Best Places to Visit in Hue for Travellers & Couchsurfers!

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Best Places to Visit in Hue for Travellers & Couchsurfers!
Best Places to Visit in Hue for Travellers & Couchsurfers

Ancient capital Hue with 9 generation of Emperors, 13 Kings under Nguyen Dynasty has retained rich traditional cultures with a variety of beautiful landmarks as well as historical areas.

“As around and around road to Hue

As blue high mountain and blue river as picturesque”

Hue, Vietnam
Hue, Vietnam

Magnificent countryside in Hue

In Saigon, you might be swept in the fast moving routine of urban civilization life. Hustle people follow hustle lives. Or in Hanoi, lives are getting a little quaint with 36 ancient streets and narrow alleys squeezing into each other and even more crowded with the loud bickering of old women staying all around. Here and there, the word “Slicking!” uttered. But in Hue, it’s a different world. Hue has saddened just by the song:

My life is like a drift boat

The roof pushed the stork wings wondering

The roof pushed the heart beats wandering

The roof pushed the song slugs drifting”       

In Hue, the street is not overcrowded even it’s the center of the city within the daytime. The city pace is also slow. Sometimes, drizzling rains make Hue more tinged with loneliness which is the sadness to only those who have come to feel the very sour taste here.

Best way to reach Hue

From Saigon:

By flights  

It takes around 1:30 for a flight from Saigon to Hue – Phu Bai Airport, which is located on 1A National Highway – 12km away from the city. There also has a shuttle bus from Phu Bai airport to the city centre with 50,000 VND per pax. This seems the cheapest way to get into the city unless you have 4 people to take a taxi. Airfare is 600,000 one-way included fee & taxes already.   

Vietnam has three major low-cost airlines features int’ flight as well. The price is relatively low if you know how to hunt them.

VietjetAir: https://www.traveloka.com/vi-vn/vietjet-air

Vietnam Airlines: https://www.traveloka.com/vi-vn/vietnam-airlines

Jetstar: https://www.traveloka.com/vi-vn/jetstar

By Train:

There has a local train to Hue directly, however it’s a low-priority route with up to 22 hours in total because of waiting. Another way is taking express train which is approximately 18 hours.

By High Road: this is also an option but not recommended because of unnecessary long-haul of moving.

Hue, Vietnam
Hue, Vietnam

From Danang: 100 km

By Motorbike: follow the Hai Van pass, it’s quite adventurous, you could drive through the Pass to come to Hue. But well-noted that this is also the main road of many fuel truck transportation. Be steady to drive and remember to fulfill the gasoline before entering the Pass. There has many challenging passes waiting for you to conquer before entering Hue: Hai Van pass, Phu Gia pass & Phuoc Tuong pass. But if you are not interested in those passes, you could easily take the shuttle bus to transport both you and your vehicle through Hai Van tunnel.

By Private Car: passing through Hai Van tunnel. This is quite long but worth a time to explore the real scale of the tunnel.

By Train: it’s around 2 hours to Hue railway station – 3km away from the city center.

Hotels and Hostel in Hue

Unlike other touristic places, hotels in Hue are quite affordable unless you choose to stay in 5 stars hotels. In average, it’s 200,000 – 400,000 VND per night for a twin room of 2 or 3 stars hotel right in the center.

You are recommended to book a room near Truong Tien bridge. This area has a lively crowded nightlife. There has many local shops and vendors around so really convenient to quickly grab anything you need from water, shampoo or bread…

Most recommended hostels by Traveloka community in here

Places to travel in Hue

Historical areas:

Imperial Citadel

Entry ticket is only 70,000 VND for Adult years ago. In 2015, Hue governors decide to increase the ticket fee to 210,000 VND. It’s not pretty much in comparison with 500 Bath Thai (nearly 350,000) to visit Thai Imperial Palace. However, Thai Imperial Palace’s size and commodity is still maintained while Hue’s has been badly knocked during wars, looted and eroded by time.

Ngo-Mon, Outside the Imperial Citadel
Ngo-Mon, Outside the Imperial Citadel

Only “Thai Mieu” shrine, the Wall, Nine Dynasty urns, Model of Ancient Palace, some re-created rooms there to see and…end. What I always wonder is why the great Wall around is still intact but the things inside are ruined? It’s a little not worth to pay 210,000 for it.  

Imperial Citadel
Imperial Citadel

Tombs of the Imperials:

It would be a mis-completed to come to Hue but not to visit the Emperors tombs. It’s highly recommended to visit a King tomb to gain more knowledge and widen the eyes about the ancient life.

Hue is well-known with 3 Emperors tombs:

Khai Dinh Tomb:

Khai Dinh Tomb
Khai Dinh Tomb
Stoned elephant in tombs
Stoned elephant in tombs

Tu Duc Tombs:

This is spacious, beautiful Lake with lotus and stilt house aside. Unfortunately, Tu Duc King had been digged up to seek for treasure. Nothing has been found but empty boxes. It’s French people to manage the searching according to TVNews.

