Hue's Citadel and Imperial City are the main attractions, but a visit here is usually done in conjunction with half-day trips to outlying temples and the many imperial tombs. You might want to bicycle to the Citadel itself, then along the riverside to Thien Mu Pagoda, back to town for lunch, and then out to the tombs (distances are long, but it's a relatively flat ride). You can also hit the sites on a self-guided tour in the comfort of a cyclo ("Pedal on, James!"). But hiring a guide -- see any hotel front desk -- is a good idea and offers useful background on the rich history of the town.

Thuan An Beach -- At this local beach site, 12km (7 1/2 miles) north of Hue, the turbulent waves make Thuan An less popular for swimming and more popular for hanging in a hammock and taking it all in. To get here, just follow riverside Le Loi Street east and then north. The place fills up on weekends with young domestic vacationers from the big cities. You pay for parking and are pretty much obliged to buy some snacks or baubles from sellers, and then you can plan to hang out with the young "boy racer" crowd as you look over a picturesque windswept stretch of coast. You can also sample some fresh seafood.

Imperial Tombs

As befits its history as an Imperial City, Hue's environs are studded with tombs of past emperors. Because they're spread out over a distance, the best way to see them is to hire a car for a half-day or take one of the many organized boat tours up the Perfume River. All together, there were 13 kings of the Nguyen dynasty, although only 7 reigned until their deaths. As befits an emperor, each had a tomb of stature, some as large as a small town. Most tomb complexes usually consist of a courtyard, a stele (a large stone tablet with a biography of the emperor), a temple for worship, and a pond. You can visit the tombs on an all-day boat trip, best if arranged with one of the small tour companies, but also possible with a little haggling at the riverside. Expect to pay as little as $2 for the boat trip, and note that each tomb has a stiff (for Vietnam) entry fee. If going by boat, note that some tombs are far from the riverside and may require a short trip by motorbike, which sometimes doubles the entry fee but saves your muscles for clambering around the sites.

Taking a Boat to the Tombs -- Expect to pay between $2 and $4 for a shared boat ride to the temples (depending on which agent you use), plus 55,000 VND for each tomb. Be prepared for when the boat pulls to shore at the tombs: You'll have to hire one of the motorcycle taxis at the bank to shuttle you to and from the site. You will not have enough time to walk there and back, so you're basically at their mercy. Haggle as best you can -- about 10,000 VND one-way is a good starting point.


The Thien Mu Pagoda is a popular stop on riverboat trips along the Perfume River's north bank and is also easily reached by bicycle or motorbike. The road leading to the imperial tombs south of town affords you a great glimpse of a few working temples -- the likes of Bao Quoc and Tu Hieu -- with busy monks, groups of students rushing between classes, and lots of workshops that you can observe.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.