Hue has always been associated with the dreamy, old image of the ancient land, though now it has become one of the biggest cities of Vietnam. If you suddenly want to leave the noisy towns, below are the self-sufficient Hue travel experience that you can save right away to enjoy the magnificent life rhythm on each street of Hue.
It seems that every city in Vietnam has its own nickname: Hanoi – city of thousands of years of civilization, Saigon – the pearl of the Far East, and Hue - the dreamy ancient capital land. Even though it has gone through hundreds of years, yet still reserves the ancient, gentle look as if time still slows down here.
But Hue not only has old relics. Being the central strip of land, Thua Thien - Hue province in particular and Hue city in general are favored by nature when lying in the middle of many beautiful scenes of the sea, rivers, mountains and passes, etc. What are you waiting for, just bring the Hue travel experience below and start dreaming of a peaceful walk, without any haste to slowly enjoy the beauty of the old capital.
1. The ideal time to travel to Hue
Located in the transition zone between the South and the North, the weather in Hue is a combination of both regions, which is less harsh and quite moderate. The rainy season in Hue starts from May and lasts until November, the peak time of storms and floods, so it is necessary to notice the weather before planning the trip. Although Hue does not have a defined winter like the Northern provinces, its temperature is not high, may be lower than the weather in the North 10 degrees.
According to many self-sufficient Hue travel experiences, the best time for the trip to Hue is at the transition time of the seasons: between the spring - summer and autumn - winter.
April - May: This is when the climate is mild and pleasant, suitable for all fun activities. That's not to mention every 2 years, Hue Festival is held at the end of April, to honor the cultural heritage and promote tourism. If traveling to Hue at this time, your trip will be guaranteed to be 200% complete.
Flower season of Hue: No less than 12 flower seasons in Hanoi, Hue owns many charming flowers blooming all year round. March and April are cornflower seasons; summer is the time when the red phoenix blooms in the sky near Trang Tien bridge; throughout May - August is when the lotus flowers in the Royal Citadel blooms, etc. All contribute to the dreamy beauty of the ancient capital.
2. How to travel to Hue?
Being a big city in the Central region, Hue possesses Phu Bai airport for convenient transportation. For travelers who do not want to spend too much time to travel to Hue, the fastest way is to buy a plane ticket and simply relax on the sky for about 1 hour until arrival.
From Ho Chi Minh City to Hue, it takes just a "blink of an eye" – around 30 minutes, with the price from 400,000 VND/ way.
Flight time from Hanoi to Hue is only about 1 hour, with the price from 730,000 VND/ way.
Phu Bai Airport is 15 km from the city center so when landing, there are two ways to move into the city:
The most advantageous is taking a taxi for about 250,000 VND/ trip.
If your baggage is light, the airport transfer car is a more economical way of transport for only 40,000 - 50,000 VND/ person/ time.
Trains are an interesting means of transport for those who want to spend time admiring the beauty on both sides of the road. You can refer to the suitable timetable and train here.
Hanoi - Hue trains cost between VND 300,000 - 955,000/ way/ passenger, taking about 14 hours.
Saigon - Hue trains cost more from 400,000 to 1,050,000 VND/ way/ person, with the running time from 18 hours to 22 hours.
If you combine visiting Hue - Da Nang at the same time, you can save quite a lot of time and money since the trains from Da Nang to Hue take only 3 hours with a price of 50,000 - 120,000 VND/ way/ person.
The most affordable way to travel to Hue is by bus. There are a lot of high quality sleeper buses moving from all provinces across the country whose routes stop by Hue.
From Hanoi, there are Hoang Long, Camel Travel and The Sinh Tourist buses, priced at 250,000 - 350,000 VND/ turn, with the running time approximately 12-16 hours.
From Saigon, there are Tam Minh Phuong, Minh Duc, Hoang Long and Huong Ty buses, priced from 400,000 - 650,000 VND/ turn, with the running time from 20-24 hours.
