The Imperial City of Hue


I feel like the older I get and the more I travel, the less guilty I feel about taking a breather from seeking adventures while on the road.

When I was starting out as a novice traveller, any day that I didn’t go out and explore felt like a missed opportunity of sorts. I felt like I needed to go out and about each and every day, otherwise I would see it as a waste.

This went on and on for quite a long time until I had a burnout of sorts. I have touched on this before in a blog post about the ‘Travellers Blues’.

Over time, I have become much better at taking breaks when I need them, even if it means only getting one day to explore a city.

On one hand, I may never visit that city again and really, I should want to see all the sights; but also, a girl has gotta take care of herself both mentally and physically, and sometimes a little time spent doing nothing is just what the travel doctor ordered.

When I think back to the time I spent in Hue (pronounced ‘Hweh’) I definitely feel like there was a lot I didn’t see. But also, I had felt the need to chill, and the day I spent at a day spa was so wonderful that I can’t bring myself to regret a thing.

I did however manage to visit the most well known site in the city – the Imperial City of Hue.

In the late 1700’s, Emperor Gia Lord ascended to the throne of Vietnam. Shortly after gaining this position, he declared Hue the new capital. Construction on this walled citadel commenced in the early 1800’s. Initially home to around 160 buildings, in the present day only 10 major sites remain. This is partly due to poor maintenance, but this historical site endured most of it’s damage during the Vietnam war. In 1993 the citadel was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage and there are many projects happening to promote restoration and maintenance.

So, on a sunny day in Hue we decided to make the most of the good weather and head off to this incredible Imperial City.


I didn’t know a great deal about the city when I actually visited, but that in no way made it a less fascinating site. There were so many incredible archways, doors, gates and buildings that were just waiting to be explored. We were there for almost an entire day and we still didn’t see everything! It may not look like a big place to explore when you look at it on Google Maps (like we had) but once inside, there really is so much to see and find.

When the wind helps you nail the hair flip



I had already come down with a little case of ‘temple fatigue’ but amazingly, it did not affect me during this visit. Even though so few of the major buildings remain in the modern day, those that have survived are all incredibly different. No two of the structures look identical but they all appear very cohesive, which is not something that is easily achieved!


The gate in this next shot may not be quite as ornate or detailed as the one featured a few photographs up, but I really loved the colour of it. It was the most gorgeous shade of dusty pink, and it looked so eye-catching when contrast against the whitewashed stone that surrounded it.


Our last stop within the city were these incredible red pathways. I had only ever seen bright red colours used in temples when travelling through Japan and in the Disney classic Mulan, and honestly, if it weren’t for the quintessential pointed Vietnamese hats that I could see at every turn, I would have definitely felt like I’d somehow landed in China.


We left Hue having not seen a huge portion of what the city had to offer, but that is okay.

It just gives me the incentive and motivation to return to Vietnam one day, and that is a beautiful thing.



Getting to Hue: Hue airport is well connected to other airports in Vietnam
Imperial City of Hue: Entrance to this historical site cost us approximately $5 AUD per person
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens
Remember: Never feel bad about taking a break from exploring, sometimes you just go with what your body and mind tell you that you need

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

11 thoughts on “The Imperial City of Hue

  1. Hey. Nice as always. I like your posts as they’re so full of pics and info…but at the same I have trepidation as I enter because they almost always seem to crash my app. 😄 Old technology fading away one suspects…

  2. I have literally never heard of Hue but it looks amazing, thankyou for sharing it! 😍 And…you’re right…I learnt a while ago too to slow down and take a breather every now and again when it comes to seeing everything 🙈 Sometimes less is more!

  3. Amazing photos of your trip! I used to feel guilty about not getting to see everything when I first started traveling. Now, I just like to be where ever I am! Enjoying the moment.

  4. Beautiful. I drove from Quang Tri to visit the citadel in 1971 when I was literally risking my life to do so; it was fascinating but in much poorer condition then. But a born-traveler had to go see it.

  5. Whilst Hue is one of those majestic cities, in which one can easily become super-absorbed, you were right to take a spa day. Travel should not become a job-even the great travelers took/take days of leisure, sometimes several on end. Hue will be there, in future years.

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