Hue

30 Amazing Things to Do in Hue City

Hue (Vietnamese spelling: Huế) is a modern city of a bygone era. It’s interwoven with a rich tapestry of Vietnamese history often marking crucial turning points in national destiny. It was a former Imperial capital of Vietnam and power center of the Nguyen Dynasty which ended with the abdication of Bao Dai (Bảo Đại) in 1954. Before national unification, the former DMZ boundary was about 100 km north of Hue along the Ben Hai River (sông Bến Hải). Situated along the Perfume River (sông Hương), there is an abundance of natural scenery and one of the best things to do in Hue includes exploring the most spectacular cave systems in Asia. 

Top Things To Do in Hue

In Hue you can explore the ancient burial sites, imperial tombs, and magnificent mausoleums built by the Nguyen Kings. Vietnam’s royal history can also be explored in the Imperial Purple City, at the Thien Mu Pagoda, as well as in museums and royal garden houses. 

Hue is also particularly noted for its unique cuisine and traditional handicrafts. Nearby you can enjoy pristine beaches, visit modern battle grounds, or hike tropical forests in Bach Ma National Park. However, one of the really fun things to do while in Hue is to visit Paradise Cave which is the largest cave in Asia.

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1. Explore the Purple City: Best Thing To Do in Hue

Explore the Purple City
[ image by Roger ]

Hue Imperial Citadel (Quần thể Di tích Cố đô Huế) is a fascinating place even if you only visit for a couple of hours. It’s an adventure of its own through the maze of buildings and beautiful courtyards—which kids enjoy too. There are almost a hundred different architectural styles, impressive arched gates, and fun things like giant urns.

The citadel consists of three concentric ramparts or defensive walls housing three sections, namely the Hue Capital Citadel (Kinh thành Huế), the Royal Citadel (Hoàng thành Huế), and finally the Forbidden City (Tử Cấm Thành), which was the private imperial residence. These ramparts incorporate the French military architecture of Vauban. 

Highlights are the thrones of the Nguyen Kings, the Royal Theater and Reading Room, or pay your respects at the The To Temple (Thế Tổ Miếu). Construction started in the early 19th century in 1805 by Emperor Gia Long along the design of the Forbidden City in Beijing. 

Protip: Bring your own drinks and snacks. The Museum of Royal Antiquities and Luc Bo Cultural Space are next to the citadel. 

2. Thien Mu Pagoda the Symbol of Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda
[ by janeb13 from Pixabay ]

Thien Mu (Thiên Mụ), or the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, is one of the must-see places in Hue and is often quite busy and crowded. It’s the oldest pagoda and world heritage monument in Hue and was established in 1601 by Lord Nguyễn Hoàng. 

The iconic hexagonal brick tower is the first thing you see as you walk up the steps. It was added in 1710 by Lord Nguyễn Phúc Chu who oversaw the largest expansion of the complex, including the addition of the giant Chu bell. Beyond the main hall are quieter areas with shrines to the Jade Emperor (Ngọc Hoàng), the Ten Kings of Hell (Thập Điện Diêm Vương), and halls for preaching the dharma. 

An additional attraction at this temple is the blue Austin motor car that drove the monk Thich Quang Duc (Thích Quảng Đức) to his self-immolation in Saigon in 1963 during protests against the suppression of Buddhism by President Ngo Dinh Diem (Ngô Đình Diệm). 

Protip: Along the river bank outside the temple, you can negotiate river taxis or tours to other locations. The An Hien Ancient House is about a 15-minute-walk away.

3. The Lavish Khai Dinh Royal Tomb 

The Lavish Khai Dinh Royal Tomb
[ image by Roger ]

Khai Dinh Mausoleum (Lăng Khải Định) is an imposing architectural masterpiece blending Vietnamese and particularly French influences. The blackened granite stones create a dark and somber mood set against a brilliant blue sky. 

You have to walk up 127 steps, flanked by dragon motifs, to reach the fifth elevation of the main hall. Inside, the elaborate and intricate decorations of gold and ceramic mosaic are quite spectacular. 

