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Hue

Hue

 Area:                70.99  sq.km

 Population:     339,822 million

 Language:       Vietnamese

 Currency:         VND

Hue is one of the main cultural, religious and educational centers of Vietnam. So far, Hue remains to be the only originally historical vestiges city in Vietnam. Many of Hue’s attractions are found along the banks of the romantically named Huong river with 11km length. This valuable construction includes more than 100 architectural works, which are the reflection of the life of Emperors and mandarins under Nguyen’s reign.
Hue Overview
Thua Thien Hue province is located in Central Vietnam. It is next to Quang Tri to the north, Da Nang to the south, and Quang Nam to the southwest. This province leans up against the Truong Son mountain range and is washed by the East Sea, along with its 120km seashore.

Hue used to be the Capital of the Nguyen dynasty, the last royal monarchy in the history of Vietnam.  In spite of great sufferings from the period of modern time, it still maintains a quite original face of an ancient oriental town, the most visible aspect of which is the complex of royal constructions and traditional monuments built in romantic natural landscapes. As a result, it becomes a must-see stop in Vietnam Cultural tours.   
Hue History
The name Hue (resulted from a mispronunciation of the term Hoa) came into being in 1307, after the Champa king Jaya Simhavarman III had offered this area as a dowry to Vietnam to get married to a princess of the Tran dynasty (1225-1400).
 
However, it was until 1687 that Hue region was chosen by a Nguyen Lord to be the political center of Dang Trong (south of Vietnam), and then turned to be the Capital of the whole country by the Tay Son dynasty (1778 - 1801).
 
At the beginning of the 19th century, Gia Long (1802 - 1819), the first Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty carried out a large-scale planning and new construction, then Hue became the Capital of the whole country.  
During the colonial period, in 1875, the French set up a "European Quarter" on the southern bank of the Huong River, opposite to the Royal Citadel of Hue.
 
After the abdication of Bao Dai, the last Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty in 1945, the role of national political center of Hue was taken over by Saigon (1945 - 1975) and Hanoi (from 1945 onwards).  Nowadays, the Ancient Capital of Hue has been considered an important tourist and cultural center of Vietnam.
 
Hue climate and best time to visit
The weather is submitted to tropical monsoon climate divided into four distinct seasons:, such as fresh spring, very hot summer, mild autumn and windy, cold winter. The dry season lasts from March to August. It is hot with temperature rarely reaches to 39.5ºC. 
 
The rainy season lasts from September to February. It is quite cold with an average temperature is 19.7ºC, but sometimes down to 8.8ºC. In this time, it rains a lot, sometimes lasts all day.
 
If a tourist would avoid rainily, they come to Da Nang City, 108 km from south of Hue. In the mountain area, the weather is cool with the annual temperature is between 9ºC and 29ºC. The most convenient time to visit the area is from November to April.
Hue Transportation
By Plane    
Phu Bai Airport is located near the National Highway 1, 15km South of Hue. It takes 15 to 20 minutes by motorbike or taxi to go to the center of Hue.
Vietnam Airlines in Hue city has flights to Saigon and to Hanoi (6 flights/day). 
 
By Railway
Hue Station is located at the junction of Le Loi and Bui Thi Xuan Streets, 1km from the city center. 
There is no home delivery ticket service in Hue. To buy your tickets, go to the Operating Office in Hue Railway Station (At least 1 hour before departure).
 
Ticket Booking Office
Open daily 7.00 - 11.30 am and 1.30- 5.00 pm
Tel: 8221750
Thong Nhat Trains
From Hanoi to Saigon, via Hue Station: S1, S3, S5, S7.
From Saigon to Hanoi, via Hue Station: S2, S4, S6, S8.
 
By Taxi:
All kinds of the vehicle for a total long distance traveled over 50km to 99km, the taxi fare reduced 1,000VND/km and over 100km the fare reduced 1,500VND/km, ambulance car fare reduced coefficient 2. 
 
Things to do and see in Hue
Hon Chen Temple
This temple for Goddess appeared in this place centuries ago, but with a very simple design, and after then, reconstructed with a larger and more beautiful architectural scale in 1886.

Hue Imperial City
Hue has chosen to be the capital of the Southern Kingdom by all Nguyen Lords and officially became the capital under Tay Son dynasty. For approximately 400 years, Hue has become a great landscape and architectural site officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Its construction started in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long and completed in 1832 under the reign of Emperor Ming Mang. Under Nguyen' reign, Kings have ordered to build ramparts, palaces and constructional works of royal. Over 200 years, it is still original with nearly 140 small and large constructions.

Forbidden citadel
Located in the Imperial City, behind the Throne Palace, the Forbidden Purple City is reserved for Emperor and his family. Constructed early in Emperor Gia Long'reign in 1804 with brick walls 3.72m high, 0,72 m thick, about 1,230 m in circumference. Its front and back sides are 324 m each while either left and the right side are more than 290 m including 50 architectural constructions of different sizes and 7 gates for facilities of entrance and exit.

Dai Cung Mon (the Great Place Gate) is on the front side for Kings. Can Chanh Palace (the place for every day working of Emperors). Can Thanh (Emperor's Private Palace), Khon Thai Residence (Queen's Private Apartment) reserved for the Queen. Duyet Thi Duong house (Royal Theatre), Thuong Thien (the kitchen for the King' food), Thai Binh Lau (King's reading room)... Besides, Hue is also famous for royal tombs and temples of Nguyen Kings. Seven tombs with different aspect are not only a wonderful arch but also impressive poetic of Hue.

