Six reasons to visit the Imperial City of Hue

Vietnam: Six Royal Reasons To Visit The Imperial City of Hue

In Thua Thien-Hue Province in Central Vietnam, on the banks of the Perfume River, stands the ancient capital and former Imperial City of Hue.

If, like me, you feel passionate about experiencing a country’s culture and you also appreciate heritage and centuries old architecture, then a visit to Hue will certainly be a top destination to add to Your Vietnam Itinerary.

In this post I want to share with you my own fabulous experiences of the Imperial City of Hue.

I travelled to Hue from the south – having first arrived in Vietnam heading for the modern day capital Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – where I explored the city and the Mekong River Delta before travelling to Central Vietnam.

In Central Vietnam, first on my itinerary was a week long stay in the pretty and historic city of Hoi An.

From Hoi An, I boarded a train at Da Nang Station, and arrived in Hue after traversing the Hai Van Pass – known locally as ‘Ocean Cloud Pass’ – which is said to be the most scenic route in Vietnam and is famously considered to be one of the most spectacular train journeys in the whole world!

In Hue, the backpacking husband and I stayed for five nights at (affiliate link) The Scarlett Boutique Hotel.

It was a wonderful small hotel close to the city centre, the river, and walking distance to the Imperial Citadel.

I booked using (affiliate link) Booking Dotcom and at a cost of less than $150 for our five-night stay.

THE BACKPACKING HOUSEWIFE AFFILIATE LINK STATEMENT
Flag Tower of The Imperial City of Hue
Flag Tower of The Imperial City of Hue

SIX ROYAL REASONS TO VISIT THE IMPERIAL CITY OF HUE

EXPLORE HUE HISTORIC CITADEL

I was particularly interested to visit Hue Historic Citadel, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and vast walled palace fortress from the Nguyen Dynasty that was built by the Emperor Gia Long.

Hue has a long history as a feudal capital dating back to 1687 when it was ruled by the Nine Nguyen Lords of the Inner Realm – the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam – until 1945.

The Citadel was modelled on Beijing’s Forbidden City and the tombs of Vietnam’s Royals are interred here which includes the tombs of Emperor Minh Mang: Emperor Tu Duc: Emperor Khai Dinh: Emperor Gia Long: Emperor Dong Khanh.

Other places of interest within the Imperial Citadel include the Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts, The Hon Chen Temple, The Nam Giao Esplanade, and The An Dinh Palace.

Imperial Imperial City of Hue Citadel
Hue Imperial Citadel
Vietnam Hue Citadel #vietnamtravel #vietnam #hue #travel# #midlifetravel

GET DRESSED UP LIKE VIETNAMESE ROYALTY

At the Imperial Citadel in Hue, for a very small fee, you can dress up like an Vietnamese Empress or a Queen and pose in a golden royal carriage for a photograph.

It might sound totally touristy or even a tad dramatic but it’s so much FUN!

You even get your royal make up done by the ladies-in-waiting.

I was so impressed with my new eyebrows that I actually considered keeping them!

The Backpacking Housewife - Queen of The Citadel! Imperial City of Hue
Queen of The Citadel!
VIETNAM: Dress Up Like Royalty in Hue at the Imperial Citadel! #travel #vietnamtravel #vietnam
OMGoodness!! A quick video of Queen of the Citadel!
Vietnam - The Imperial City of Hue. The Backpacking Housewife

VISIT DONG BA MARKET

Since 1899 the Dong Ba Market has been a hive of activity in the centre of Hue.

Here you’ll find a plethora of things to buy from hats and bags and local crafts and clothes to household items and fresh vegetables.

There are indeed lots of food stalls here too and they smell amazing with freshly prepared local dishes and popular regional foods to try.

Here at the market you can also drink ‘Royal Tea’ made with fragrant local herbs.

VIETNAM TRAVEL - Dong Ba Market Hue! #travel #vietnam #vietnamtravel #hue #midlifetravel
A quick look around Dong Ba Market in Hue

TAKE A CYCLE RICKSHAW RIDE AROUND HUE

Early in the evening, while walking back to our hotel, we were asked by a rickshaw cyclist if we wanted a ride around the city in his rickshaw.

Yes, we did!

I’d noticed these ‘cyclos’ competing with the traffic on the busy roads and soon realised that most of them were running on battery power rather than just peddle power.

So, I didn’t feel quite as guilty in burdening our rickshaw cyclist to take both of us all around the streets and across the Truong Tien Bridge, if he was getting some help.

It truly was a wonderful way to see the Imperial City of Hue!

Watch my fun and fantastic video which I managed to edit down to less than one minute!

VIETNAM TRAVEL - RICKSHAW RIDE - HUE #travel #vietnam #vietnamtravel #hue #rickshaw
A rickshaw ‘cyclo’ ride video around Hue in less than 1 minute!

WALK THE TRANG TIEN BRIDGE OVER THE PERFUME RIVER

On the southern bank of the Perfume River is a metal bridge known as the Trang Tien Bridge.

On the river bank there is a pedestrian promenade or ‘walking street’ that is very popular with young and old, locals and tourists, alike. It’s a place for artists and street musicians and family gatherings.

It’s perfect for a stroll in the cool of the evening.

At night, it’s also a perfect place to see the colourful lights projected every night onto the Trang Tien Bridge, take a river cruise, or dine at a riverside or floating restaurant.

The  Backpacking Housewife on the Trang Tien Bridge over the Perfume River in Hue
The Trang Tien Bridge over the Perfume River in Hue

HUE – THE FOOD CAPITAL OF VIETNAM

It’s claimed that two-thirds of Vietnamese dishes originated in Hue.

From Banh Uot Thit Nuong and the signature Bun Hen to the Bun Bo Hue and delicious Banh Canh, the Imperial City offers a fabulous array of tasty dishes and fabulous restaurants.

Vietnamese cuisine has long taken to the streets and the street food scene is simply scintillating!

I’m a great fan of the Late Anthony Bourdain and I’ve watched all his shows featuring the food scene in Hue.

He famously says that some of his best meals where in Hue and that Cơm hến, or clam rice, is best served in a bowl on the side of the street.  He also stated that Bun Bo Hue, as found in Dong Ba Market, was “the greatest soup in the world”.

I love Vietnamese food and I was in foodie heaven in Hue.

The Backpacking Housewife. Hue is the food capital of Vietnam!
Hue is the food capital of Vietnam!

I also found Hue to be a right royal treasure and I hope you’ll enjoy my six royal reasons for adding Hue to your Vietnam travel itinerary!

Is Vietnam on your travel wish list?

Have you been to Hue?

Let me know in the comment box!

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