Tombs of the Imperials:
Tombs of the Imperials
Tombs of the Imperials:
Tombs of the Imperials
Tombs of the Imperials
Tombs of the Imperials

Minh Mang tomb

This is the most spacious tomb among the Emperors tombs with charming scenery and green trees.

The Tranquil Garden
The Tranquil Garden
The Lake
The Lake

Nam Giao Altar

The Nam Giao Altar is where Emperor of Nguyen dynasty worshiped their ancestor, heaven & earth for a peaceful and secure nation. No ticket entry.

Nam giao Altar
Nam giao Altar

Linh Mu Pagoda

This is the most sacred pagoda in Hue and not good for lovers to visit – as in the word of mouth rumors. There has a very fresh pine forest behind the pagoda. In front of the Pagoda is the boat landing, down to Huong river for you to enjoy Hue old songs.   

Linh Mu pagoda from a distant view
Linh Mu pagoda from a distant view
The Boat landing in front of the Pagoda
The Boat landing in front of the Pagoda
Linh Mu entrance gate
Linh Mu entrance gate
Belfry at Linh Mu Pagoda
Belfry at Linh Mu Pagoda

Tu Hieu Pagoda

This pagoda is stepped aside the street. It’s so much peaceful, cool for a place to visit with here and there some noons are bunching the woods. There also a half-moon lake with a pretty crowded goldfishes path. The pagoda is the burial places of mistresses and eunuchs under Nguyen Dynasty.

Half-moon Lake at Tu Hieu Pagoda
Half-moon Lake at Tu Hieu Pagoda

Tu Dam Pagoda

This is an ancient pagoda with a Bodhi tree from India.

Tu Dam Hue
Tu Dam Hue

Van Thanh – Stelae of Doctors:

If visiting Hanoi, people have a chance to come to Van Mieu – Temple of Literature with many stelae of doctors under strictly restricted. So do Hue, it has an area of stelae of doctors under Nguyen Dynasty.

Entrance gate to Van Thanh – Stelae of doctors under Nguyen Dynasty
Entrance gate to Van Thanh – Stelae of doctors under Nguyen Dynasty

Van Thanh is not grand like Van Mieu in Hanoi but it has still many stelaes to see. This is also one of Vietnam national heritage. Unfortunately, It little be known and have careless conservation. Away 3 km from Linh Mu, currently this relics is continuously ruined. Hopefully, the visitors passing by only gentle take photos, don’t step to the Head of the turtle or “contribute” to destroy the historical side any further.

Stelae of Doctors inside Van Thanh area
Stelae of Doctors inside Van Thanh area

Hue National High-school:

This is a famous high school not only in Hue but also nationwide. Before liberation, this school only accepts boys. Girls school next to it is Hai Ba Trung School. Hue National High-school has beautiful scenes so it offers openly that many people come for beautiful shots at the weekend.

Hue National High-school – Panoramio
Hue National High-school – Panoramio

Windbreak stelae

There is a unique feature in Hue that you can find nowhere else – Curtain Wall (or known as Windbreak).  This is a very characteristic in the architecture and belief of Hue people. In front of the house, shrine or tombs, people often put the Windbreaks to avoid the poisonous wind, negative spirits, eyes on watching and the bad luck outside. They hope the windbreak can shield, bring the peace as well as the flourish for their homes.

Windbreaks in the sunset
Windbreaks in the sunset
Windbreak in front of Hue National School
Windbreak in front of Hue National School

Natural landscapes to visit in Hue

Huyen Khong Son Thuong

“To enter the pagoda, pilgrims/visitors have to go through Linh Mu Pagoda, follow along Huong River, through Van Thanh, Vo Thanh, cross the Xuoc Du Bridge and 1 more km before turn right Dong Cham village. Keep on going about 500 meters, this road will cross Hue Main Road with the Entrance gate to Dong Chieu village right ahead. It’s around 200 meters to the right after passing the Gate, there is a road guide. Go accordingly to this route nearly 3km to the mountain, here you go the Trieu Son Phuong mountain – Huyen Son Son Thuong.

Due to the geographical features – hills after hill – the road to the temple is winding and winding, which even now has been renovated, upgraded quite easily for pilgrims to pass by. “

Huyen Khong Son Thuong Pagoda
Huyen Khong Son Thuong Pagoda

Pagoda side is quite spacious which without the instructions of the site Huyen Khong Pagoda itself, I can hardly remember.

The road is very winding, the temple scale is also large and elegant. The Pagoda is well-known with many tourists so it’s not too quiet and not too hard to reach this peaceful place.

Tam Giang Lagoon is famous for two poet sentences:

“Love you hard to get closer soon

Fearful of the Ho and Tam Giang Lagoon.”