From Da Nang, there are countless choices, the most popular are The Sinh Tourist, HAV Limousine and Huetourist, etc. The seats are comfortable with only 80,000 - 180,000 VND/ turn and take about 2-3 hours to travel.
3. Transportation in Hue
Transportation is probably one of the last things you have to worry about when learning about Hue travel experience. This city has countless ways for you to explore, which is extremely available and convenient.
Motorcycle: At the top of the list, especially for tourists, it must be motorbike rental. As a touristy city, rental services in Hue are very diverse and affordable; ranging from 100,000 to 120,000 VND/ day. The simplest way is to contact the hotels in Hue, most of whose services are available for tourists.
Taxi: If you do not want to drive yourself, taxi is always ready to accompany you on all roads. Some of the familiar Hue taxi firms are Dong Ba (Phone number: 022.214.171.124.84), Mai Linh (Phone number: 0126.96.36.199.89), Phu Xuan (Phone number: 0188.8.131.52.87), Thanh Cong (Phone number: 0234.3 .57.57.57)
Car: If you have a driver's license, you can rent a car so that your family or friends can enjoy the trip together. Car rental price in Hue will be around 500,000 - 900,000 VND/ day.
Bicycle: Dreammy Hue with the slow pace of life is the ideal place for you to rent a bicycle to drive around the city. The rental price is extremely affordable, only 20,000 - 30,000 VND/ bicycle/ day.
Cyclo: Though cyclo is now a rare transportation, it still works quite well in popular tourist cities. Cyclo prices are also "economical", only 15,000 - 20,000 VND/ person/ hour for a discovering trip, while listening to local people telling you interesting stories. One point to note is that the cyclos in Hue does not have a unified unit but they are run by individual drivers, so you need to agree on the price before getting on.
4. Tourist destinations in Hue that can not be missed
Inner City area (Hue citadel)
Summer: From 6:30 to 17:30
Winter: from 7:00 to 17:00
Ticket price: 150,000 VND/ person/ time.
Hue Citadel is the place that any Hue traveller cannot miss. Hue is the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty during 143 years, and was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Hue Citadel has a total area of 520 hectares and is divided into two parts: the first is where civilians and mandarins lived, and the Imperial City (Hoang Thanh) - the living and working place of the king and the royal family.
In other words, the Imperial City is the second round of the Hue citadel, where the king and the mandarins of the Nguyen dynasty worked. The last round of the Imperial city of Hue is the Forbidden City, including palaces where the king and the royal family lived.
To complete a huge amount of buildings inside the Citadel is a long process of many kings. However, all of them are built according to the strict principles in feudal architecture, using the most luxurious materials such as yin yang tiles, Bat Trang glazed tiles, painted with dragons and clouds features, etc.
** Some important monuments inside Hue Citadel:
Ngo Mon - The Meridian Gate
As the main gate of the Imperial City, Ngo Mon only serves as the king's path or to welcome the envoys. Since being built in the reign of Minh Mang King, Ngo Mon was the place where many important events and festivals took place, including the event of Bao Dai King reading the Declaration of Abdication in 1945.
Hue Flag Tower
Hue flag tower is a flagpole of the Imperial court, located in the middle of the South of the citadel - according to the inscription in the YiChing is “The King turned to face the south to reign the people”.
Thai Hoa palace
As a symbol of power of the Nguyen Dynasty, Thai Hoa Palace and Dai Trieu Nghi Court are places where important court ceremonies are held such as the coronation ceremony, the reception of envoys, the king's birthday, or the great court held twice every month.
Quoc Tu Giam - Thua Thien Hue History Museum
Quoc Tu Giam acts as a feudal university, originally founded in Thang Long in the Ly Dynasty. By the time of the Nguyen Dynasty, Quoc Tu Giam was built in Hue, the facility in Hanoi was designated as Van Mieu - a place of worship for saints. Quoc Tu Giam - Hue had since played the role of the only university in the country, gathering and training hundreds of talents during the Nguyen Dynasty.
