Explore Hue in 12 hours: Part 1 on Imperial City and tombs

Explore Hue in 12 hours: Part 1 on Imperial City and tombs

Explore Hue in 12 hours: Part 1 on Imperial City and tombs

I have never heard of Hue to be honest, until a friend suggested Hoi An as our next destination and Hue turned up in the search results while we were planning. Even then, the results were few compared to other areas in the country. Turns out it was one of the best legs for sightseeing during our trip! Here’s my notes for the hours we spent in Hue:

0900|Breakfast in the Hotel

We started with the most sumptuous breakfast ever in Serene Shining hotel. Ala-carte buffet style, we could order unlimited portions of Hue’s famous dishes such as Bun Bo Hue (a type of beef noodles), omelettes, crepes, fruits and fresh fruit juices! This was a pleasant surprise considering that the hotel only set us back by SGD$25 per night.

Hue Serene Shining Palace Hotel

☝🏽Breakfast for two 😂

1000|Hard-sold into cyclo rides

Our hotel was located in a back alley some streets away from the main attractions. We were immediately thrown into the daily bustle of the locals the moment we stepped out. Having heard stories of pickpockets and thieves, we clutched tightly to our belongings and maneuvered our ways to the main streets.

Note: We did not encounter any robbery or pickpocketing throughout our entire trip but I must say this was the most cautious I’ve been overseas.

Within minutes of reaching the main street, we were coaxed into a cyclo ride for around USD2 each to the Citadel.

Cyclo Hue Vietnam
Touristy as it may be, the cyclo was a great way to experience the traffic and roads with you sitting in the ‘front’seat.

1015|Explore the Imperial City

Imperial City Citadel Hue Vietnam
Exploring the place requires some walking as the palace covers a fair bit of land. You could glimpse the glory and magnificence of the architecture in its heyday but it was contrasted with the ruins and rubbles of buildings that ceased to exist due to war and negligence.

Imperial City Citadel Hue Vietnam

Imperial City Citadel Hue Vietnam

There was obvious oriental influence. Along the way, there will be exhibits offering some information on the history of this World Heritage site.

Imperial City Citadel Hue Vietnam
It would have been a comfortable and relaxing tour, if not for the sweltering heat.

Imperial City Citadel Hue Vietnam
💡Broke traveler tip: Follow tour groups around to eavesdrop on the commentary.

Exiting the Citadel from the other end, we entered a small eatery and treated ourselves to a local dessert drink.

I dare say it was one of the most local experiences we had.

Hue Eatery, Vietnam

The locals didn’t seem to understand English but it appeared that there was only on drink on the menu so we went ahead with it anyway.

Hue drink stall Vietnam

The ingredients were unknown but the drink surprised us with its sweetness layered chewable crunchy bits. If anyone knows what it’s called, please share! 🙂

Hue dessert drink, VIetnam

1300|Ming Manh Tomb

Don’t miss this when you are in Hue!

We debated if it was safe to use Grab in Vietnam but eventually flagged down a Ma Linh taxi (Internet has it that it’s the most reliable taxi company). Thankfully, the driver lived up to the company’s reputation online and went by the meter.😅


Minh Mang Tomb, Hue Vietnam

The road into the tomb is unassuming (that’s an overstatement in fact). But once inside, I was blown away by the architecture and landscape.

Minh Mang Tomb, Hue Vietnam
The grounds was sprawling. Even in its derelicts, the compound was impressive. The tomb easily made its way to one of my favourite locations in Vietnam.

Minh Mang Tomb, Hue Vietnam

The experience through the tomb compounds was serene and every scene was harmoniously composed.

Minh Mang Tomb, Hue Vietnam

Hue was turning out to be a pleasant surprise for a random suggestion by my friend and my recount is only halfway through the day. Next up, we would visit another tomb and their local market, among other places. Click to read part 2! 

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15 Comments

  • […] Don’t miss out Hue when you visit Vietnam! Though lesser known than other cities in Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, Hue felt considerably more local and less modernized (read: homogenized). Here is part 2 of my day in Hue and if you missed out on part 1, click here. […]

  • Lisa
    3 months ago

    Hue looks so pretty, I feel sad that we missed seeing it when we were in Vietnam. The heat is intense there, I could actually feel it through your photos! I love the broke traveler tip lol, I do the same sometimes! That drink looks like a Vietnamese iced coffee, but I don’t know what the chewy bits are!

  • 3 months ago

    The architecture there is amazing — both the Citadel and the Ming Mahn Tomb look incredible. The tip to follow tour groups is a great one for broke travelers haha I guess you just have to try to not be obvious about it. Very cool that you got such a varied breakfast with your hotel stay, that’s a great value!

  • 3 months ago

    I haven’t been to this country. And, I haven’t heard of this place either. But you are article is very informative. If I plan to go there this would be a good reference for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • 3 months ago

    The cyclo looks so cool, I’ve never seen one of those! I haven’t heard of Hue either, as yet, but seems like a great place for someone looking to experience culture and history. The dessert drink you mention sounds like something I would like to try!

    • Eunice
      3 months ago

      Hue will be fabulous for the history and culture buffs!

  • 3 months ago

    I was looking into a few destinations off-the-grid for this winter with some history and great food… I was not convinced about South-East Asia but you proved me wrong. Hue seems so genuine and less touristy than the main places in Vietnam. I also think the drink you had was a Vietnamese iced coffee. They are my favourite!

    • Eunice
      3 months ago

      Yes, definitely. I mean it’s still touristy, but not as entrenched as the more popular places. Nah, it wasn’t coffee. I really had no idea what I was drinking. 😀

  • Daniel
    3 months ago

    Even though I prefer slow travel, I think 12 hours is enough to explore the ancient town and there isn’t much else to see around. Hence, I think this is a perfect itinerary for Hue for people that are traveling around the country and don’t have a lot of time to waste. The tip to follow groups on a guided tour is genius too haha 🙂

    • Eunice
      3 months ago

      Yes, it really was more like a quick stopover.

  • 3 months ago

    I would love to see this place. I love smaller and lesser crowded places. And posiitvely trying Banh Beo, should I manage to reach Hue. The walk by the river is my thing. Cyclo looks interesting but perhaps would give this a miss. But open markets are a must go, so going to see that too, including the local drink you had.

    • Eunice
      3 months ago

      Haha, yes, I would probably skip the cyclo too.

  • Shaily
    3 months ago

    I must agree I’ve never heard of Hue, but it looks very beautiful. I like the architecture of the Imperial city. The dessert drink looks delicious. Ming Manh Tomb also sounds impressive. Hope to explore this lovely place someday.

  • aareeba
    3 months ago

    Woah, Vietnam is on my bucket list from such a long period and i have to admit that i had no idea about Hue which is a shame. This place looks so beautiful specially For a person like me who loves rich architecture and history. Thanks for sharing your knowledge , it was really nice knowing about Hue

    • Eunice
      3 months ago

      I was lucky to have a friend who did the intensive research! Otherwise, we would have missed Hue. Do visit if you have the chance!

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