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What to do in Hue? 6 Hidden Gems & Tips to explore the authentic Hue

What to do in Hue? 6 Hidden Gems & Tips to explore the authentic Hue

Home Travel Blog What to do in Hue? 6 Hidden Gems & Tips to explore the authentic Hue

What to do in Hue? 6 Hidden Gems & Tips to explore the authentic Hue

Hue is a beautiful city with a rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural scenery. It’s famous for its ancient royal heritage and peaceful surroundings, making it a fantastic place to explore. To make the most of your trip, here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do in Hue, with insider tips and suggestions for discovering the authentic Hue experience.

When is the best time to visit Hue?

Hue experiences a tropical monsoon climate with distinct rainy and dry seasons. The best time to visit Hue spans from January to August. During these months, the weather is generally favorable, making it ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

  • January to April: During these months, the rainy season comes to an end and the dry season begins. With temperatures ranging from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F), this period is ideal for exploring Hue’s attractions. It’s also a great time to enjoy experiences like a dragon boat trip on the Perfume River and visits to the picturesque Lang Co Beach.
  • May to August: These are the warmest months in Hue, with temperatures averaging between 27°C to 35°C (81°F to 95°F). While it can get quite hot, this period is excellent for beach outings and enjoying the Hue flavor through a street food tour.

Things you should note: The rainy season in Hue lasts from September to January, with heavy rainfall and occasional typhoons that can disrupt travel plans. High humidity and frequent showers make it challenging to explore outdoor attractions.

Hue highlight attractions – Tips to explore the authentic Hue

Discovering the authentic beauty of Hue involves delving into its historical sites, cultural landmarks, and natural wonders. Here are the must-see attractions in Hue and tips to experience them like a local.

Hue Imperial Citadel

The Hue Imperial Citadel in Vietnam is a stunning symbol of the country’s royal history. It gives you a chance to experience the grandeur of the Nguyen Dynasty and travel back in time. With its impressive gates, beautiful architecture, and rich history, it’s a place that you won’t want to miss.

Avoid the Crowds: Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to escape the peak tourist rush. Opt for a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the rich history and architectural marvels of the citadel.

East gate imperial palace in Hue

Thien Mu pagoda

Located on the banks of the Perfume River, Thien Mu Pagoda exudes tranquility and spiritual allure. Marvel at the seven-story pagoda, adorned with intricate carvings and statues, while soaking in panoramic river views.

The Thien Mu Pagoda might be the highlight of your trip to Hue. Unlike the other palaces, it doesn’t have the same grandeur, but the peaceful atmosphere and the fact that people still live there make it feel really special. The pagoda is in great condition and has many beautiful, calming, and tranquil spots. The altar with fruit offerings felt more authentic and less like a tourist attraction. You don’t have to pay to get in, and you can take a moment to pray in front of the altar. The location is amazing, with a view overlooking the river. It’s definitely a place worth visiting.

Tips for tranquility: Get there early to enjoy the quiet atmosphere before it gets crowded. You might want to think about renting a boat to get to the pagoda, which will give you a peaceful ride along the Perfume River.

Dragon boat to Thien Mu pagoda
Enjoy the serene atmosphere while taking a dragon boat to Thien Mu pagoda

Hai Van pass

The Hai Van Pass is a long stretch of road over the mountains between Danang and Hue. You can choose to enjoy the car, or even better, a motorbike ride from Danang to Hue or vice versa. The scenery is great, but it could be foggy or colder up there. The ride is sometimes crazy due to wild truck drivers or motorbike racers.

Stop at scenic viewpoints along the way to capture stunning photographs and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of central Vietnam.

Tip: There are some really great views, but finding parking can be a bit challenging. Luckily, there are several restaurants with their own parking lots. It’s assumed you’ll buy something if you park there.

Hai Van Pass
Hai Van Pass

Dong Ba market

A visit to Dong Ba Market offers a fascinating insight into the Vietnamese way of life. This bustling market provides a wide array of colorful stalls, local delicacies, and friendly vendors. From fresh produce to traditional dishes, it’s a sensory delight. If you can’t find it at the market, it probably doesn’t exist.

The market is located just over the bridge from the city center and is easily accessible by foot. Despite the crowds, the experience is definitely worth it. Experience the lively energy of Dong Ba Market and uncover the essence of Hue.