At present, Quoc Tu Giam - Hue has become the Thua Thien Hue History Museum, a place to keep Hue's historical artifacts through many periods, especially in the time of the fierce resistance war.
Address: No. 01, 23 Thang 8 Road, Thuan Thanh Ward, Hue city.
Sightseeing time: From Tuesday to Sunday
Morning: 7:30 - 11:00
Afternoon: 13:30 - 17:00
Ticket price: 30,000 VND/ person.
Long An Palace - Museum of Royal Antiquities
Built by Thieu Tri King to serve as a place for resting and reading, Long An palace is now turned into Museum of Royal Antiquities. This is the archives of the royal precious objects, providing a closer look at the golden life of the past.
Sightseeing time: 7:00 - 17:00 every day (closed on Monday).
The ticket price to visit both the Citadel and the museum: VND 150,000/ ticket.
Hue city area
Hue Citadel, often referred to briefly as the inner city area, outside the ancient citadel (now still belonging to Hue city) has a lot of famous tourist hotspots.
Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda possesses a dreamlike position on Ha Khe hill, on the left bank of the Huong river, and has long been a typical image of Hue – the dreamland. The pagoda was built in 1601 by the first king of the Nguyen Dynasty - Nguyen Hoang King and still maintains the largest temple throughout this dynasty.
Associated with Thien Mu pagoda is Phuoc Duyen tower and the pagoda bell. What makes the Thien Mu Pagoda bell so special is because the bell is played twice a day, at 3:30 and 19:30, each time it strikes 108 times in an hour. People who take charge of this job must practice a lot and have a strong passion toward this activity.
Address: Ha Khe Hill, 140 - 142 Nguyen Phuc Nguyen, Hue city.
Sightseeing time: 7:00 - 17:00 every day.
Stretching across the ancient capital is the Huong River. The peaceful, bustling river drifts silently and bends itself through the famous landmarks of Hue city.
There are countless ways to admire the beauty of the Huong River: watching the river from Thien Mu Pagoda, going on a dragon boat on the river, or listening to Hue folk songs on the river at night, etc. Each experience brings a distinguished image of this river.
Trang Tien Bridge
Also a symbolic image of the city, Trang Tien bridge crossing the Huong River is also a pride of Hue people. The bridge was built more than 200 years ago, originally made out of just a normal rattan material but then built by the French into a six-span iron bridge until now.
If you have a chance to travel to Hue in the summer, do not miss the best time of Trang Tien Bridge - when the red phoenix flower blooms, which completes the inherent peaceful setting.
Dong Ba Market
Dong Ba is the most famous big scale market not only of Hue but also of the Central region. The market is full of goods ranging from food, daily utensils, to specialties of Hue such as dry lotus seeds of Tinh Tam lake (in the Citadel), Phu Cam conical hats, or jewelry of Ke Mon village, etc.
Address: Tran Hung Dao Street, Phu Hoa Ward, Hue city (100 meters from Truong Tien Bridge).
Vong Canh Hill
Located in the southwestern area of the city, Vong Canh Hill sits peacefully near the charming Huong River. True to its name, standing on the hill, you can take a look at all the famous tourist sites of Hue such as Ngoc Tran Mountain - where Hon Chen Temple is located, tombs, ancient temples and pagodas, etc. alternating between poetic green forests.
Address: Huyen Tran Cong Chua St, Hue city (about 7 km from the city center).
Ngu Binh Mountain
Ngu Binh is the mountain that always goes in line with the Huong River. Possessing a tranquil position, looked down to the poetic Huong River, Ngu Binh mountain is shaped like a trapezoidal with flat peak and acts as a curtain wall covering the ancient city. Standing on top of Ngu mountain, you will also have the panorama view of the beautiful city.
Address: An Cuu Ward, Hue city (4km to the South of the center, belongs to the area between Con Hen and Con Gia Vien).
