Is Hue Worth Visiting? Top 4 Reasons to Do
Hue in Vietnam is something rare in the South East Asian country, a well-preserved town with stunning architecture that survived city planning. The Kings of the Nguyễn Dynasty built their feudal capital along Huế’s fertile riverbanks and atop its forested hills, but their imperial legacy is just one of many reasons to visit. Read along to see other reasons to make Hue worth visiting.
Situated along the beautiful Perfume River in Central Vietnam, Hue is a must for glimpsing the intricate relics of the last dynasty. However, many travelers who come to Vietnam often skip Hue or spend less than two days exploring the city as they wonder if Hue is worth visiting. We have listed the 4 biggest reasons below to show that Hue is a destination to go to.
1. Learn insight into Vietnam’s overall history & culture in Hue
Hue is the ancient capital of Vietnam and home to more historical sites than any other places within the country. The city was first settled by the Cham people, visited by the Dutch and Portuguese, and colonized by the French, it was the city’s time under Mandarin rule that shaped present-day Hue. The last imperial family, the Nguyens, ruled under French protection from 1802 to 1945, until the Japanese occupation during World War II. In addition to being the political center, it was the country’s cultural and religious heart.
With such rich and significant culture, it’s no wonder that the group of Hue monuments has made its way into the UNESCO World Heritage list. Merely walking through the different areas of the Imperial Citadel makes its history come to life, there are also museum sections with detailed explanations of court life, societal hierarchy, Vietnamese traditions, and of course a lot of information on the history of the palace. There are also temples within the complex that shed light on the country’s religious practice and Royal Court theatre where you can sample traditional Vietnamese music.
Thien Mu Pagoda
Outside of the Imperial Citadel, there are a number of prestigious pagodas you can visit in the town, one of the most famous being the Thien Mu Pagoda. This Pagoda sits on a curve in the river and offers lovely views of the surrounding area. The Thien Mu pagoda is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital.
2. Hue is less crowded destination
Hue is a favorite holiday destination among travelers who prefer a peaceful hideaway as it is less touristy compared to other cities in Vietnam such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Even during the peak holiday time, Hue still has a very laid-back vibe. Besides the Purple Forbidden City main buildings, you can peacefully stroll through its hidden corners and courtyards.
Just outside the city’s center, you can find lovely surrounding countryside filled with canal-sides villages, small rivers, and fishing corners. Cycling and explore Phu Thu or Vinh Tan village, where you can view endless rice fields and encounter thousands of tombs, memorials to the fallen, and monuments for national heroes. One of the particular places to immerse in the peaceful rural landscape is Thanh Toan Village, a small fishing and agricultural village. Here you will feel the undeniable charm of the village along the canal with the title-roofed bridge as a highlight.
Thanh Toan Bridge
Traveling off-season surely helped to avoid big tourist crowds, nevertheless, the city is an under-visited gem, making it perfect for anyone who wants to do something a little more unique.
3. Compare royal palaces in Vietnam & Others like Forbidden City in Beijing
Hue Imperial Citadel is the royal palace of the Nguyen Dynasty, which ruled Vietnam for about 140 years from the beginning of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. The Nguyen Dynasty was Vietnam’s last unified dynasty and was also the largest dynasty, like Gyeongbokgung Palace in Korea. Inside the citadel, you will find the Imperial City, which the locals consider as a symbol of wealth and power.
Inside Forbidden City at Hue
Within the Imperial City, you will find the Purple Forbidden City, similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Access to the innermost enclosure was restricted to the royal family only. In addition, it is easy to find that some of the buildings in the Forbidden City were actually borrowed. There are many similar parts, such as rectangular shape, the moat surrounding the area, and huge fortress. Thai Hoa Palace, which appears inside the main entrance, took its form from Taihe Dian of Forbidden City. The Mieu Temple which was ordered to be built in 1823 by Minh Mang Emperor, to worship the previous nine rulers of his dynasty line is also modeled off the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing.
4. Try Hue special unique cuisine
Vietnamese food varies a lot by region and by the cities. Central Vietnamese cooking is much different from Northern and Southern Vietnam, especially Hue with its own unique foods, which has made it stand out in the country cuisine map and make Hue worth visiting.
Bun Bo Hue is the most popular dish
The most famous dish is probably Bun Bo Hue – a delicious spicy noodle soup. You can find this dish served nearly everywhere in Vietnam but it was originally associated with the cooking style of the royal court of Hue. The soup has a broth made from beef bones, beef shank, lemongrass, and seasoned with fermented shrimp paste which creates a rich, savory and unique flavor. Besides, the ‘cơm hến’ (clam rice) is super popular among locals and considered to be Hue's signature dish. It is super cheap, simple yet delicious, and generally eaten at any time of the day. The main ingredients are rice, baby clam top with some peanuts, chili pepper, star fruit, and some herbs. The result is an interesting balance of sweet, salty, sour, and spice.
Clam rice (Com hen) is local's favorite
There are also many other specialties, said to be the legacy of the punctilious imperial kitchen. The most authentic of these dishes are to be found in small street-side stalls and local restaurants. Hue’s exceptional cuisine will absolutely have your taste buds dancing joyfully with every bite.
In summary, Hue has many wonderful things to experience and the city should be added to your Vietnam travel itinerary so stick for a few days, explore the countryside and sample the amazing food of Hue. Visit BestPrice and join our Hue tours and you will see why Hue is worth visiting.
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