Khai Dinh was 12th and second to last of the Nguyen reign. This was the last mausoleum built and construction was between 1920 and 1931. His son, Bao Dai (Bảo Đại), the final Nguyen king, was educated in France and mostly lived there under self-imposed exile. His resting place is a simple, black granite grave in the Cimetiere de Passy in Paris. 

4. Hue Imperial Museum of Royal Antiquities

Hue Imperial Museum of Royal Antiquities
[by Nguyễn Phúc Bảo Minh from Facebook]

Situated right next to the Imperial Palace, you can find the Hue Imperial Museum of Antiquities (Bảo tàng Cổ vật Cung đình Huế). The building itself is a historical masterpiece dating back to 1845 during the time of King Thieu Tri (Thiệu Trị). It’s built mainly of wood with 128 pillars, and there are many intricate carvings and poems in Chinese characters. The exhibits include many royal artefacts such as royal furniture and clothes, as well as ornaments made from gold, silver, jade, and porcelain. 

5. Confucius Simplicity at Minh Mang Royal Tomb 

Confucius Simplicity at Minh Mang Royal Tomb
[ image by Roger ]

Minh Mang Mausoleum (Lăng Minh Mạng) has a simple and unassuming design. All the same, it’s majestic and sublime in how it draws you into the inner sanctum through a series of broad courtyards and gateways. The wide angles, bright colors, and detailed ornamentation are a gift to the contemplative photographer. Only twenty of the original 40 structures remain, but they have undergone extensive renovation due to termites, high humidity, and fungus.  

Minh Mang ruled between 1820 and 1849 and fought hard to keep Vietnam free of foreign influences. His monument reflects many Confusious ideals. He was the second Nguyen king and son of Gia Long who planned the construction of the Purple City. 

Protip: From Thien Mu Pagoda you can take a river ferry and then connect to a cyclo. Many popular tours include his destination in their itinerary. 

6. A Royal Outing at Tu Duc Tomb 

A Royal Outing at Tu Duc Tomb
[ by Gian-Reto Tarnutzer from Unsplash ] 

This is the largest Mausoleum and it was built as an imperial retreat. If you wander away from the main tomb, you’ll come across the numerous houses of the royal concubines. You can stroll through pine groves, or enjoy some time along the shores of the lake. 

There’s a splendid wooden pavilion facing the lake island, and if you’re lucky, there may be a musical performance. You can also pay a visit to the Hoa Khiem Temple (Điện Hoà Khiêm) and see some royal artefacts. 

Emperor Tu Duc (Tự Đức) was the longest-reigning Nguyen monarch from 1848 to 1883. His memorial was completed in 1867 with the labor of 10 000. He had a legendary 104 wives, but due to smallpox he never fathered any children. He was supposedly never buried at his mausoleum, but elsewhere together with his lost treasures. Some sources say the 200 servants involved in his burial were beheaded shortly afterwards.

Protip: Tu Hieu Pagoda is just 1.7 km away and some tours might include it as an extra stopover. 

7. Living Traditional Crafts at Luc Bo Cultural Space

Living Traditional Crafts at Luc Bo Cultural Space
[ image from cungdinhnguyen.com ] 

From the Imperial Museum of Royal Antiquities, you can walk through or around the park to the Luc Bo Cultural Space (Không gian Văn hoá Lục Bộ). This is another beautiful historical building which now serves as an arts and crafts center. You can learn how to make handcraft products such as conical palm hats, lanterns, woven baskets, paper flowers and more. There are also Nguyen Dynasty documents on display and historic information on royal products. You can purchase quality, handmade souvenirs, transitional teas and wines from the storefront

8. Local Shopping at Dong Ba Market 

Local Shopping at Dong Ba Market
[ by Claire Backhouse on Visual hunt ] 

If you walk along the river boardwalk to the Truong Tien bridge (cầu Trường Tiền), then cross the river and take a right, you’ll come to the Dong Ba Market (chợ Đông Ba) Dong Ba is a typical local Vietnamese market and one of the biggest in Hue. You will need to bargain for prices, but you can pick up some cheap souvenirs, clothing, and religious paraphernalia like incense. There’s a lot of dried or packaged local foodstuffs, and food stalls cooking up some of Hue’s favorites. You won’t find so much in the way of high-quality handicrafts, which are best bought at a boutique store or the Luc Bo Cultural Space.

