The ancient city of Hue was once the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 under the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. For those travellers interested in architecture and culture it’s an interesting destination to explore with some fascinating Buddhist temples, pagodas, palaces and tombs. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the city has had to cope with it’s fair share of damage and destruction during various times in Vietnam’s turbulent recent history. During the Vietnamese War, (1947) Hue was the city was the site of a battle between the French and the Viet Minh. Again, in 1968, during the Tet Offensive, Hue was bombed by the Viet Cong and then shelled by the Americans. Traces of the destruction in shrapnel marks and bullet holes can still be seen in buildings and repairs continue to take place today to help restore the city to it’s former glory.
Things to do in Hue
- Wandering around or riding a bicycle, which you can rent for about $1 / day is a great way to explore the ancient streets, with most of the sights in close proximity to each other.
- The most famous attraction is the Imperial Hue Citadel, the former imperial seat of government which is a must visit sight and an interesting insight into Vietnamese history.
- You can also visit the ‘Tombs of the Former Emperors’, located on the banks of the enigmatic Perfume River set within beautiful landscaped gardens. You’ll need to hire a bike or taxi from the city, or you can take a boat cruise on the river which is probably the best way to visit the site.
- The local food is Hue is widely regarded to be some of the best in Vietnam. Try ‘Com Hen’ (Mussels from the Perfume River cooked with rice) Delicious and cheap, it’s a must try dish for the backpacker.