1. Forbidden City (Imperial City): Lies on the northern shore of the Perfume River.
Built from 1804 by King Gia Long and finished in 1833 by King Minh Mang. At the entrance of the Ngan gate into the Citadel are the Nine Holy Cannons cast from melted down bronze wares from the Tay Son dynasty. The cannons are named after the four seasons and five elements (metal, earth, wood, water and fire) and are known as the “Holy Invincible Generals”. They have never been used for military purposes and are the guardian spirits of the Citadel.
2. Thien Mu Pagoda: 5km
Also on the north shore of the Perfume River about 3km from the Citadel. You can get there by dragon boat along the river, or for those feeling more energetic, a pleasant bicycle ride. The Thien Mu pagoda is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital. Today it is the home of the Austin motor vehicle which drove Thich Quang Duc to his self-immolation in Saigon in 1963 in protest against the Diem regime. It is still home to many monks and a holy site visited by many everyday.
3. Royal Tombs: From 8 – 15km
7 tombs in all scatter the countryside around Hue and are monuments to 9 of the 13 rulers of the Nguyen Dynasty, usually built and designed during the emperor’s lifetime. The 3 most visited are Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. The remaining 4 are less visited but still have interesting features, with Duc Duc, Thanh Thai and Duy Tan being housed in the same tomb.
4. Thanh Toan Covered Bridge: 6km
Named because of its resemblence to the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An. Its construction was initiated by Tran Thi Dao, the wife of a high ranking Mandarin in the court of Emperor Le Hien Tong, sometime between 1740 and 1746. Originally it was built to offer better transportation and communication for the village that lines either side of the canal. In 1925 Emperor Khai Dinh ordered the villagers to erect an altar dedicated to Tran Thi Dao on the bridge. Many locals still travel to the town to visit her tomb.
5. Dong Ba Market:
The largest market place in central Vietnam, this is definitely a place to visit to immerse yourself in the local culture. Tourists can see all the typical features of a traditional Vietnamese market, such as, the sampan landing, the bus station and the bazaars. Dong Ba market is considered a paradise for snapshots of daily activities as well as for shopping with everything from souvenir items to bronze goods, Hue sesame sweetmeat, conical poem hats, just to name a few. Should you find interest in Vietnamese food or culture, you’d better come here to explore.
6. Tiger Arena: 3km
Ho Quyen, Tiger Fighting Arena – One of the most interesting sights in Hue 3km out of Hue. This is probably the most interesting site in Hue, and it is all too often overlooked by visitors. It was built in 1830 during the reign of Emporer Minh Mang to stage yearly battles between an elephant and a tiger.
7. Bach Ma National Park: 40km
Bach Ma National Park is an old French Hill station stretching out over some 40,000 unspoilt hectares and offering great hiking trails, waterfalls, slightly odd and very basic lodgings, a camp site and plenty of wildlife (keep that tent zipped up). It’s home to one of the most stunning stretches of jungle walk and mountain ranges.
8. Elephant Hotspring: 60km
The Elephant Springs (Elephant Waterfall), about 60 kilometres from Hue, is an excellent natural spring that is well worth a visit. Particularly on a hot day, the natural pool below a small waterfall makes for a very refreshing dip. You can sluice yourself down the smooth rocks at the base of the falls, and there are plenty more spots upstream to explore.
9. Thuan An Beach: 14km
About 14 kilometres from Hue is the nearest beach, Thuan An. Though it’s one of Central Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches, it’s ridiculously undeveloped with just a scattering of shacks in various stages of decline. The recent addition of Beach Bar Hue may start to change the scene, as this shabby chic spot is well on the way to being one of the most popular day trips from Hue.
10. Dam Chuon Lagoon: 12km
Located in An Truyen Village, 12km away from Hue City. But Dam Chuon is considered like untouched place by tourist flow. Place can be reached on Motorcycle, Bicycle and Car. The best way to visit is to be on motorcycle tours or bicycle tours to visit beautiful local villages and do fishing with local before you enjoy local seafood lunch here. Worth a visit!