9. Meet the Dragon at Phu Cam Cathedral 

Meet the Dragon at Phu Cam Cathedral
[ image by Lưu Ly from CC ]

By no means as attractive, vibrant, or welcoming as Hue’s many Pagodas and Temples, the imposing modernist Phu Cam Catholic Cathedral (Nhà thờ Phủ Cam) certainly has its place in the history of Hue. The cathedral was designed by the Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu (Ngô Viết Thụ), who also designed the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City. The cathedral resembles an open-mouthed dragon. 

Phu Cam is one of three significant cathedrals, the other two being in Hanoi and Saigon. Construction started in 1960 with Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc (Ngô Đình Thục), the older brother to President Ngo Dinh Diem, as the archbishop of Hue. President Diem died in a military coup and assassination and his brother, in Rome at the time, remained there in exile. Construction stopped in 1975, but later resumed and completed by 2000. 

10. Be Astonished at Paradise Cave

Be Astonished at Paradise Cave
[ by Edgardo W. Olivera from Visual Hunt ] 

Head northeast from Hue city for about 180km and you’ll come to Dong Hoi (Đồng Hới) in Quang Binh (Quảng Bình) province. From Dong Hoi town you can access the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park (Vườn quốc gia Phong Nha – Kẻ Bàng). 

There, visit two amazing yet different caves— Paradise Cave and Dark Cave. If you choose a day trip, you’re pretty much limited to visit either one of the caves with some interesting stops along the way.

Paradise Cave is the largest dry cave in Asia about 8 km inland from Dark Cave. It’s the more laid back option where you can enjoy the mighty stalagmites and stalactites walking the well-constructed boardwalks. 

A walking tour can cover about 7 km, and there’s also an underground river where you can take a swim. An early morning tour is recommended to avoid large groups that arrive in the afternoon.      

11. Adventure Caving in Dark Cave

Adventure Caving in Dark Cave
[ from sdrennan from Pixabay ] 

Dark Cave (hang Tối), the longest cave in the world, is a wet cave more suited to the adventurous and those willing to get rather dirty. The journey through the cave is about 6 km, and you have to go with a guide and wear a headlamp. There are lots of fossils to see, and a favorite destination is the underground mud baths. You can also do some climbing, and the cave in general is not for those with claustrophobia. 

Afterwards, you can clean off in fresh mountain pool waters and enjoy some zipline diving. This trip is a nice day of relaxing fun, but if you want to enjoy more activities such as trekking and kayaking, then you should stay overnight in Dong Hoi.   

12. Stroll Along Nguyen Dinh Chieu Walking Street

Stroll Along Nguyen Dinh Chieu Walking Street
[ image by hueprivatecars ] 

Nguyen Dinh Chieu Walking Street (phố đi bộ Nguyễn Đình Chiểu) is a pedestrian boardwalk that extends along the southern bank of the Perfume River halfway between the famous Truong Tien Bridge and the newer Phu Xuan Bridge (cầu Phú Xuân). 

It’s a nice place to stretch your legs along the shady river bank, and do some shopping at the stalls and boutiques along the way. If it gets too hot, you can relax inside a cafe. 

This street picks up more into the night and you can walk here from the Hue Night Walking street which is a little into the town.

13. The Final Imperial Abode An Dinh Palace 

The Final Imperial Abode An Dinh Palace
[ image from Vnexpress ] 

An Dinh Palace (Cung An Định), with its gorgeous yellow exterior and ornate white decorative carvings, has its own story to tell. It lies on the An Cuu canal (sông An Cựu) which cuts the city in two before merging with the Perfume River. 

Emperor Khai Dinh lived here as a child, and his son Bao Dai, the 13th and final Emperor, moved to this palace from the Imperial City after abdicating in 1945. Bao Dai renovated the palace in a modern style, and since he never got to build a mausoleum, this palace can be considered his memorial. 

His mother, Queen Tu Cung (Hoàng Hậu Từ Cung), was ousted from the palace by the unpopular President Ngo Dinh Diem to a nearby residence, where she died at the age of 91, refusing to leave her beloved Hue. 

