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Explore The Imperial City Of Hue In Vietnam

A Day At The Imperial City Of Hue

Visiting the Imperial City of Hue when in Vietnam will no doubt be a highlight of your trip. With amazing architecture, an impressive history and the most stunning grounds you will certainly be in awe.

Looking for accommodation in Hue? I recommend Thanh An Guesthouse 2

The Imperial City of Hue the biggest draw for tourists coming to this area. We made the surprisingly comfortable overnight train journey from Hanoi just for this reason! The city of Hue itself is full of culture and history and the Imperial City of Hue just adds to this even more. It is easy enough to spend a whole day exploring, though under the hot Vietnamese sun you probably wouldn’t want to.

beautiful entrance to the imperial city of hue

flowers at the imperial city of hue

The History Of The Imperial City Of Hue

The Imperial City Of Hue was built in 1362 and in 1993 was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between these two periods of time the walls of the city have witnessed a lot of history. It even served as the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 during the reign of the Nguyen dynasty.

In the 19th century, Gia Long was the first emperor of the Nguyen dynasty. He made this dynasty with questionable tactics of blood and attacking those other emperors and rulers in the region. The goal was to take over their land and unite them all into one single empire, which he was ultimately successful at.

This dynasty would be the last in Vietnam and would rule for 143 years. The city of Hue would be the capital and there was a reason they choose Hue as their base. Supposedly the river and mountains that surround Hue looked like snakes and lions, well at least it did according to the geomancers. It would be the perfect location to recreate a version of the Forbidden City of Beijing.

With that become the process of building the enormous complex envisioned. A 10 kilometer moat was dug on the outside with each 2 kilometer long and  6 meter high wall enclosing the square fortress we call the Imperial City of Hue.

On the inside was everything you would expect of a country’s capital. From offices, palaces to residences and gardens. Though, the most important part was built in the middle, The Purple Forbidden City. This is where the emperor and those closest to him would live and work.

details of the imperial city of hue

How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

entry to the imperial city of hue over bridge

signs at the imperial city of hue

The Imperial City Of Hue Entrance Fee

The entry ticket to visit the Imperial City Of Hue costs $6.60 / 150,000 VND.

It is well worth the price, though if you have a little bit more money in your budget I would recommend hiring a guide to teach you about the amazing history.

red flowers lining the bridge at the imperial city of hue

guy in front of the imperial city of hue

Opening Hours For The Imperial City Of Hue

The opening hours for the Imperial City of Hue is from 8:00am-5:30pm Friday to Wednesday.

On Thursdays the Imperial City of Hue opens at 8:00am and closes at 10:00pm. This allows visitors to experience the Imperial City of Hue by night and being able to see the grounds in a whole new way.

moat around the imperial city of hue

lizard at the imperial city of hue

How To Get To The Imperial City Of Hue

The Imperial City of Hue is located at Thành phố, Huế, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam.

It is an easy enough to walk to, though there are plenty of taxis or rickshaws that will be able to take you there as well.

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vietnam flag at the imperial city of hue


What To Wear To The Imperial City of Hue

I was honestly not sure what to wear when I was visiting the Imperial City of Hue. Coming from Thailand where I am use to covering up when visiting religious and important buildings, I thought it would be necessary to cover up the shoulders and knees. Though, this proved irrelevant as people were wearing shorts and singlets with no worries.

So, you do not have to be like me, covered completely up and walking around in the Vietnamese heat.

lady riding motorbike in hue vietnam

tasha amy portrait at the imperial city of hue vietnam

What To Expect Inside The Imperial City Of Hue

These days the Imperial City of Hue is no longer what it was. Throughout time the buildings have suffered much damage and some of the grounds have become over grown. The Forbidden City was never properly maintained and had issues with frequent termite infestations as well as typhoon damage.

Though, during the American War is when the Imperial City of Hue suffered the majority of the damage which has left it how it stands today. When the American forces entered Vietnam in 1968 they ordered the city be retaken, due to the communist takeover techniques implemented by Nguyen dynasty to originally gain control of the land.

