Walking Tour of Hue, Vietnam
Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, is known for its beautiful imperial architecture, although a great deal of this was destroyed during the Tet offensive of the Vietnam War in 1968. The Perfume River forms the border between the city itself and the former ‘Forbidden Purple City’, and its mighty Citadel.
My walk begins at the Dong Ba Market, a traditional Vietnamese marketplace, where visitors can find exotic fruits and fish, as well as a variety of dry goods, including the unique Hue “poem hats” (non bait ho). The market is located on the north bank of the Perfume River, near its junction with the Dong Ba Canal.
From here, walk west on Tran Hung Dao and then turn right on Dinh Tien Hoang to enter the walled Citadel, and then left on Dinh Cong Tiang. Stop in at the Museum of Royal Fine Arts, more famous for its building, the former Long An Palace. Then proceed westward to access the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City, residence of the emperor. This ‘city within a city’ with its tombs, pagodas, and lakes covered in lotus flowers was largely destroyed during the Vietnam War (the Royal Library is one of the few buildings still intact), but one can still see evidence of its former magnificence. The Noon Gate (Ngo Mon), grand entrance into the Imperial City, is opposite the Flagpole of Hue, the tallest pole in the country. The Emperor’s throne was once housed in the Palace of Supreme Harmony where he watched festivities from the Five-Phoenix Pavilion.
After your visit, head back to the riverfront and cross the river on the Phu Xuan Bridge, and then turn right on Le Loi, and left on Dien Bien Phu. The Bao Quoc Pagoda, which dates to 1670, is on the right, a short distance up the street. Continue south on Dien Bien Phu to find the Tu Dam Pagoda, on the left (Dong Lieu Quan Street).
Now, continue east and turn left on Phan Boi Chau, and then right on Tian Phu. After crossing the canal (Kenh Phu Cam), turn right on Phan Dinh Phung, and then bear left on Nguyen Khuyen to find the Notre Dame Cathedral, on your left. Continue east to Hung Vuong and turn left, following this road to the river and across. Next, turn right onto Tran Hung Dao and pass the market where you started, to cross another canal, and then turn left on Bach Dang. The Dieu De Pagoda is ahead on the right. It has been restored many times since its construction in the mid-19th century. After your visit, retrace your steps back to the Dong Ba Market to complete the walking tour.