The Vietnam War was one of the defining events of the second half or the twentieth century. No matter where you live in the world, you're bound to be aware of the impact that conflict had on culture and society. No matter what you believe, that belief has been inevitably shaped by the lessons learned, and not learned, as well as the lives lost, and the lives forever changed by that one, singular ... Read more about Doing the DMZ from Hue .
Like many of Hue's historic sites, the Citadel is hardly ancient -- construction first began in 1805, under the rule of Gia Long, the first of the Nguyen Dynasty rulers. Thereafter it functioned as the imperial seat of government. Over the years, new buildings were added, and the fortifications strengthened to fend off would-be attackers. At its height, it was comparable to the Forbidden City ... Read more about The Citadel .
Tombs and pagodas lie everywhere in and around Hue. Those with an endless appetite for culture could sate themselves every day for a solid week, with still more left on the table, but the majority of travellers are satisfied with just a taste. The tombs were built within the past 200 years, which makes it somewhat surprising that most of them are already falling to pieces. This is partly due ... Read more about Tombs around Hue .
As with the tombs, there are more pagodas surrounding Hue than you can shake a stick at. If you're only going to see one pagoda, make it Thien Mu. It's situated in a beautiful spot over looking the Perfume River, on the river road that runs along the north bank, about 3.5 kilometres west of the railway bridge. Built in 1844 by Emporer Thieu Tri, it features some golden Buddha images at the ... Read more about Thien Mu Pagoda .
This is a small, covered, Japanese-style bridge about seven kilometres east of Hue. There isn't a whole lot to look at, but it's pretty, and there's a story behind it. Tran Thi Dao the childless wife of a high-ranking mandarin in Le Hien Tong's court had the bridge constructed to facilitate transport and communication in the village here which at the time was separated by the canal. The Emperor, ... Read more about Thanh Toan (The Japanese Bridge) .
Ho Quyen, Tiger Fighting Arena - One of the most interesting sights in Hue 8/10 3km out of Hue Blurb: Description: This is probably the most interesting site in Hue, and it is all too often overlooked by visitors. It was built in 1830 during the reign of Emporer Minh Mang to stage yearly battles between an elephant and a tiger. The last one took place in 1904, and tigers fighting ... Read more about Ho Quyen, Tiger Fighting Arena and Long Chau Temple .
The Elephant Springs, some 53 kilometres from Hue, is an excellent natural spring that is well worth a visit. Particularly on a hot day, the natural pool below a small waterfall makes for a very refreshing dip. You can sluice yourself down the smooth rocks at the base of the falls, and there are plenty more spots upstream to explore. The place can be pretty deserted on weekdays and during off ... Read more about Elephant Springs .
On the way to Thuan An beach is a water park and resort that has been built around a natural cold spring -- the water park includes several hot springs, including a 'massage' pool with numerous shooting jets of water. It's a great place to take the kids, and the hot springs are quite popular during the winter months. It advertises itself as a place for 'convalescence' in the old European ... Read more about My An Hot Springs .
This is a great stop along the way to or from Tu Duc Tomb. The outfit here makes massive brass statuary for buyers from all over the world. The smithing and forging are still done using very basic techniques, and the craftsmanship is impressive. Many guides will include this in a tour in the hope that you might part with some hard-earned cash, but there's no harm in showing up on your own. Like ... Read more about The Brass Works .
About 14 kilometres from Hue is the nearest beach, Thuan An. Though it's one of Central Vietnam's most beautiful beaches, it's ridiculously undeveloped with just a scattering of shacks in various stages of decline. The recent addition of Beach Bar Hue may start to change the scene, as this shabby chic spot is well on the way to being one of the most popular day trips from Hue – it's worth ... Read more about Thuan An Beach .
A great way to spend a day in Hue is to rent a motor bike, head to Thuan An beach, and when you're done, just keep going south. You can see on a map that Thuan An is an island at the top of a long, slender string of land, with the China Sea on one side, and the waterway feeding into the Cau Hai Lagoon on the other. It's an easy trip if you don't know your way around because there's only one road ... Read more about Beyond Thuan An: The Road to Vinh Hien .
Bach Ma National Park is an old French Hill station stretching out over some 40,000 unspoilt hectares and offering great hiking trails, waterfalls, slightly odd and very basic lodgings, a camp site and plenty of wildlife (keep that tent zipped up). It’s home to one of the most stunning stretches of jungle walk and mountain ranges we’ve explored in central Vietnam and it’s easily accessible, ... Read more about Bach Ma National Park .