Huế is renowned for its poetic, elegant atmosphere, although the weather may not be particularly satisfying. The city experiences two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. From March to August, temperatures can reach 35-40 degrees Celsius, making it less ideal for visiting due to the heat. From August to January, the temperature drops to around 18-20 degrees Celsius, sometimes even as low as 10 degrees Celsius. Thus, the recommended time to visit Huế is during the autumn months of September to November. The climate during this time is cool, occasionally accompanied by rainfall, but still retains its beauty with blooming bang lang and phoenix flowers, filling the air with a captivating poetic fragrance.
It can be asserted that no other place offers as many historical impressions, evoking nostalgia for the glorious days of our nation, as Huế does. The lingering sense of nostalgia permeates people’s hearts, compelling them to wander. It provides visitors with a profound understanding of the thousand-year history of our nation and immerses them in an irresistible aura of poetry.
1. Where Should You Go to Enjoy a Day?
Huế always offers captivating destinations for visitors:
The Imperial City Complex
Adorned with a cloak of history, the illustrious remnants of the ancient Nguyễn Dynasty’s imperial court await exploration. The unique ancient architecture allows visitors to immerse themselves in the forbidden city, where they can witness and hear fascinating tales about the Nguyễn Dynasty’s history. The Imperial City of Huế encompasses the Imperial Citadel and the Từ Cầm fortress. Each of these places holds immense cultural significance accompanied by architecturally sophisticated designs from ancient times. Stepping into this space brings about a serene state of mind, as one falls in love with the surroundings’ architecture and culture.
Thien Mu Pagoda
This pagoda, situated on Hà Khê Hill, approximately 5km from the city center of Huế, on Kim Long Street in Hương Long commune, can be effortlessly reached by motorbike. Alternatively, if you are not familiar with the area, a taxi can provide transportation. The pagoda exudes an ancient charm and offers scenic views of the Perfume River. As Hoàng Phủ Ngọc Tường beautifully described it, the river exhibits an “early green, noon gold, evening purple” beauty. Local residents are eager to share intriguing stories that will leave you in a state of wonder, exclaiming, “How magical!”
In addition to its charming and well-preserved beauty, Thien Mu Pagoda houses numerous invaluable historical artifacts, such as horizontal lacquered boards, precious ancient statues, and stone bells. These artifacts not only possess historical value but also hold considerable artistic significance. While visiting Thien Mu Pagoda, be sure to light an incense stick to show respect and offer prayers for a lifetime of happiness and peace.
Huế Singing on the Perfume River
A visit to Huế would be incomplete without experiencing this unique and enchanting musical performance. As night falls, hop on a boat and listen to the heartfelt melodies that will leave a lasting impression. Huế singing is known for its distinctive, gentle, and polished qualities, evoking unforgettable emotions. As the city lights up and the Trường Tiền Bridge glistens with lights, the voices of the artists resonate through the air. Ticket prices for this experience are reasonably priced at 100,000 VND for Vietnamese guests and 150,000 VND for foreign guests. The sweet melodies, combined with the peaceful ambiance and the faint, dreamy lights, create an atmosphere akin to paradise.
2. Huế’s Culinary Delights
The local cuisine in Huế is a true delight, satisfying three essential criteria: scrumptiousness, nutritional value, and affordability.
Huế-style Beef Noodle Soup
The dish that has made Huế famous is the Huế-style beef noodle soup. While everyone may have tasted beef noodles in various places, trying this specialty in Huế will truly stimulate your taste buds. The sweet flavor of the white, slightly chewy noodles combined with the pink-shaped meat (made from raw beef and crab meat), tender simmered pig’s trotters that melt in your mouth, a touch of spicy shrimp paste, and lime create a spicy and hot taste sensation. The flavors awaken your taste buds, making every bite enjoyable and incredibly flavorsome.
Bún Hến Rice
A plate filled with baby clams mixed with fresh green vegetables, accompanied by a bowl of flavorful baby clam broth, creates an irresistible desire to consume more. This dish can be found in eateries ranging from inexpensive establishments to upscale restaurants. Take a hearty bite and savor the slight crunchiness, as the fragrance and flavors gradually flow down your throat. It truly is a delightful experience.
Considered the most tantalizing steamed cake in Vietnam, the Huế-style bánh canh possesses a distinct flavor, thanks to its brick-red shrimp and crab soup, which strikes the perfect balance between thickness and lightness. When you take a bite, you will immediately understand why bánh canh is so immensely popular in Huế.
3. Appropriate Attire
Since the fall weather is not yet cold, wearing summer clothes would be suitable. It is advisable to bring an umbrella to prepare for unexpected rainfall. When visiting, it is recommended to wear a traditional purple áo dài, don a conical hat, and take photographs to capture cherished memories.
4. Ideal Transportation Options to Reach Huế
Depending on your location and budget, you can choose the most convenient means of transportation. Here are a few suggestions:
- By Plane: Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air both offer flights that land at either Phu Bai Airport (Huế) or Da Nang Airport. It takes approximately 20-25 minutes to travel from Phu Bai Airport to Huế city.
- Private Car: If you have the means, opting for a private car offers flexibility in terms of time, itinerary, personal space, and the freedom to explore wherever you desire. However, remember to prioritize safety while driving.
- Bus: If you are in Da Nang, you can easily take the Da Nang-Huế route, which costs only 100,000-120,000 VND per trip.
Once within Huế, taking a cyclo ride is highly recommended as it allows you to fully immerse yourself in the ambiance, climate, and local culture. Motorbike rentals are also available for convenient transportation, with prices ranging from 100,000-200,000 VND per day. Additionally, renting a bicycle to explore various interesting destinations within the city provides a fun and unique experience.
Huế always evokes a distinctive and memorable sensation compared to other cities. It exudes a melancholic charm, while simultaneously creating the feeling of being lost in a fairytale. If you have yet to set foot in Huế, I highly recommend organizing your schedule, packing your bags, and embarking on this remarkable journey. It promises not to disappoint.