The pretty city of Hue (pronounced Hway) is located in central Vietnam on the banks of the Perfume River. It has lovely bridges and a more relaxed feel than busier cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
Much of Hue and the surrounding area are dotted with historic monuments and buildings, so it really feels like you are wandering through an outdoor museum much of the time. The city is a UNESCO world heritage site, so many buildings are being actively restored and preserved.
On the banks of the Perfume River (it’s so large, you can’t miss it!) – 50,000 VDN admission
The Citadel in Hue is an absolute must see! It is actually a former Imperial City, which was modeled after China’s Forbidden City in Beijing. The grounds are huge and impressive (over 2 km), and you immediately get the feeling of ancient Vietnam standing inside the walls. No pictures can do the size justice!
The reality of war in Vietnam has unfortunately taken its toll. The Citadel was bombed twice in 1945 and then again in 1968. You can see the damage of war, with fallen walls and burned buildings. Even so, the preservation work that has been done to-date brings back much of the colour and magic of the Imperial City.
Tu Duc Tomb
About 7 km from Hue, and worth the 2-3 hour trip by car or taxi – 55,000 VDN admission
This tomb was built by King Tu Duc in 1867, and is beautiful to visit. The area is like a park, with lakes, hills, a tomb and pavillion to view. Very pretty and peaceful.
Phuoc Tich Ancient Village
Another heritage site near Hue, Phuoc Tich village feels like you have gone back in time. Small and winding pathways are lined by ancient homes and shrines – many close to 300 years old. They are in amazing condition, with very little damage. The village is surrounded by the O Lau River, and I got an opportunity to see the village from a boat on the river as well.
Not many tourists seem to travel here, so it is very quiet and the people are very friendly and somewhat amused by us! We biked around the village and nearby area, and I absolutely loved it. Children all ran up to us and waved, and practiced their english with us – “Hello, Madame, hello!” That always brings a smile to my face!