Imperial City This walled fortress and palace was the capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty for 140 years between 1805 and 1945.
Museum of Cham Sculpture. This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the Cham people in Vietnam. It contains an impressive amount of ancient Cham sculptures and artifacts.
Including Da Nang and Marble Mountain
This lovely boutique hotel located down a cute alley, has been beautifully renovated. The rooms are comfortable with modern amenities and they serve a delicious breakfast in the lounge on the main floor. Highly recommended.
This gorgeous boutique resort has luxurious rooms surrounding two swimming pools and a wonderful restaurant. The perfect place for some rest and relaxation. Excellent breakfast and spa. Highly recommended.
Guides and Tours
Asia Tour Advisors
We booked all our tours in Vietnam and Cambodia through local tour company Asia Tour Advisors. They provided excellent and knowledgeable guides as well as wonderful drivers in all locations. They were prompt and reliable. All the activities were interesting and well-planned. The customer service they provided while planning our trip was excellent.
Our contact was David Hong Luong
Y Thao Restaurant. This is a lovely garden setting inside the Citadel of the Imperial City. The food is tasty with a creative presentation.
Nha hang La Carambole. This restaurant is located in the centre of Hue and serves French-Vietnamese food.
Dao Tien Restaurant. This is located along the river which is very scenic. The food was delicious.
Morning Glory Restaurant . The restaurant, located in the Old Quarter, in a renovated historic building, specializes in street food and traditionally prepared dishes. Several of the dishes are prepared in the centre of the restaurant where patrons can watch the chefs in action.
Jardin de Mai Restaurant. Located in the water coconut village this is a nice spot for lunch, in the gardens along a canal. The chef is well-known in the area and came out to tell us about each of the tasty dishes.
Mango Mango Restaurant. Located in the Old Quarter, we sat on the balcony on the second floor, enjoyed our cocktails and food, and had great views of the town and its beautiful lanterns all lit up.
Hue and Hoi An are both located in central Vietnam along the South China Sea.
Hue, which sits along the Perfume River, was the capital of Vietnam between 1802 and 1945. It was chosen by Emperor Gia Long, the first King of the Nguyen emperors (Nguyen dynasty). He built his majestic Imperial City here and it is a stunning site to visit. The main city area is busy with markets and young people (both locals and tourists) who hang out with friends by the river or in the pedestrian-friendly commercial area.
Hoi An, which is located just a few hours drive from Hue, is a pretty riverside town and former Chinese trading port, known for its colourful silk lanterns, pedestrian streets filled with shops and restaurants, a beautiful beach and many markets. Although it is aimed mainly at tourists it maintains its charm and character.
We combined this trip with Hanoi in 5 Days, Siem Reap - Angkor Wat in 3 Days and Ho Chi Minh City in 3 Days.
We arrived in Hue late on the previous evening and checked into the Scarlett Boutique Hotel. This lovely hotel located down a cute alley, off a main street, has been beautifully renovated. The rooms are comfortable, quiet and with modern amenities. They serve a delicious breakfast in the lounge on the main floor.
We were picked up by our tour guide and driver and headed for a colourful boat ride along the Perfume River.
Our first stop was the Thien Mu Pagoda. You can't miss the tall, octagonal tower located right on a hill on the river bank. This seven-story tower was built in the mid-19th century by King Thieu Tri.
Continuing in the complex are 12 huge wooden sculptures of fearsome temple guardians and then in the middle of the area is where the main sanctuary of Thien Mu Pagoda is located adorned with impressive sculptures and a giant bell.
There is also a building on the complex which houses the car which carried the monk, Thich Quang Duc, in Saigon on June 11th 1963, where he burned himself to death in opposition to the anti-religion policy of Saigon’s regime at that time.
We stopped for lunch at Y Thao Restaurant, in a lovely garden setting on the way to the Imperial City.
The Imperial City is a walled palace within the citadel of the city of Huế, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. It is a walled fortress and palace and was the capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty for 140 years between 1805 and 1945.
