Hue, the capital of Vietnam’s last feudal rulers, the Nguyen Dynasty, has long been known for royal palaces and tombs but also has hidden charms to offer visitors.
Around January to April is The best time to visit Hue when temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius. If you are planning a three-day holiday in Hue, we offer some suggest for your journey.
Please note that tourists should dress politely – sleeveless tops and shorts above kneecaps not recommended – when entering the places like Pagoda or Temple
Thien Mu Pagoda
Hue is home to many famous ancient temples of Vietnam, but the oldest one is Thien Mu Pagoda. This is one of the symbols of Hue where Built in 1601 by the Nguyen lords, Thien Mu Pagoda (The Pagoda of the Celestial Lady) is on Ta Khe Hill on the northern bank of the Perfume River around five kilometers from the Imperial Citadel.
Though it can be accessed by car or motorbike, a dragon boat tour is highly recommended for tourists to explore the beauty of Perfume River -Huong river and its surroundings.
In the past dragon boats were only used by kings and royal families but now it is a popular choice for tourists.
When sailing near the temple, the first thing that attracts attention is the seven-story octagonal tower named Phuoc Duyen. Phuoc Duyen tower is a famous symbol associated with Thien Mu pagoda. The 23m high tower, consisting of seven floors, was built in front of the pagoda. Each floor of the tower has a statue of Buddha. Inside there is a spiral staircase leading to the top floor, where the golden Buddha image was formerly worshiped.
Hon Chen Temple
Hue Nam or Hon Chen Temple, situated on Ngoc Tran Mountain in Huong Tra Town, around eight km from Hue, is a hidden gem where Mother Goddess Thien Y A Na and other goddesses are worshipped.
Hon Chen Temple is surrounded by green trees and overlooks the Perfume River. It is the most sacred place for the people of Hue and is at its busiest during the third and seventh lunar months with traditional festivals that combine the centuries-old Mother Goddesses worship traditions and royal ceremonies.
The best way to reach the temple is by boat. From downtown Hue, you can take a taxi or motocycle to a wharf on Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street in Huong Thuy Town and take a boat to Hon Chen Temple for VND30,000 and entry to the temple costs VND50,000.
In front of the temple, locals sit on their boats and sell fish to pilgrims to drop into the river to pray for luck and peace.
Gia Long tomb
The tomb of King Gia Long, who founded the Nguyen Dynasty, is 20 km from downtown Hue and close to Hon Chen Temple. So, after visiting the temple, you can move to visit the mausoleum in Dinh Mon village, Huong Tra District, on the west bank of the Perfume River.
Inside the burial area is the royal court-yard with imposing stone sculptures of horses, elephants and humans. In the center of the burial area are the graves of King Gia Long and his wife, Queen Thua Thien Cao, next to each other. It is the only royal mausoleum in Hue where a king and queen are buried together.
It is not advisable to ride a motorbike from Hue to the mausoleum due to the steep roads and deserted forests. Entry to the mausoleum is VND100,000.
It is not difficult to find cyclos in Hue and a 20-minute ride around town costs around VND150,000.
They will be taken to the city’s major tourist attractions including Truong Tien Bridge, Dong Ba Market, and the Ngo Mon Gate of the Imperial Citadel.
You can buy an entry ticket for VND200,000 to the citadel, a UNESCO heritage site where the Nguyen royal family lived for more than a century from 1820 until the end of feudal rule in 1945. In 1803, King Gia Long ascended the throne and chose this land as the capital of the Nguyen court.
After 30 years of construction, the whole project of the new capital was officially completed. The citadel spreads over an area of 520 hectares and so it is best to go around in an electric shuttle bus for sightseeing.
It’s interesting that you can rent an ao dai (Vietnamese long dress) or nhat binh, a 19th-century dress worn by princesses and have photographs taken in them. Rents royal costumes for VND150,000-350,000 a day.
Tu Duc Tomb
His tomb has sophisticated architecture and a charming landscape of lakes, forests and frangipani trees where is one of the most beautiful of the Nguyen Dynasty mausoleums. Tucked under Vong Canh Hill around seven kilometers from Hue is Khiem Lang, or the Tomb of Modesty, which was built in 1864.
It initially served as a place of relaxation for King Tu Duc, the fourth Nguyen king. After he died it became his final resting place.
King Tu Duc reigned for over 36 years from 1847, the longest of any Nguyen ruler, and was childless.
