Finding yourselves overwhelmed by all the things to do in Hue? Tried and tested, our 1 day in Hue itinerary is packed full of history and adventure to help you get the most out of your travels.
The Imperial City (The Citadel)
Driving just a few minutes down the road, we found a place to park our bike. Walking across a moat, we found ourselves inside the huge walls that enclose The Imperial City of Hue. It was about 8.30am and a small queue of tourists had formed outside already. Today we are doing a day in Hue, so to keep costs down we have purchased the combined ticket, which cost 360,000VND (approx £12). The combined ticket allows entrance to The Imperial City and 3 tombs within 48 hours. It is possible to buy a ticket just to visit the imperial city for 150,000VND if you would prefer.
Inside is huge. The whole complex is fascinating, but there is not a lot of information about the history of the city. I would recommend either hiring a guide or downloading a self guide from the internet for free.
If you end up visiting on a particularly hot day, be wary that the sun can get unbearable in some wide open areas. You will need to take some water as we spent a good 2.5/3 hours here.
By the time we had finished, it was about 11.30am and we were starving. We had been in Vietnam for a couple of weeks and fancied some comforting western food today. Risotto restaurant, just a short drive from The Imperial City, was delicious.
Tomb of Tu Duc
A 30 minute drive later (on some of the most ridiculous roads) we pulled up at the Tomb of Tu Duc. Parking was 5,000VND.
Elaborate pagodas, statues and a small lake are situated within the grounds where the emperor lived before he died. Surrounded by peaceful gardens, it was shocking to learn the history of emperor Tu Duc. Made infertile after contracting smallpox, he was unable to bear a son. Unfortunately, an important tradition of emperors, was for their sons to inscribe a lifetime biography, commending their achievements in life. As Tu Duc had no sons to fulfil this task, he wrote his own. This was considered extremely bad luck.
It is said, that Tu Ducs body does not actually lie in this vast tomb. 300 workers buried him in an unknown location before they were all killed. No living person knew the location of his final resting place.
Abandoned water park
10/15 minutes away is our next stop. You may be stopped and asked for a small
bribe donation of 50,000VND to continue along the road.
I will be making a separate post about our experience at the waterpark, so will just keep this short. We spent around 1.5 hours exploring here before moving on to our next destination.
Tomb of Khai Dinh
A short bike trip later, we arrived at our next destination, Tomb of Khai Dinh. Parking was 5,000VND. We did not learn as much about this emperor, except that he was not very popular. Khai Dinh built his tomb with taxpayers money, which obviously didn’t go down too well with the locals.
We enjoyed having a wander around, the black stone buildings here are super pretty.
Tomb of Minh Mang
Last but not least on our tour of Hue is the Tomb of Minh Mang! Getting here was pretty straight forward and well sign posted. Quite tired by this point, we parked our bike (the most expensive parking, at 10,000VND) and wandered inside. Walking through the gardens was so peaceful. It took us around 30 minutes to see everything we wanted too. There is not much to see inside the buildings here.
As it was nearing the end of the day, visitors were minimal which was nice and added to the serene atmosphere.
Potential scam alert! Read here how we almost got scammed when exiting Tomb of Minh Mang
A long day
The above route took us around 8 hours from start to finish (8am – 5pm). We were knackered by the time to we got back, but it was sooo worth it, as this was one of my favourite days in Vietnam.