For the most part the Nguyen emperors lived their lives within Hué’s citadel walls, but on certain occasions they emerged to participate in important rituals at symbolic locations around the city. Today these places are of interest more for their history than anything much to see on the ground, though the mouldering Royal Arena still hints at past spectacles. A visit to at least a couple of the Royal Mausoleums, however, is not to be missed – it’s in these eclectic architectural confections in the hills to the south of Hué that the spirit of the Nguyen emperors lives on. Taking a boat along the Perfume River to get to the best mausoleums also offers the chance to stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda and Hon Chen Temple on the way.

Thuan An Beach is a bike-ride away, if you have the time and energy, making for an attractive journey across the estuary with views of fish farms to either side, though the beach itself is nothing spectacular. Further afield, one of the most popular excursions from Hué is a whirlwind day-trip round the DMZ. Bach Ma National Park is also within striking distance.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for backpacking Vietnam

9 tips for backpacking Vietnam

With striking landscapes, large stretches of lovely coastline, intriguing cities and excellent food, it’s no wonder the number of tourists in Vietnam has more…

18 Jul 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?

Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?

Situated at the northern and southern extremes of this long, thin country, Vietnam’s two main cities lie over a thousand kilometres apart. Southern Ho Chi …

13 Jan 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month