If you’re wondering is Hue worth visiting? then I’m here to help you decide whether to add it to your Vietnam travel plans.

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Although I personally loved my two days in Hue, in this post, I’ll give my honest opinions on whether it’s worth including on your busy travel itinerary.

Did you know that Hue was actually the capital of Vietnam for 143 years up until 1945? In fact, due to being an ancient imperial city, Hue was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

But despite its historic significance, tourists remain divided on whether it’s a ‘must do’ while travelling around the country.

Alongside explaining whether I think visiting Vietnam is worth it, I’ll also share what I did in Vietnam, so you can get ideas of how to plan a successful Hue itinerary.

historical Hue attractions 1
Imperial City Hue (left) and the colourful Truong Tien Bridge stretching across the Perfume River (right). The 400m bridge was built in 1899 to connect historical Hue, such as the Imperial City, with the more contemporary French Quarter.

Is Hue worth visiting? 5 reasons why it is:

  • Historic significance: Hue is packed with historic attractions that are vital for understanding Vietnam’s complex history. From royal palaces to the UNESCO-listed Hue Imperial City, Hue is definitely worth visiting for history lovers.
  • Quirky attractions: Hue has its fair share of unique attractions, with the abandoned waterpark being one of its most popular. If you’re templed out on historic places, Hue has a good mix of cultural gems and more quirky things to do.
  • The food is delicious!! I’ve included a few of the must-do food places below, from iconic Hue restaurants to traditional foods and local food tours.
  • Incredible Hue day trips: For nature lovers, Bach Ma National Park is a true must-do, and it’s worlds away from the over-crowded Ha Long Bay. Alba Hot Springs and Vinh Moc tunnels are also popular day tours.
  • Hue is budget-friendly! Like most places in Vietnam, Hue is a fantastic destination for budget travellers, while luxury travellers can travel in style without breaking the bank.

Read below where I go into more detail about Hue’s quirky and historic attractions, amazing foodie scene, and day trips!

Is Hue worth it? 3 reasons it might not be:

Although I loved Hue, it doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s cup of tea. Here are a couple of reasons why Hue isn’t top of everyone’s Vietnam bucket list.

  • Hue isn’t as ‘iconic’ as other Vietnam destinations. Many backpackers I met while travelling in Vietnam didn’t rate Hue as highly as I did; they didn’t feel the city was as vibrant as its more famous counterparts like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. That said, it sounded like they didn’t know what to do once they got here, which is why I’ve included Hue’s top attractions below.
  • If you only have a few days in Vietnam, then it might be harder to justify adding Hue to your itinerary. If you’re more into nature than history, you might prefer the breathtaking scenery around Ninh Binh, Sapa, or Phong Nha. If you only have time to visit one city in Vietnam, then I know many people would prefer the charming Hoi An – though Hue is the cheaper option.
  • Hue has a devastating history, which can be hard to take in. Despite so many beautiful tourist attractions, it was disturbingly also where the Battle of Hue took place – in 1968, thousands of people were killed. During this time, the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive destroyed many buildings of historical significance. Although many structures are fortunately still intact today, the city’s modern history conveys that visiting Hue is strikingly thought-provoking and sad.

Still, there are many fun things to do in Hue that juxtapose strangely against the stark history. And since the city is in Central Vietnam, it’s well worth visiting while travelling North or South down the country.

historical Hue attractions
Hue is worth visiting for the stunning Thien Mu Pagoda (left, also known as the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady) and explore the Imperial Citadel (right).

Why visit Hue Vietnam?

Although Hue isn’t as famous as other places in Vietnam, personally, I definitely worth visiting. It was actually one of my favourite destinations in Vietnam!

If you’re wondering what to do in Hue to make it worth the trip, here’s how I spent my two-day Hue itinerary when I backpacked through Vietnam. There are so many exciting and fun things to do in Hue; it’s a fascinating city with more to see than first meets the eye.