The area outside Hue city
After Hue Citadel, the tombs of the kings of Nguyen dynasty are places that no tourists can miss. There is a total of 7 tombs among the 13 kings of this dynasty. Each tomb has its own characteristic architectural feature, oriental Feng Shui definition, combined with the individual character of each king, contributing to telling the historical stories for posterity.
Sightseeing time: 7:00 - 17:00 every day.
Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh Tombs: 100,000 VND/ ticket
Gia Long, Thieu Tri and Dong Khanh Tombs: 40,000 VND/ ticket
Thanh Toan tile bridge
Thanh Toan tile bridge is a special historical relic of Hue and is recognized with top artistic value. With typical old court architectures, the bridge was built mainly of yin yang tile - the type of tile often used in the court's projects.
Address: The bridge is built over a ditch of Thanh Thuy Chanh village, Thuy Thanh commune, Huong Thuy town, Thua Thien - Hue.
Hon Chen Temple
As the most sacred shrine in Hue, Hon Chen temple is also associated with many historical anecdotes. Initially, this is the place to worship the goddess Po Nagar (Thien Y Thanh Mau) according to the Cham tradition, who also was worshiped as the highest goddess by the Nguyen Dynasty.
Located on Ngoc Tran mountain, this temple can be considered as a harmonious combination between folk spiritual beliefs and ancient imperial culture. So far, March and July of the lunar year are still the major festivals time in Hon Chen Temple; with large processions of flags, flowers, music, and thousands of people.
How to get to Hon Chen Temple: Take a boat from the boat station in Cu Chanh village, Thuy Bang commune; or take a dragon boat from Toa Kham boat station, upstream of the Huong River.
Thien An Hill - Thuy Tien Lake
As a new tourism hotspot, Thuy Tien Lake becomes a new check-in place in Hue, especially for young people. Located near Thien An hill – which is greened by the pine forest like in Da Lat, Thuy Tien lake has an abandoned amusement park. The entire 50-hectare campus with many fun items now has sunk into the wild, covered with moss, and is “inviting” the brave guests to come and explore.
Address: Thuy Bang Commune, Huong Thuy Town (10 km to the South of Hue City Center, on the road to visit Khai Dinh Tomb).
Attractions around Hue city
Thuan An beach
Being a small beach near Hue city, Thuan An is the ideal place when you are suddenly craving for the sea but don’t want to go so far. The beach is more than 1 km long, known for its beautiful sunrise and sunset scenery, just standing on the fine sandy beach watching sunset is heavenly, they say.
Address: Thuan An Town, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien - Hue Province (15 km from the city center to the East).
Canh Duong Beach
Located between Hue and Da Nang, Canh Duong has just entered the list of Hue travel experiences not long ago. Canh Duong Beach is very large, suitable for an overnight camping to enjoy the sea breeze at night.
At Canh Duong, do not just immerse yourself in the clear blue water but enjoy all the fresh seafood here, as well as explore the Canh Duong village nearby. You can refer to Canh Duong Beachcamp travel experience.
Address: Canh Duong Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc District, Thua Thien - Hue Province (about 50 km from Hue city center).
Lang Co Bay
If you are looking for a peaceful setting among the pristine mountains and sea, Lang Co is the ideal choice. Lang Co Beach possesses clear water, curved beach, embraced by Hai Van Pass, and is known as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
That is the reason why Lang Co owns many resorts, giving you a dream vacation, where you can completely leave the noisy city to immerse yourself in nature.
Bach Ma National Park
Da Nang and Thua Thien - Hue have a natural boundary, which is the Bach Ma range. Belonging to Bach Ma National Park, this is always the place that captures those who love to conquer nature.
One of the most famous stops on Bach Ma Road is Vong Hai Dai - the highest point, where you can take a panoramic view of Lang Co Bay, Truoi Lake, all of mountains, rivers and clouds of Hue.
