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Vietnam
Sunday, June 7, 2020

Hue

Huế is a city chock-full of stories. The Kings of the Nguyen Dynasty built their feudal capital along Huế’s fertile riverbanks and atop its forested hills, but their imperial legacy is just one of many reasons to visit. Huế’s refined cuisine is the stuff of legend, and its leafy streets are lined with mossy pagodas, art déco mansions, and eye-popping markets. Through the whole scene flows the Perfume River, setting a languid pace the rest of the city is happy to follow. 
Les Jardins De La Carambole is set within a colonial-era villa. Here diners can enjoy authentic French, Italian, Vietnamese cuisine in a classy setting. Open daily between 08:00 and 22:00, it’s especially popular amongst travellers, thanks to its close proximity to the Complex of Hue Monuments. The upstairs dining section hosts live piano performances. There’s also an expansive veranda that overlooks Perfume River and Hue City Centre. Main dishes are priced at VND 120,000 upwards. Standouts include beef bourguignon, grilled chicken with chilli and lemongrass, and grilled sea bass fish with Mediterranean sauce. Dessert options range from French crepes, crème brûlée, and chocolate mousse to pineapple fritters and green bean ice cream.
Le Parfum Restaurant is an elegant dining venue within La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa, where affluent travellers can enjoy French-Vietnamese cuisine and premium European wines during their stay in Hue. Set within a colonial-style building, booking a table at the upstairs terrace section is highly recommended as it offers relaxing views of the hotel’s expansive herb garden and Perfume River behind. There are plenty of international and Asian dishes to enjoy at Le Parfum Restaurant Hue, such as roasted lamb rack (VND 695,000), frutti di mare pasta (VND 330,000), and sesame-crusted seared tuna (VND 310,000). If you’re looking to savour authentic Vietnamese fare, we highly recommend bun thit bo nuong (VND 260,000), which consists of rice noodles, grilled beef, fresh herbs, pickled greens, with a drizzle of sweet and sour sauce.
Ancient Hue Restaurant occupies a spacious two-storey wooden house dating back to the 1800s. It’s a popular dining venue in Hue to enjoy authentic royal cuisine in a traditional setting. The restaurant is surrounded by an impressive landscaped garden and lake. Its indoor dining sections are fitted with decorative items to resemble royal quarters of the Nguyen Dynasty, such as silk cushions and ceramic vases. There’s also an art gallery within the restaurant, which exhibits abstract paintings, traditional crafts, and ceramic works by local artists. Food-wise, regional dishes such as banana blossom salad and banh beo (steamed rice flour cakes) are served in vegetables carved into shapes like the phoenix and koi. We highly recommend the Royal Court Dinner, a six-course dining experience accompanied with traditional music and dance performances.

DMZ Bar Hue

DMZ Bar is a prominent nightlife spot in Hue City Centre where travellers can enjoy an impressive range of cocktails and wines during their holiday. Established in 1994, its name is derived from the demilitarized zone of the 17th parallel that once divided Vietnam. DMZ Bar occupies a two-storey building along Le Lot Street, here you can enjoy expansive views of the Perfume River at the upstairs garden terrace or play a game of pool by the downstairs bar section. Priced at VND 25,000 upwards, its drinks menu comprises local and imported beers, cocktails, wines, and shots.
Le Gouverneur Bar at La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa offers first-rate Cuban cigars, spirits, whiskies, wines and cocktails in an elegant 1920s setting. Occupying a French colonial villa, this nightlife venue houses a polished-wood bar section with subdued lighting in a cosy ambience. You can choose to sit on comfortable lounge seats near the bar or head to the spacious terrace for breathtaking sunset views of Hue Imperial City and Perfume River. Affluent travellers can find an impressive collection of cocktails mixed with gin, rum, vodka, and tequila. Priced at VND 180,000 upwards, signature cocktails at Le Gouverneur Bar include Le Parfum (grey goose vodka, lemongrass, lime juice and basil leaves), La Résidence Madame (vanilla ice cream, Baileys, Kahlua and De Vuong rice wine), and Good Morning Hue (dark Bacardi, tawny port, lime juice, orange juice and sugar syrup).
Brown Eyes Bar Hue attracts a good mix of fun-loving locals and tourists with its extensive cocktail menu and light-hearted entertainment. Set along Chu Van An Street, the bar opens at 17:00 and only closes after the last customer leaves. This makes it a popular nightlife venue for those who want to party until late in Hue. Brown Eyes Bar Hue is fitted with a spacious dance floor and a pool table. Local DJs usually start spinning at 22:30, with genres ranging from hip-hop and EDM, to R&B and house tunes. Upon arrival, you’re served with a welcome drink and a free flaming shot of a concoction called Burning Castle, which involves Sambuca liqueur and coffee. You also get free snacks throughout your visit.
The To Mieu Temple was constructed by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821 in commemoration of former emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. This well-preserved landmark is located southwest of the UNESCO protected Complex of Hue Monuments. While travellers are free to explore the temple site, guided tours are available for those looking to know more about the history of Hue. The To Mieu Temple houses various personal items and portraits of its ten emperors. The main hall is divided into nine rooms while the second features seven rooms, all of which are interconnected. This makes it easy for visitors to navigate their way through the temple grounds.

Perfume River

Perfume River spans approximately 80 kilometres in length, flowing from Truong Son Mountain through Hue City Centre and Bang Lang Fork. The river was given its name over 100 years ago, due to the scent of flowers that dropped in the water from upriver orchards. As the strong floral scent was carried through the river during autumnal months, it resulted in locals naming it as Perfume River. Today, it may not smell as fragrant due to modernisation and the increasing number of riverboats but it’s still one of the most popular landmarks in Hue. The waterfront gets very lively in the evening. Local youths often flock to the park to enjoy breathtaking sunset views of Perfume River. The Trang Tien Bridge (Cau Truong Tien) also becomes illuminated with colourful LED lights, resulting in an impressive sight.

Hue Festival

Hue Festival is a biennial celebration that takes place in Hue City. Here you can enjoy an array of cultural events, games, and performances held over the course of a week. Founded in 2000, the festival is held to preserve the traditional customs that have been practiced since the Nguyen Dynasty.

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