Huyen Tran Princess Temple
About seven kilometers from the center of Hue City, the 28-hectare Huyen Tran Cultural Center at the foot of Ngu Phong Mountain is famous for its splendid landscapes and its sanctuary atmosphere for pilgrims to express love and gratitude to Princess Huyen Tran of the Tran Dynasty”.

Royal Tombs
Southeast of the Citadel, on both banks of the Perfume River, are seven royal tombs. Monuments to the rulers of the Nguyen dynasty, including Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, and Tu Doc, the tombs are all definitely worth a visit. Each one is built in the traditional Vietnamese style of geomancy, even modifying the surrounding landscape to ensure straight lines, certain directional orientation, and other elements designed to comply with supernatural forces.

Most of the tombs were planned by the emperor himself, so each royal tomb reflects the personality of the deceased ruler. Emperor Minh Mang's tomb, for example, reflects his strict adherence to Confucianism through its Chinese style, its formality, and its clean, symmetrical lines.

Tu Doc, on the other hand, was known as the 'poet Emperor', so it is not surprising that his tomb rests in an elegant garden near an impressive complex of pavilions and lake. As Tu Doc's reign represented the peak of Nguyen opulence, it's fitting that his elegant, exotic tomb matches this opulence.

In direct contrast to Tu Doc's tomb is the tomb of Khai Dinh. Khai Dinh, the 12th Nguyen Emperor, reigned from 1916 to 1925. By this time, Europe was exerting its influence over Southeast Asia, and thus Khai Dinh's tomb represents a strange, early fusion of East and West.
 
Thanh Toan Bridge
The sister bridge to Hoi An’s famed Japanese bridge, this bridge is arguably more distinct. It has Chinese and Japanese features, with a rarely squared timber arch speckled with ancient ceramics. Note the calligraphy inscription in ancient Vietnamese and Chinese script. The bridge is difficult to find but the countryside trek worth it.

The bridge is reputed to have been built in the time of Emperor Le Hien Tong in the mid 18th century. Tran Thi Dao, the wife of one of the emperor’s high ranking courtiers grew up in the area.
 
The Mieu Temple
Situated southwest of the Citadel and facing south, The Mieu Temple is dedicated to ten Emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. Built by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821, it presents a 9-compartment main building and an 11-compartment front building, together connected in the "double" architecture with two bays on east and west sides It is roofed with yellow enameled tiles and on the ridge rests a wine gourd decorated with Phap Lam enamel.
 
Thien Mu Pagoda
The pagoda is situated on Ha Khe hill, on the left bank of the Perfume River, in Huong Long village, 5km from Hue city. It was built in 1601, and then Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan had it renovated in 1665.

The pagoda is surrounded by flowers and ornamental plants. At the far end of the garden stretches a calm and romantic pine-tree forest.

The pagoda was heavily damaged in 1943. Bonze Thich Don Hau hence organized a great renovation of the pagoda, that lasted for more than 30 years.
 
Bach Ma Mountain
Bach Ma (White Horse) Mount is 60 km south of Hue city. It is still a famous resort. It is about 1,450m above sea level in a transition zone of the northern and southern climate, so it bears a temperate climate, similar to Sapa, Tam Dao, Da Lat, etc. There, the green vegetation is abundant all the year round. The animals are also rich with chirps and calls all days and nights which sound both wild and familiar...
 
Thuan An Beach   
Thuan An Beach, located next to Thuan An estuary, 15km from Hue city to the east, is where Huong river flows to Tam Giang lagoon and then to the East Coast. This beach was ranked 10th in the 12 most beautiful scenes in the capital by King Thieu Tri.
 
Thuan An beach is 12 km long with the cool gentle waves. Visitors often come here from around April to September, when the weather is hottest.
 
Lang Co Beach:
Lang Co beach has 10 kilometers length, belongs to Lang Co commune, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien Hue. The beach is located on the side of National Highway No.1A; it is far about 24 kilometers from Hai Van Pass and Bach Ma Mountain.

Lang Co situated between 3 cultural heritage centers:  Hue ancient capital, Hoi An old quarter and My Son Sanctuary with the radius about 70 kilometers. Lang Co attracts tourists and researchers from the cultural heritage center. Lang Co is on the North-South tourist route and far 30 kilometers from Da Nang city and far 70 kilometers from Hue city
 
Tam Giang Lagoon   
Tam Giang Lagoon is located in Phong Dien, Quang Dien, Huong Tra, about 15 kilometers from Hue City. It is where the Perfume River, Bo, and O Lau Rivers meet before they flow into the sea through Thuan An estuary in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. With the pristine beauty and tranquility, Tam Giang lagoon makes anyone coming here have to admire and burst into joy.
 
Hue Travel Tips
Most of the city's major sites which are near the Forbidden City are not within walking distance from the city center. It is recommended to arrange a tour either by boat, private car or motorbike. Bicycling is also an option.
 
In fact, there are few remnants of the war and not much left to see. If you are interested in the war history, bring along a good tour guide who can color in the sites with stories. Don't forget to bring along an umbrella and a torch to explore the Vinh Moc Tunnels.
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