The former imperial capital of Vietnam. Not only famous for its old citadel and its location on the banks of the mythical named Perfume River, but also for the imperial tombs built for and by the Nguyen emperors. Unfortunately most of the buildings within the old citadel, which in size was comparable to that of the Forbidden City in Beijing, have been destroyed by bombs during the American war.
Although the old citadel with its massive walls and moat is quite impressive, we found the royal tombs to be far more interesting. These tombs are scattered around Hue and along the Perfume River and are best visited by boat or motorbike. Being a bit stretched for time we opted for our favorite means of transport: the motorbike.
The furthest tomb is about 16 km south of town, all of them are easily accessible and on average there is enough signage along the way.
The Tomb of Tu Duc is probably the most popular and it doesn't take you long to understand why.
The grounds and tomb are both impressive, it's said he lived his life in excess and it shows. Farther south you will come across the Tomb of Thieu Tri. It took us quite a while to find this one, but it was worth our persistence. It isn't as large as others, but it was recently restored and the grounds are well maintained. Luckily we were almost alone, so there was a serene atmosphere that struck us both. Wandering through the gardens, taking in all the sights, getting a closer look at the detailing of the statues. It was a very pleasant afternoon.
Hue is well known for its vegetarian dishes, we found some great eats just outside the citadel gates. We have been told the market is also a great spot for finding some local specialities such as the royal rice cakes. It should have been nice to have stayed in Hue an extra day, even if it was just to sample some more of that great Hue cuisine. If you are looking to find some of Vietnam's former imperial glory Hue is your best bet.