Although much of the Imperial Enclosure is now in ruins, the citadel is well-worth a visit. Must see sights include the principal entrance at Ngo Mon Gate and the To Mieu Temple Complex in the southwest corner. Admission is VND105,000 (US$4.75).
Located on a hill overlooking the Perfume River, the Thien Mu Pagoda is an icon of Vietnam. The 21-metre tower was constructed under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri in 1844 with each of its seven storeys dedicated to a manushi-buddha. If you’re after quiet, visit the pagoda in the morning.
Address: Kim Long, tp. Hue, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam
Over the bridge
About seven kilometres from the city is the beautiful Thanh Toan Bridge. This wooden bridge often described as Japanese style and reportedly built by Emperor Le Hien Tong (1740-1786) is ideal for observing rural life.
On the west bank of Perfume River about 12km from Hue is the majestic tomb of Minh Mang. The complex includes the Honor Courtyard and the Sung An Temple, dedicated to Minh Mang and his empress. Admission is VND80,000 (US$3.60).
Row your boat
Soak up the ambient Perfume River by floating along its current. Most group tours (starting at US$2 per person) take passengers to the Thien Mu Pagoda, Hon Chen Temple and selected mausoleums (entrance fees are extra). You can also charter a boat from the boat wharf beside the Trang Tien Bridge.