Hue is the former capital of Vietnam, situated nearly in the center of the country. It is an easy city to get a hang of, split down the middle by the Perfume River, boarded by an appealing boardwalk. The weather is infamously bad, with the Truong Son Mountains seeming to bring in frequent drizzle, but it is a relatively pleasant town with inexpensive lodging, good restaurants, and lots of sightseeing opportunities.
It was a typical humid, drizzly day as we walked along the river boardwalk to check out the Imperial Citadel, the former government headquarters, and Hue’s primary sightseeing venue. It is a great sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, walls, gates, shops, museums and galleries, and, because of it’s size actually feels peaceful and spacious; a rare commodity in Vietnam!
The citadel was badly damaged both during the French – Viet Minh conflict in 1947, as well as the during the Tet Offensive of 1968, when it was shelled by the Viet Cong and bombed by the Americans. As a result of these conflicts, some areas are merely bombed fields with an explanatory plaque, but many buildings are intact, with a few in fantastic shape.
Although restoration has been on-going for over 20 years, there is still a long way to go. In the meantime, plan on spending at least a couple of hours to truly take in the various buildings.
Entrance fees: $2.50 USD
Hours: 630- 1700