14. The People’s Princess Huyen Tran Temple 

The People’s Princess Huyen Tran Temple
[ by Lưu Ly from CC ]

This vast and stately temple is fairly recent dating back to 2007. It was built to honor the popular Princess Huyen Tran (Huyền Trân công chúa) since a previous temple had been lost to war and other upheavals. The 28-hectare complex also houses the Huyen Tran Cultural Center, an orchid house, and calligraphy garden. 

Inside the main temple, you can see the 2.37 meter high statue of the princess. Behind this, is the longest dragon staircase in Vietnam that leads to a temple to her father, Tran Nhan Tong (Trần Nhân Tông). If you fancy a little more exercise in the fresh air, try the 246 stairs leading to the Bell Tower of Peace on the top of the mountain where you can catch a panoramic view of Hue city. 

Protip: If you’re in Vietnam during the Lunar New Year (Tết), you can join the eight-day Huyen Tran cultural festival that starts on the 8th lunar day. 

15. Folk Spirituality at Hue Nam Shrine 

Folk Spirituality at Hue Nam Shrine
[ image by Roger ] 

From the banks of the Perfume River at The To Pagoda, you can take a river taxi 7 km down to this lesser-known gem, the Hue Nam Shrine (Điện Huệ Nam). Also known as the Hon Chen Temple (Điện Hòn Chèn), it’s most famous for the large Autumn festival in the seventh lunar month, and the smaller Spring festival held in the second lunar month. 

This shaded shrine sits on a hill overlooking a bend in the river. It honors the Holy Mother Thien Y A Na (Bà Thiên Y A Na) who is worshipped in the folk traditions as the creator goddess of the land, the trees, and the forests. Many local people visit this place to do rituals and offerings, so the atmosphere is often charged with vibrant songs and music. Since early 2020 it’s been undergoing intensive renovation and reconstruction. 

16. Walking and Cycling Tours 

Walking and Cycling Tours
[ image from huecycling.com ] 

If you want to get to know the city more in-depth, there are various walking and cycling tours you can book. Some tours will take you along historical journeys, while others will take you around to try the local cuisine or snack at some street stalls. Because Hue is also a religious center, there are also vegetarian/vegan tour options. In which case, you’d better make sure to skip breakfast. A popular bicycle tour is to the Thanh Toàn Bridge, some 7.5 km inland from the central hotel district. 

17. Savor the Local Specialties 

Savor the Local Specialties
[ by avlxyz from Visualhunt ] 

There are many popular dishes from Hue you can eat all over Vietnam. However, nothing beats that taste of original local cuisine. There are several must-try signature dishes of Hue that you can eat at food stalls or in a restaurant. 

Bun Bo Hue (bún bò Huế) is the most popular. It’s a spicy beef broth noodle soup flavoured with lemongrass with beef strips and crap balls, often topped with shallots. Nem Lui (nem lụi) are ground pork on lemongrass skewers, or there’s Hue’s version of grilled pork noodles—Bun Thit Nuong (bún thịt nướng)—also flavored with lemongrass. 

Hue is famous for its savory flour cakes such as Banh Beo (bánh bèo). These are small disk shaped rice flour cakes with shrimp flakes and chili sauce on top. Banh Khot (bánh khọt) is a crispy cake made from tapioca four and coconut milk. Banh Loc (bánh lọc) is a similar glutinous tapioca dumpling with shrimp and pork belly inside, or  try Banh Nam (bánh nậm) which is made from rice flour. 

18. Join a Cooking Class 

Join Cooking Class
[ by wuestenigel from VisualHunt ]

Many travellers these days are looking for more than just sightseeing, shopping, or outdoor activities. Learning arts, crafts, and cooking are popular activities. Hue is famous for its unique cuisine, both everyday local favorites and the haute cuisine of its imperial past. You can learn how to make dishes like Bun Bo Hue (beef soup noodles), lemongrass skewers, fig salad, and more. You can also go on a shopping trip to pick up the fresh ingredients. 

19. The American War at Vinh Moc Tunnels

The American War at Vinh Moc Tunnels
[by ronancrowley from Visualhunt ]

A full day or half a day at Vinh Moc Tunnels (Địa đạo Vịnh Mốc) can get you out into the countryside, and experiencing some Vietnam War history as well. They were constructed as a refuge for villagers during the bombing raids, so they are not as narrow and cramped as those in Cu Chi near Ho Chi Minh City. 

