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Best things to do in Hue

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Where in the world: Asia  /  Vietnam  /  Thua Thien - Hue Province  /  Hue

Top 15 things to do in Hue

1. Thien Mu Pagoda

Originally established in the 17th century, Thien Mu Pagoda remains one of nation's oldest and best-preserved religious buildings. Situated on the Perfume River, the temple rises in seven tiers, each dedicated to human forms taken by Buddha during his road to Enlightenment. Upon your arrival, notice the wooden temple guardians with real human hair as beards near the entrance. Inside the compound, you can visit the monastic buildings, a large cemetery, and a beautifully maintained garden of pine trees.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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2. Imperial City

A listed World Heritage Site, Imperial City (aka the Purple Forbidden City) stands as a testimony to the power and wealth of the last imperial Vietnamese dynasty. Situated on a riverbank, the complex features the remains of an imperial palace, Buddhist temples and pagodas, tombs of Nguyen Kings, courtyards, and gardens. It is encircled by a moat and two rows of fortification walls. Over the years following the demise of Vietnamese monarchy, the site was significantly ruined by cyclones and termites. However, it suffered the severest damage during the Vietnam War--look for the holes in the stone walls made by bullets and grenades. The highlights include a flag tower and 10 lavishly ornamented gates.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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3. Nature & Wildlife Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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4. Tomb of Minh Mang

On the western bank of the Perfume River stands Tomb of Minh Mang, an architectural complex consisting of 40 buildings, including palaces, pavilions, and temples. Built in 1843, the complex holds the remains of Nguyen dynasty emperor who established a more efficient Vietnamese government, built many monuments, and stopped the Siamese invasion. Pass through one of two side-gates to enter a courtyard decorated with horse and elephant statues.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Tomb of Tu Duc

Constructed for Emperor Tu Duc, Tomb of Tu Duc represents the lavish final resting place of the Nguyen dynasty's longest reigning monarch. Regarded as a remarkable example of royal architecture, the tomb contains a temple area, where the emperor used to read, write poetry, work, and reside, and the tomb area. Explore the palaces, mansions, and pavilions tucked into pine forests and surrounded by the Khiem Luu Lake. If you visit on a hot day, carry extra water, sunscreen, and an umbrella or a hat to hide from the sun.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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6. Perfume River

Fragrant flowers from nearby orchards drop into the gently streaming water of Perfume River, giving it a specific aroma and a peculiar name. The meandering river originates in the Truong Dong Mountains and runs very slowly for 30 km (18.6 mi), until it darkens, deepens, and hastens near the Ngoc Tran Mountain. Go on a boat excursion to observe the surrounding villages and colorful natural wonders. Some boaters may insist on selling you their wares and souvenirs, so either prepare to bargain, or kindly refuse their persistent offers.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Royal Tombs

A World Heritage-listed string of mausoleums built according to strict rules of geomancy, Royal Tombs feature the final resting place of six emperors of Vietnam's Nguyen dynasty. Huge ornate halls with gilded statues, countless mini-shrines, and life-sized blackened concrete figures of soldiers and their horses in paved terraced courtyards provide a glimpse of Vietnam's past imperial splendor. Built over the 19th and early 20th century, the tombs display a wealth symbolizing the Nguyen rulers' careful balancing of European powers. Browse around intricately carved temples, cross bridges over ponds and moats, and pass through impressive gates to understand the grandeur of former kings and their complex relations to colonial powers. Tour operators run excursions that cover all of the tombs; alternatively, hire your own guide for all the historical details.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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9. The Flag Tower

A symbolic landmark of Hanoi, view the monumental The Flag Tower as it sits in the center of the city. Built nearly 200 years ago, amble around the towers structures containing its original features. The highlight is being able to climb the towers stairs 33m and bask in the panoramic views of Hanoi. The tower is situated near the Citadel, which makes the area perfect to view more ancient architecture.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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10. Off-Road Tours

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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12. Tu Dam Pagoda

See the statue of Ton Thich on lotus, and witness incredible architecture of Tu Dam Pagoda. Built in 17th century, the temple used to be a meeting space for Buddhist monks. Stand in front of it to see yin and yang roof decorated with dragons. Firstly go through the forecourt, then continue to central chamber, and lastly see the ancient area. The pagoda stands for freedom of religion, and played important role in developing Buddhism. Walk around the garden, and take the time to appreciate the holiness of the site.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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13. Food Tours

Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
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