Entry to the mausoleum costs VND120,000.
Thuy Xuan Incense Village is located on Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street, which is a path leading to two other famous places of Hue, Tu Duc Tomb, and Vong Canh hill. This famous traditional village is only 7 km southwest of the center
which makes it quite convenient and easy for guests to find.
Thuy Xuan is the largest and oldest incense village in Hue, famous for its incense-making profession for hundreds of years. This place is not only a famous traditional handicraft village of the ancient capital with a series of “blossoming” incense installations of green, red, purple, yellow… but also an impressive tourist destination of Hue in the eyes of tourists loving the local culture.
Because the craftsmen not only pay attention to the quality of the raw materials to create the bright colors of the incense, but also proceed very sensitively when choosing the fragrance.
Checking into the Thuy Xuan Incense Village, you can discover first-hand the stages of making incense by hand. Also, you will definitely have fun learning how to make an incense stick; So, learn more and learn more about people’s profession and daily life of people in Thuy Xuan Village.
Seeing the sunrise at Chuon Lagoon, a community ecotourism site in Phu Vang District, Thua ThienHue Province, is an unforgettable experience.
The site is part of the Tam Giang – Cau Hai Wetland Nature Reserve.
From the center of Hue, An Truyen Avenue leads to the Lagoon. An early arrival ( before 6 a.m) by bike or motobike is not only worthwhile because of the beautiful sunrise, but also because of the sightseeing experience on the way.
Chuon Lagoon is at its busiest at dawn when fishing boats fill the lagoon after a single fishing trip.They start fishing at 6 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. m. and bring their catch to a wholesale market in Chuon Village. Visitors can charter a boat from local fishermen for ($10) per trip for 4 to 6 people and cruise across the lagoon. The Chuon Village Market, where modern seafood is bought, is worth an early morning visit.
Don’t forget to enjoy a breakfast of hot porridge with steamed pork belly or turmeric noodles with fried intestines.
Ru Cha Mangrove Forest
From Chuon Lagoon, take Highway 49B to Ru Cha Mangrove Forest, another hidden gem often overlooked by tourists.
Visitors can rent a boat for VND 50,000 and paddle through the forest, take photos and even learn how to fish with nets.
In the forest there is an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Thanh Mau. Locals here organize the possession ritual (hau dong) during the third lunar month to seek his protection.Due to its isolated location, there are no restaurants in the forest and visitors must bring their own food.
A lagoon cruise takes you around the lagoon to experience just how beautiful it is. And you can learn how the local people grow shellfish from shrimp, fish, crab, etc. in the natural lagoon with a water level of about 1 m to a maximum of 2 m.
The landscape and human life seem to exceed the usual ideas and standards of beauty too much. The scenery becomes particularly magical at sunrise and sunset, where many famous photographers and artists come from for unique photos. Yes, many photographers, both amateurs and professionals, travel here and “reap” fantastic photos. Luckily, Dam Chuon Lagoon preserves other particularly interesting things for everyone to discover as originals. This would be an ideal authentic spot for photo lovers to capture the moment of simple life. A plus here is the row of floating restaurants in the middle of the lagoon where everyone can enjoy fresh seafood.
Folk singing on Perfume River
At 4:30 p.m. you can drop by Toa Kham Wharf on Le Loi Street and rent a dragon boat to watch sunset on the Perfume River.
The three-hour tour, costing around VND400,000, includes tea and sweet cakes and a trip under Hue’s famous bridges like Da Vien, Phu X
Folk singing in River Perfume
At 4:30 pm You can stop at Toa Kham Wharf on Le Loi Street and charter a dragon boat to watch the sunset on the Perfume River.
The three-hour tour, which costs around VND 400,000, includes enjoying Hue’s famous specialties, such as tea and sweet cakes, and listening to traditional Hue folk song music at night to explore a unique Hue that is nowhere more famous than Hue Bridges like Da Vien, Phu Xuan and Truong Tien.
When the sun goes down, people from Hue sing on board the ship. The traditional folk song of Hue by the Perfume River is a variation of the Hue royal court music and has been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage. The singers and instrumentalists are all dressed in “Ao Dai”, the traditional costume of Vietnam.uan and Truong Tien.
When the sun goes down, people from Hue sing on board the ship.The traditional folk song of Hue by the Perfume River is a variation of the Hue royal court music and has been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage. The singers and instrumentalists are all dressed in “Ao Dai”, the traditional costume of Vietnam.