In addition, when exploring further, Bach Ma National Park also has the Five Lakes - a majestic stream pouring from above, creating five large and small lakes on its way; or Do Quyen waterfall full of beautiful flowers blooming on March every year, etc.
How to get to Bach Ma National Park: From Hue, go along 1A National Highway, straight to Phu Loc town, you will see a sign to Bach Ma. At the security gate, there will be a car service for visitors to go to the top with the price of VND 900,000/ round trip.
Located at the foot of the Bach Ma range, Truoi Lake also has a dreamy typical beauty of Hue. This is initially a service of irrigation, but thanks to being surrounded by mountains, Truoi Lake has become a "cool place" in the peak of self-sufficient tourism season in the boiling summer.
Near Truoi Lake there is Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery, belonging to Truc Lam Yen Tu sect. Guests who want to visit the monastery must go by boat, climb 172 steps to set foot on the gate of Tam Quan. It is like a small but rewarding challenge, as the scenery of a peaceful lake is awaiting for you in the middle of beautiful mountains.
Address: Phu Loc District, Thua Thien - Hue Province (30 km from the city center to the south).
Lap An lagoon
Also located at the foot of Hai Van Pass, right next to the beautiful Lang Co Bay, Lap An Lagoon also possesses its own rare beauty of a large water lagoon, harmonising with the peacefulness of the mountains. The life of the people around the lagoon is also as quiet as that, namely fishing activities, digging for peanut worm every time the tide goes down, etc.
One very special experience you cannot miss in Lap An Lagoon is the walking path between the lagoon, which will appear every time the tide is low, no less amazing than in Diep Son or Hon Noi!
Address: Lang Co town, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien - Hue.
Tam Giang lagoon
Tam Giang lagoon belongs to a large system of Tam Giang - Cau Hai lagoon, the largest lagoon in Southeast Asia. The vast lagoon, along with Thai Duong Ha fishing village, is like a solitary oasis among the large water that will attract you at first sight.
The life of people in this ancient fishing village is vibrant but also extremely peaceful. Every morning, boats are busily leaving the shore to catch seafood.
5. Discovering the cuisine of the ancient capital
Hue specialties and suggested addresses
Hue is a true treasure of special dishes, a combination of sophistication and popular flavors that make those who have tried cannot forget. Find out about Hue specialties that are dubbed as dishes that if you have not tried yet, then you have not visited the real ancient capital. (10 Hue dishes)
Hue beef noodles
In Hue, of course, the first dish to eat is Hue beef noodles. This dish really has become a brand, not less famous than the two "brothers" – Hanoi’s pho and Saigon’s plate rice.
The original Hue beef noodle soup may be quite strange for those who are familiar with the variation versions. Vermicelli is used in small size, the broth is spicy, which reflects the authentic Hue style. Adding some meatloaf and the dish will be complete.
17 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hue
Ba Tuyet Restaurant: 47 Nguyen Cong Tru, Hue
Me Keo Restaurant: 20 Bach Dang, Hue
Baby clams rice
This is a casual dish that can be found all over the city. Baby clams is stirred with rich spices. When eating, the clams will be served in a bowl of white rice, added with greaves and poured Hue shrimp paste on top to make it perfect for an unforgettable dish.
Quan Nho: 28 Pham Hong Thai, Hue
The shops in Con Hen, Vi Da, Hue
Hue style cakes
Bloating fern-shaped cake, flat rice dumplings, sticky rice dumplings on a pancake, these special cakes loved by eaters all come from Hue. These simple cakes have an unexpected attraction as you can eat them at any time, eat for leisure, eat until full, and you can also combine many types together according to your liking.
Ba Do Restaurant: 08 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Hue
Food court of markets such as Tay Loc market, Dong Ba market.
109 Le Huan
Hue sweet soup (Che Hue)
Sweet soup seems to become an indispensable dish in the cuisine of all regions. Simple types of sweet soup, which can be easily found on any street or alley, always charm the guests with its exquisite and diverse tastes.