The DMZ was just below the 17th parallel in Quang Tri (Quảng Trị) province as per the Geneva Agreements. It was the most heavily bombed area in modern history and lies about 100 km north of Hue, most of it running along the Ben Hai River. 

Sights along the way are: La Vang Holy Land where apparently the Virgin Mary manifested, the former US military base of RockPile Hill, and Hien Luong Bridge (cầu Hiền Lương) that marked the official demarcation along the Ben Hai river, and various battlefields.

20. Tu Hieu Pagoda and Thich Nhat Hanh

Tu Hieu Pagoda and Thich Nhat Hanh
[ image by Roger ] 

This Zen Monastery houses around 70 monks and nuns. As a living Dharma center, you can be inspired by daily practices of mindfulness, or you can join daily meditation sessions at 10 am, noon, 4 pm, and 7 pm.

Tu Hieu (Từ Hiếu) is one of the most illustrious pagodas in Hue. The monk Nhat Dinh (Nhất Định) started it’s construction in 1843 in honor of and service to his mother. Its name, the Dutiful Son Pagoda, was conferred by Emperor Tu Duc. 

In more recent times, this temple is where the internationally famous Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (Thích Nhất Hạnh), studied as a novice monk and currently resides.

You can wander around its spacious grounds, or find a quiet spot for contemplation. You can view the half-moon pond, walk around the lotus lake, and visit the ancient graves of eunuchs. There’s a bookshop with books in various languages, as well as other souvenirs and paraphernalia. 

21. A Country Outing to Gia Long Royal Tomb 

A Country Outing to Gia Long Royal Tomb
[ by Uwe Aranas from CC ] 

Gia Long Tomb (Lăng Gia Long) is some 20km due southwest of central Hue in Huong Tra (Hương Trà) Town . You can easily get there by river taxi as the complex boundaries directly onto the Perfume River. 

It would be best to head out early in the morning, taking along a packed lunch to enjoy. Around the complex are lots of shady trees, lotus ponds, and you can meander along footpaths and discover some local villages nearby. 

Compared to other tombs, it’s not a grand or spectacular monument, but it’s a great place to visit for its historical significance and natural setting. 

To the right of the central tomb, you’ll find the temple honoring the emperor and his wife, Thua Thien (Thừa Thiên), where you can also see military artefacts. 

You can wander around the large inner courtyard, enjoy the gardens, and walk across the pond to the memorial hall. 

Protip: You can catch a river taxi from Thien Mu Pagoda and also include Hue Nam Shrine along the way. 

22. Hiking and Trekking at Bach Ma National Park 

Hiking and Trekking at Bach Ma National Park
[ by Rennett Stowe from Visualhunt ]

Bach Ma (Bạch Mã) is about 48 km south of Hue via the scenic Hai Van Pass on the way to Danang. If you’re looking to get out for a whole day, this is a popular trip with activities for all. 

Bach Ma is a semi sub-tropical rainforest with about one-fifth of all Vietnam’s flora including rare orchids, and some 358 bird species. Things you can do depend on the tour you book. 

Popular activities include a hike up the 1 450m Bach Ma Summit with panoramic views of the lagoon, the lakes, and down to the ocean. Also on the list is the 300 meter high Do Quyen waterfall (thác Đỗ Quyên), refreshing dips in forest pools, or a hike along the Five Lakes Trail (đường mòn Ngũ Hồ). 

Tours generally leave around 8 am and return by early evening. The best time to go is the dry or cool season from December through April.      

23. Lake Truoi and Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery

Lake Truoi and Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery
[by Trần Võ Tống Ngọc from Facebook]

Hue city has a rich history of Zen culture. But what better way to appreciate this than getting out into nature? Heading 38 km towards the Bach Ma National Park, you will arrive at the beautiful turquoise waters of Truoi Lake (sông Truồi). 

From there, it’s just a 15 min trip over the tranquil waters to the Truc Lam Bach Ma Monastery. There are 172 steps passing through three symbolic gates of the three worlds. 

You can view the impressive beauty of the waters on the way to the 24 meter high Buddha statue. The monastery, completed in 2008, has become an international place of pilgrimage.

