Have you ever thought about visiting Vietnam one day for any reason that you have in your mind?
I believe so since you are already here reading this article.
In fact, there are plenty of articles out there talking about how beautiful and unique Vietnam is, especially about Saigon and Hanoi. However, despite how small Vietnam is, there are still a lot of places that are waiting for you to explore. With 54 ethnic groups spreading out all over the country, a long history of struggles, and masses of breathtaking natural wonders, it’s time for you to discover a Vietnam – a different Vietnam through your viewfinder as a local or a denizen in your own path.
Now, let’s take a look at Hue city – the former capital of Vietnam.
Hue is a small, peaceful ancient city but it has everything you need there. Yes, when I mentioned everything, I really meant everything that you could plan for your trip.
Hue – Home of festivals and events, colorful life of a local in Hue.
Besides the traditional event “Hue festival” held in summer every two-year, Hue city is also the home of many other events and activities such as the Traditional Craft Festival, Hue SingSing, Ao Dai on the street, kite’s festival, etc. The culture, tradition as well as the modern are greatly combined together to make it something that is very “Hue”.
Traditional Craft Festival 2019 in Hue- “The quintessence of Vietnamese traditional crafts”
In the Traditional Craft Festival, people from all regions introduce their unique handicraft products such as accessories, painted enamel, embroidery, and so on. You can also spot traditional embroidered Aodai, Zèng textiles, wood, ceramic or bamboo-making products, lanterns, etc. of Vietnamese traditional items from Hue, craft villages, provinces, cities in Vietnam and even overseas. Herbal remedies are one of Hue highlights as well. Here, oriental medicine doctors will have a chance to explain and give you more information about their traditional medicines at this festival.
Hue Festival is a big heritage event of Hue City which is held every two years in summer. Each festival season will be celebrated within a week (usually in April, May or June). Through this occasion, Hue people honor the legacy and historical values of Vietnam’s former capital city. The very first Hue Festival took place in 2000. The next Hue Festival will be held next summer, 2020.
Eat and Drink like a Hue local
If this is your first-time visiting Hue, you will be shocked about how tiny and delicate its foods are. Foods here don’t look fancy or anything close to that level, they look just exactly like what Hue represents: charming, elegant, cultural and traditional. From appetizers to main course and desserts, Hue foods will not disappoint anyone who makes a stop here in their journeys.
Foods here favor rice as the main ingredient in their recipes. Combo Beo – Loc – Nam – Banh It Ram (Water fern cakes – Tapioca Dumplings – Flat Rice Dumpling – Fried Sticky Rice Dumplings)
Forget about those fancy restaurants in the city, let’s have a night out walking on the streets and enjoy these amazing dishes. Hue people are friendly and kind so you mostly can enjoy your time here with worry-free.
Where to go in Hue city?
Welcome to Hue Night Walking Street. This area is the merging of 4 big streets in the central of Hue City: Chu Van An street, Pham Ngu Lao street, Vo Thi Sau street, and Nguyen Dinh Chieu street)
Much similar to Bui Vien Street in Hochiminh city, but more cultural and traditional. This venue is the new place for not only just young people but also for all generations to enjoy a night in Hue style and also an attractive location for expats and visitors.
You can find different forms of businesses here from traditional lanterns to modern clothes, from heritage recipes to urban bars with wonderful cocktails and tasteful craft beers.
Hardly in Vietnam, you can see such a perfect contradiction in one place which still maintains the great balance between modern and traditional lifestyles like Hue.
Coffee is a must in Hue
The western beverage is served in traditional and cultural styles. You would be shaken about the number of Café there. All you need to do is picking the one that is really “you” to sit down and enjoy your coffee.
Got influenced by the French, Hue people are having a “pretty chill” lifestyle. Of course, Hue people are hard-working, but they have been maintaining a steady and simple routine of enjoying a cup of coffee every morning or just some random times during the day.
I know what came to your mind after reading this. You think all Vietnamese people love coffee, don’t you?
But let me tell you this, Hue coffee is something that you will need to experience yourself, take a sip and …
Guess what? You’ll tell me what you feel about your first-time trying coffee in Hue, right. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear your sharing own experiences with all of us here.
Where to visit in Hue city
Being one of the most sophisticated cities in Vietnam, Hue is your right destination whether if you’re oriental of occidental. Hue is where heritage crosses modernity, where Vietnam’s legacy is preserved, and where historical architectures and western architectures unite.
