Hue is intimately connected to the Imperial Nguyen Dynasty, based in Hue, who ruled from 1802 to 1945, when the Emperor Bao Dai abdicated in favor of Ho Chi Minh’s revolutionary government. The city went through tough times during the Vietnam War, when it was conquered by the Viet Cong and held for 24 days, during which the VC slaughtered around 1,000 people suspected for sympathizing with the South, and then subject to an American bombing campaign to retake the city. The cities top tourist attraction is the Imperial Citadel which is visably falling apart due to this war time destruction. The city is located on the Perfume River where you can take dragon boat rides through the city and out into the countryside where a few temple ruins remind of a pre-communist era. Much of the riverside has wisely been done up as a pleasant promenade and park dotted with bizarre sculptures. Throughout the old part of town there are many beautiful little shops and a rather hilarious museum vilifying the American War.
Hue is a great spot to spend the day but don’t plan on staying here more than one night as a layover on your way to Hanoi when traveling North.