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The Hue Citadel.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Vietnam > Bắc Trung Bộ > Huế

Huế Sights & Attractions

  
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Imperial Citadel 

The former imperial seat of government and Hue's prime attraction, this is a great sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, walls, gates, shops, museums and galleries, featuring art and costumes from various periods of Vietnamese history. Thanks to its size, it is also delightfully peaceful - a rare commodity in Vietnam.

The citadel was badly knocked about during fighting between the French and the Viet Minh in 1947, and again in 1968 during the Tet Offensive, when it was shelled by the Viet Cong and then bombed by the Americans. As a result, some areas are now only empty fields, bits of walls, and an explanatory plaque.

Other buildings are intact, though, and a few are in sparkling condition. For the rest, while restoration has been going on for 20 years, there is still quite a long way to go.

Allow several hours to see it properly. Entry is 55,000 Dong and it opens from 6:30 AM to 5 PM.

Hue's Citadel is the former imperial seat of government.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Tombs of the Emperors

The other great attractions in Hue are the Tombs of the Emperors, which are located along the Perfume River south of the city. They are accessible by taxi or bike from the city, but the best way to see them is to hire a river boat and go for a cruise. 

Tomb of Tu Duc.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Group Tours

Group tours usually cost about USD$2, which includes an excellent lunch when you aboard the boat, but does not include admission to the tombs which is 55,000 Dong for the cost of a motorbike from the wharf to each tomb. If you're with a group, the price should be set by the tour company at roughly 25,000 Dong for each round-trip. Choose a tour with as few stops as possible. Some companies lard up their itineraries with visits to silk farms and a few pagodas, promising to fit everything in neatly, however tour companies aren't noted for their time management, and you'll wind up rushed along and frustrated for at least one of the tombs.

The Tomb of Minh Mang.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Travelling alone

If you're travelling on your own, hire a boat or motorbike with a driver should cost somewhere around USD$20, again not including tomb admissions. All of the tombs can be walked to from the wharfs in anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour. The paths are mostly obvious, but you still probably shouldn't try it without a map or a terrific sense of direction. Most of the tombs are open from 7:30 AM or 8 AM to 5:30 PM, depending on the season; note that the tour groups arrive around 10 AM and leave around 3 PM in order to get back before dinner, so plan accordingly to avoid the crowds. 

The tombs are also easily reached by bicycle, although there is a shortage of good maps of how to reach them. Ask your hotel about bicycle rentals and maps, and be cautious on the crowded and potentially potholed roads. This is probably the most inexpensive (and enjoyable, if you enjoy cycling) way to reach the tombs.

The tombs themselves are worth the cost and effort. They mostly date from the late 19th or early 20th centuries, when the Emperors had been reduced to figureheads under French colonial rule and had little else to do than build themselves elaborate tombs. The finest of them are the Tomb of Tu Duc, the Tomb of Minh Mang and the Tomb of Khai Dinh, all of which are excellent examples of Vietnamese Buddhist aesthetics and architecture. The older ones have been allowed to crumble into picturesque semi-ruin, although some are now being restored.

Things to See in Huế

Monument/Building Tomb of Minh Mang
(12km) - in this opulent complex, the main buildings are arranged on an east-west axis, including a courtyard surrounded by warrior statues and several temples and pavilions. Several bridges cross two lakes before the axis... more
 1 Fans, in Huế
Monument/Building Tomb of Tu Duc
(7km) - Constructed from 1833/64 to 1867, the complex served as a second Imperial City where the Emperor went for "working vacations". Tu Duc's contemplative nature and poetic spirit is reflected in the landscape... more
 1 Fans, in Huế
 
Monument/Building Thien Mu Pagoda
(4km) - perched on a bluff over the river and housing some very fine gold and silver Buddha images. The Thien Mu Pagoda overlooks the Perfume River and is the official symbol of the city of Hue. Thien Mu means "elderl... more
 1 Fans, in Huế
Monument/Building Ngo Mon
The main southern entrance to the city, built in 1833 by Minh Mang. The central door, and the bridge connecting to it, were reserved exclusively for the emperor. Climb up to the second floor for a nice view of the exquisite courtyard. The Ngo Mon Gate is the pri... more
in Huế
 
Monument/Building Thai Hoa Palace
The emperor's coronation hall, where he would sit in state and receive foreign dignitaries.
in Huế
Monument/Building Truong Sanh Residence
Translated as the "Palace of Longevity", the Truong Sanh Palace was the residence of King Tu Duc’s mother, Empress Tu Du, under the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century. It lies in Tu Cam Thanh, one of the two major parts of the Hue Citadel. Curren... more
in Huế
 
Monument/Building Forbidden Purple City
Directly behind Thai Hoa Palace, but it was almost entirely destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive and only the rather nondescript Mandarin Palaces on both sides remain.
in Huế
Jungle Hue Jungle Crevice
When the Viet Cong briefly over ran Hue they rounded up 3000 of Hue's citizens and officials. Fearing the prisoners would slow them down in hot retreat, they tied them up and pushed the people over the cliff into the crevice.
in Huế
 
Monument/Building Tomb of Gia Long
(40km) - the most remote of the tombs, quiet and fallen into disrepair as Gia Long, the first Nguyen emperor, was notoriously despotic.
in Huế
Monument/Building Tomb of Thieu Tri
(8km) - built in 1848.
in Huế
 
These are just 10 of 16 Things to See in Huế. Show more.




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