Places for note-taking: Tombs of the Ancient Emperors, Tu Hieu Pagoda, Huyen Tran Princess Temple, Imperial Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, Royal Theatre, Ho Quyen Tiger Fighting Area, Hon Chen Temple, Royal Antiquities Museum, Quoc Hoc School, Hue University, Hue Hospital, etc.
Having great green space coverage, this is the ideal place for you to wander around especially in the morning and in the afternoon. One more good thing for you, these places are located not too far from each other, and all of them have beautiful landscapes.
Get ready to unwrap natural wonders in Hue like a local!
If you are more about an adventurous person, this place has to be on your bucket list. Being well known as the heart of central Vietnam, Hue is not only for tourism but also for the pride of local people because it has everything you need for a journey including beaches and mountains. Vietnamese young people love to take their motorbikes to escape from the city, so they can be closer to nature, experience a majestic Hue, and capture stunning sights. Let’s get ready to explore these breathtaking natural wonders just like local people.
Bach Ma national park
Located about 40 km to Hue city and 65 km to the North of Da Nang, Bach Ma national park is the former French Hill station that is preserved to keep its natural majestic beauty of the mountain ranges as well as the French architectures. In 2017, Hue Government planned on having two cable cars and building a resort in Bach Ma national park.
It’s really easy and convenient to access to Bach Ma National park. You can rent a private car or some good cheap tourist buses.
The main natural attractions of the Bach Ma National Park are the fascinated forests and its beautiful waterfall when you reach the top of the mountain ranges. That means it is great for camping, hiking, swimming, and trekking when visiting here.
One more thing I believe that I need to tell you, check the weather forecast before you go for trekking here. Since Bach Ma National Park is a nature preserve, it keeps the wildlife and environment here. Last time when I came here, it was raining and I got to meet a lot of reptiles and worms. Therefore, for those who are afraid of these animals, remember to keep your eyes on the weather forecast before you go.
If you want to be more close to the wild, Anor falls is there for you.
Located in a remote area about 70km from Hue city, there will be some difficulties with transportation. You have to go through many different passes to get accessed to this beautiful waterfall. Therefore, booking a tour or renting a motorbike are good options, and you need to be sure that you have companions with you. Here you will have a chance to meet ethnic minorities since not too many Vietnamese live here. Anor still maintains its origin and pure nature, the water here is even cleaner and clearer than the other places which are great for camping.
Ngu Binh Mountains and Perfume River (Song Huong)
Crossing Hue city and being one of the most attractive sights here, your trip in Hue will not be complete without having a boat tour on the Perfume river to behold the romance of this mountain ranges and river combination. Locals love to hang out with families and friends along the riverside. This is the home of many romantic and hear taking photos especially when it’s at dust or dawn. Ngu Binh mountains and Huong River have been inspiring a lot of love poetries such as “Nui Ngu, Song Huong” “Noi Buon Song Huong (Huong River’s Sadness)” “Song Huong Love Story” etc. There are many activities that you can do here including having a walk, cycling around, enjoying some local foods on the riverside or having a romantic dinner on a floating restaurant.
Loc Binh Beach Camp
Located around 50km from Hue City, Loc Binh Beach has become a tourist spot because of its peaceful beauty. Not as famous as other beaches in Vietnam, which means you will have your own private beach with clear water and a beautiful view. It’s quite easy to access here. You can rent a motorbike and ride along 1A interstate or book tourist buses. You will spend about one hour on the road. Tents and hotels are available at Loc Binh Beach Camp, do not forget to pack some drinks and foods to make your trip more complete.
Lang Co beach
Another place to go is Lang Co beach of Lang Co Bay. It’s located around 70km in the North of Hue city and right next to Hai Van Pass. The best time to visit Lang Co Bay is from April to August since there will be the storm season after this time. In 2009, Lang Co Bay was voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Lang Co Bay is easily accessible since it’s right between Da Nang city (only 30km) and Hue city, you can mark this spectacular beach in your bucket list and stop by in your Vietnam journey.
There are more fun things to do in Hue that I could talk about it all day long. In What To See In Hue City article, I only show you a small part of Hue, and I’ll leave the rest of this gorgeous place for you to discover. Every journey leaves great memories. I hope one day you can come here not just to say hello, but to live with it, to experience it, and to involve in it in order to uncover a Hue that nobody has known before.
Let’s wrap up my sweet little Hue here, I’ll see you soon in the next article about Dalat.