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Hué travel guide (part 1)


In 1802, Emperor Gia Long moved his court and capital from Hanoi to Hué. Prior to that time the town had belonged to the Kingdom of Champa (until 1306) and then was ceded to Vietnam. The town itself remained a relative backwater under the Nguyen emperors for several hundred years. The citadel was built in the 16th or early 17th century, and moved to its present location in the late 17th century.


The arrival of Emperor Gia Long in 1802 began the flowering of Hué, with the building of a Chinese-style Forbidden City and the construction of royal tombs along the Perfume River. 


When Emperor Bao Dai abdicated in 1945, Hué ceased to be the capital of Vietnam, and Hanoi was reinstated. Two years later the wooden buildings were largely destroyed in a fire. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, Hué was a center of the fighting and was mostly reduced to rubble.


Hué was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and massive reconstruction has been going on since then.  Hué is a wonderful city to stroll around, and the tombs along the Perfume River are a peaceful oasis not to be missed. 

Getting There & Away 

If you arrive via the night train from north or south, you are going to be a few km outside the main town. A taxi should cost $2-$3 for a ride to a hotel in the center.  


If you come by boat (hydrofoil) from Danang, you’ll be at the wharf right in the center.   


The airport is called Phu Bai and is 15 km/nine miles southeast of Hué. There is a bus (about $2) to the central hotel area.  Taxis cost $7-$8 and should use their meters.   


If you come in on a Sinh Café Open Tour bus you’ll be right in the thick of the center and the hotel district. 


Getting Around 

Hué is one of the few cities in Vietnam where the tri-shaw (a bicycle rickshaw) is still a common sight. This is the easiest way, other than on foot, to get around. You can hire one for the day for $10 or so, and be pedaled to the various tombs outside town. 


Bicycles are plentiful and cost $5-$8 per day to rent. They are a wonderful way to get around the area. 


Taxis are persistent – bargain hard if you plan to use one.


Where to Eat

Hué has some of the best food in the country. It’s a wonderful mix of French and Vietnamese, with a number of international options thrown in to liven the mix. 


Club Garden, 8 Vo Thi Sau, tel. 054/826327. Serves traditional food in a pleasant setting with garden seating available.  There are set menus that allow you to sample a variety of dishes at a reasonable prices. 

Dong Tam, 48/7 Le Loi. A vegetarian restaurant with a courtyard. 

La Carambole, 19 Pham Ngu Lao, tel. 054/810491. Serves a blended French-Vietnamese cuisine and international dishes. 


Most of the restaurants are located near the hotels, and almost all are good value and quality. 



There are several bars for evening entertainment, including the DMZ Bar near the Saigon Morin Hotel and the Café on Thu Wheels. 



There are craft shops and stalls, but Hué is not a shoppers’ destination. 

See also : What to do and see in Hué: Citadel, Forbidden City, Royal Tombs, Museums,...
                 The Citadel picture

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Hué travel guide (part 2)
Hué Citadel picture

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Vietnam : Hué travel guide- History, Getting there, getting around, eating in Hué, nightlife in Hué