With the length of 24 km and total square up to 52 km, it takes over 2 kilometers to end up around the Lagoon. But if you just desire to eat fresh seafood in Tam Giang lagoon, not to finish the 50 kilometers of Lagoon, you should follow the road to Bao Vinh bridge – Quang Dien province, to Co Toc  boat station, ask the local people to show you the way to Tam Giang lagoon which is nearly 2 kilometers more.    

Total is about 17 km with 30 minutes driving.

Road to Tam Giang Lagoon
Road to Tam Giang Lagoon

In Tam Giang, there are fresh specialties right at the lake such as clams, squid, shrimp… All are fed at the lagoon. Sitting between the blowing winds while enjoying the fresh specialties with the rivers are all around is so much senses-melting. Under the sunny sunshine, you are here also to see people boating and wading clams to feel the life purely with its truth and simpleness. The restaurant is not too expensive and the price is also affordable. Each dish is about 40-70,000 VND but a lot to have. Having seafood here, you will feel like never and find nowhere in the cities that you are eating fresh and delicious dishes like that.

Aquaculture area in Tam Giang lagoon
Aquaculture area in Tam Giang lagoon

However, Central people do not make sweet-but-sour sauce as in the South, so if you are get used to eating steamed clams with that sauce, you should better go to the supermarket to buy and carry along a small bottle of sauce which will be adequate and suit you well with your eating habits.

Fishing on Tam Giang lagoon
Fishing on Tam Giang lagoon

Land-shrimp, sweet meat

If you love camping, there are still plenty of camping grounds. Buying fresh seafood caught by fishermen will be cheaper and more delicious. Remember to enjoy the land-shrimp baked. It’s very special, fresh sweet more than black tiger shrimp.

Huong river

The river flows around Hue. Originated from the Truong Son Range, it runs straight to Thuan An seaport. This is the most beautiful, romantic river in Hue. Specialties when visiting the Huong River is to hear Hue song singing on the boats. The voice is characteristic, sweet and longing deeply.

Ngu Binh mountain(or known as Ngu mountain)

Far from Gia Long emperor, the mandarins – do not distinguish the great hierarchy – each of all must plant a pine tree in Ngu Binh. Throughout the reigns of the emperors, that tradition was being kept and as a result, Ngu Binh mountain is now a wilderness forest. Thanks to that beauty, Ngu Mountain is often mentioned in many singing verses and poetry about the charming country.

“Wherever I go, I remember my hometown,

Remember the cool winds of Huong river,

Remember the hanging moon of Binh mountain.”

Ngu Binh mountain is a circular round like a little cake

Ngu Binh Mountain is a circular round like a little cake

Truong Tien Bridge:

Truong Tien bridge is a very famous bridge in Hue, built in 1897 across the River Huong which has been restored many times through the wars. Fortunately, the bridge is still intact. This is the bridge of French architecture with longevity.

Truong Tien Bridge in a closer view
Truong Tien Bridge in a closer view

Underneath the bridge, there is a boat landing for visitors to follow Huong River. There is also a night market selling souvenirs at night.

Con Hen – Hen island

Hen island is a small island which is farce accretion. Located just off the side of Hue Citadel, there is a small stone bridge to the north. However, the population on Con Hen is very crowded who living in small and narrow streets in Vy Da Ward and famous for Hen catching and Hen dishes making.

Con Hen – Hen island
Con Hen – Hen island

Thanh Toan tile bridge:

It is a national monument of Thanh Thuy Thuong village, Thuy Duong commune, Huong Thuy district of Thua Thien Hue province. This is the best preserved tile bridge among the tile bridges up today. Passing bridges does not cost any penny but there is a bucket you can contribute as much as you want to support the bridge maintenance. Bridge is made of wood, so it’s very cool to sit. The best feeling of Hue is sitting on the bridge, eating sweet soup and watching the surrounding countryside and crowded markets. How simple life should be just as you get rid of all the burdens.

Thanh Toan tile bridge
Thanh Toan tile bridge

Lang Co Bay:

Along the National Highway 1A toward Danang around 80 km from Hue city, through Phu Gia pass and Phuoc Tuong pass, Lang Co bay located at the foot of Hai Van pass. This is one of the most beautiful bays in the world. If you got luck, go on a sunny day, the sea will be very clear and the sky is very blue.

Cau Hai Lagoon Map
Cau Hai Lagoon Map

If you want to eat seafood, you should drive along the road parallel to the sea, into the Cau Hai lagoon. There are many delicious kinds of seafood with affordable price. Especially grilled oysters. Oysters here is nourished in the lagoon, although they are not quite large but cheap and very nutritious. Unlike Lang Co Bay with hot sunshine, Cau Hai Lagoon is as big as a bay, but many houses, villages, trees should be cool. You can visit here lying in the hammock, waiting for the sun to cool down and enjoy the beach.

Beautiful scenes at Cau Hai
Beautiful scenes at Cau Hai
Lang Co Beach
Lang Co Beach
Dam Cau Hai in a rainy afternoon
Dam Cau Hai in a rainy afternoon

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