On completion it became the most massive structure built in the history of modern Vietnam involving thousands of workers and millions of cubic meters of rock. It was designated a UNESCO Site in 1993 and the remaining buildings are being actively restored and preserved since the destruction of the American War (also known as the Vietnam War).
There are a total of ten main majestic gates leading to the Imperial City, which can be divided into two main parts excluding houses and mansions: The Citadel and The Forbidden City. The former served to protect the important palaces inside, while the latter was where the emperor and the royal family resided. All the typically traditional Eastern architectures including majestic palaces, tombs and museums make this a beautiful attraction to visit.
This evening we walked out to the main restaurant and commercial area of Hue which was right around the corner from our hotel. This area is pedestrian friendly in the evening and very lively. We ate dinner at Nha hang La Carambole which serves French-Vietnamese food.
Following dinner we walked over to the river where there was a booming night market filled with people. It was beautifully lit up and covered several blocks along the river. There were souvenirs as well as food and snacks.
Hue & Hoi An itinerary in 4 days
This itinerary can be combined with:
Drive to Hoi An via Da Nang and Marble Mountain
After breakfast we were picked up by our guide and driver and started our way down the coast toward Hoi An via Da Nang.
Our route took us past long sandy beaches. We drove along Hai Van Pass, which traverses the mountains and offers beautiful views of the beaches below.
We stopped in Da Nang to visit the Museum of Cham Sculpture. This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the Cham people in Vietnam. It contains an impressive amount of ancient Cham sculptures and artifacts.
From there we drove to Marble Mountains which is a cluster of five marble and limestone hills just south of Da Nang. We took the elevator up to the summit of one of the mountains and walked through the tunnels and spectacular caves containing several Buddhist sanctuaries. The sunlight entering the caves is very dramatic.
We continued on our way to Hoi An and arrived a short time later. We stopped at a beautiful Dao Tien restaurant along the river which was scenic and relaxing. The food was delicious.
After lunch our guide walked us through the Old Quarters of Hoi An, which was once one of South East Asia's major international port and today still retains that special old-world feel. During the tour we saw the town's landmarks such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall and the Phuc Kien Temple.
From there, we were taken to our hotel, the La Siesta Resort and Spa. This gorgeous resort has luxurious rooms surrounding two swimming pools and a wonderful restaurant. The perfect place for some rest and relaxation.
This evening we took the hotel shuttle into town. Hoi An is famous for its gorgeous silk lanterns that hang along the streets. These colourful lanterns are magical in the evenings when they are lit up.
We had dinner at the delicious Morning Glory Restaurant in the Old Quarter. The restaurant, located in a renovated historic building, specializes in street food and traditionally prepared dishes. Several of the dishes are prepared in the centre of the restaurant where patrons can watch the chefs in action.
After dinner we strolled around the ancient town and bought some souvenirs in the lovely shops.
Hoi An tour
This morning after breakfast our guide picked us up and took us down to the river for a river trip along the Thu Bon River. The scenery of small villages was beautiful and we stopped along the way to visit a few of the charming villages and see some of the artisans. We watched pottery being made, wood working and went to a silk factory and learnt the process of making silk.
We walked by several colourful food markets lined with local produce and freshly caught fish.
We stopped for lunch in the gardens of Jardin de Mai restaurant in the water coconut village. The chef is well-known in the area and came out to tell us about each of the tasty dishes.
After lunch we returned to our resort for an afternoon at the pool and spa.
We headed back to the Old Quarters for dinner at the delicious Mango Mango Restaurant. We sat on the balcony on the second floor, enjoyed our cocktails and food, and had great views of the town and its beautiful lanterns all lit up.
After dinner we walked around town then headed back to our hotel.
Depart for Siem Reap
After breakfast we relaxed by the pool for a bit and then checked out of our hotel and headed to airport for our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. See my Siem Reap & Angkor Wat itinerary.