As a result the Imperial City of Hue was badly bombed. Now only 20 of the 148 buildings which once stood on the grounds are still intact. Nevertheless, the restoration and reconstruction of the Imperial City of Hue is an ongoing task nowadays thanks to being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

beautiful building at the imperial city of hue vietnam

bridge views at the imperial city of hue

blue building at the imperial city of hue

My Honest Opinion About The Imperial City Of Hue

I actually loved visiting the Imperial City of Hue. It was completely different from anything I had seen in South East Asia thanks to the Chinese inspired architecture. Just be prepared to be walking around for a long time. The grounds of the Imperial City of Hue are massive! We spent about three hours walking around and definitely could have spent longer if it was not so hot.

I recommend visiting when it opens in the morning to avoid the unbearable heat, especially considering there is not actually that many shady spots within the Imperial City of Hue. Also, bring water and food with you. We went to purchase bottled water within the city walls at one of the little cafes and it was ridiculously over priced, about $4.00 for a small bottle!

If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Hue I recommend checking out Thanh An 2 Guesthouse. It is on the other side of the river in more of a local area and it is just a short walk from the train station and some awesome eateries. We paid $3.50 each, $7.00 per night for a private room which had a balcony, two double beds and a private bathroom. It even had its own bathtub which was magical after walking around the Imperial City of Hue!

run down building at the imperial city of hue

james at the imperial city of hue


How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam:12.Go Asia


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  1. Yashodhara Roy November 24, 2017 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Love this! Came back from Vietnam (North) but sooo much to see! #gltlove

  2. Sarah Funk November 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Now I want to visit!

  3. Piia Veikkolainen November 21, 2017 at 3:27 am - Reply

    What a gorgeous place, I love spots like this and could spend hours after hours exploring. I will definitely add this on my Vietnam bucket list.

  4. Lindsey Messenger November 20, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Wow! 1362?! That’s crazy. I would loooove to see something like this. You covered everything perfectly. Adding it to the list.

  5. Meg Marie November 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    I’m glad you liked Hue. I actually stopped there for a few hours, but I decided to continue on. I wish I hadn’t!

  6. lorettawiden November 20, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    These photos are beautiful! I feel like you’ve shared something intimate and authentic. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Christabel November 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Totally saving your post – since I spend a lot of time in that area of the world, I need to make time to visit next year!

  8. miieloise November 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, and the great tips. It looks fascinating. It’s sad it was destroyed with bombings and I hope they’ll find a way to preserve it. I haven’t been to Vietnam yet but that’s where one of my best friends’ family is from so I really would like to go one day 🙂

  9. Restless Worker November 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    This was a great roundup I love your honest opinions as well! I’ve never been to that part of Asia but there’s always time 🙂

  10. Amy November 20, 2017 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Oooh, I’ve always wanted to visit Hue. Made it to Saigon and Hanoi, but would love to return to Vietnam to do the whole length, stopping off along the way. Great post!

  11. Annemarie November 20, 2017 at 7:34 am - Reply

    This is such a cool place! I had never heard of it before, thanks for introducing me. It’s sad that it fell into disrepair but your photos still look beautiful.

  12. Anne-Marie November 20, 2017 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Awesome, I love somewhere I can stretch my legs and really get a feel of the history, good tip about hiring a guide!

  13. Angela Hacche November 20, 2017 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Great pictures — where are all the people?! I love the architecture here, I’d love to visit!

  14. thecurioussparrow November 20, 2017 at 5:37 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos! I love the splashes of yellow 🙂 I’ve not heard of Hue….it’s going on the bucket list 😉

  15. Nana Halager Mikkelsen November 20, 2017 at 1:34 am - Reply

    Lovely pictures and very well put together the information!

  16. Cristina November 20, 2017 at 12:47 am - Reply

    Interesting post, tons of information. Quite handy for anyone who hasn’t been there, like myself! Nice pictures too! 🙂

  17. Jen Horsfall November 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I loved Hué! I was there a few weeks ago. We only got to spend two hours in the Imperial City as we did it in a day tour but I found it so interesting. Loved the throne room!

  18. Francesca onegirl-oneworld.com November 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Can’t believe I haven’t heard of this place! I would probably want to hire a guide as you suggested so I could dig a little deeper. Thanks for the tips about how large it was – I wish I had known this when I visited Pompeii! It was the height of summer and also really hot and I wasn’t prepared!

  19. Lynne Nieman November 19, 2017 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Very informative post with some beautiful images. I love that you have prices!!