Inside Dong Ba market of Hue
Experience the local life at Dong Ba market

6 Hidden Gems in Hue

Lang Co beach

Halfway between Hue and Hoi An, just a few kilometers north of Da Nang, you can stop at Lang Co beach for an overnight stay. This beautiful sandy beach has warm water with fairly strong waves. Even though if you visit during peak tourist season, you might see a few other tourists. It’s a nice place to stay for a few days, with fresh seafood, cool walks on the beach, affordable meals, friendly locals, and tasty breakfast at your seaside resort. It’s definitely a hidden gem.

Stay one night to experience the tranquility of Lang Co beach

Bach Ma national park

Bach Ma is a perfect escape for people who love nature and history and want to explore a less crowded area near Hue. When you hike through the beautiful greenery, you’ll come across old French colonial ruins, a stark reminder of the park’s past. If you’re lucky, you might see some of the park’s unique animals like rare monkeys and hear crazy bird calls.

Exploring the hidden caves will make your visit really exciting. The views from the top are totally worth the effort, despite the shivers. The stunning waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints make the visit worthwhile. The main waterfall you can reach by walking on a cement path is especially spectacular. The other waterfalls are also beautiful, but you need to navigate a bit of a challenging rope course to get to them.

Tips you should know: The trails wind through super lush jungle, up super steep slopes. Bring your hiking boots because this place is no joke. Be careful of rocks covered with moss. It gets seriously chilly and damp up there, so pack some layers.

Hiking Bach Ma national park

Hue garden houses

The Hue garden houses are known for their striking appearance, which combines an aristocratic look with traditional folk colors. One of the most well-known garden houses is the An Hien garden house, situated on the north bank of the Perfume River in Kim Long land.

You can visit this beautiful place for an entrance fee of 20,000 VND. When you visit the Kim Long garden houses, you’ll be able to enjoy the peaceful natural surroundings, breathe in the fresh air, and find relaxation in the serene atmosphere of Hue.

garden house at Hue
Have a relaxing time at An Hien garden house

Thanh Toan tile bridge

The bridge was built in the 18th century with the help of Mrs. Tran Thi Dao, who generously donated a large sum of money for its construction. Despite not having children of her own, she dedicated her wealth to building the bridge to help the villagers cross the canal easily and have a place to rest. The Thanh Toan Bridge is quite different from modern bridges as it is made of wood and has a unique “bridge under a house” structure. In 1925, an altar was built in the middle of the bridge to honor Mrs. Tran Thi Dao.

If you are coming to Hue, make sure to stop by and admire this unique bridge. It’s not only a central part of the village, but also a place where locals relax and recreation. The best part is that it’s not crowded with tourists. Keep in mind that the bridge is located outside of the central area, so you’ll need to arrange transportation to visit.

Thanh Toan tile bridge
Thanh Toan tile bridge

Bao Vinh ancient town

Located just 3km from Hue city center, there’s a neighborhood that used to be a busy commercial port. Bao Vinh ancient town has been around for a long time, and you can still see some of its old charm in the form of ancient houses that are nearly 200 years old, standing alongside more modern buildings.

Even though Bao Vinh has changed over the years, you can still find remnants of its past, like banyan trees, traditional tiled roofs, communal courtyards, ferry wharfs, and a countryside market. The old market street features ancient wooden houses with low tile roofs, mixed in with two-story houses from the 20th century.

Tips to visit: Walking around the old town, especially in the late afternoon when the sun is setting, gives you a glimpse of the past. The old houses with moss-covered roofs and the warm sunlight bathing the ancient walls create a truly unique and historic atmosphere.

Bao Vinh ancient town - a hidden gem of Hue
Walking around Bao Vinh ancient town at the evening and enjoy the slow pace of Hue

What to do in Hue at night?

Shop around Hue night markets

One of the best ways to experience Hue at night is by exploring its bustling night markets. These markets are a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells, offering everything from delicious street food to unique souvenirs. Here some night markets you can choose to explore:

Dong Ba Market: The largest market in Hue, bustling with activity at night, located along the northern bank of the Perfume River, near Trang Tien Bridge. You can come here and buy local handicrafts like conical hats, bamboo products, and try some dried fruits, and local spices.

Walking Street Market (Pham Ngu Lao Night Market): Perfect for an evening stroll and shopping. Located in the bustling backpacker area, this market is a treasure trove of handmade souvenirs, trendy clothing, and delicious street food.