Best to start your one-day Hue itinerary early, as it gets so warm! The Thuy Tien Lake abandoned waterpark has become well-known as one of the best things to do in Hue City.

They spent 3 million US dollars to create the waterpark for families, yet now I was wandering around over barbed wire and broken glass. Although it’s not officially open to the public, everyone goes… Whilst there are loads of tales of people sneaking into the park and dodging security, I found it very easy to enter the park! I think it was super easy to get in because I had hired a local guide for the day (along with his scooter).

Very atmospheric; it reminded me of a post-apocalyptic video game. This waterpark is not for kids but is otherwise weirdly fun. Out of all the unusual things to see in Hue, this has to be the one people seemed most excited about when I backpacked in Vietnam!

Opening Hours: 24 hours daily

Entrance fee: 10,000 – 20,000 VND per person (price may vary)

Address: CH5H+5CG, hồ Tiên, Thủy, Thủy Bằng, Hương Thủy, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam


Who doesn’t love a viewpoint? On the outskirts of the imperial city, Vong Canh Hill overlooked the serene Perfume River and was incredibly peaceful. The park here is a really lovely way to break up visiting busy tourist attractions.

A visit to the park or river is undoubtedly the most romantic way to escape Hue’s crowds and traffic. As well as being a welcome retreat from the heat.

Opening Hours: 24 hours daily

Entrance fee: Free

Address: 102 Huyền Trân Công Chúa, Thủy Biều, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam


This tomb belongs to King Minh Mang, who was the second ruler of the Nguyen Dynasty, governing Southern and Central Vietnam from 1820-1840. He enforced the building of his extensive funeral complex, which comprised 40 structures set along the Perfume River.

Unfortunately, around half of these structures at the Minh Mang Tomb were destroyed during the Vietnam War, while the remaining buildings took a lot of work to repair and restore. Today, you can still appreciate the colours and ornate ornamentation of the tomb alongside the surrounding landscaped gardens and terraces.

Opening Hours: 7:30am – 5pm daily

Entrance fee: 100,000 VND per adult, 10,000 VND per child

Address: Mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang, 9HQC+CW2, Unnamed Road, Hương Trà, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam

Minh Mang Mausoleum 1 day hue itinerary
Minh Mang Tomb, Hue

If you want to get the insider scoop on what makes these historic Hue tourist attractions so special, why not visit the 3 most famous Nguyen Dynasty royal troubles in a private guided tour?


My local guide (a scooter driver) told me all about the temple’s folklore and mentioned it was the tallest religious building in Vietnam, with seven stories. Built-in 1601, Thien Mu Pagoda also overlooks the Perfume River, which runs through Hue as it gushes towards the mountains.

Including tranquil gardens, this working Buddhist temple is a fascinating stop on your visit to Hue. You may even be lucky enough to chat with the friendly monks or see them playing music.

Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm daily

Entrance fee: FREE

Address: FG3V+7XC, Hương Hòa, Thành phố Huế, Hương Hòa Thành phố Huế Thừa Thiên Huế 532761, Vietnam

Thien Mu Pagoda Vietnam


Tu Duc is sometimes considered the last emperor of Vietnam and died in 1883. He had no children but 104 wives and even more concubines… sounds stressful, right? His tomb is, however, surprisingly tranquil, with grand architecture scattered around a moat and lily ponds.

Noticed by many as being the most beautiful of the Nguyen emperor’s tombs, Tu Duc Tomb is highly recommended if you only have time to visit one. It is a vast and elaborate site which thus does not get too crowded.

Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm daily

Entrance fee: 150,000 VND per adult, 40,000 per child

Address: Mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc, CHM8+6H3, Cầu Đông Ba, thôn Thượng, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam

things to do in hue vietnam
There are so many historical attractions to visit in Hue.


Is Hue worth visiting for history enthusiasts? Absolutely yes. And the Imperial City is a big reason why.

Hue is home to the Imperial City – a vast 19th-century imperial citadel full of shrines and palaces – and the Forbidden Purple City. From 1802 – 1945, Vietnam was ruled by the Nguyen Dynasty, and during this period, Hue was the capital city of Vietnam. This city is where the many emperors once lived, crawling with history.