24. Local Hospitality at Royal Garden Houses

Local Hospitality at Royal Garden Houses
[ image from thuathienhue ] 

Another part of Hue’s imperial past are the former original garden homes of wealthy elites or minor royals. Some of these still remain under the care of original family lineages, and a few of them can be visited at a nominal fee. Since 2015, there has been an extensive conservation effort to restore many of these historic residences. 

These picturesque houses typically have an ornate entrance gate and path leading to a bricked screen. Behind this is the pond with rocks gardens, fruit trees, and flowering plants along the sides— all meticulously designed according to feng shui principles.

The most popular of these is the An Hien House (nhà vườn An Hiên) about a 15-minute-walk from Thien Mu Pagoda at 58 Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Str. Lac Tinh Vien House (nhà vườn Lạc Tịnh Viện) is on the other side of the river at 65 Phan Dinh Phung Str. covering around 2 000 square meters. 

Ngoc Son Princess Garden House (Phủ thờ Công chùa Ngọc Sơn) belonged to a daughter of Emperor Dong Khanh (Đồng Khánh) and the shrine still contains articles of the Princess including toys and bowls. 

25. Kayaking the Perfume River 

Kayaking the Perfume River
[ byThanhNamNguyen from Pixabay ] 

Instead of taking a leisurely cruise or taxi tour down the river, why not enjoy a day out kayaking? You can see the ebb and flow of daily life along the banks that have sustained the city through the centuries. 

Enjoy the birdlife as you paddle along, and most tours will also stop along the way to visit a market, a village, or one of the islands on the river. Tours usually only run with a minimum of two people. 

You can choose a morning paddle, which might get quite hot, or you can go on the more popular afternoon kayaks and get to enjoy the sunset as you come back home to base. April and May are the coolest months in the dry season. 

26. Dinner Cruise and Sunset on The Perfume River

Dinner Cruise and Sunset on The Perfume River
[ by vietnguyenbui from Pixabay ]  

The broad and stately Perfume River runs pretty much due east-west and is perfect for enjoying the gorgeous sunsets of Hue city. Several operators run cruises where you can enjoy some fine food, see the sights along the river, and be entertained with traditional folk music. 

Most cruises do not include alcohol in the price for which you have to pay extra. Tour operators will usually pick you up at your hotel and take you to the wharf where the tour departs.  

27. Phong Nha Botanic Garden 

Phong Nha Botanic Garden
[ image from sarastunblinggracefully.com ] 

Phong Nha Botanic Garden (Vườn thực vật Phong Nha) is situated along the road between Dark and Paradise caves. If you’re going on a tour, these gardens might be included in a short stop over to Paradise Cave

The area covers about 40 acres and contains over 500 species of flora. You can see the cascading Gio Waterfall (thác Gió) and swim in the small Vang Anh Lake (hồ Vàng Anh). 

There’s a 3 km walking path and it’s about 40 minutes to the waterfall, 1h30 to Vang Anh Lake, and longer 3 hour guided treks are also available. A visit to the gardens is perfect for all ages and those who want to maximize their time outdoors.

28. Relax in Mooc Springs

Relax in Mooc Springs
[ image from cungphuot.info ]

Mooc Spring (suối Moọc) is on a short turn off going to Paradise Cave, and may be included as an additional activity if you take a day tour. The name means ‘unknown’ because the origin of this blue water spring situated below a cliff is a mystery. 

It forms part of the Mooc Spring Eco-Trail designed to protect the exotic animals like Gibbons, colorful birds, and butterflies found in the area. If you’re lucky you might get to see some curious primates along the way. 

The outing includes a walk along stone paths, through the orchid garden, and across bamboo bridges to the Chay River (sông Chày).

29. A Sunny Day at Thuan An Beach

A Sunny Day at Thuan An Beach
[by Thuận An Huế from Facebook]

Thuan An beach (bãi biển Thuận An) is the nearest beach to Hue and is only 15 km away or 30 minutes by motorbike or vehicle. The beach is on the peninsula where the Perfume River runs into Tam Giang Lagoon. 

You can rent deck chairs and beach umbrellas for about 50 000 VND a day. There are grassy parks along the shoreline, and you can go over to the local resort nearby which also caters to outsiders. 

