The ultimate guide to visit Hue City for the first time

When telling about Hue City, people often mention imperial palaces, temples, and pagodas.

All these buildings relate to the royal family Nguyen because Hue was the old capital of Vietnam, and the home of Nguyen Kings 1802 – 1945).

hue imperial palace
Hue Imperial Palace | ©Tho-Ge/pixabay

Many people want to visit Hue to see essential evidence of the last feudal dynasty.

The gentle charm and slow life here also attract visitors and create unique characters for this beautiful city.

Besides, we also guide you to go shopping, do interesting activities, and choose accommodations during your time in this beautiful city.

Transportation to and in Hue Vietnam

Traveling to Hue City

Luckily, Hue has good conditions for transportation from North and South Vietnam, including an airport, train station, and bus routes.

* For flights:

Phu Bai Airport is around 15km from Hue City Center.

Many flights from Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi fly to this airport every day, including flights of Vietnam Airlines, VietjetAir, and Jetstar.

The price is from 900,000VND up to 2,500,000VND per ticket depending on the Air Company, classes, and date.

Airline Travel to Hue
Photo: Hueflavor

* For trains:

About eight trains from Ho Chi Minh City and the same number from Hanoi come to Hue.

Train travel is prolonged; this kind of transportation is for those who have plenty of time and want to experience the beauty of the countryside view.

  • It takes around 12 hours from Hanoi and 14 hours from Ho Chi Minh to Hue train station.
  • Train ticket price from Hanoi to Hue: 350,000 – 800,000 VND depending on the type of seat.
  • Fares from Ho Chi Minh to Hue from 400,000 – 1,200,000 VND depending on the type of seat.
  • To book train tickets, guests can check Vietnam trains

* For bus:

Hue locates on the famous route of Highway 1 of Vietnam, creating convenience for coaches to from North-South.

  • Ticket price and quality are not much different, and you can check the fares of Hoang Long, Phuong Trang, TheSinhTourist…
  • In Hanoi, tourists can catch the local buses to Hue at Giap Bat station, Nuoc Ngam bus station, Luong Yen bus station, with fares from 350,000 VND.
  • In Saigon (Ho Chi Minh), you buy tickets at Mien Dong bus station, with fares from 500,000 VND.
  • You should buy bus tickets in advance to avoid running out of seats.

We strongly recommend you to check the open buses of tourist transport companies.

These coaches can pick you up at the hotels and resorts to save your time and reduce complicated issues to travel with the local buses.

They are The Sinh Tourist, Hung Thanh Bus, Phuong Trang Bus, Camel Buses, and Trekking Bus.

Traveling in Hue city

You can rent a private car, taxi, motorbike as the main Hue transportation to move and explore tourist sites in and around this city.

The renting price of a motorcycle is from VND 150,000 – 250,000VND/day.

But, we do not recommend you using motorbikes by yourselves because of safety. So, you should have a local driver drive you around.

And, the best way to explore the daily life and beautiful roads of Hue city, you can hire a cyclo to feel all the rustic and idyllic features here.

If you experience on a cyclo, you can check Hue Flavor street food tour which also offers cyclo-ride experience while you taste the great local food in Hue.

Taxi Hue Vietnam
Photo: Mai Linh Taxi

Phone number of taxi in Hue City to use when you need:

  • Thanh Cong Taxi: 02343 57 57 57
  • Mai Linh: 02343 89 89 89
  • Yellow Taxi: 02343 79 79 79
  • Taxi Gili: 02343 82 82 82
  • Taxi Huong Giang: 02343 87 87 87

Rent a boat on the Perfume River to see the city

Sitting on a dragon boat, floating on a river, enjoying sightseeing at both sides of the river is a wonderful activity when you visit Hue.

The great distance is to use a boat from the city center to Thien Mu Pagoda.

At night, it is lovely to buy a ticket at Toan Kham boat station to listen to the folk song on the Perfume River and leave lotus lanterns to wish good luck.

For tickets for listening to Hue songs, you should contact the Management Board of the boat station at Toa Kham, opposite the Muong Thanh Hotel.

Price is from 100,000VND depending on your group size.

Famous tourist attractions in and near Hue City

This is the tourist map with many famous destinations in Hue City, Vietnam.

Hue tourist map
See it on google.

Popular tourist places to visit in Hue City, Vietnam

1. Imperial Palaces

imperial citadel
Imperial Citadel |© Hue Flavor

The Imperial Palaces, one of the best attractions in Hue, inside Hue citadel, are the first places you should visit when traveling to Hue.

After more than 140 years, the monumental buildings in the Imperial City have destroyed, and half of the original palaces left.

But, these buildings still carry the majestic beauty of the last feudal dynasty.

Dai Noi or the Imperial Palaces are quite large; you should take time about 1 hour to 3 hours to explore this area.

2. Royal Fine Arts

Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts used to be the Long An Palace, the most beautiful palace in the Nguyen Dynasty’s palace system. This building has a style of imperial architecture.

This museum is now a place to display collections of royal antiques, including crowns, chairs, and other accessories of the Kings and the royal family Nguyen.

