Screenplay in Hue
The Ancient Capital of Vietnam
Hue is located between the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (right in the middle of Vietnam) and is known as “The imperial city”. Between 1802 and 1945, Hue was the capital of the Nguyen dynasty, the last in the history of Vietnam. A political and economic center at the time, Hue was planned and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is crossed by the Perfume River and the highlight among the monuments is the Imperial City, a walled citadel built with the models of the Forbidden City of Beijing, China.
In addition to the walls, the citadel is also surrounded by a channel and can be accessed by just two bridges. Hue’s construction was full of symbolism: everything is related to the cardinal points and the five elements of nature.
After a brief explanation about this Vietnamese city, let’s go on our tour in the old capital.
# 1 day: Hanoi – Hue stretch
For the fifth day in Vietnam (check out the full post of our trip between Vietnam and Cambodia here ) we started the activities very early, more precisely at 4 am. We followed a transfer (U $ 18 dollars) from the hotel to Hanoi airport (domestic terminal). The flight left at 6:30 am towards our second base city, Hue.
We arrived at the airport around 7:45 am, and at 8:30 am we were already at the reception of our hostel – Than Tien – Friendly Hotel . The transfer between aero and hostel was also done with a transfer contracted directly with the hotel (U $ 12 dollars).
We disembarked from the transfer, waited for our check in time and, during that wait, we asked a lot of questions at the reception, to then define what we would do in the next two days in this city.
We leave suitcases in the room, get ready and go out for a little reconnaissance of land and search for more information about tours and tips on what to do. It was after 11 am and hunger hit. It was time to have lunch and decide our future.
We then entered 3 more agencies in the Rua dos Bars region (very close to our hotel) and left one of these agencies with the full day tour for the next scheduled day! We got a small discount in relation to the value of the hotel and decided to close. Once decided, we went for a quick lunch around the region, and then returned to the hotel.
The idea of the fifth day was also to take a private tour, since we only had half a day, or to walk around town to get to know a little of life. We ended up deciding on the second option.
Around 2:00 pm, we left the hotel towards the Perfume River and its surroundings. We followed the alleys and alleys and ended our small walking tour of the day. Around 17h, we decided to end the day with a nice dinner and some local beers.
Notes on Hue:
- The city has punctual attractions, which in a short summary are: Imperial Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, the boat ride on the Perfume River (The Dragon Boat) and the Tombs (7 in total);
- The streets with the most bars and nightlife are: Chu Van, Pham Ngu Lao and Doi Cong. All are in the vicinity of the hotel we stayed in, which is also the best location for lodging;
- If the traveler has more days in the city (more than 2 nights), there are complementary tours: The DMZ Tour (takes the traveler to a historic area – demilitarized zone), Paradise Cave or Phong Nha Cave (two different full day tours outside from the city and that lead to cave areas) and finally the private tours (you hire a driver and they take you to destinations outside the city – countryside, including a beach: Thuan An Beach);
- The city itself is not one of the most beautiful that we know, and the ideal (in our opinion) is to do a full day tour of the main points (either closed, private or tuk tuk tour) and for a second day, if you make the same option as we did, choose a tour outside the city (cave, tombs or beach);
- For the internal day tour in the main points of Hue there are some routes sold by hotels / agencies and they do basically the same points with some exceptions. The value is always around 35 to 40 dollars (whenever we talk about dollars remember that they work with quotation of American dollars). Some agencies sell separate values (example tour + tickets) and others already inform the total price with tickets included. We opted for the closed package from the Deluxe Group Tours agency (we paid U $ 35 dollars);
In the search for information I found two very punctual tours (I didn’t and I can’t say if they are good, but I found it interesting):
Hue city exit and entry options:
From Hoi An – approximately 3 ½ hours
From Hanoi – approximately 15 hours
From Hoi An – approximately 2 and a half hours
From Hanoi – approximately 14 hours
From Ho Chi Minh – approximately 14 and a half hours
From Hanoi: 50 minutes
From Ho Chi Minh: 1 hour
If you are going from Hue to Hoi An, as we did, the options are:
- Private car with stops at specific points: 45 to 59 dollars;
- Private bus with specific stops: 10 to 12 dollars;
- Regular direct bus to Hoi An: $ 5 (departing at 8 am and 1 pm from Hue).