  20. Anshula November 19, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

    This place is so gorgeous. I never realized how cheap it was to visit Vietnam – $7 for a private room with a private balcony?! That’s amazing! Also, loved the history bit at the intro – helped me learn so much more about Vietnam. 🙂

  21. Jen Ruiz November 19, 2017 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Looks like a massive complex, and so well preserved! Would love to
    visit here 🙂

  22. Jacky November 19, 2017 at 8:48 am - Reply

    What a beautiful place 🙂 I got a good friend from Vietnam who’s urging me to visit. Ugh, I can’t wait! 😀

  23. Madhu Sharma November 19, 2017 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Awesome pics. Vietnam has so much to offer. I if been to Saigon only but would luv to explore more.

  24. Ainsley Duyvestyn- Smith November 19, 2017 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Awesome photos! Can’t wait to visit Vietnam one day, will ad this to the list! 🙂

  25. Sujenne Macaay November 18, 2017 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    This place js beautiful!! Love me a bit of history and beautiful temples. And very elaborate post.

  26. Mayi Mac November 18, 2017 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    Vietnam is my big planned holiday next year so this is well handy. Thanks for the great post, parking for reference!

  27. Christina Guan November 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    This place looks ridiculously epic! I have to admit I knew ZERO about Vietnamese history so really appreciated that blurb at the beginning. I guess it makes sense now why like, 90% of my Vietnamese friends have the last name Nguyen haha. Despite what happened in the war though it still looks beautiful. I wonder how it’ll look when it’s fully restored! Beautiful post 🙂

  28. Leah Sullivan November 18, 2017 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Pics are amazing! What an incredible place!

  29. Anisa Alhilali November 18, 2017 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    I hadn’t heard about Hue before but the Imperial City does look impressive. I am so glad they are working on restoring it. So sad that such a beautiful place wasn’t take care of for so long and the damage during the war sounds devastating.

  30. Anya Carion November 18, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    I didn’t have enough time in Vietnam to see anything but the main cities (Hoi An, Saigon, and Hanoi), and ahh I need to go back to see places like this! I fell in love with Vietnam when I was there and definitely want to explore more of it.

  31. Raksha Rao November 18, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Amazing pictures! Will surely add this imperial city while visiting Vietnam 🙂

  32. Megan Hemmings November 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Great post! I knew nothing of this place prior to this and now I’m left feeling very intrigued. I’ll have to visit when I finally get around to seeing Vietnam.

    Btw, you have such beautiful red hair!

  33. Danielle Isbell November 18, 2017 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Wow, Hue looks beautiful! Another spot added to my growing Vietnam list 🙂

  34. Adventuresfromwhereyouwanttobe November 18, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    I love your photos, really makes you want to visit the Imperial city of Hue

  35. Biang Bustos-Velazquez November 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I love your photos!! Thank you for the bit of history too! So interesting about the dynasties!

  36. Katie Tweets November 18, 2017 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    I’m planning on visiting Hue on my SE Asia trip next year and I’ve definitely put the Imperial City on the list now! Looking through your other posts for more inspiration now! I cannot wait for $7 private rooms!!

    PS. Love your pictures!

  37. Angie November 18, 2017 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    I’ve been to Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi but still need to visit Hue, I’ve heard so much of this place and looking at your photos, I definitely need to visit 🙂 The entry fee isn’t that expensive too.

  38. Lena |Social Travel Experiment November 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I was in Da Nang, a little bit south of Hue this year and did not visit Hue. Now I wish I had. The pictures are really beautiful.

  39. Odette November 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Your pictures are absolutely beautiful! I lived in Hanoi for a bit this year and visited Vietnam in 2015 but sadly skipped Hue. Looking at these pictures makes me realize I should have went, definitely will pin this for later!!

  40. Ruth Rieckehoff November 18, 2017 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Your photos are so good and capture the place so well. I like that you covered so many important points. Had no idea you were able to reach the city by train from Hanoi. That opens a new world for me!

  41. Kristina Unta Rogić November 18, 2017 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Awesome post, so many useful information. I would love to visit the imperial city just because of your photos. 🙂

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Your typical New Zealander, now discovering the world one country at a time. With a high-end backpacking style I prefer to glampack across the globe by embracing the best of each destination. All of which I share right here on Backpackers Wanderlust.