After exploring Hoi An and Da Nang for a few days, we continued our journey to the North of Vietnam with the destination – Hue. We didn’t know what to expect but we’ve heard many great things about this city. Former capital city of Vietnam, Hue is rich in history and culture. If you only have one day to explore the city, read below my Hue one day itinerary.
Why you should visit Hue
If you have to choose between visiting Hue or Hoi An for one day, I would totally recommend Hoi An (read more about the top 5 Hoi An highlights here). The reason why I am saying this is because I fell in love with the colors of Hoi An and all the beautiful lanterns. However, if you have more time, Hue is a really beautiful city and it has a lot to offer.
Hue is a place where modern and historical sites stand one near the other. Therefore, you will find places to visit whether you are interested in history and culture or modern, unique places. Below is my one day itinerary to Hue which combines the two faces of the city.
1. An Bang Cemetery
Duration (getting there + visiting): 4-5 h
I know what you’re thinking: ‘Why would I want to visit a cemetery?’. Well, An Bang Cemetery is not just any cemetery. It is a unique place, where death is celebrated with colorful, intricate patterns. An Bang, also known as the City of Ghosts is the biggest cemetery in Vietnam and it started gaining popularity due to its unique architecture. If you have only one day in Hue, you should definitely visit it.
Local people go to extreme lengths to make sure that the dead are properly celebrated even if that means spending as much as $70,000 for one tomb. An Bang Cemetery is located at about 30 kilometers from Hue but please don’t get discouraged. The trip is worth it and you will have a great story to tell to your loved ones back home. Sometimes getting off the beaten path is the best thing you can do.
If you want to read more about An Bang Cemetery and how to get there, read here my complete guide.
Opening hours: 24/7
Entrance fee: free
2. Thien Mu Pagoda
Duration (getting there + visiting): 2 h
Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, is a seven-story pagoda and it is one of the most popular attractions of Hue. Overlooking the beautiful Perfume River, the pagoda was built in 1601 and it has since been reconstructed many times. What I loved about it was the peaceful atmosphere and overall feeling of calmness.
Have you ever heard about the monk who set himself on fire in Ho Chi Minh City? At Thien Mu Pagoda you can see the Austin car that Thich Quang Duc was driving when this happened. The self-immolation was a sign of protest for the regime’s violations of religious freedom.
Click here to read more about the story of the burning monk.
The pagoda is situated at about 5,5 kilometers away from Hue and you can get there either by taxi or motorbike.
Opening hours: every day from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
Entrance fee: free
Parking fee: 5,000 VND
3. The Imperial City
Duration (getting there + visiting): 2-3 h
If you have only one day in Hue, you should definitely visit The Imperial City of Hue which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The construction began in 1804 and it was initiated by the first Emperor of Nguyen Dynasty. Even thought the city has been suffering from the passage of time, the remaining parts can give you a pretty accurate idea about how the Imperial City used to look.
I found visiting the Imperial City quite relaxing. The beautiful gardens and intricate designs are stunning. Even though you may not be passionate about history, I would recommend visiting the Imperial City for its beautiful architecture.
Opening hours: 8 am – 5.30 pm
Entrance fee: 150,000 VND
Parking fee: 5,000 VND
How to get to Hue
The bus system in Vietnam is very good. The connections are great and the prices affordable. However, if you are traveling from Da Nang to Hue, I would totally recommend to take the train – the views are absolutely incredible. I will leave a photo below to convince you. If you decide to take the train, don’t forget to book your ticket one day in advance to secure your spot.
How to get around Hue
Motorbike – recommended
Exploring Hue by motorbike is the best option since you can manage your own schedule according to your needs. Renting a motorbike costs about 150,000 VND per day. We visited all the above recommended sights by motorbike in one day.
An alternative to the motorbike is the bicycle. If you are not feeling comfortable riding a motorbike, you can rent a bicycle for about 50,000 VND. However, you must keep in mind that An Bang Cemetery and Thien Mu Pagoda are outside the city and visiting them by bicycle can take a long time.
You can rent a taxi for a whole day for about $40. Make sure to tell your drive beforehand what you intend to visit so that there won’t be any misunderstandings.
I hope you have found useful my one day itinerary to Hue. If you plan to explore Hue in one day, you have enough time to visit the main attractions. Don’t forget to also visit the beautiful Hoi An and Da Nang!
May the travel bug bite you!
More about Vietnam:
- Is Sapa worth visiting? The answer will surprise you! – click here
- Top 5 Hoi An highlights – click here
- One day itinerary to Da Nang – click here
- Phu Quoc Starfish Beach – click here
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