Travel / Vietnam

Discover Hue – The Old Imperial City

Vietnam - Hue


Hue is popularly called the Old Imperial City or the Forbidden City, but Hue is also the forgotten capital of Vietnam. For a long time I did not know that, but Hue was a place for the government from 1802 to 1945. Later in the history during the American War, the city was particularly fought over and severely destroyed due to its location, which was exactly on the dividing line between North and South Vietnam.


Inhabitants: 340,000.
Name meaning: Harmony.
Best time to travel: October – March.
Recommended stay: 3 days.


When I arrived in Hue, the small town did not make a good impression on me in the first time. But that has changed very fast. Especially after the first darkness arrived I have turned back my opinion.

If you walk through Hue, you get everywhere and at any time this small town feeling. There are hardly any skyscrapers here, so the place retains this idyllic atmosphere. The highlight and the symbol of the city is the citadel with the huge area right in the center of Hue. Around the citadel there is something like an ancient town, which unfolds its charm especially after sunset. Here it is worth taking a long walk or driving around with a scooter.

Like many other cities in Vietnam, Hue has been focused on tourism for a long time. I quickly realized that when the first local yelled at me “marijuana”. In the course of the few days I spent in Hue, I met some of the probably not quite legal street vendors. But that’s the only negative thing I can talk about this place.

Hue has many good sides, and one of them is the comparably low prices. Coffee, beer, or a whole dinner are much cheaper than in many other cities in Vietnam and even cheaper by half than in Saigon. That surprised me and did well to my travel budget. Otherwise, the city is very quiet, not crowded and you could move freely as a tourist, without being constantly disturbed by some street vendors.

Thien Mu-Pagoda

Opening Hours: The property is not fenced and could be accessible at all times.
Admission Charge: Free of charge.
Parking: Free of charge.
Recommended Stay: 1 Hour.

This pagoda is like the citadel also a landmark of Hue. The whole area is huge, where all the tourists get lost and creates a surprisingly quiet atmosphere. The pagoda is adjacent to the so-called Perfume River and allows visitors a wide open view to the horizon.

If you are lucky enough to be there at the right time, you can observe old and young monks in their prayers and even participate in the ceremony. Many of the Buddhist visitors have been infected by the hustle and bustle and have followed their faith.

A little insider tip from me. Many of us know the picture of the burning monk Thich Quong, who burned himself in Saigon in 1963 in protest of the government. The sky-blue Austin, which he has drove to Saigon, stays exactly at this pagoda and can be visited there.

The Hue Citadel

Tu Duc Tomb

Opening Hours: Daily from 07:00 to 17:30.
Admission Charge: 100.000 VND (3,80€).
Parking: Free of charge.
Recommended Stay: 2 Hours.

In Hue you can find many tombs, but the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc is one of the most famous, which makes the place on almost every recommendation list. And that’s how it made it on my.

Arrived there I immediately noticed that the terrain is much bigger than I have expected. The curious guys among us should bring some time to see everything at this tomb. The buildings and figures are in fairly good condition, allowing visitors to experience a fascinating spectacle of architecture paired with Asian history.

The Abandoned Water Park

Thien An Monastery

Opening Hours: I could not figure out.
Admission Charge: Free of charge.
Recommended Stay: 1 Hours.

In search of the secret access to the Abandoned Water Park, I unexpectedly came across this monastery and it pulled me into its spell. You can find it in the middle of the forest, away from civilization, looks like it wants to hide itself from the bustle and tourism in Hue.

Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh King

Opening Hours: Daily from  07:00 to 17:30.
Admission Charge: 100.000 VND (3,80€).
Parking: 5.000 VND (0,20€)
Recommended Stay: 1 Stunde.

This grave was built for the 13th and thus for the last emperor of Vietnam. Maybe that’s why it’s the most magnificent grave I’ve ever seen in this country.

Inside you will notice the love to the detail. So many small tesserae of glass decorate the walls and make the entire room shine, in every imaginable color. The undisputed highlight is the bronze statue of the emperor in life size.

I recommend you to be there early in the morning, preferably at 7 o’clock. Then you will have the entire place just for you.

How do I get to Hue

There are many ways to get to Hue. The next larger city is Da Nang and even has its own airport. For my travel planning, I mostly used the two platforms* and*. These offer almost all transport options, from private buses to airplanes.

From Ho Chi Minh City to Hue*
From Hanoi to Hue*
From Da Nang to Hue*

Eat & Drink

Gecko Pub (Maps)
Cộng Cà Phê (Maps)
The Rustic Kitchen & Chill Bar (Maps)


Spiral Foundation Healing The Wounded Heart Center

A small shop with hand-made stuff, such as towels, bags or decoration. The items offered for sale are handcrafted by disabled people and the proceeds are used for good causes. The special thing about this store is that it is only operated by dumb people.

Hottuna Plus Handmade Clothes

This store sells handmade fashion with a Vietnamese touch. Every single piece is made directly in this store and thus in front of your eyes. Each item is peerless and unique. Well worth a visit at a time when only the uniformity dominating the fashion of our generation.

Papaya T.Shirt Fashion Shop

Papaya is a brand with many stores spread throughout Vietnam. Meanwhile I fell in love with the creative and humorous pictures and patterns. Here you will not only find T-shirts, but also stickers, postcards, notebooks, cups and much more. All of it is made in Vietnam.

Hotel Recommendations

Purple Hue BnB*

I have chosen this little and sweet homestay. The owners were very nice and helpful. I was able to borrow a bike or even a scooter for free and was able to move around comfortably in the entire city. I highly recommend it and next time I will book it again.

Outline map of available hotels in Hue


The stay in Hue was a really nice time. Compared to other locations in Vietnam, the city is really cheap and not crowded by tourists. A stay worthwhile and definitely an absolute must see.


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