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Huế Travel Guide

About

A Vietnamese city deeply steeped in history, Huế was the location of numerous momentous events of Vietnam's past; from the rise and fall of ancient Vietnamese kingdoms and dynasties dating back to the 1700s, to the infamous Battle of Huế during the Vietnam War, one of the war's longest and bloodiest conflicts. Huế is a city that will resound especially with those interested with all things old and historic. As the old seat of monarchial Vietnamese power, these royal customs and lifestyle values still dwell with the local culture of the Huế people until today. For eight consecutive times every two years in April since 1992, the city of Huế celebrates The Huế Festival: a medley of traditional activities showcasing the unique cultural values of the former Imperial City. Huế also follows Buddhist and Taoist beliefs closely, and it shows with local vegetarian restaurants balancing in numbers with the grander royalty-influenced cuisine. In all, Huế is a city for those seeking anything from historical to culinary delights.

Local Custom & Slang

House Gifts

  • If you are invited to a Vietnamese home, there are certain things you can and cannot offer as gifts. For example, gifts of fruits, sweets, flowers and incense are welcome, but be sure to wrap them in colorful paper. Some taboo gifts include hankerchiefs, anything with the color black, or yellow flowers such as chrysanthemums, as they usually lean towards more funerary themes.

How to address people in Vietnam

  • Toi (To-oi): to address yourself
  • Ban (bah-n): to address someone else in general
  • Anh (ah-n): to address an older man
  • Chi (chee): to address an older woman
  • Em (ehm): to address anyone younger than you

Social Gestures and Touch

  • Pointing with one's index finger at sacred objects (e.g. Buddhas) is considered social taboo, so do use your whole hand when addressing something instead. Considering this point, it is seen as a sign of respect to remove one's hat in the presence of respected or elderly members of society (e.g. monks, senior citizens).

Essential Vietnamese Phrases

  • Can you speak English?: Ban noi tieng anh duoc khong? (Banh noi thien an durkh khom)
  • Hello: Xin Chao (sin chow)
  • Thank You: Cam on (kahm uhn)
  • Good Bye: Tam Biet (tarm byeet)
  • Sorry: Xin Loi (sin loy)

Table Manners Tips

  • It is considered good manners to finish everything on your plate, even if the food does not agree with your palate. This is a sign of respect to your host or the individual(s) who prepared your food. In addition, Vietnamese meals are usually served family-style, meaning the dishes would be spread out rather than centralised in one's plate à la Western style, so expect a more communal dining experience.

Trip Essentials

  • Weather
  • Currency
  • Visa
  • Electricity
  • The dry season in Huế lasts from March to August. Temperatures during these periods range from 30°C and 40°C. This is a popular time for tourists to visit the city.

  • The rainy season is from September to February, with temperatures dropping to 19.7°C.

  • However, another optimum period to visit Huế would be from January to April, where the temperature ranges between a comfortable 20°C and 24°C. While you can expect light drizzles and rainfall, the climate would be much cooler and comfortable to explore the city on foot.

Transportation

By Cyclo

  • Cyclos are essentially trishaws with a maximum passenger capacity of two people. Cyclos are a representation of a common mode of transportation during the French colonial era.

  • The average rental of a cyclo may cost from 20,000 VND per hour.

  • Tip: hire private cyclos at local hotels or travel agencies. Most drivers can speak English and will have many stories to share, some even taking you to hidden sights and tombs not found on tourist maps. These drivers also know where to find cheap beer, savoury Huế pancakes and other local delights. If you like your driver, you can even cover their food costs for them!

By Motorbike Taxis (Xe Om)

  • If you have a tight schedule to follow, Motorbike Taxis may be the best option. The motorbike makes it easy to swerve through the heavy traffic in Hanoi, but the only downside is that there can only be one passenger. Also, Xe Om drivers are known to know the roads of Hanoi like the back of their hands.

  • The average for a trip should cost from 10,000 to 15,000 VND. You can also rent a Xe Om for 25,000 VND per hour.

  • Tip: Xe Om is pronounced as “say ohm”!

By Taxi

  • If you are travelling long distances within Huế, we recommend you take a taxi as it is safer and more comfortable. To expedite your journey, have the destination written down in Vietnamese beforehand, and opt for trusted taxi companies such as the green Mai Linh taxi, the white Vinasun Taxi, or the blue-striped white Taxi Thanh Cong.

  • There is a flag down rate of 10,000 VND to 15,000 VND, followed by 6,000 VND per km.

  • Local Operator: Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun

  • Other Operators: Dinchung Taxi

By Motorbike Rental

  • Compared to other Vietnamese cities, Huế has almost non-existent two-wheeler traffic. Take this opportunity as a foreigner to rent a bike, should you be able to ride one, for around 120,000 VND daily.

  • There are motorbike rental agencies aplenty in Huế, but due to the fact you may need to leave your ID or passport with the agency (while some others are satisfied with a copy), you should pick a trusted agency such as Hue Motorbike Rental, which even provides you a delivery service of your motorbike to a chosen destination, for an extra fee of course.

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