Top Attractions in Hue

Things to Do in Hue, Central Vietnam

Monica Tindall

Formerly the Imperial capital of Vietnam and currently recognized as the culinary epicentre of the country, Hue is worthy of a stay of a few days or more. Although many of the historic sites were damaged during the Vietnam war, enough has been preserved to validate a couple of days of sightseeing and some leisure time trying the local cuisine and relaxing on or by the banks of the Perfume River. Clearly, food is going to rank high on my list of top things to do in Hue but there are also a number of must-sees to catch (on your way to the next food find, of course).

Things to Do in Hue – Walk Around The Citadel

The wide open spaces of the Citadel and lush gardens make spending a few hours here very pleasant. Surrounding the Forbidden Purple City, formerly residence to the Nguyen emperors, the architecture and grounds are both colourful and very photogenic. I recommend walking to make the most of the scenery but if time is short, there are small buggies that zoom around filled with snap-happy tourists covering the grounds in 30 minutes flat.

what to do in Hue, Central Vietnam
The Citadel
Things to Do in Hue, Vietnam
The Citadel

Top Attractions in Hue – Admire the Views from Thien Mu Pagoda

With over 300 active Buddhist pagodas in Hue, there is no shortage of culture to observe. If you were to choose just one, however, the Thien Mu Pagoda, standing on a hill overlooking the Perfume River would be a top pick. From here you can also catch a dragon boat and take a leisurely cruise along the Perfume River.

Things to Do in Hue, Vietnam
Thien Mu Pagoda
Top Attractions in Hue
Take a Dragon Boat Along the Perfume River

Top Attractions in Hue – Take a Moment to Relax at the Minh Mang Tomb

There are seven royal mausoleums in Hue but if time is of the essence, the Minh Mang Tomb is one of the top picks. Resembling a giant parkland, the grounds feature lakes, gardens and classical Chinese architecture. Construction of the tomb was ordered but the emperor did not live to complete it and he was laid to rest three years after his death in 1843 after his son finished it off. It’s a very peaceful setting and would make a pretty spot for a picnic in fine weather.

Things to Do in Hue, Vietnam
Minh Mang Tomb
Things to Do in Hue, Vietnam
Minh Mang Tomb

Things to Do in Hue – Drink Coffee

Of course, Vietnam is known for its coffee culture and, even if you don’t develop a fondness for the strong traditional brew, it is a must-try at least once. Coffee fans will soon discover that Hue has distinct coffee experiences that encourage café hopping and opportunities to take the perfect Instagram shot in Hue abound.

Our top three cafes to visit in Hue offer diverse character. The first, and most traditional, is Vy Da Xua Coffee. An elegant old building beautifully restored is surrounded by gardens and water features and is the place to hang with the locals, especially later in the evenings. The second café, Hue Café Roastery, offers more of a hipster feel and seems to be the place where the contemporary crowd head to quench their coffee cravings. With views over the river and an extensive drinks menu, it’s a place to feel that you have integrated with the young and hip. Lastly, conveniently located in the tourist strip where many hotels and restaurants are found is Ceci Station. This is the spot to head to when you want the comfort of a western-style latte (or cocktail or three) in a charming setting. Sit on the downstairs patio to street watch or head to the rooftop greenery for a pleasant hang out with friends.

Hue Cafe Roastery, Speciality Coffee Hue
Cafe Trung at Hue Cafe Roastery
Ceci Station Hue best cafes Hue
Ceci Station Hue
Top attractions Hue, Vietnam
Vy Da Xua Coffee

Things to Do in Hue – Feast on Local Food

Hue is recognized not only by locals as the food capital of Vietnam but by the Vietnamese in general. Formerly, the home to the Nguyen emperors, the food heritage is claimed to be both diverse and beautiful due to the demands of the royalty. Hue food is often served as multiple small plates with a focus on variety and attractive presentation. Find some of the must-tries and an itinerary for a half-day food tour in Hue here.

For a fancy meal in Hue, the most recognised establishment is Le Parfum headed by a well-respected chef offering both a fine experience in Hue delicacies but also honouring a French history with some spectacular desserts. More on Le Parfum here. For another good introduction to the local cuisine in a pretty and hygienic setting, try Spice Viet next to the Emm Hotel in the town centre.

Local Food Tour Hue, Central Vietnam
Banh Nam – Hue Food Speciality

Things to do in Hue – Stay In a Colonial Mansion

Built in the 1930s, Azerai La Residence, Hue, was formerly the residence of the French Resident Superieure. Designed with the long streamlined edges, shiny metallics and bold geometrics characteristic of the art deco era, it is the most prestigious hotel in the city and truly makes a memorable stay.

Azerai La Residence, Hue, Vietnam
Azerai La Residence, Hue, Vietnam

What do you recommend we visit (or eat and drink) in Hue?
Drop us a line below with your tips.

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Find more on travel through Vietnam here.


  1. That’s one lovely cup, the blue & white bamboo!

  2. Love the travel post, babe! xoxo

  3. I would enjoy walking and taking in the sights!

  4. I like the coffee cup and saucer. Lovely view in the last picture.

  5. Amazing photos, the place looks nice too. I wish I could have a sip that tasty looking coffee.

  6. The garden looks so green and lush!
    I cannot believe I have not been to Vietnam before.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. My friends told me not to skip Hue and now I know why! 🙂

  8. This looks like a really interesting place to visit with lots of photo opportunities.

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