3. The Perfume River

The poetic Perfume River is also the famous attractions in Hue City, Vietnam.

To explore the charm of the river, tourists can hire a dragon boat to go up and down, or walk along the walking street Nguyen Chi Dieu and the wooden bridge.

4. Dong Ba Market

Dong Ba Market is the most prominent local market in this city with a colorful life of the daily business of Hue people.

Finding a chance to taking pictures at this market is a great activity to value your holidays in Hue.

Top attractions around Hue City

Khai Dinh Royal Tomb
Khai Dinh Royal Tomb – Photo: Hueflavor

5. The royal mausoleums

When traveling to Hue, you cannot miss the glorious ancient works.

The tombs of Nguyen kings have their own characteristics and interesting historical stories.

However, the mausoleums are far from the city center, so you have to use a car, taxi or a motorbike to visit them.

Three famous destinations are Tu Duc Tomb, Minh Mang Tomb, and Khai Dinh Tomb.

6. Thien Mu Pagoda

This famous pagoda is a must-see site for your Hue itinerary.

Built in 1601 and restored many times, Thien Mu Pagoda attracts many visitors by its poetic beauty and tranquil sightseeing.

To travel to Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the top things to do in Hue. You can take a dragon boat, incredibly romantic, or ride a bicycle along the Perfume River.

7. Hon Chen Temple

The temple has 10 small architectural constructions, located at the slope of Ngoc Tran Mountain, facing the Huong River.

Hon Chen Temple, under the trees, has an important place in the spiritual life of Hue people, worshiping Thien Y An Na – a local religious Goddess.

This site combines royal etiquette and folk beliefs. To visit this place, tourists have to use a boat to cross the river.

8. Vong Canh Hill

Vong Canh Hill is located about 7 km from the city center.

From Doi Vong Canh, you can see the poeticness of surroundings, including the mountains and the Huong River.

Popular destinations near Hue City

Truc Lam Bach Ma Hue
Truc Lam Bach Ma and Truoi Lake – Photo: Hueflavor

9. Bach Ma Mountain

60km from Hue city, Bach Ma Mountain is well-known for its spectacular streams and waterfalls.

Do Quyen waterfall has 400m high; on both sides of the waterfall, Do Quyen flowers bloom in the summer days.

In the center of the forest, the Silver waterfall is also beautiful, with 10m high and 40m wide.

Standing on the summit of Bach Ma Mountain, explorers can also capture the splendid panoramic view of Hai Van Pass, Cau Hai Lagoon, Tuy Van Mountain, and the shimmering lights of Hue City when night covers.

10. Lang Co Beach, Thuan An Beach, and Canh Duong Beach

The peaceful beaches of Hue are always on the top of the most beautiful beaches in Central Vietnam.

Lang Co Beach is suitable for taking pictures, especially when you stand at the Hai Van pass.

And, Canh Duong Beach is the top choice of the beach in Hue, it’s still wild, shallow, and enjoyable for swimming.

11. Lap An Lagoon

Lap An Lagoon is about 70 km south of Hue, at the foot of Hai Van Pass.

Nature has bestowed on Lap An Lagoon, a winding road running around the lagoon that looks like a soft silk strip.

Here, there is a species of aquatic species known as “the home of seafood,” “heaven of pearl,” and abundant resources of oysters.

Local people here take advantage of broken rubber tires to grow oysters.

Lap An Lagoon is terrific in the afternoons, has made many tourists bewildered, and everyone wants to take pictures of many beautiful moments of nature.

12. Cau Hai lagoon

Not famous as Lap An lagoon, this lagoon is nestled on National Highway 1, running from Cau Hai to the foot of Phu Gia Pass.

Cau Hai lagoon is vast as the sea, collecting water from rivers from Hue.

This lagoon is the home of different kinds of fishes, crabs, shrimps, and oysters.

13. Elephant Stream

Elephant waterfall is located 60 km south of Hue city, at Loc Tien commune, Phu Loc district.

Travelers will come to the Elephant stream with many large waterfalls flowing under a virgin forest.

The spring is named as Suoi Voi because the spring has a rock shaped like an elephant dropping a tap to drink water at the waterfall’s foot.

Here, there is also a lake called Dam Voi, and this is a natural swimming pool about 30 m² wide, over 2m deep. The cool blue lake is visible to the bottom.

Summer from May to September is a good time to visit and swim in this stream.

>>> You may like to check how the weather in Hue looks like.

14. Truc Lam Bach Ma and Truoi Lake

From Hue city, go to Truoi bridge in Loc Hoa commune, Phu Loc district, take another 10km to see Truoi lake and Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery.

Truoi Lake is blue and immense, nestled at the foot of Bach Ma Mountain.

To visit the monastery, visitors can rent a boat and cross Lake Truoi.

The next thing you may want to know is hotels and resorts to stay when visiting Hue City.

We hope you can choose a suitable accommodation for your holidays in this peaceful city.

About the author


Editor at HueFlavor is a15-year local guide, Mr. Ho Thom, who loves local food in Hue as well as in Vietnam. Trusted by hundreds of guests around the world.