10 Exciting Activities in Hue City to Do for Tourists

Hue is a small, peaceful, and poetic tourist city, attracting visitors with its unique beauty, reflected in the ancient mausoleum system, the slow pace of life, and the tree-lined streets. This tranquil landscape makes Hue an extremely suitable location for leisure trips.

Here are outstanding tourist activities for tourists coming to Hue, associated with the local’s inherent strengths.

1. Visit the system of relics of the Nguyen Dynasty

imperial citadel in hue city
Inside the Imperial Citadel in Hue City. ©Vietnamdrive

The Nguyen Dynasty was the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam and the only dynasty with its capital in Hue City. The imprint of a dynasty lasting more than 140 years is still preserved through a system of citadels and mausoleums.

In 1993, UNESCO recognized the Hue Citadel relic complex as a World Cultural Heritage. This relic complex has become the most important highlight of Hue tourism.

Therefore, visiting the system of palaces, tombs, and citadels of the Nguyen Dynasty is always the first enjoyable activity we propose. Take time for the main works, such as: Imperial Citadel of the Nguyen Dynasty, King Khai Dinh’s mausoleum, King Minh Mang’s mausoleum, King Tu Duc’s mausoleum, King Gia Long’s mausoleum, and the royal museum.

If you want to explore all of the above typical works, please arrange for yourself a period of 1 to 1.5 days. However, you can also choose a 1/2 day tour program with three main attractions: Imperial Citadel, Khai Dinh Mausoleum, and Tu Duc or Minh Mang Mausoleum.

Note: Usually, when you buy tickets in the Imperial Citadel area, you will be introduced to a combined ticket that includes many destinations, such as the Imperial Citadel, Khai Dinh Mausoleum, and Tu Duc Mausoleum.

We do not recommend buying this bundled ticket, even if it is slightly discounted. You probably won’t have enough time to visit all the places included in the ticket, so you’ll have wasted some of your money.

Ask the ticket seller to sell you tickets only for the venue you are visiting. Don’t worry! At your next destination, there will always be a ticket counter to serve you.

2. Visit temples and pagodas and learn about the spiritual culture of the locals

tu hieu pagoda in hue city
Tu Hieu Pagoda

The spiritual life of the Hue people is diverse. The reason may originate from the capital’s geopolitical characteristics and historical events. The first visible manifestation lies in many temples and pagodas in Hue City.

You can find large and small Buddhist pagodas and temples worshiping gods, saints, and predecessors who have contributed to developing local life and the country. Some temples were built by the Nguyen Dynasty to serve the king’s offerings to heaven and earth. All become a big system of spiritual architecture in this land.

Today, tourists to Hue can visit famous sacred temples or pagodas with unique spiritual colors, such as:

  • Buddhist temples: Thien Mu Pagoda, Tu Hieu Pagoda, Huyen Khong Son Thuong Pagoda
  • Extremely unique polytheistic temple: Hon Chen Temple
  • Temples to worship well-known figures: Huyen Tran Cong Chua Temple, King Quang Trung Memorial Area
  • The temple serving the Nguyen Dynasty’s need to worship heaven and earth: Nam Giao Altar

In addition, you can also spend time visiting the “city of tombs” or “ghost city.” This location stands out with countless tombs built elaborately and uniquely carved by the people. The ghost city is at Vinh An commune, Phu Vang district, about 35km southeast of Hue City.

3. Enjoy food

Grilled pork vermicelli in hue city
Grilled Pork Vermicelli

One of the best things to do in Hue City that you cannot help but experience is enjoying local cuisine. It is an important part of making your trip more perfect.

You can try many tasty and colorful dishes typical of the ancient capital, such as Hue beef noodle soup, Khoai pancake, spring rolls, grilled meat vermicelli, banh beo, banh nam, banh loc, wet cake with roasted pork, Hue sweet soup, etc.

Currently, there are a few restaurants in Hue whose menus include almost all the local delicacies mentioned above for tourists to try. This is quite suitable for tourists who do not have too much time in this city.

However, we recommend that you go to each restaurant that specializes in serving each dish separately. This is the best choice for fully enjoying the delicious local flavor of the food.

You may check HueFlavor.com’s culinary tour. Participating in this program, you will experience almost all flavorful dishes at the most outstanding local restaurants. At the same time, you will also receive much information about the culinary culture of the old capital and Vietnam.

4. Take a cruise on the Perfume River

dragon boat on the perfume river
It’s interesting to take a dragon boat on the river.

