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Hue

Hue, the one-time capital of Vietnam, commands the south and north banks of the fabled Perfume River, several kilometres inland from the sea. Located more than halfway from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi on the old Mandarin Road, Hue is a Vietnamese world all of its own and keeper of the country’s soul.

A visit to Hue is a journey into the profound depths of Vietnamese culture. Its palaces, pagodas, temples and the funereal cities of the Nguyen Emperors seem to be lifted from the pages of a storybook. Its people pride themselves on their heritage, their inventive cuisine and a disposition that’s more mindful of poetry than industry.

history

Once the seat of power during the Nguyen Dynasty, UNESCO recognised the complex of Hue monuments as a World Heritage site in 1993.

history

Once the northern frontier of the now vanished Kingdom of Champa, Hue was ceded to the Vietnamese in the early 14th century and came into its own as a province of Vietnam when the Nguyen Lords migrated south more than 200 years later.

After consolidating their hold on all of Vietnam in the early 1800s, the Nguyen Emperors established their capital at Hue in 1802. Inspired by the Chinese capital at Beijing, the Nguyen rooted their kingdom in the Forbidden Purple City. They surrounded the emperor’s private domain with city walls and surrounded these walls with the 6.5-metre high walls of a Citadel modelled on a design by the French military engineer, Sebastien Vauban.

The French deepened their interests in the region throughout the 19th century. The French colonial governor held sway over all of Vietnam from Hue, though the Nguyen Emperors persevered as the nominal heads of state until the last emperor, Bao Dai, abdicated to Ho Chi Minh in 1945.

Though many of the city’s assets were lost during wars with the French in the 1940s and 1950s and with the Americans in the 1960s and 1970s, many of the city’s palaces, gates, towers and temples are extant. UNESCO recognised the complex of Hue monuments as a World Heritage site in 1993.

activities

Hue offers a range of activities and excursions for travellers eager to delve into the city's rich history and culture.

activities

Touring the Citadel, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City, as well as the expansive mausoleums of the Nguyen emperors, should be priorities on any first-time visitor’s list of things to do in Hue. These palaces and temples together form the foundation of the city’s listing on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

In addition to the grandiose architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue is also home to many garden homes, some clustered in the north bank district of Kim Long, others scattered throughout the Citadel. Some of these homes, including one built for the daughter of an emperor, are open to the public.

The French also established a durable architectural legacy in Hue. A walk from the railway station near Azerai La Residence to the historic Truong Tien Bridge is a trip past 100-year-old school buildings, colonial-era municipal offices and an art deco leisure club.

More than 300 Buddhist pagodas are active in Hue, from the renowned Thien Mu Pagoda high on a bluff above the Perfume River to the more sublime Tu Hieu Pagoda, where Thich Nhat Hanh lived as a novice in the 1940s.

The city’s markets, especially the Dong Ba market on the north bank, are shopportunities for those in search of traditional Hue handicrafts and a glimpse of lively Vietnamese commerce.

Azerai can make arrangements for travel to many of the city’s nearby attractions by cyclo, by Vespa, by boat and by car. Indeed, a river cruise in a dragon boat to one of the Nguyen mausoleums and Thien Mu Pagoda can be a highlight of any trip to Hue.

Beyond the city proper and its near environs, the hotel can make plans for travel to Bach Ma National Park, Thanh Tan Hot Springs and Phong Nha National Park.

travel tips

Tips for travellers to Hue.

getting there

Fly direct from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi to Phu Bai International Airport, from Can Tho or international to Danang International Airport, or travel by railroad to Hue.

MAP

getting there

Azerai La Residence, Hue is a 17-kilometre drive from Phu Bai International Airport, which is served by three airlines including Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific. Alternatively, the hotel is a two-hour drive from Danang International Airport, which is served by a number of leading international carriers.

There are direct flights to Phu Bai from Ho Chi Minh City (1 hour 25 minutes) and Hanoi (1 hour 10 minutes).

Non-stop international flights come into Danang from Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Doha, as well as multiple cities in Japan (Tokyo and Osaka), Korea (Seoul, Busan and Daegu) and China (Beijing, Changsha, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming and Zhengzhou).

There are also direct flights between Danang and Can Tho in the Mekong Delta where Azerai Can Tho is located. This provides a good connection for visiting both properties in Vietnam.

Travel by railroad to Hue from Ho Chi Minh City is a journey of approximately 18-20 hours in classic, albeit air-conditioned cars and from Hanoi in 12 hours.

travel tips

Immigration

Citizens of select countries in Europe and Asia can enter Vietnam without a visa for up to 15-30 days. Citizens of most other countries require visas to enter, exit or transit through Vietnam.

One-month and three-month tourist visas, for single or multiple entries, are available at any Vietnamese embassy/consulate before departure from country of origin. A visa on arrival is also available if pre- approved in advance through a reputable online broker. For the latest updates on visa information rules and regulations, please visit the official Vietnam Government Visa website in your country of origin.

Climate

Hue is generally hot and dry from March through September, with average high temperatures ranging from 28ºC to 32ºC. Rain is more likely in September, and most frequent in October and November, and then tapering off in December. December through February are the coolest months, with typical highs hovering at 24ºC.

Dress

Light cotton and linen fabrics are most comfortable from March to September. Rain gear is convenient in October and November. A fleece or shawl may be welcome December through February.

Language

Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam, although English and French are widely spoken.

Currency

Vietnamese currency is the dong. ATMs and banks are available in all major areas of Hue. Azerai accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB.

Electricity

The standard electrical voltage in Hue is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz.

Time Zone

Hue is located at GMT +07.00.