The ancient thành phố of Hue was the country"s capital during the mid-1700s and then again for over a century starting in the early 1800s. The bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War was fought in Hue, và the city"s ancient monuments, including 19th-century Imperial thành phố complex, were severely damaged. Today, visiting this historic attraction is one of the top things to bởi vì in Hue.

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Aerial view near the Imperial City, Hue

Hue sits on the banks of the Perfume River, so-called because during spring, the local orchards shed their flowers into the river, causing the water to lớn smell like perfume. The river is an essential part of the history and heritage of Hue, but it"s also a vital part of modern Hue.

The Trang Tien Bridge is a popular background for nighttime photos when it"s completely illuminated, and the waterfront offers plenty of things to bởi in the form of cafés và restaurants for those out on an afternoon stroll. Most of Hue"s main tourist attractions are set against or within minutes of the river.

Hue is trang chủ to many sites worth visiting, including emperors" tombs; a number of pagodas, including the famous Thien Mu Pagoda; and French-colonial buildings set along the river. For more ideas on the best places to lớn visit in this ancient capital, take a look at our danh sách of attractions và things to vì in Hue.

1. Imperial đô thị Hue

Imperial city Hue

A UNESCO World Heritage site of bright reds và yellows, the Imperial thành phố is Hue"s most important attraction & the first stop in your discovery of the city.

A walled area inside the historical citadel of Hue, the Imperial đô thị was once the capital of Vietnam. In 1804, Emperor Gia Long consulted geomancers khổng lồ decide on the most auspicious location for the 10-kilometer-long walled citadel, which was eventually placed southeast to face the Perfume River.

The grounds of the imperial city are surrounded by towering walls và a moat and include temples, gardens, palaces, & residences. However, of the original 160 large buildings that dotted the grounds of the city, only 10 survived Vietnam War bombings.

Many of the buildings that still stand are now empty and can be explored freely by visitors, but some have been restored (or are under restoration), including halls, đô thị gates, và shrines.

2. Bầu Hoa Palace

Thai Hoa Palace

Perhaps the most important construction of the Nguyen dynasty—the last dynasty in Vietnam—the kiến thiết of this palace is meant to lớn represent a deep yin/yang balance, where both the physical & the spiritual are in perfect harmony.

Although the palace survived the Vietnam War bombings, extensive repairs had lớn be done to the inside lớn restore the damage caused during the battle of Hue.

The bầu Hoa Palace sits at the heart of the Hue Citadel, right after crossing the Ngo mon Gate. A lotus lake và a long courtyard walkway provide an impressive welcome khổng lồ the palace.

The main room of the palace is a large hall with a timber roof and 80 timber columns. Originally meant for royal ceremonies và events, it was also the crowning place for Emperor Gia Long & the area where he received visitors—both during official business meetings và when the doors were, in rare occasions, open to the public. A covered golden throne sits in the center of the hall.

3. Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda

Also known as the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, this seven-story pagoda is one of the most recognizable symbols of the đô thị of Hue. It was built in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoàng, who was told about a local legend.

According to lớn the legend, an old lady dressed in blues, greens, & reds foretold a pagoda would be built in that place và people would come lớn it khổng lồ pray for Vietnam"s prosperity.

Over the next two centuries, the temple was expanded, và special details & buildings were added, including a massive bell that can be heard 10 kilometers away and a number of additional praying halls, towers for storing sacred texts, and meditation halls.

Beautiful gardens, including a bonsai garden, are mix around the buildings—many of them hidden from view at first until you take this path or that path towards another area of the pagoda grounds.

Parked under an open space, you"ll also find a car used during the Diem Regime protests. In a fight for religious freedom, quang quẻ Duc, a monk from Hue, drove to Saigon, parked this car and then phối himself on fire. The story of his life & self-immolation are told through words & pictures posted on this temple.

4. Royal Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh

Royal Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh

Located just outside Hue, on the steep Chau Chu mountain, the tomb was built for the twelfth Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, who died in 1925.

