Best Things to Do in Hue, Vietnam in 2 Days

Hue, Vietnam is a city that surprised me on my trip to Vietnam. There were so many beautiful palaces and tombs as well as breathtaking landscapes. Located along the banks of the Perfume River, Hue is a city of imperial grandeur and charm.

With only 2 days in Hue, you might wonder how to make the most of your time here. Read on for my comprehensive guide, which will take you through all the best things to do in Hue, Vietnam.

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Where to Stay in Hue, Vietnam

I stayed at Pisces Hotel Huế and absolutely loved my stay. It reminded me of a riad in Morocco but nope, just here in Vietnam. This place was a steal. I only paid $25 a night and I had a large comfy room with a bathtub.

Is 2 Days Enough Time in Hue?

I would say 2 full days should be enough time to see the highlights in Hue. I stayed for 3 nights as I wanted to have free time to enjoy as well.

How to Get to Hue

Hue has an airport in which you can fly to. If it’s more expensive or there is not a direct flight there you can always fly into Da Nang Airport and take a shared or private transfer to Hue. The drive is about 2.5 hours long.

There’s also a scenic train ride you can take from Da Nang.

If you’re planning to visit Hoi An after Hue, you can take a private or shared ride that stops at a few main sites along the way. This makes the trip much more enjoyable. You get to see Ha Van Pass, Marble Mountain, and more! If you can afford it, go private as I did the shared option and it was a bit cramped. I didn’t find this the case for the shared limousine my hotel arranged as those were much more spacious seats.

Best Things to Do in Hue, Vietnam

Day 1: Hue Itinerary

9 am: Visit the Imperial City

The Imperial City in Hue is a testament to Vietnam’s imperial past, with grand architectural and historical significance. Also known as the Citadel of Hue, this complex served as the political, cultural, and religious center of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last imperial ruling family.

It was built in the early 19th century and is enclosed by fortified walls and the grounds span over 500 hectares.

Therefore, you’ll need at least 3 hours to visit this place! It is actually stunning and no pictures can do it justice. You will find endless gardens, palaces, and temples inside the walls. I started to feel tired and almost missed some of it, but glad I persisted! No wonder it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the number one thing to do when visiting Hue so don’t miss this one.

Pro-tip: You can buy bundle tickets to also visit 2 tombs in addition to the Citadel for 420k VND. The combo tickets are valid for 2 days. I purchased on the spot and had no issues.

🕒 Time needed to visit: 3 hours+
📍 Location: Imperial City (Google Maps)
🎟️ Entrance: 200K VND ($8USD) 

12 pm: Have Lunch at Nook Eatery

I loved this restaurant in Hue as it was a great break from Vietnamese food. Don’t judge as I did have a burger and fries and I was so happy eating it! I also loved the atmosphere here with 2 levels of outdoor seating and delicious smoothies and coffee to choose from.

📍 Location: Nook Eatery (Google Maps)

2 pm: Mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc

The tomb of Emperor Tu Duc was built between 1864 and 1867. It serves as both a burial site and dedication to the emperor. Inside you’ll find a pine forest, beautiful pavilions, temples, and ponds. The tomb itself lies at the heart of the complex.

🕒 Time needed to visit: 1 hour+
📍 Location: Mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc (Google Maps)
🎟️ Entrance: 150K VND ($6 USD) 

5 pm: Watch the Sunset at the Thien Mu Pagoda

Visit the tallest religious building in Vietnam, dating back to the 17th century, and admire its stunning architecture and serene surroundings. You can even take a scenic boat ride on the Perfume River to the Pagoda!

7 pm: Try traditional Vietnamese food like Bánh bột lọc

My hotel recommended visiting Madam Thu Restaurant to try traditional Vietnamese food. I thought it was good but not stellar, to be honest despite the raving reviews. The presentation of the food was nice and I liked the variety you had with this platter so I could get a taste of different things. For instance, the pancake that you stuff inside rice paper and dip in peanut sauce and Bánh bột lọc which is chewy tapioca dumplings wrapped in leaves.

