This is one of the many Royal Tombs located in the surroundings of the city.
A good way to see several is the River Boat Tour (see transportation tips), but I was tired, wanted to see just one, so I chose this, and reached it by motorbike.
It is located 10 kms south of the city, the moto ride takes no more than 20 minutes and costed me 2.5 USD.
Tu Duc emperor built here a summer residence, amid frangipani trees and pines. It included a lake with an artificial island in which he used to hunt the animals that his servants previously brought there. There is an embankment too at the lake.
Then there is the Residence, several pavillions, and the tombs, one for him, one for his son.
Inside the main Pavillion you can visit the Reception Hall, in the Hoa Khiem Temple. Tu Duc used this temple as a palace. There are here many furnitures, mirrors, jars, and other personal items. In the pic you can see the 2 thrones, the smallest being the Emperor one: he was only 153 cms high!
This small pavillion houses a Stone Tablet (20 tonnes) in which Tu Duc engraved a brief autobiography, writing about some aspects of his life. Surprisingly in this kind of "official stories", he was quite modest and even recognized a few errors he made...
The stone was brough from 500 kms away, taking 4 years to bring it here.
One of the best trips you can make from Hue, if you have any interest in the Vietnam War, is the DMZ Tour. Both Sinh Cafe and Kim Cafe, among others, organise 1-day bus trips to the old border between North and South Vietnam.
I took the Sinh Cafe tour, which departed at 6am returned at 6pm and covered the following itinerary:
Highway 9: The Rockpile-Dakrong Bridge-Ho Chi Minh Trail-Bru minority village-Khe Sanh
Highway 1: Dong Ha-Hien Luong Bridge-Ben Hai River-the Tunnels of Vinh Moc and the Tunnel Museum
You have to get up early for this one, but it's well worth it. Khe Sanh combat base is especially interesting, if you have read about the history of the Vietnam War or seen the film, 'We Were Soldiers'.
In the picture you can see the bridge over the Ben Hai River, which marked the border between North and South Vietnam.
A dragon boat cruise down the Perfume River, or Huong Giang, is something every visitor to Hue should experience. The river takes its name from a perfumed shrub which grows at its source.
Fondest memory: My most abiding memory of Hue is the Perfume River, which flows through the city, under its bridges and past its palaces and temples.
It is not advisable from a health point of view to buy food on the train from Hue to Hanoi. Whatever they were serving didn't look too flash. It looked like some kind of deep fried cat or dog. Maybe it was chicken. Only the locals were buying. (That is, the ones that didn't bring their own food & portable stoves with them)
Walking down Le Loi to the station to buy our tickets, on the left-hand side (the other side of the road to the river) we came across an interesting supermarket underneath either a hotel or office block.
It was called "Greenmart". It sold all kinds of things, we picked up biscuits (like oreos & jatz), cheese, chocolates, drinks etc to keep us going on the train.
Hue is an ancient city, between 1802 and 1945 it was the imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty, who rules southern Vietnam. The city has about 340000 inhabitants and plenty of sights to be visited. In the city itself there is the citadel (the former Imperial city) and plenty of beautiful temples and pagodas - as well as a colourful market.
Outside the city, along the perfume river, there are amazing royal tombs... those of the Nguyen emperors. All Hue monuments are listed in the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
Fondest memory: Hue is often looked down upon by visitors - most prefer to head straight to Hoi An, but I found it a lot more interesting, picturesque and by far less touristy... it is colourful and relaxing, too... and after reaching Hoi An, I wished we had chosen to stay longer.
I also liked the traditional fishing village on the outskirts of Hue, very interesting and untouched by tourism... with plenty of great photo opportunities.
Hue was the capitol of Vietnam, from 1744 when the Nguyen dynasty controlled southern Vietnam. In 1802 Nguyen Anh, the last of the Nguyen Lords, defeated his northern rivals and proclaimed the city capital of a reunited Vietnam, changing its name to Hue. The dynasty lasted until 1945, when the last emperor abdicated.
The city was severely damaged in the 1968 during the Tet offensive, but many architectural gems remain and are well WORTH a visit.
The only one possible problem--the weather at Hue is notoriously unpredictable, and rainfall is frequent
Fondest memory: Forbidden Purple City, Lang Tu Duc tomb, Floating on the perfume river and visiting the colorfull market
Hue was once the capital of the country during the Tay Son and Nguyen dynasties, the Imperial city is where the Nguyen emperors lived and ruled... it is the highlight of Hue town and has been recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
The Royal Citadel has 10 gates, but you can enter it only throught the main one, where you buy the tickets, and is surrounded by imposing walls and a moat. Inside there was also a forbidden city, which only the emperor could access... except for a few selected servants, which had to be eunuchs.
Fondest memory: There are many sights to be seen inside the citadel: some of the most important are the Noon Gate, Thuong Uyen (Royal) Garden, Trieu temple, Thai temple, Hien Lam pavilion, Hung temple and Phung Tien temple.
My very favourite is the former residence of the Queen Mother... a great building with excellent decorations, and a most delightful lotus pond with a wooden pavillion, where she often rested in the afternoon.
The Perfume River is a river which divides Hue in two parts, and although it deosn't have a particular perfume, it's a beautiful river to navigate... it's also a scenic way to reach the famous royal tombs.
It starts in the Truong Son mountain range and ocne it reaches the outskirts of Hue it's quite a placid river with clear blue waters with only one dark stretch along the foot of Ngoc Tran Mountain, where there is the Hon Chen Temple... the reason? Waters there are really deep.
Fondest memory: What I liked best was the tranquillity of the area... the small villages on the river shores and the people living their daily life... often on a boat... either going somewhere, transporting goods or busy fishing. A simple but peaceful life.
Sometime you will wonder why the bus/van is travel super slow on express way. The reason is there are speed traps or police road block ahead.
Because the penalty for road transport offends is very severe, the motorists had developed a very comprehensive sign language to inform motorists from opposite direction of all possible policemen threats.
On the way to the Tu Duc tomb, inside the complex, you will find these 2 rows of little stone mandarins.
But wwhy so little? Well, the Emperor himself was small (153 cms) so he made his servants' statues even shorter!!
Hue (The ancient capital of Vietnam) - served as Vietnam's political capital from 1802 to 1945 under the 13 emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty.
Fondest memory: Hue is located in Thua Thien prefecture and is in the central part of Vietnam. Located 660 km from Ha Noi and 1080 km from Saigon.
Today, Hue's main attractions are tombs of the Nguyen emperors, and the remains of the Citadel, the Imperial City.
Hue boats are themselves a part of the special Hue experience. Thanks to local entrepreneurs eager to exploit their city's past, a walk along the riverside reveals a galaxy of glittering lights suspended from forms that slowly coalesce into dragon-like shapes.
Dragon boats have outer hulls decorated to resemble a gorgeous dragon. In the past, no matter how rich a common person became, ownership of such a vessel was forbidden: they were exclusively reserved for royalty.
Nowadays, anyone who has the money can buy any boat they like, and there is no shortage of new dragon boat owners. A one-hour shuttle trip between Trang Tien Bridge and the Heavenly Lady Pagoda costs VND2,000 a person.
Huda beer is the local beer in Hue and a pretty well tasting lager that is not too strong.
The Huda brewery is a joint venture between Carlsberg from Denmark and a Vietnamese brewery and the name Huda is actually standing for "Hue" and "danish".
If you are in hue then you are very likely to run in to this beer in bars, cafes and restaurants and this is not a bad encounter if you ask me.
And that comes from a dane who would never dream of buying a Carlsberg in my native country.