Emperor Khai Dinh was actually highly disliked by his people, since he sympathized with French colonizers và ordered many nationalist leaders khổng lồ be arrested. He"s also responsible for forcing a change lớn a Romanized Vietnamese alphabet in 1918, which resulted in people abandoning the original local language (a phối of Chinese and Sino-Vietnamese); there are almost no people left alive who can read the original old Vietnamese language.

Emperor Khai Dinh"s tomb is one of the most imposing tombs ever designed in Vietnam, perhaps because he oversaw the construction himself with funds raised by increasing taxes by 30 percent. The result is an imposing và elaborate construction that mixes Eastern and Western details.

The tomb is flanked by two giant dragon sculptures & features an imperial audience court, 12 statues that serve as bodyguards, a palace room richly decorated with porcelain and glass, và a small temple with an altar where the actual grave is located.

5. Dieu De Pagoda

Dieu De Pagoda

Named after the "Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism, this small golden pagoda in the center of Hue has been the site of activism, protests, and some political violence during the 1960s—the best-known case being in 1963, when civilian Buddhists confronted Diem"s army trying to protect the pagoda from being raided. Thirty people died and 200 were wounded in one night.

Today, the pagoda has become a symbol for freedom, and it"s visited not only by Buddhists but also activists from all around the world. Sitting right on the Dong ba canal and surrounded by lush vegetation, the pagoda provides a peaceful escape from the heat and the tourist crowds.

Four towers surround the temple & provide a trang chủ for bells, while the main hall houses a Gautama Buddha statue.

6. Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts

Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts

Housed inside the former Long An Palace, this museum offers a fascinating look into the culture và history of the city. The massive collection of over 10,000 objects includes everything from ceramics and silver objects lớn personal belongings & royal clothing of former Vietnam Emperors, furniture, Phap Lam enameled metal art, & lots of paintings & detailed murals.

All exhibits are labeled in English, & many include background details khổng lồ help visitors better understand the history behind it & who used it.

While photography inside the museum is not allowed, this one-story wooden palace & the beautiful gardens around it provide plenty of picture-worthy corners waiting to lớn be discovered.

7. Hope Center

Traditional fabric weaving in Vietnam

The Hope Center was created khổng lồ help disabled và disadvantaged people, as well as ethnic minorities in Hue, by offering them a chance to learn khổng lồ sew. The center produces uniforms for schools and hospitals, as well as a number of handicrafts, including basket making, textile weaving, & handmade jewelry và bowls.

Most textile items are produced using A Luoii fabric, dyed & produced by the Ta Oi ethnic group.

Visitors can see weaving & work being done on-site & buy items khổng lồ take with them. It"s also possible to practice shaping & firing your own pottery or making handmade, recycled products you can then take home.

All classes, tours, and events here are organized & guided by the people who work at the center, so you"ll get a chance to lớn interact with them and learn how the place is changing their life.

Official site:

8. The khổng lồ Mieu Shrine

To Mieu Shrine

Modeled after the Imperial Ancestral Temple in China"s Forbidden City, the khổng lồ Mieu temple was built khổng lồ allow ancestor worship of past emperors. Although no actual remains of the emperors themselves are buried here, there are nine urns to represent nine Nguyen emperors.

Each emperor also has his own altar, with photos of himself & the empress (or empresses for those with more than one wife), small offerings, & incense.

A massive stone gate, sweeping grounds, và lots of solitude make this temple a favorite sightseeing destination of those exploring Hue. Only a quarter of the original structures survived the Vietnam War, and very little work has been done khổng lồ restore the ruins, so the place is a quiet reminder of difficult times while allowing you a chance to lớn admire the grandeur of the temple still there.

9. Thanh Toan Bridge

Thanh Toan Bridge

This wooden, 18th-century, tile-roofed footbridge is located around seven kilometers outside Hue. The Japanese-style bridge was built over a small river, allowing locals to lớn cross over from one side to lớn the other without a boat, but also providing an escape from the heat for rural workers who would otherwise spend all day in the sun.

Inside the bridge, a small altar is dedicated lớn the memory of Tran Thi Dao, the rich widow who originally paid for the construction of the bridge.

