Hué, Vietnam - Stein Travel
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Hué

Former capital of the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty, the royal city of Hué is situated on the country's central coast, midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It is a serene place, a small city of canals boasting splendid historical sights, and is dominated by its massive Citadel, and the former Forbidden Purple City. Most of its beautiful imperial architecture was destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, when the North Vietnamese launched an attack on the south, yet despite a tumultuous history it retains much of its cultural identity and has been recognised as a Cultural World Heritage Site.

Hué is also an important centre for Buddhism and hundreds of temples and pagodas exist around the city, such as the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the most famous structures in the country. The Perfume River lies between the city and the remains of the mighty Citadel with many attractions along its banks. Sampan boat trips on the river offer an enchanting way to see the main sights in and around Hué, including the splendid tombs of the Nguyen emperors a few miles south of the city.

Along with its historical sights, Hué is also the main starting point for day tours to the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone), a historical area spanning both sides of the former border between North and South Vietnam, and the Vinh Moc underground tunnels.

Information & Facts

Climate

Hue is renowned for being just about the wettest city in Vietnam, having very few dry days; even during the 'dry' season between May and August there is usually some drizzle. Average annual rainfall is 110 inches (2, 800mm). Like the rest of Vietnam, Hue also experiences distinct extremes of temperature between winter and summer, sweltering mid-year and the mercury plunging in January.

Language

The official language in Vietnam is Vietnamese. Some Chinese, English and French are spoken. Tour guides can also speak Russian and Japanese. Numerous ethnic languages are also spoken in parts.

Money

The official currency is the Dông (VND). There are no smaller denominations. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change, hotels and on the black market. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are becoming more widely acceptable, particularly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but it is best not to rely on them elsewhere. It is recommended that visitors bring travellers cheques in US Dollars, which can be cashed at major banks in the main cities and tourist areas. US currency acts as unofficial tender and is useful as a back-up when banks won't cash travellers cheques outside the main cities, but notes must be relatively new and unmarked. Dông can be withdrawn from ATMs, which are becoming more widespread.

Time

Local time in Vietnam is GMT +7.

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