Night Market at Truong Tien Bridge: On weekends, Truong Tien Bridge becomes a pedestrian night market with stunning views of the Perfume River. Browse through stalls showcasing local artwork, traditional clothing, and savory street food delights.

Try some skewers at Dong Ba night marker
Try some skewers at Dong Ba night marker

Have dinner while wearing traditional Vietnamese clothes

Consider adding an extra layer of immersion to your experience by enjoying a meal dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing. Our clients from Yoga from Centre Winnipeg recently did just that, and the photos from their royal dinner, complete with traditional royal court music of Hue, are absolutely stunning. This unique opportunity allows you to transport yourself back to the Nguyen dynasty era and fully immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture for an unforgettable experience.

wearing Vietnamese traditional clothes while having dinner in Hue
A happy moment of our client wearing Vietnamese traditional clothes while having dinner

Listen to Hue folk songs on the Perfume river

One of the most most serene and culturally enriching things to do in Hue at night is listening to traditional Hue folk songs on the Perfume River. This special performance, called Ca Hue, offers a beautiful introduction to the heartfelt music of central Vietnam.

You’ll hop on a dragon boat and float along the Perfume River while talented musicians play traditional songs. The gentle movement of the boat paired with the beautiful music creates a truly enchanting experience. These performances usually start around sunset and last for about an hour. It’s a good idea to book in advance, especially during busy times of the year.

Hue folk songs on Perfume River
Listen to Hue folk songs on Perfume River

Frequently asked question

Is 2 days enough in Hue? How much time do you need in Hue?

While two days in Hue can give you a good overview of the city’s main attractions, having a bit more time allows for a deeper exploration. For a more relaxed pace and to cover additional Hue attractions, 3 to 4 days would be ideal. This allows you to explore Hue’s hidden gems such as Thanh Toan Covered Bridge, Ancient Hue Garden House, and Bao Vinh Ancient Town.

Is Hue or Hoi An better?

Choosing between Hue and Hoi An depends on what you’re looking for in your Vietnam experience. Both cities offer unique charms and attractions.


  • Historical Significance: Hue is the place to go for history enthusiasts. The Hue Imperial Citadel and numerous royal tombs provide a deep dive into Vietnam’s imperial past.
  • Cultural Depth: Hue is known for its traditional culture, including its music, cuisine, and festivals like the Hue Festival.
  • Natural Beauty: The scenic beauty of places like the Perfume River and Bach Ma National Park make Hue a great choice for nature lovers.

Hoi An:

  • Charming Old Town: Hoi An’s Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is famous for its well-preserved architecture, lantern-lit streets, and vibrant markets.
  • Tailoring and Shopping: Hoi An is renowned for its bespoke tailoring shops and quaint boutiques.
  • Beaches: The nearby beaches such as An Bang and Cua Dai offer a relaxing retreat from the city.

In summary, Hue is ideal for those interested in history and culture, while Hoi An is perfect for those seeking a picturesque town with great shopping and beach options.

How to get around Hue, Vietnam?

Whether you’re exploring the Hue Imperial Citadel, discovering hidden gems, or enjoying the local cuisine, knowing how to get around is crucial for an enjoyable visit. Here’s a comprehensive guide on the best ways to travel around Hue.

  • Cyclo: For a unique and leisurely way to see the sights, take a ride on a cyclo (pedicab). This traditional mode of transport is perfect for short distances and offers a nostalgic feel.
  • Motorbike/Scooter: Renting a motorbike or scooter is a popular option for many tourists. It provides flexibility and is an efficient way to explore attractions like the Hai Van Pass and Bach Ma National Park. Ensure you have a valid license and are familiar with local traffic rules.
  • Bicycle: Hue is relatively flat, making it an excellent city for cycling. Many hotels offer bicycle rentals, and this can be a great way to explore areas like the Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda.
  • Taxi/Grab: For those who prefer comfort, taxis and Grab (a popular ride-hailing service in Vietnam) are widely available. This is a convenient option for getting to places further afield, such as the Royal Tombs.
  • Walking: Many of Hue’s attractions are within walking distance of each other. Walking allows you to take in the city’s ambiance at a leisurely pace.

By following this guide, you’ll not only see the top Hue attractions but also experience the city in a way that feels authentic and immersive. Enjoy the adventure, go off the regular tourist routes, and find the real beauty of Hue, Vietnam.

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