The most famous Hue sweet soups are corn sweet soup, grilled pork wrapped in cassava flour sweet soup, lotus seeds sweet soup, rice ball sweet soup, sweet potatoes sweet soup, lotus sweet soup, etc.
Che Ngoc Hien: 65 Tran Hung Dao, Hue
Che Thanh: 78 Mai Thuc Loan, Phu Hau, Hue
Che Mo Ton Dich: In front of Thuong Bac Park, Hue
Sour shrimp paste
Hue people always have an endless love for sauce dishes. One of the most favorite dishes bought by tourists is sour shrimp paste. A special feature of this dish is that fresh shrimp is soaked with white wine so it will ripen slowly and form a dark red color. The best sour shrimp paste is rolled with boiled meat, rice paper and other vegetables.
To Viet sour shrimp, 95 Chi Lang, Hue
Nam Pho Rice spaghetti (cooked with shrimp, crab or meat)
Rice spaghetti is not a strange dish but the people of Nam Pho village, Phu Vang district have their own way to make this familiar dish much more special. Mixed broth with dark red color of cashew nuts, full of attractive crabs and shrimp are the ingredients that make this dish special.
Thuy Restaurant: 16 Pham Hong Thai
O Thu Restaurant: 374 Chi Lang
6. Where to stay to experience the best of "Loving Hue"
As a famous tourist city of Vietnam, the hotel system in Hue is extremely diverse, with a wide range of all segments to satisfy the leisure needs of tourists.
Hotels in Hue
The common choice is 3-star hotels thanks to the affordable prices, only from 500,000 VND/ night. Plus nice location - most of them are located in the central area, or near popular tourist destinations, several familiar names such as Thanh Uyen Hotel Hue, Villa Hue, Cherry Hotel Hue, Rosaleen Boutique Hotel, etc. are highly recommended by travellers. Let’s learn more about the top five 3 - 4 star hotels in Hue that are shimmering and offering very good prices with JTA Tours.
If you are looking for the high-end segment, 4 - 5-star hotels in Hue are perfect for you. Stop at Indochine Palace, Hue Imperial Hotel, or Eldora Hotel, you can completely forget all worries and enjoy the luxury space, professional service quality, and first-class facilities.
Resort in Hue
If you are looking for a perfect vacation where you can relax in the beautiful nature and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere without any worries, the resorts in Hue will be an undeniable choice.
Lang Co Beach Resort, Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa, Ana Mandara Hue Beach Resort, Pilgrimage Villade Boutique Resort & Spa are all names that will certainly become your dream holiday.
Homestay in Hue
For young travelers who want to save costs but still want a cool place to stay, go straight to the hostel or homestay in Hue. What's more amazing than this, with the price of only 150,000 VND/ night, you can still have the opportunity to own a lovely, small but cozy resting place, right in the center of Hue city.
7. Other travelling tips in Hue
During the peak tourist seasons such as the Festival, the number of tourists pouring into the city is highly enormous, easily causing hotels into overload situation. Do not forget to plan your trip early and book a suitable room so that you can relax there.
Hue has a number of specialties that you can buy as gifts such as sour fermented pork sausage, sesame candy, fermented cooked pork sausage, or poem conical hat for souvenir.
The ancient imperial city - Hue citadel is a large area, you should choose in advance the places you want to visit and arrange the route accordingly.
If you are not used to spicy food, remember to tell the seller to reduce the level of spiciness when ordering.
Before using travel, shopping and eatery services, you should also ask for the price before paying to avoid being overcharged.
With all the Hue travel experience above, we hope you will have the most memorable experience in Hue – the dreamland with JTA Tours!
Some travel schedules to Hue for your reference:
- Essential Of Hue - 3 Days
- Hue Sightseeing Tour Full Day - 1 Day
- Hue Cooking Class On Perfume River Tour - 1 Day
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