In fact, an interesting fact about Vietnam is that today 4 out of 10 people in Vietnam still have the surname ‘Nguyen’!

It’s worth noting that many buildings were damaged during WW2 and the Vietnam War, but enough remains intact to make it worth a visit nonetheless. There is much beautiful architecture to discover, including the three-tiered Hien Lam Pavillion, the To Mieu Temple Complex, which houses shrines to the emperors, and the Hung to Mieu Temple.

historical Hue attractions 3
Part of the To Mieu Temple Complex (left) and the three-tiered Hien Lam Pavillion (right) in the Imperial Citadel

The Thai Hoa Palace, which loosely translates to ‘large and harmonious’ Palace – but often called the Throne Palace in English – is amongst the most magnificent spots during your visit to the Imperial Citadel. The palace and courtyard symbolised many vital moments for the Nguyen dynasty, including coronation events and royal birthdays. The palace has 80 ironwood pillars and a crab shell-style carved roof and covers 1,360 square meters.

Thai Hoa Palace Imperial City Hue Vietnam
A decorative archway in Thai Hoa Palace (left) and the gates leading up to the Thai Hoa Palace in the Imperial City, Hue (right).

Other notable things to see in Hue’s Imperial City are the Ngo Mon Gate (or ‘Meridian gate’) at the main South entrance into the Imperial City and the pretty garden pathways that connect the grand complex. While they do not maintain the grandeur of their past, an effort has been made to restore the Co Ha Gardens, where you will find peaceful pavilions and ponds.

Other historical attractions in Hue include visiting the Khai Dinh tomb, which I’ve discussed in more detail under the subtitle ‘best places to visit near Hue’ – below.

Opening hours: 8am – 5:30pm daily

Entrance fee: 200,000 VND per adult, 40,000 VND per child, free for toddlers, or book tickets in advance to save time.

Imperial City Address: FH9H+M5Q, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam

For a fascinating insight into the Imperial City of Hue, take an Imperial City Guided Walking Tour and get immersed in history between its ancient walls.

Imperial City Hue Vietnam
Ngo Mon Meridian Gate (left) and gardens in the Imperial City (right)


A great addition if you have two days to spare in Hue, as it’s one of the best and most important things to see here.

For a real insight into the divisions created during the war, visit the battleground demarcation line between the Communist North and free South that divided the country into 2 separate states.

The most popular way to visit the DMZ is as a day trip from Hue, usually as part of a tour: click here for an example tour itinerary by GetYourGuide.


The Royal Fine Arts Museum was actually the first museum in Hue, and one of the top Hue places to visit for art lovers.

Located inside the Long An palace, the museum displays up to 15 collections of antiques from throughout the Nguyen dynasty.

Opening hours: 7am – 5:30pm daily

Entrance fee: 150,000 per adult, 30,000 per child

Address: 03 Lê Trực, Phú Hậu, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam


Hidden amongst 28.5 hectares of beautiful gardens and pine forests, well-informed visitors know that the Huyen Tran Princess Temple is one of the best things to do in Hue. Often skipped in favour of more famous tombs and temples, this gem is just moments from the city centre yet seems to avoid the crowds.

Due to its large size and natural surroundings, this temple is a tranquil haven to stroll around while enjoying its various carvings, sculptures and incredible architecture.

Opening hours: 7am – 5pm daily

Entrance fee: 30,000 per adult, free for small children

Address: 151 Thien Thai, An Tay, Hue City, Thua Thien Hue


If you’re still questioning Is Hue worth it? then maybe the foodie scene will convince you!

Due to its iconic location as the capital city of Vietnam for so many years, it’s not surprising that Hue ended up with its own culinary style, suitable to serve kings and emperors. The cuisine refers to not only delectable dishes but also ensuring food is served in a decorative style that follows specific rules of colour and harmony.

