Hue’s downtown is as modern and neon-lit as any in Vietnam with cosmopolitan restaurants, first-class hotels, and bars and clubs where locals, backpackers, and expats meet and drink until the early hours. However, when visitors travel out of the city center, the historical landmarks of the earlier periods of the country abound.
The landmarks and cityscape blend together seamlessly as they have grown together over the centuries. Just off a main road the moats of the Imperial Forbidden City lead to pathways through centuries old archways in the ramparts adorned with gold-lined pagoda roofs.
The Perfume River runs the length of the city and along it local markets, coffee shops and noodle houses stay busy throughout the day. The impressive ancient stone structures bedecked by statues that can be spotted from the riverbanks are the tombs of various emperors from Hue’s history as a capital city.
This history is woven into the city. Traditional homes and ornate pagodas pop up just in view of a cell phone shop and motorbike repair, but never clash. Hue has been built in a way that honors and preserves its heritage while still offering all the comforts of a modern city. A bus from Da Nang to Hue costs around 70,000đ and takes around 3 hours, alternatively take the scenic train route for between 46,000 - 109,000đ.
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