Hue Hotels and Travel Guide
The ancient city of Hue (pronounced 'whey') in central Vietnam was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty at the beginning of the 19th Century, and during the Vietnam-US war some of the most intense conflicts occurred in this region.
One of Hue’s main tourist attractions is the spectacular riverside Hue Citadel or Royal Palace of the Imperial City, built according to the practices of ‘feng shui’. Such is Hue’s historical significance that it is recognised today as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Although Hue is not strictly a coastal city, beach lovers will not be disappointed as there are several good beaches like Thuan An, less than 15 minutes away – you can even cycle there! In short, Hue is a perfect location to explore the cultural heart and soul of the Vietnamese people while still having easy access to the beach. Under an hour away there are several more beach options. The likes of Lang Co and Canh Duong Beach are perfect for day trips.
Just over 650 km south of Hanoi and almost 1,100 km north of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Hue is well served by all forms of transport – including bus, rail and air.
What to see
The Complex of Hue Monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the city of Hue in central Vietnam. Hue was founded as the Vietnam capital city by Gia Long, the first king of the Nguyen Dynasty in 1802. It held this position for nine Nguyen dynasties until 1945.
The massive complex features hundreds of monuments and ruins, such as the Forbidden Purple City, once the residence of the royal family and badly damaged during the Vietnam War, the Imperial City, royal tombs, flag tower, pagodas, temples, a library and museum.
Hue Imperial City
Hue, located on the banks of the Huong River, (aka the Perfume River) is about three hours north of Da Nang. Among the most impressive monuments in this former grand imperial capital is the Ngo Mon Gate of the imperial city which once was exclusively used by the royal family and their eunuch servants; the tomb of Emperor Minh Mang as well as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. In fact many of the monuments surrounding the royal buildings were constructed in the early 19th century and were modeled after Beijing’s Forbidden City. The wall that surrounds the citadel is six metres high and two-and-a-half kilometres long.
The historical complex is known not only for its rich architecture but also for beautiful landscaping. Overall, the site is quite stunning. Avoid Hue between October and December as it gets most of its rain from the northeast monsoon during that period. This small city is also famous for its Imperial-style cuisine. Don’t miss it.
Ho Quyen, Tiger Fighting Arena
The tiger fighting arena was built in 1832 under the Minh Mang dynasty to host fights between elephants and tigers. The good news is that the fights have not been held since the early 1900's but amazingly there are still some claw marks left on the walls. The arena is about three kilometers outside of Hue.
Hue has long been recognised as being rich in Vietnamese history. There are many tombs in Hue’s countryside to see.
Visitors interested in its history should take a bit of time to admire the emperors’ tombs and most of them are located in large and beautiful grounds. Such important tombs include Tu Duc, Minh Mang, Khai Dinh and Gia Long.