We chose Hue as it was the old Imperial Capital and the location of the famous Citadel or Imperial City, it also broke up the overnight train journeys from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. For information on train and flights look at the Ho Chi Minh city page. Hue is also supposed to be the culinary capital of Vietnam.
What we did not realise was that the Australian backpackers had got there first, so the town is not just full of culture seekers. It does however mean some lively bar life and what seems to be a very laid back attitude to closing times. It can be very wet in Hue and not always that warm. There is a beach nearby which seems popular for trips.
If you arrive at the station or I would imagine the airport look for a taxi from a reputable company, we used Mai Linh when we were there. In town there are however loads of cyclos and motorbikes trying to attract passengers, perhaps if the weather had been better we might have been tempted.
You can check out the usual sites, www.booking.com and www.venere.com, we chose to stay at the Hue Nino Hotel 14 Hguyen Cong Tru Str., www.hueninohotel.com It is a really eclectic place to stay, the owner and staff are lovely, always there to help and to greet you with refreshing hot or cold drinks when you arrive and return after exploring. We were glad we opted for one of their deluxe rooms which had more space, it was incredibly cheap and as usual included breakfast. They just could not do enough for everyone and will arrange tours to the sites outside the town. You soon see why it is so high up the ratings.
Hoa Vien Garden Restaurant, 11 Vo Thi Sau St, is popular with tour groups however do not be put off the food is excellent. It has a lovely garden terrace and excellent service and really good value for the quality.
Golden Rice Restaurant, 40 Pham Ngu Lao St, is owned by a lovely lady, the food was super, do try one of the hotpot dishes, incredible value for two courses each and beers.
La Carambole, 19 Pham Ngu Lao St, this is French and Vietnamese so if you are craving a change from noodles then this is the place for a steak. It also does cheese and meat platters and very reasonably priced wine. Booking required as it always seems to be packed. More expensive than some but by European standards incredibly reasonable.
Khuyen Trang Café, 40 Nguyen Tri Phuong, is in the midst of the backpacker area if you can put up with the family member who tries to sell you pictures then you can eat very well and incredibly cheaply, seems popular with regulars.
DMZ Bar, 60 Le Loi St, is a very lively bar, with food and music and the occasional dancing, it seems to shuts when the last customer leaves. Really friendly staff help make it a fun place. Has a travel agents if you need to book tickets.
Why Not Bar, 21 D Vo Thi Sau, has an excellent terrace, cocktails and food, also a pool table which attracts the backpackers as does happy hour !
Hue Backpackers, 10 D Pham Ngu Lao, this is a hostel, travel agents and bar, with food and if needed does good rolls for taking away for your onward journey.
Café on Thu Wheels, 10/2 D Nguyen Tri Phuong, is in the heart of the backpackers streets, does tours and sells very cheap beers, really nice staff and owners.
Almost next door to the above is a very smart bar called Liberty, great music and nice owners, sadly not very busy the night we were there, possibly too early.
Anything and everything in Hue is probably the answer, as you will have read above the city is full of young back packers doing Vietnam, this means there are loads of bars of all sorts. There is cheap Vietnamese beer, wine, cocktails and spirits and a really relaxed feel.
As mentioned in pages on other cities in Vietnam, there is local wine called Dalat, which if you get the more expensive ones is drinkable and also a wide range of imported wines.
The Citadel or Imperial City is a must, the remaining buildings left after the bombing during the war are incredible. It must have been staggering before the bombing as only a small percentage of them are left but those are amazing. Do make sure you don’t miss the Hung Mieu and Dien Tho buildings, these are not well signed but are wonderful.
Dong Ba Market, worth exploring particularly if you are looking for one of the Vietnamese conical hats.
Ho Chi Minh Museum, the man went to school in Hue and the museum is worth a quick visit to see photos of past times in Hue.
Thuan Gallery, 24 Chu Van An & 56 Le Loi has some lovely paintings which are very reasonable and which he will roll up to make it easy transporting them.