Although the bridge itself is interesting, the trip lớn the sleepy village of Thuy Thanh village, where the bridge is located, is just as special. The ride to lớn the village takes visitors through rice paddies, temples, và lots of examples of what local life is lượt thích here.

Once at the village, you can stop by khổng lồ see the beautiful columns of the city gate or hop on a boat to lớn ride under the bridge và experience the river a different way.

The local Farming Museum, where you can see ancient farming tools used khổng lồ cultivate rice & how they impacted local life, is another great stop before heading back to lớn Hue.

10. Dong tía Market

Vegetable sellers at the Dong cha Market

Outdoor markets are a staple of Vietnamese culture, và the Dong ba market in Hue is no exception. The oldest and largest market in the city, Dong ba covers 16,000 square meters of chaotic space, where stalls selling fresh vegetables sit next khổng lồ handicrafts or souvenirs.

The market opens in the very early hours of the morning (3am) khổng lồ cater khổng lồ locals shopping for fresh seafood và other foods, but you can arrive during the day or afternoon to lớn pick up mementos to take home.

If you"re after clothes or wearable souvenirs, the market does have an entire second floor dedicated lớn this, where you can find all types of textiles plus many examples of non la bai tho (the typical conical leaf hat worn in Vietnam).

Other great Vietnamese souvenirs you can find here include lacquerware items; bamboo products; and guoc moc, a type of simple clogs made of bamboo or wood.

11. An Hien Garden House

An Hien Garden House

Garden houses are a very chất lượng architectural feature found in Hue. They usually consist of small wooden houses, sometimes on stilts, surrounded by ponds và lush gardens. These houses are particularly common on the banks of the Perfume River, where they get both fresh air & quiet surroundings.

An Hien (House of Peace) is Hue"s most famous garden house—over the decades, it has been both a private home and the official residence of the governor of Ha Tinh province.

The entire design of the building is based on yin/yang principles: the screen on the main door drives away evil energy, while the water in the pool ensures harmony.

The house can only be reached after crossing a stone gate và walking down a 34-meter-long road surrounded by trees. Inside the 19th-century home, much of the original furniture, timber columns, and ancestor altars remain as they were over 100 years ago.

12. Royal Theater

Duyet Thi Duong Royal Theater | Cristian Zamfir /

The beautiful red và golden Duyet Thi Duong Royal Theater was built in 1826 exclusively for the royal family khổng lồ enjoy traditional art performances in an elegant, regal setting. Only the emperor và those close to him ever saw the inside, though banquets & performances were sometimes held for special guests visiting the court.

After much reconstruction, the theater finally opened lớn the public in 2004.

As the oldest still-operating theater in Vietnam, this is the perfect spot lớn catch a performance of Nha Nhac-Royal Music. When there are no performances, the theater is open to visitors who want khổng lồ explore the displays of theater masks and traditional musical instruments. You can even sit on the plush red chairs và get up close to lớn the stage.

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13. Alba Thanh tan Hot Springs

Women relaxing in a hot spring

About 30 kilometers outside the đô thị of Hue, these popular hot springs are a great way khổng lồ relax & unwind. Although technically part of a resort that also includes accommodations & a number of other attractions, it"s possible to lớn visit just for the day to lớn try the hot springs. Even better, there"s a không lấy phí resort shuttle bus that goes from the thành phố to the hot springs, making it easier lớn transfer back and forth.

The springs have a natural temperature of 68 degrees Celsius at the source, but this is controlled through a series of streams and natural pools until they achieve the perfect temperature, so you can soak in all the physical and mental benefits of the mineral-rich waters while relaxing under the whispering of the trees in the breeze.

For those wanting khổng lồ stay around a little longer, there"s also a 560-meter-long zipline through the lush rainforest and an adventure rope course to demo your balance. Stick around for a quiet meal overlooking the ponds at the over of the day.


What to See Nearby: Hue is located about two hours north of domain authority Nang. To lớn the south of da Nang, just under three hours from Hue is Hoi An, another destination worth seeing. If you are interested in sun và sand, have a read through our menu of the best beaches in Vietnam lớn find one near you.

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