While Hue Royal Cuisine has changed over the years due to different cultural influencers, you can still get a taste of these royal meals today from restaurants all around the city.

Alternatively, head to the Dong Ba Market for local, traditional fare. Covering 16000 square meters with stalls, mingle among the locals as they pick up everything from vegetables, clothing, and many other products.

While looking for street food, don’t miss ‘com hen-hue’! Also known as ‘Com Hen-Hue Clam rice’, this dish is traditional to rural Central Vietnam and famous in Hue.

Street food and cooking tours

Hardcore foodies can also take an authentic Hue Countryside Cooking Class Tour! Your tour guides will take you on the back of a motorbike to go shopping at a village market and learn about local Hue specialities and traditional rural life. After this, they’ll teach you how to cook three dishes for you to eat and enjoy.

If you’re not into motorbikes, this Hue Street Food Walking Tour might be more your cup of tea.

If you’re looking for things to do in Hue at night, this authentic local street food tour is a great way to spend your time while enjoying authentic local cuisine. You’ll also get whisked away on a motorbike and learn some fun urban legends while exploring Hue after dark. But best of all is the sweet treats and savoury dishes you’ll get to feast upon before they drop you off at your hotel.

Are you looking for vegetarian or vegan food in Hue?

If you’re looking for vegan food in Vietnam, there’s no need to miss out. Like many places with a local culture of Buddhism, it’s possible to find authentic vegetarian Vietnamese food in Hue! The hard part is knowing where to find it, especially when you don’t speak the language. (And I’m speaking from experience as a vegan traveller!)

This Hue: Vegetarian Food and Nightlife Tour by Motorbike will take you off the beaten path in Hue while your female tour guide shares the best veggie food in town, including traditional cakes, hotpot, pancakes, salads, and sweet soups. The yummy dishes you get to try are vegetarian, but check what food options are 100% vegan in advance!

traditional vietnamese food in hue
Song Huong Floating Restaurant on the Huong River (left) and the local market (right)

Best places to visit near Hue


Other fun things to do near Hue include visiting Bach Ma National Park, just South of the city, and on the way towards Hoi An/Danang. This is one of Vietnam’s most prized eco-tourism destinations and a great day tour away from the hustle and bustle of Hue’s sometimes congested streets.

You can explore the park with a guide to see the best of this protected area. It’s the perfect day trip for those who enjoy trekking.

Take a Bach Ma National Park Group Day Tour from Hue.

bach ma national park 1 day hue itinerary
Bach Ma National Park


Escape the busy city with a tour of the quiet village of Thuy Thanh, a sleepy commune in the middle of the countryside. Just 7km East of Hue, visitors are invited to explore the Thoan Toan Museum, the small but colourful local market, and the ornate Japanese bridge in the centre of the village. The Thanh Toan Bridge was built in the 18th century and, after realising its significance, was renovated in 1991.

You can book a taxi (make sure a return trip is agreed upon) or book this half-day tour to get to this hidden gem during your Hue itinerary.

Thuy Thanh Bridge 1 day hue itinerary
Thanh Toan Bridge


This underrated Hue day trip takes tourists to Tam Giang Lagoon, which is the largest lagoon in all of Southeast Asia, reaching a vast 52 square kilometres in size.

Although I didn’t have time to visit the lagoon, backpackers I met while I was solo travelling in the area told me it was a beautiful place to visit at sunset when the colourful sky reflects across the massive expanse of water.

You may also get to speak to some friendly locals who enjoy chatting with the tourists who pass through the area, such as fishermen and tour guides. You can also take a boat trip onto the lagoon and enjoy dinner outside.


Located around 10km from Hue, Vietnam, you’ll find the beautiful Khai Dinh Tomb on Chau Chu Mountain. Although this tomb is the smallest of all those belonging to the Nguyen royals, it was also the most expensive to build.

Emporer Khai Dinh was the 12th empower of the Nguyen dynasty, from 1920-1931. It took 11 years to complete the building, and it is well worth the visit despite being a little further from the central city, particularly if you’re interested in this period of history or this style of architecture.

