Top 5 stunning attractions in poetic Hue province
Hue’s location at Vietnam’s geographical heart may have ordained its special role in the most two turbulent centuries of the country’s history. Even before it became the Nguyen Dynasty capital of Vietnam in 1802, Hue was the base for the Nguyen clan who controlled the south region of the country. Most well-known for its historic values; Hue had been recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Let’s find out top 5 best stunning destinations in Hue with Whatsup Vietnam.
1. Hue Imperial Citadel
The citadel was oriented to face the Huong River (Perfume River) to the southeast. Rather than concentric rings, centered on the Emperor's palace, the imperial residence itself is offset toward the southeast side of the citadel, nearer the river. A second set of tall walls and a second moat was constructed around this Imperial City, within which many edifices were added in a series of gated courtyards, gardens, pavilions and palaces.
The Hue Citadel was the most magnificent protective construction built in modern times. It took thousands of workers and the huge undertaking commenced in 1803, during Gia Long's reign, and was completed in 1832 by his successor King Minh Mang. The design of the facade followed the natural terrain of the Huong River’s north bank. Each wall of the Citadel includes entry gates with watching towers, bastions with canons and ammunition depots. The Citadel was defended by a moat system surrounding the wall and the man-made canals and rivers not only provided water defenses but also water transportation.
2. Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda or Linh Mu pagoda is among the oldest places of worship in Hue and is a good example of religious architecture. Furthermore, visiting the Pagoda on a Hue City Tour which includes a boat cruise along the beautifully named Perfume River. The pagoda was built in 1601, and then Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan had it renovated in 1665. In 1710 Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu had a great bell cast (2.5 meters high, weighed 3.285 kg) and a stele (2.58 meters high) erected on the back of a marble tortoise in 1715. In the Nguyen Dynasty, Kings such as Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, Thanh Thai all had the pagoda restored.
Notably, Thien Mu Pagoda does not own many Buddha statues as other pagodas in Hue. Generally, the campus of the pagoda looks like a palace of kings, mandarins in ancient Hue. Immersing their souls in pagoda sightseeing, tourists seem to go into the pure and poetic space, which is far different from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Walking through each entrance in the pagoda, tourists will actually feel their own self, spiritual retreat, and be willing to leave behind all of sorrow and anxiety.
3. Minh Mang Tomb
Also known as "Hieu Mausoleum", Minh Mang's tomb is one of the most mystical tombs of Nguyen Dynasty, which is a complex system of 40 beautiful constructions, including temple, pavilion, palace, etc. Combined between landscape and architecture buildings, the tomb can be considered as a microcosm of Hue Citadel, which is a perfect combination of manmade and natural beauty of Hue.
Minh Mang’s tomb draws a numerous number of both domestic and international visitors annually. The site was always intended to double as a tomb complex and national park, with landscaped gardens, terraces, lakes, and bridges that surround and connect the buildings. The plan for the burial site was dictated by geomancy, a form of divination using natural elements, because it was thought that the placement of the emperor’s grave could affect the fate of the entire dynasty. The tomb also functioned as a link between this life and the next, and thus Minh Mang’s burial site was arranged in the shape of a womb, representing Mother Earth and rebirth in heaven. This colorful landscape is an important national monument, continuing to educate visitors about the country’s history and culture.
4. Bach Ma National Park
Bach Ma National Park stands at 1450 meters above sea level, hosting majestic waterfalls, hiking trails, and dilapidated French villas. Bạch Ma National Park is situated in the Truong Son (Annamite) Mountains and is one of the wettest places in Vietnam. Its mountains are composed mainly of granite, and the topography of the park is generally very steep.|
Bạch Ma's position, at the biogeographical border between northern and southern Vietnam, combined with its variety of habitats, ranging from the coast to high mountains, means the park is rich in biodiversity. It is located in an area that is considered a center of plant diversity in Vietnam. The main vegetation type is moist evergreen and montane forest, as well as areas of scrub and grassland where human disturbance has been high.
Encompassing more than 154 square miles (400 square kilometers) of an old French hill station, Bach Ma National Park protects one of the most visually stunning natural areas of Central Vietnam. More than 1,400 species of plants grow in the park — a fifth of the total flora in the country — alongside 132 species of mammals and 358 species of birds. Among the rarer residents, many of them nocturnal, are the douc langur, leopard, stump-tailed macaques and Asiatic black bear.
5. The Perfume River
Locally known as Huong (Perfume) River, it was named after wilted flowers from upriver orchards are carried through its flow during autumnal months, resulting in a strong floral scent. The Perfume River has two sources; both begin in the Truong Son mountain range and meet at Bang Lang Fork. The Ta Trạch (left tributary) originates in the Truong Dong mountains and flows northwest towards the fork. The river then flows in south-north direction past the temples of Hon Chen and Ngọc Tren, then flows north-west, meandering through the Nguyet Bieu and Luong Quan plains. Besides, it flows to the northeast to Hue and passes the resting place of the Nguyen emperors.
The river is fenced by historic monuments of the city and the cool breeze and flowing water help in creating an enchanting aura. One of the beautiful places to visit in Hue, people prefer spending time on the banks watching boats sailing on the water. Here, you can also see joggers running by the banks in the morning, or the sight of small shops and restaurants open up in the evenings. Families come here to spend treasure time while enjoying some musicians playing lovely and traditional music.
Written by: Hieu La