Located on the bank of Song Huong- Perfume River; Hue, the capital of Thua Thien Hue province in Central Vietnam, is 700 km southern Hanoi, 1100km northern Ho Chi Minh City, and only a few miles from the sea. Not until 1945 was Hue the national capital, the political, cultural and religious center of Vietnam under the control of Nguyen Dynasty. Most well-known for its historic values; Hue had been recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Hue's weather is infamously bad: the Truong Son Mountains just to the south seem to bottle up all the moisture, so it's usually misty, drizzly or outright rainy. Things get even wetter than usual in the winter rainy season, especially from February to the end of March. To be safe, bring along an umbrella any time of year. Don't forget to bring a sweater and jacket in winter as it can get rather chilly, with temperatures falling to as low as 8 degrees at night. Alternatively, when the sun makes an appearance for a day or a week, it can reach 30 degrees.
It's usually quite dry during the summer months, when the temperature can reach the high 30's. Summer rains can be heavy but brief, and often arrive unexpectedly, whereas February rains can last for weeks. The best description for the weather in Hue would be "changeable".
Hue's international "Phu Bai" (HUI) airport fields daily flights to and from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, but flights are quite often disrupted by poor weather during the rainy season (Mid October - Mid December). Three airlines fly to "Phu Bai" airport: Vietnam Airlines, JetStar Pacific and Vietjet. The airport is 15 kilometers away from the city center and should cost no more than 250,000VND by taxi (30 minute ride). There is also a bus that will take you into the city & even drop you at your hotel for 50,000VND. You can buy a ticket in the arrival hall of the airport. The airport facility was recently undergoing renovations and has reopened in September 2013 or arrange private car to city center with English speaking driver by Hue Private Car.
Danang's airport, only two hours away by car now that the Hai Van Tunnel is open, is busier, and has more connections. As of February 2012, a one-way taxi from Da Nang airport to Hue can be negotiated down to USD 45 (large car) or USD 40 (small car); using the meter, cost for a large car is about 1,200,000 dong. If you travel with big group (more than 4 people), you should arrange private car with hotels in Hue or any car rental company in Da Nang or Hue.
What to see in Hue
If you are a history buff, or simply love discovering exotic cultures, Hue- Vietnam’s former Royal Capital is definitely on the top list of your travel plan. The city represents the outstanding demonstration of the power of the vanished Vietnamese feudal empire, including a complex of monuments, tombs and pagodas that attract tourists coming from all over the world.
• Hue Citadel:
Occupying a large, bounded area on the north side of Perfume River; four citadels were comprised to create the Capital City: Hoang Thanh (Imperial City) for royal palaces and shrines, Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City) for royal residences, Dai Noi (Inner city) and Tran Binh Dai, which exclusively ancient architecture. Tourists are expected to spend at least one day to visit the whole complex. They can also catch a taxi, hire a bicycle, rent a “xich lo”- Vietnamese cycle if do not feel like walking around the site.
• Emperors Tombs:
There are several tombs of ancient emperors scattering along the Perfume River: such as Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh, etc. On Cam Khe Hill, Minh Mang Tomb was built in 1843, with the area of 18 hectare, 3-meter-high defended wall, and nearly 20 architectural constructions. Lying in the middle of a pine forest, Tu Duc Tomb belongs to Duong Xuan Moutain, 8km far from Hue.
Featured in various songs and poems, Thien Mu Pagoda has become an essential part of Hue City. With the symbol of the octagonal 21-meter-high tower, the pagoda is the perfect combination of artificial architectural work and picturesque nature. Tourists can also visit other pagodas such as Tu Dam, Tu Hieu, Huyen Khong.