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Hue Overview

Hue is a city in central Vietnam that was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802–1945. A major attraction is its vast, 19th-century Citadel, surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls. It encompasses the Imperial City, with palaces and shrines; the Forbidden Purple City, once the emperor’s home; and a replica of the Royal Theater.

Hue is well known for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The seat of the Nguyen emperors was the Imperial City, which occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the Perfume River. Inside the citadel was a forbidden city where only the emperors, concubines, and those close enough to them were granted access; the punishment for trespassing was death. Today, little of the forbidden city remains, though reconstruction efforts are in progress to maintain it as a historic tourist attraction.

Roughly along the Perfume River from Hue lie myriad other monuments, including the tombs of several emperors, including Minh Mang, Khai Đinh, and Tu Đuc. Also notable is the Thien Mu Pagoda, the largest pagoda in Hue and the official symbol of the city.

Get around

To visit Hue, you could take a flight, book a train ticket, or book a private car. The car is most convenient if you travel to Hue from Danang or Hoi An


It is best to wear long pants or over-knee dresses/skirts to visit monuments in Hue since most of them are sacred in terms of religion or culture. 


Hue is famous for its ‘weeping paperbark oil’ or ‘dau tram’. You could find it at any shop or at a market around the city. The oil is believed to be good at killing fungi and aiding sore throat.

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