A number of local coffee shops and restaurants along the peninsula are also worth investigating. April to September are the nicest months for swimming and enjoying great weather. 

30. A Road Trip to Lang Co Beach

A Road Trip to Lang Co Beach
[ by joinkalebao from Pixabay ]

Lang Co beach (bãi biển Lăng Cô) is a popular stop-off point for a number of tours. It’s about 60 km from central Hue, but only 30 km from Danang. 

Situated between a turquoise water lagoon and a 10 km beachfront, there’s plenty of room to enjoy swimming, beach activities, or you can feast on the local seafood.

 The beach is not very developed but there are local restaurants along the land strip, and there may be a jet ski rental shop open depending. 

Alternatively, there are a couple of beach resorts if you’re interested in a longer getaway or trying some of their facilities.      

Getting Around Hue

The best way to get around Hue is private transportation which is relatively inexpensive and far more convenient than public buses.

Taxis and Car Hires in Hue

For motor vehicle transportation, there are various taxi companies, or you can use a Grab Car. If you want to visit historic sites outside the city at your leisure, you can rent a car and driver for either a half or a full day, or by the hour with a Grab Car. A taxi ride to a couple of tombs and back could cost up to 300 000 VND or more, so the latter options are much better. 

Metered taxis start at around 15 000 VND and then 11 500 VND to 16 000 VND per kilometer. Car rentals per day with a driver vary between 30 to 40 USD. A trip to the Vinh Moc tunnels averages around 50 USD, further locations could be 20‒30 USD extra, but to Paradise cave could be 100 USD or a little more.

Grab Corporation has a very user-friendly smart app with an English interface and support. Two of the national taxi corporations—Vinasun and Mai Linh—also have English language apps in the Google Play and Apple app stores. As long as you have a contactable telephone number and can receive local SMS, you’re ready to go. 

Getting Around by Motorbike in Hue

Motorbikes are a good option if you’re traveling alone or with just a couple of friends. Grab Corporation also has a motorbike taxi service for single passengers. But, as with anywhere else in Vietnam, you can easily rent a motorbike for the day. To rent and legally ride a bike you will need to show your passport, national, as well as international licenses. Scooters and 50cc bikes do not require a license. 

A fully automatic for around the city can cost about 6 USD per day. Semi or fully automatics are about 20 USD per day if you want to pick up and drop off in a different city like Danang, Hoi An, or Dong Hoi. Deposits for smaller, cheaper bikes made in China are usually around 1-million VND (45 USD), and more expensive road bikes between 3-5 million. Some motorbike rental companies will also arrange baggage transfer to your next destination. 

Bicycles and Cyclos in Hue

Bicycle rental is quite popular in Hue. There are also bicycle (and motorbike) tours to popular locations, tracing historical routes around the city, or going on a foodie venture. A lot of guest houses may provide free bicycles or you can rent from a shop. There are also plenty of cyclos around for popping over to nearby sites. Basket type Asama bikes can be as cheap as 4 USD (90 000 VND) per day, and mountain bikes up to 13 USD. 

Dragon Boat River Taxis in Hue

Another great option in Hue is a river taxi or dragon boat.  Many popular sites, temples and tombs can be accessed directly from the riverbank, or by connecting to a cyclo for a short ride to your destination. In the main town, you will find the boat taxi wharf at 5 Le Loi Street, but another good starting point is the Thien Mu Pagoda. 

A typical dragon boat tour to Thien Mu Pagoda, the Hue Nam Shrine, and around to the Tu Duc Tomb is about 20 USD. You can also negotiate single trips and prices. 

Visiting Temple and Pagodas in Hue: Dos and Don’ts 

Many sites in Hue are pagodas, temples, and national heritage sites. As such, you should know a few things about correct etiquette. For many temples, including at tombs, if you want to go inside the main hall or shrine, you should wear modest clothing that covers your knees and shoulders—for both men and women.

Don’t talk loudly and respect the space of people performing religious rituals and duties. Sometimes you have to remove your shoes, and feel free to offer incense while leaving a small donation. In many locations, you shouldn’t take photographs of main deities or altars in shrines and pagodas. Just make a note to look around for signs which tell you what to do or not to do.

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