Huế is a city in central Vietnam that was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. A major attraction is its vast, 19th-century Citadel, surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls. It encompasses the Imperial City, with palaces and shrines; the Forbidden Purple City, once the emperor’s home; and a replica of the Royal Theater.
Dragon boats ply the Sông Hương River, dubbed the Perfume River for the fragrant flowers that drop into it from nearby orchards each fall. To the south lie 7 imperial tombs, including the Tomb of Tu Duc, with a lotus-filled lake and pavilion. Another significant site, Thien Mu Pagoda, dates to 1601 and contains a monastic complex and 12 wooden sculptures of the temple’s fearsome guardians. Other diversions include bustling Dong Ba Market and eateries serving local dishes such as bun bo, a spicy beef noodle soup. Day trips include picturesque Thuận An Beach and tours to the Demilitarized Zone