# 2 day: Hue – Full Day City Tour
We booked the sixth day in Vietnam, and the second in Hue, for a city tour in Hue. We closed a tour with a local agency ( A Travelmate ), and at 8:15 am we were already inside the van towards the points of interest in this city.
Our first stop was at the Central Market in Hue, a very busy place full of gadgets and food. This is a very typical market and the same as many big cities. There, residents buy and sell everything.
We drove a little bit inside the market, and in about 30 minutes we were back in the van, ready to go to the next destination.
At 9 am we were already on the premises of Citadel, one of the most valued locations in Hue and for the history of Vietnam.
This is a place of great importance as it was where the reign of this country was established during a certain period, that is, it was the capital of Vietnam at the time.
We passed the entrance and immediately found the Royal Palace (Supreme Harmony Palace). There we come across typical architecture and many details from the time of royalty. After many explanations from our guide and several photos, we went to the other Citadel environment, the Forbidden City.
In this part of the Citadel we were able to find the garden and the outbuildings where the other members of royalty lived at this time. However, during the Vietnam War and with the many bombs dropped, several buildings were destroyed. We stayed in that area for about an hour and a half, and then we went back to the van. From there we head to the main Pagoda in the city, and the main ones in the country – Thien Mu (meaning: Heavenly Lady) Pagoda.
In Hue there are more than 300 pagodas, but this is the star of the city. It is on the banks of the Perfume River, and has 7 floors (this number is sacred to Buddhism). There you can also find the car and photos of a story famous for the world and for the Vietnamese: the monk who burned his body as an act of protest to the regime of the time (see more about the story here ).
We went up the steps of the place, took some pictures and after this visit we headed towards the Perfume River for the boat ride (Dragon Boat). The boat tour lasts around 30 minutes and departing the Pagoda we headed towards the city center. At that time it was already lunchtime and we went to a restaurant (lunch included / drinks apart). Between 12pm and 1pm we stayed at the restaurant and after lunch we headed towards the most famous tombs in Hue.
In total there are 7 imperial tombs, but on our itinerary we only visited two.
The first visit was to Minh Mang Tumb. This was the tomb of the second king of Vietnam, the most popular monarch in the country. There we find a beautiful space with buildings and nature (lakes and lots of green).
We walked around the place and received many explanations from our guide. After approximately 40 minutes we return to the van and then proceed to the last leg of the tour and the second tomb of the day.
Khai Dinh is the name of the second Tomb we visited. This place was built by the 12th king of Vietnam, and according to our guide the most unpopular and most European of kings (this monarch suffered a lot of French influence in his formation during the period he lived in this country).
This tomb is also considered to have the most European influence in its architecture. We found a beautiful space with an interior decoration to impress visitors. Many stairs and a darker style were found on the outside and many details of stones and ornamentation on the inside.
On the roof of the main building there is a huge painting and there is a story behind that detail. The “legend” tells that this painting was made with the feet. Stories aside the place is very beautiful.
By 3:45 pm our visitation options were over. We drove to the van and then made our way back to Hue’s center and finally to our hotel.
We arrived at the hotel at 4 pm, left the film and photo equipment in the room and left again, but now to close our transport the next day – between Hue and Hoi An.
All right and organized, we proceeded to Hue’s last happy hour. Beer, pizza and pub. The day was ending.
- Site Oficial do Turismo no Vietnã
- Hoi An Cyclo Tour
- Cham Island Diving
- Cham Island Snorkeling & Tour
- Family Cooking Tour – Hoi An
- Heaven & Earth Bicycle Tour Hoi An
- Hoian Diving Center Hoi An
- Hoi An Cooking-Eco Tour
- Bay Mau Eco Cooking Tour Hoi An
- Hoi An Village Experience
- Yellow City Food Tours Hoi An
- Electric Scooter Tours Hoi An
- Agência de Turismo Ho Chi Minh
- Agência de Turismo Ho Chi Minh 2
- Saigon Skydeck
- Passeio de Barco em Ho Chi Minh
- Sightseeing Tours Vietnã
- Tours Voluntários em Hanoi
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