One of the focal points that create the landscape beauty of the ancient capital of Hue is the Perfume River. The peaceful and green river flows through the city’s heart like a natural lifeline, carrying fresh energy that nourishes the city’s soul.

You will realize that as soon as you arrive here: It’s hard to refuse moments of admiring the poetic beauty that nature has bestowed on the river. To fully admire the charm of this place, we recommend you take a dragon boat along the Perfume River.

There are many options and suitable time frames to experience this activity, such as:

  • You can combine the cruise trip with a stop at Thien Mu Pagoda and Hon Chen Temple. This option allows you to be flexible in the time frame from 8:00 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m.
  • Taking a dragon boat in the evening on the river also gives you a lot of fun. The dragon boat will take you around on the river right in the city center. You can see the streets at night with dim lights running along both banks. Enjoy the cool breeze and watch the sparkling, peaceful river.
  • Cruising combined with listening to Hue folk songs (Ca Hue) on the river is also an exciting activity that attracts many tourists to Hue. Participating in this experience will allow you to learn about the art of Hue singing- a traditional form of music of the indigenous people- and enjoy the feeling of sitting on a dragon boat floating gently on the water’s surface. Ca Hue on the river mainly takes place in the evening, in the time frame from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Regardless of which form tourists choose, traveling on the Perfume River is a good experience. Please take time for this activity!

5. Relax at Nguyen Dinh Chieu Walking Street and Go Lim Bridge

Go Lim bridge in hue city
Go Lim Bridge on the Perfume River

At the foot of Truong Tien Bridge, along the south bank of the Perfume River, Nguyen Dinh Chieu Walking Street is like a beautiful meeting place for everyone present in Hue City.

This walking route connects directly to the Toa Kham Dragon Boat Wharf at the eastern starting point and the Go Lim Pedestrian Bridge at the western end.

Therefore, most visitors to the walking street combine to join the dragon boat experience to admire the scenery of the Perfume River at night. They also stroll the Lim wooden bridge stretching above the clear blue water and look at the brilliant Truong Tien Bridge under colored lights. All are the most exciting things to do in Hue at night.

The unique feature of this walking street is the perfect combination of beautiful nature and the gentle urban life of Hue City. One side opens to a lovely river, with several dragon boats floating slowly. On the other side is a park filled with green trees, mixed with a few ancient villas built in the French architectural style.

Standing on this walking street, I suddenly realized that the city lights, or the sound of car horns filled with dust and smoke, had become the backdrop for the pace of life here to show off its peaceful and gentle features.

The laughter of children. The singing and playing of a group of young people is rich in energy. Or the endless stories of people leisurely passing by. All mixed with the fragrance in each cool breeze blowing from the Perfume River, creating a picture of life that captivates people’s hearts.

6. Explore the vibrant vegetarian cuisine

vegetarian food in hue city
Vegetarian foods in Hue City

We separate vegetarian cuisine into a separate segment to introduce because its richness and uniqueness deserve to be mentioned as an essential part of the overall Hue cuisine. Evidence for this is the large number of vegetarian restaurants and menus, and the vegetarians in Hue.

You can easily find a vegetarian restaurant with a menu of many dishes. Each dish includes ingredients and elaborate preparation to create an unforgettable flavor for diners.

In particular, in the early and middle days of the lunar month, the number of vegetarians in Hue increased significantly. This is due to the influence of Buddhist culture and the belief in the existence of a spiritual world after the death of the Hue people. They believe that eating vegetable foods can help them and their dead relatives wash away some of the sins they have unintentionally committed in life.

Vegetarianism, an essential cultural feature of the indigenous people, has helped the menu of vegetarian dishes in Hue to be truly delicious and attractive. It is easy to conquer many tourists the first time they taste it.

If you have enough time, explore this type of vegetarian cuisine. You can also contact us if you want to participate in a vegetarian meal at the temple cooked by the Buddhist monks. It might enrich and add meaning to your trip.

Or you may come to the vegetarian restaurant that the team of Vietnamdrive likes: Sala Vegetarian at 04 Phan Boi Chau Street, Hue City.

7. Travel around the city by cyclo

cyclo in hue city
Taking a cyclo is a fun activity in Hue City.

Hue deserves to be the best city to experience traveling by cyclo, relaxing, and seeing the streets. Hue not only possesses the advantage of a small area and slow pace of life but is also a city with entirely green trees.

