop on a complimentary shuttle and head into town. Guests can choose to stay in beautifully furnished bungalows, huts, villas or houses that are all surrounded by natural green forest. Some rooms even have a private pool!

What’s also cool about this resort is that you can take Vietnamese cooking classes, Tai Chi classes, or select from different tours available.

Budget Hotel in Hue

Hue Nino Hotel

Budget travelers wanting to stay in Hue city center should opt for Hue Nino Hotel. This hotel offers easy access to shopping and entertainment areas and also features a restaurant, 24-hour front desk and rooms with traditional Hue décor.

Rooms at the Nino Hue are fitted with hardwood furnishings and free Wi-Fi, a cable TV and minibar.

The in-house restaurants offers a variety of Vietnamese and international dishes, while the hotel bar is the perfect place to grab light snacks and beverages.

You can also arrange sightseeing tours with local guides right at the hotel’s tour desk.

My top pick:

Ciel Homestay

My husband and I stayed at this lovely homestay near the citadel of Hue. The villa is owned by a lovely lady who turned some of her rooms into guest rooms. It’s a beautiful villa with a huge lush garden. On top of that, the owner makes local breakfast, including delicious Vietnamese coffee, everyday for the guests. If you get lucky, she will also show you her private “museum”, where she keeps artifacts passed down generations.

Best Things to do in Hue, Vietnam

Day 1: Explore The Imperial City and Local Market

We explored the beautiful Imperial City, the main attraction of Hue, on our first day in the city. As the weather gets extremely hot and humid, I recommend heading to the Imperial City either early in the morning or in the late afternoon. This gives you enough time to also see Dong Ba Market and Trang Tien Bridge before or after visiting the Imperial City.

Dong Ba Market

Dong Ba Market is the oldest of its kind in Hue, with hundreds of stalls selling household items, handicrafts, clothing and fresh produce at affordable prices.

Trang Tien Bridge

Trang Tien Bridge is the most beautiful and attractive bridge in Hue, especially in the evening. The bridge connects the center of city to the other side of the Perfume River.

The Imperial City Hue

Undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Hue is an extensive visit at the Imperial City Hue. The Imperial City is a walled enclosure within the citadel of the city of Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. It is the main attraction in Hue and a must-see site when traveling to the region.

Most tourists spend around 3 hours at the Imperial City. Admission is 150,000 dong for adults 30,000 dong for children ages 7-12. The site opens as early as 6:30 in the morning and is open until 5 PM. To escape the scorching heat, you should visit as early or late as possible.

Inside the complex, you can dress up as the King or Queen and sit on the throne for a fun photo op for only $1.50 (75,000 Dong).

Imperial City Hue, Vietnam
Imperial City Hue, Vietnam

Best Things to do in Hue, Vietnam

Day 2: Explore the Royal Tombs of Hue

As Hue served as the Imperial capital of Vietnam, there are various royal tombs in and around the city. They are very beautiful and a visit to the royal tombs is among the best things to do in Hue.

Other great attractions in Hue are the Tombs of the Emperors, which are located along 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, although if you rent a car, it will take only a few hours to see those worth seeing.

Minh Mang Tomb

Located 12 km outside of Hue, the Tomb of Minh Mang is situated inside a wall and covering several hectares. The main buildings are arranged on an east-west axis, including a courtyard surrounded by warrior statues and several temples and pavilions. The whole tomb complex is absolutely beautiful and you can easily spend 1 hour or more here. There are also various souvenir vendors where you can buy some knick-knacks for back home.

Admission fee: 100,000 VND / $4.30 USD / 4 EUR

Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh King

Around 10 km outside of Hue center, the Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh King is probably the best preserved of all the tombs. The way up to the main hall is very impressive with black stone stairs and warrior statues that remind of the famous Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, China. The tomb itself is completely over the top with incredibly detailed with opulent mosaics of cavorting dragons.

Admission fee: 100,000 VND / $4.30 USD / 4 EUR

Tu Duc Tomb

This tomb dates back to 1864 and served as a second Imperial City where the Emperor went for “royal vacations”. The complex is deeply inspired by the Emperor’s love for nature and poetry and features a big lake surrounded by wooden pavilions, tombs and temples dedicated to his wives and favored courtesans.Expect to spend an hour and half here.

Admission fee: 100,000 VND / $4.30 USD / 4 EUR

Thien Mu Pagoda

Located right next to the Perfume River, Thien Mu Pagoda is the official symbol of the city of Hue. Inside the pagoda, you will find fine gold and silver images of the Buddha.  Thien Mu literally translates to “elderly celestial woman”, and refers to an old legend about the founding of the pagoda. Brimming with opportunities for great photos.

Admission free

Bonus Location:

AN BANG CEMETERY CITY OF GHOSTS

Well off the usual tourist trail lies An Bang Cemetery, also known as the city of ghosts. If the name alone doesn’t make this one of the best things to do in Hue – I don’t know what would! In fact, it is the biggest cemetery in the entire country and truly an incredible site to see. The tombs at An Bang completely stand out as they are colorful, vibrant and most of them are several meters high.

After the Vietnamese reunification in 1975, many residents of An Bang village emigrated to Europe or the United States. They then sent back money to their relatives who stayed back in An Bang, making it one of the wealthiest regions in the whole of Vietnam.

An Bang Cemetery is around 20 km from Hue center. Here is the Google Maps location.

 
 
 
 
 
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Ready to explore Hue?

Even though Hue is a relatively small place, I highly recommend visiting! There are so many things to do in Hue that you won’t get bored. The Imperial City Hue is the highlight when in Hue but the surrounding tombs really add to the experience.

Don’t forget to follow Linda Goes East on Instagram for more Korea and Asia adventures!

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The Best Things to do in Hue, Vietnam

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Linda

Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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