While most people come to Hué only to see the imperial city and maybe one of the royal tombs, it’s actually a very enjoyable city with a laidback everyday life. Take a little river cruise, enjoy the special Hué cuisine or explore the lively streets with colorful houses, flowers, birds and shops.
Do: The Imerpial City of Hué is the most famous attraction, once you bought a ticket at one of the small ticket booths you can enter the huge grounds and wander around the many courtyards, gardens, halls and corridors. The beauty of every single tile, ornament and flower is stunning. There are usually many tourist groups, but if you are early and go to the back corners there won’t be too many people. Even though you don’t need it for the general entrance you might want to dress modestly or maybe take a scarf with you, as well as a hut and sunglasses against the hot sun.
As the former capital of the imperial kingdom the region around Hué is famous for its many royal tombs. The tomb of emperor Khải Định is beautifully located on the side of a lush green hill and built over several levels. You will be stunned by the huge gate, the statues of dragons and the royal guard and especially by the beautiful porcelain mosaic inside the main building. It takes about 15 minutes from the city center to get here by car. I recommend to take an official Mai Linh Taxi, they go by meter and most drivers will wait outside the tomb for you and bring you back to the city. You can also use Grab in Hué. The entrance fee can be payed at a small ticket booth next to the main stairs.
There are several other tombs in the area which are interesting to visit, for example Minh Mang and Tu Duc.
Other places of interest around the city are the Thien Mu Pagoda, the largest in Vietnam, and Hồ Thuỷ Tiên the abandoned, instagrammable waterpark.
The Vin Moc Tunnels are located between Hué and Phong Nha. If you are interested in the time during the war and not claustrophobic the tunnel compelx is an interesting stop. It’s idyllic and now peaceful location right at the seafront cannot hide the horrific history of this place, where a village of 300 people lived in these tunnels to find shelter in a region that was bombed more than anywhere else during the Vietnam War.
Eat: Lien Hoa is a very delicious vegetarian restaurant where also a lot of locals go for lunch or dinner. Go to La Boulangerie Française for sweet French pastries. The small cafe has a nice terrace upstairs and with your purchase you support its training school for young bakers. There is also a nice Cong Ca Phe. The popular cafe chain is famous for its delicious coconut coffee and styled interior.
Stay: The chic Vinpearl Hotel is located in one of the city’s most modern and tallest buildings. So what really impresses is the view out of your room and especially from the rooftop bar, which is great. Another nice and more budget friendly option is the Purple Hotel in Hué.