You could also opt to take a street food tour so you can try a lot of the local food in one go!

Day 2: Hue Itinerary

9 am: Tour the Royal Tombs

Mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh

The Mausoleum of Emperor Khải Định is the burial place of Emperor Khải Định, who ruled from 1916 to 1925. It is a grandiose structure built in the early 20th century, featuring both Vietnamese and European architecture.

🕒 Time needed to visit: 30 minutes+
📍 Location: Mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh (Google Maps)
🎟️ Entrance: For 420k VND, you can get combo tickets which include Hue Imperial City, Emperor Minh Mang’s tomb, and Emperor Khai Dinh’s tomb

Mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang

This tomb was super impressive. While I loved Khai Dinh, this one was even better! The views were so nice and as I went before 930am, I got to enjoy it in peace. As soon as I was getting ready to leave, the tours started to roll in. I definitely recommend going early!

🕒 Time needed to visit: 1 hour+
📍 Location: Mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang (Google Maps)
🎟️ Entrance: For 420k VND, you can get combo tickets which include Hue Imperial City, Emperor Minh Mang’s tomb, and Emperor Khai Dinh’s tomb

11 am Visit the Abandoned Dragon Waterpark!

The Abandoned Waterpark near Hue is set to be destroyed this year after it was deemed bad luck. I visited in March 2024 and it’s still around.

After opening in 2000, it was never completed and shut down. It was intended to be a water park and today it’s a mysterious place that you can venture to if you dare. 

The place is entirely creepy with broken glass inside and trash. Even what I thought looked like a body part. Visit at your own risk before it’s too late!

To get here ask your driver to drop you off at the gated entrance of Thuy Tien Lake. It’s not allowed to enter so you’ll have to bribe a fake guard 20k VND ($1) to enter. 

🕒 Time needed to visit: 30 minutes+
📍 Location: Thuy Tien Lake in Hue (Google Maps)
🎟️ Entrance: You may need to tip the guard 20k VND to enter

12 pm Take a Photo at the Incense Village

Next up is the Thuy Xuan Incense-making Village where you’ll find many stalls full of incense. Here you can learn some of the local traditions of making incense and snaps some really cool photos!

🕒 Time needed to visit: 20 min+
📍 Location: Thuy Xuan Incense-making Village (Google Maps)
🎟️ Entrance: Free, although you may need to tip if you’re just taking photos.

1 pm: Lunch at Nina’s Cafe

Nina’s Cafe is a great little spot tucked away down a hidden corner. I tried the noodles with pork and it was great. They have nice drinks too! The staff is super friendly and this was a good find overall.

📍 Location: Nina’s Cafe (Google Maps)

3 pm: An Dinh Palace

An Dinh Palace is a little less visited than the other spots and well worth a visit in my opinion. It’s truly stunning from the outside to the inside. It dates back to the early 20th century and once served as the residence of Emperor Bao Dai’s mother, Empress Dowager Tu Cung. The outside is surrounded by beautiful gardens and the inside showcases intricate details and grand artwork. It is a super photogenic spot!

🕒 Time needed to visit: 45 min+
📍 Location: An Dinh Palace (Google Maps)
🎟️ Entrance: 50k VND

5 pm: Relax at one of Hue’s cute cafes

Hue has some really cute cafes. I spent some time in Thành café pictured above and really loved the atmosphere and presentation of the drinks. I got this refreshing hibiscus drink with fresh lychee.

I also spent time in other cafes like Mot Café which was also nice especially on the top floor which is partially outdoor.

7 pm: Dinner at Chaleng Thai Food

This was one of the best Pad Thai I’ve had in case you’re craving something outside of Vietnamese food. It’s a simple place but it’s great and it was right next to my beautiful hotel.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this post on the best things to do in Hue in 2 days!

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