Located about 3 hours by train in the North of Da Nang, Hue Ancient Capital is known for some of the most impressive monuments in the former grand imperial capital of the country. Once an exclusive residence of the royal family and their servants, nowadays the massive UNESCO Heritage site is one of the top historical destinations of the country famed for its rich architecture, picturesque landscapes, and Imperial-style cuisine.
Experience listening to traditional music (Ca Tru) while taking a boat through Huong river, waiting the old citadel glowing in the dark. Travel back in time from Da Nang to Hue and you’re likely to fall in love with these top sights of Hue on the one-day itinerary below.
What to see in Hue – a one-day itinerary
Must Visit: Imperial Citadel Palace
Start the day with a visit to the most famous Hue Monument, a walled palace within the citadel of Vietnam’s feudal capital from unification in 1802 until 1945. These days, the complex can only be accessed from Ngo Mon Gate – the principal entrance to the Imperial Encloser, from where the Emperor used to address his officials and people.
Some of the most important monuments to explore within the complex are the Thai Hoa Palace, the Forbidden Purple City and Truong Sanh Residence. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to go through these main sites. Explore the whole complex would take a lot of time as there are many hidden monuments even the locals have yet to discover.
Entrance at the Forbidden city of Hue
Thien Mu pagoda or Pagoda of the Celestial Lady
After lunch, continue your itinerary by visiting Thien Mu Pagoda – an important symbol of the city of Hue, overlooking the Perfume River. Thien Mu means “elderly celestial woman”, and refers to an old legend about the founding of the pagoda. Brimming with opportunities for great photos.
From the river bank, you can rent a local boat to cruise nearby old houses known for their distinct gardens (a.k.a Nha vuon).
Tombs of the Emperor
Spend the late afternoon visiting at least one tomb of the emperor. As Khai Dinh tomb is quite far away from the city, you can spend a late afternoon visiting Minh Mang or Tu Dung tomb.
Imperial City by night
End your day back at the Imperial City to gain a new perspective of the . The citadel palace recently launched a night program, offering 50% discounts for those who have already visited the complex during the day.
Day trips from Hue
The worldwide famous UNESCO town of Hoi An is just 4 hours away by bus from Hue. This well-preserved ancient town connected with beautiful canals, an interesting mixture of architectural styles and cultures, and a wide diversity of art and craft shops. Read Hoi An Travel Guide for a detailed guide to this town.
My Son Sanctuary
An abandoned complex of Hindu temples’ ruins, is a famous religious site of Vietnam, located about 3 hours away by car from Hue.
One of the fastest growing cities and the third largest in Vietnam is just 2 hours and 3 minutes away from Hue, by either train or bus. Da Nang’s natural breath-taking natural landscapes, modern skyscrapers and dynamic lifestyle attract not only visitors but also expats coming to the city to settle. Read Da Nang Travel Guide for a detailed guide to this town.
How to get to Hue
Train: The best and most common way to travel to Hue from big cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang or Hanoi is by train. You get to avoid the rocky paths unavoidable when travelling by bus, and at the same time enjoy the stunning natural landscape surrounding the trails.
The train route from Da Nang to Hue goes through one of the most famous and scenic mountain passes of Vietnam – Hai Van Pass.
Book ticket online from and to Hue
Baolau corporates with Vietnam Railways and various bus companies across Vietnam to service online ticket booking to Hue in advance. Once the reservation is confirmed, customers will receive an electronic voucher that can be used to check-in and collect the physical ticket at the station of any departure point.
Getting around Hue
Car: if you travel in a group, save time and money by booking a tour package including car service transporting you through different sights and boat service near Thien Mu Pagoda.
Motorbike: Getting around Hue is easy and convenient by motorbike or motorbike taxi.
Boat: Hopping on a boat tour and see Hue from the Huong River is a quintessential experience every traveller must try.