With just one cycle of cyclo, you have almost gone through all the main streets of Hue. The city gently passes before your eyes, not too noisy and hasty, but still full of the characteristics of a Vietnamese town with lines of motorbikes going back and forth. The city covers small shops, and gentle and friendly people living in harmony under long rows of trees, and winding streets.

The slow cyclo takes you through slow roads as a way to awaken peace in each soul. Maybe, from the romantic perspective of an artist’s soul, life is passing by like a vivid movie, taking them to the peaceful countryside in their subconscious although they are in the city.

The price for one hour of walking around by cyclo ranges from 150,000 VND to 200,000 VND/cyclo. The price is suitable so that all visitors can experience this activity. Try it as soon as you have the chance!

8. Do cycling or jogging early in the morning

Whether you love waking up early or not, you will find it difficult to resist the charm of Hue City every dawn. That’s why we recommend cycling or jogging early in this city.

When the first rays of light appear, the city puts on its most gentle beauty. The atmosphere is fresh, the streets are almost without any engine noise, and the dust and smoke are still busy sleeping to make room for those who go to the street early.

The best places to enjoy the sunrise in Hue City are the roads running along both sides of the Perfume River. These routes that local authorities prioritize are built solely for pedestrians and bicycles.

In particular, the southern bank of the Huong River, including the Nguyen Dinh Chieu Walking Street connecting Lim Go Bridge and extending to Hue Music Academy, is suitable for jogging activities. On the contrary, the route on the North bank, extending from Truong Tien Bridge to Thien Mu Pagoda, becomes a perfect route for people who like to cycle.

Participating in this activity will allow you to exercise a little in the early morning and enjoy the truly fresh air under the trees or from the cool green Perfume River. It will help you recharge yourself with positive natural energy, ready to welcome a new, exciting day.

Why don’t you wake up early with the local people in Hue and ride a bike or jog around? Try it once, and you realize our recommendation is worth it.

9. Enjoy salted coffee

salt coffee in hue city
Taste a cup of salt coffee.

Vietnam is currently the world’s second-largest coffee exporter, accounting for 18.4% of the global coffee export market share. This business is a convincing explanation for suggesting that you must try Vietnamese coffee when you come to Vietnam.

In addition to the advantage of an ample and quality coffee supply, Vietnamese coffee is also famous for its many unique recipes. There are dozens of different coffee recipes in Vietnam that offer various taste experiences.

If iced milk and iced black coffee are popular throughout the country, in each different region, a few unique recipes have emerged. Like Saigon, there are coconut coffee and butter coffee. Hanoi is famous for egg coffee. Then, in Hue City, salt coffee has become a renowned name.

Salt coffee first appeared in Hue. After more than 15 years of existence, this drink has officially conquered the hearts of many coffee lovers. Nowadays, salted coffee is present in most regions of Vietnam. However, you can only feel that a cup of authentic salted coffee carries its passionate flavor when coming to Hue City.

Depending on the size of the luxury or popular cafe, a cup of salted coffee ranges in price from 18,000 VND to 40,000 VND. The quality and taste of the salt coffee in different shops are different, but not big. At the same time, the level of good or bad coffee depends greatly on each person’s taste.

As a tourist, we recommend that you try salt coffee at shops with clean, airy spaces and a professional service style. This ensures that your drink is prepared more carefully with better-quality ingredients.

10. Visit Bach Ma National Park

bach ma national park in hue

Bach Ma National Park is one of the ten most valuable national parks in Vietnam for tourism activities.

Around 40km south of Hue City Center, Bach Ma is a highly suitable place for travel enthusiasts to explore wild nature. Here, you will have the opportunity to learn about the diversity of rare flora and fauna and majestic wild nature.

Bach Ma National Park currently has about 1,728 animal species and 3,421 plant species. Many species are rare in Vietnam and listed in the World Red Books.

Also, in Bach Ma, you will meet a bird-calling man who can imitate the sings of different bird species. In addition, the presence of 139 villas’ foundations with French architecture built nearly a hundred years ago will contribute to exciting exploration in this park.

From Hue City, you can choose a program to visit Bach Ma and return on the same day or a one-day and one-night program. Staying overnight and camping on Bach Ma Peak can allow you to watch wild animals at night and experience the special feeling of living among mountains and forests.

However, you should research and consider carefully because, in addition to its vast nature, Bach Ma does not offer modern amenities or high-quality meals.

With ten outstanding activities in Hue that we have chosen to introduce, they will make your trip to this city more meaningful and colorful.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.