Khai Dinh Tomb 1 day hue itinerary
Khai Dinh Tomb, interior and exterior


Another reason Hue is worth visiting is because it’s the start (or end) point of the iconic Hai Van Pass!

When you leave Hue, this is the best route to take to Hoi An.

Hue City is also a great place to rent a scooter or get an easy rider to take you on a road trip to Hoi An or Danang via the famous Hai Van Pass. This winding mountain route HAS to be the best way to get between Hoi An and Hue, with extraordinary sights and incredible viewpoints along the way. These include:

  • elephant springs
  • Lang Co beach
  • The Hoi Van Pass (and stopping off at a viewpoint)
  • Marble Mountains

This would be my Vietnam MUST-DO, as it was my favourite day in the country, alongside exploring the enchanting caves and scenery in Phong Nha.

hoi van pass viewpoint in vietnam
Admiring a fantastic view whilst road-tripping along the Hoi Van Pass

Hue Vietnam Q&A

How do you get around Hue?

I rented an easy rider for the day, which cost around 11 pounds. This meant I had a local guide with me at all times to tell me the history of the Hue landmarks and historical sights and that I could also easily access them. Alternatively, you could rent your own scooter for the day.

Other attractions were within walking distance from my accommodation, such as the Truong Tien Bridge (photographed above) and many local restaurants. You could also choose to stay closer to the Imperial City if you prefer to save money and walk. Many day trips from Hue are best explored with a tour, easy rider, or taxi.

How many days do you need in Hue?

If you’re wondering how many days and nights to spend in Hue, there are a few ways to fit this central Vietnam city into your itinerary. If you’re visiting as a day trip from Hoi An or simply don’t have much time to spend here while backpacking Southeast Asia, you can still hit the main Hue attractions in one day.

With one day in Hue, you could either spend time just visiting the historical sites, such as the Imperial City, ancient royal tombs, and the fascinating DMZ. Or, you could combine history with a unique and fun attraction by visiting the Abandoned Waterpark in the morning and the ancient historical sites in the afternoon. Stopping for a break at the Perfume River makes for a perfect 1-day itinerary.

If you have 2 or more days in Hue, you can do all of the above and enjoy a side trip to the eco-tourism destination Bach Ma National Park, which is a treat for nature lovers.

What is Hue famous for?

Hue is most famous for being the capital city of Vietnam for almost 150 years! It is popular to visit the tombs of ancient emperors, alongside many other fascinating things to see and do, which I have outlined below.

Is going to Hue Vietnam worth it?

Yes, HueHue is definitely worth visiting – especially if you are interested in Vietnamese history. You can visit fascinating tombs of past emperors and significant sites like the Demilitarised Zone to learn about the Vietnam War.

To avoid your visit to Hue being too heavy with history, combine this with fun outdoor activities and delicious food tours for a memorable stay.

Suggested one or two day Hue itinerary

With one day in Hue, a history-focussed itinerary is to visit either the temples, imperial city and a DMZ tour. Alternatively, replace one of the historical sites with the abandoned waterpark for a more balanced itinerary. I also personally made a quick stop at Vong Canh Hill.

On a 2 day Hue itinerary, you can do all of the above plus one of the fun activities near Hue, which are suggested at the bottom of this post – such as a visit to a local village or national park.

If you have 3 or 4 days in Hue, you can do another of the easy Hue day trips!

During the evenings, whether you have one day in Hue or more, take part in one of the Hue street food and night-time tours (even if you’re vegetarian!) to make the best out of your experience.

Most travellers will require a visa to enter Vietnam, which you can organise in advance. Check below to see your requirements. I personally used and paid for the iVisa service in 2020, and it’s a website I would genuinely recommend: ivisa.com

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Hi, I'm Cassie, and I've been solo travelling the globe since May 2018. In this time, I've backpacked around Southeast Asia, Japan and The Balkans, alongside living in New Zealand and Australia. Current location? Mexico