5. Hue City Tour and River Cruise
Your private, English speaking guide will pick you up from your hotel. Once you’ve exchanged greetings, you will get into your comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to begin your exploration of this culturally rich region. Your first stop is, of course, the Citadel where the last king of Vietnam, Bao Dai, stepped down in August 30th, 1945. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is guarded by an ancient moat and thick stone walls. The vast Citadel encompasses the Imperial City, Forbidden Purple City, and the Royal Theatre, so stretch those legs and get ready for a morning of exploration!
Making your way well off the tourist track, you will visit some locals including the inspiring Ms. Thuy who specialises in making Vietnam’s world famous conical hats. Situated in a quiet area, visiting Ms. Thuy’s house is a true exploration of rural Vietnam and a fascinating insight into the skill of conical hat making, as well as the interesting life of this friendly and open woman. Next up is the tomb of King Tu Duc, the most popular and impressive of all the royal mausoleums. It houses courtyards, pavilions, temples and chambers. Your tour guide will tell you all about its fascinating history and the king’s life of imperial luxury, from his 104 wives to the unfortunate ending for the 200 burial servants!
Just before lunch, you will visit Bunker Hill which overlooks the Perfume River and boasts amazing panoramic views. The area served as a great military vantage point by providing secret observation posts for the surrounding territory. Many bunkers still remain so you’ll have the chance to get up close and investigate them. Then you will have lunch and recharge your batteries at a serene nunnery pagoda and then head off for to your next destination: Tiger Arena, an ancient colosseum where tigers and elephants would fight to the death all in the name of royal entertainment. The final leg of your tour today takes us to the iconic seven story Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue city. From here you will board a classic dragon boat and cruise down the Perfume River back towards the city, where your guide will take you back to your hotel.