Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue

Hue - a familiar destination for both domestic and foreign tourists, still holds unique charms that few people know about.


Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Tay Son Dynasty (1788-1801) and the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). In Hue, tourists often take a tour to the Citadel, visit Thien Mu Pagoda or enjoy the beautiful architecture at the 7 mausoleums of the Nguyen kings. However, besides those famous destinations, Hue still has many other lesser-known but not less attractive places.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Tiger Arena. (Photo: Visit Hue)

Tiger arena & Voi Re temple

Address: Thuy Bieu ward, Hue city

Tiger Arena (Hổ Quyền in Vietnamese) was built in 1830 as a battlefield for elephants and tigers to entertain the kings. The place is the world’s only arena constructed for elephants and tigers and is often called ‘Vietnam’s version of Colosseum.’ The last tiger fight was held in 1904 under king Thanh Thai’s reign.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Tiger Arena. (Photo: VN Express)

The arena is an open-air place surrounded by two brick and stone walls. The battlefield is in a round shape with a diameter of 44 m. The king’s grandstand is located on the north side of the arena, with the area for princes and princes on its left, and the place for officials and soldiers on its right. The arena has 5 tiger cages and a gate for elephants to enter.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Long Chau temple. (Photo: Kien Thuc)

The Voi Re temple (Screaming Elephant Temple) locates near the Tiger Arena. King Gia Long of the Nguyen Dynasty built the temple to worship 4 brave elephants in the Nguyen army. The complex of Screaming Elephant Temple is located on an area of ​​about 2,000 m2, including a Tam Quan gate, Dien lake, Dong Phoi palace, Tay Pho palace, and Long Chau temple. Long Chau temple is the most important building.

According to local folk, before starting a fight in the tiger arena, the elephants were given the water from Dien lake, which was believed to increase their fighting spirit.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Huyen Khong Son Thuong Pagoda. (Photo: My Clownfish)

Huyen Khong Son Thuong pagoda

Address: Huong Ho ward, Hue city

Huyen Khong Son Thuong lies deep in a valley, surrounded by a green pine forest which brings an idle and relaxing vibe. The pagoda is divided into two main spaces: the inner house (where the monks live) and the outer house (to worship the buddhas). The main hall, the pagoda’s most important place, is built of wood in ancient Hue style to worship Shakyamuni Buddha.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Huyen Khong Son Thuong Pagoda. (Photo: Art Travel)

The pagoda’s scene looks like a watercolor painting with the green color of the bamboo surround, the purple color of the water lilies blooming on the lake surface, the reddish-brown color of Bat Trang ceramic tiles. Huyen Khong Son Thuong also has a ‘calligraphy garden’, where the abbots’ works of Buddhist ideas are carefully kept.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Nguyen Lords Mausoleum. (Photo: Zing News)

Nguyen Lords mausoleum

​Address: Huong Tho commune, Hue city

Not as splendid as the 7 mausoleums of the Nguyen kings, the resting place of the Nguyen lords lies quietly amidst the mountains and forests of Hue. After the Tay Son Dynasty ruled Phu Xuan (Hue), the tombs of the Nguyen lords were destroyed. King Gia Long re-built the tombs based on the tomb of Chieu Nghi, the only work still remained at that time.

Each mausoleum consists of 2 walls of equal height, the outer one is built of basalt, the inner is of brick. However, the ups and downs of history have caused the tombs to be seriously degraded.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Chuon lagoon. (Photo: Zing News)

Chuon lagoon

Address: Phu An commune, Phu Vang district, Hue city

Chuon lagoon belongs to Tam Giang – Cau Hai lagoon system, 15 km east of Hue city, where visitors take a short boat trip, feel the salty breeze from the sea and watch the sunrise or sunset on the vast water surface. In addition, tourists can enjoy fresh seafood and local specialties such as fish cakes or turmeric noodles with clams.

Lesser-known Tourist Destinations in Hue
Thanh Toan bridge (Photo: Adventure Journey Vietnam)

Thanh Toan tile bridge

Address: Thuy Thanh commune, Huong Thuy town

Thanh Toan tile-roofed bridge was built from wood in 1776. The work consists of 7 chambers, the middle one worships Tran Thi Dao, who donated money to build the bridge. The bridge has a length of 18 meters, crossing a small branch of Nhu Y river, creating an idyllic and charming rural landscape. Thanh Toan tile bridge still retains its ancient beauty and unique artistic value after times of restoration.