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Thua Thien Hue



Ngu Binh Mountain :
This is one of the best sights for scenic beauty in Hue. It has another name of Bang Son, three kilometers from the royal city of Hue. Ngu Binh is a trapezium figure. The top of Ngu Binh mountain is flat, 103 meters above sea level. From a distance, visitors can see the mountain range as a massive curtain protecting the imperial city of Hue from storms and strong winds. Together with the Huong (berfume) River, Ngu Binh mountain is a symbol of Hue.

Duong No Village :
This is the place where President Ho Chi Minh lived in his childhood.  Duong No village is about six kilometers east of Hue.

Dieu De Pagoda :
The pagoda is located at 100 Bach Dang street, Phu Cat district, in Hue city.

It was built by King Thieu Tri in 1844 on the platform (5,000m2) of his old residence, where he was born in 1807. The pagoda was constructed on a large scale, but was badly damaged during the successive wars. In 1889, Bonze Tam Truyen was granted fund by King Thanh Thai to restore the pagoda, but once again, it was badly damaged during a storm, in 1904. The present construction was made in 1953. The pagoda includes a main sanctuary with two statues of the Eight Vajra Deities. Behind the pagoda is a guest-room and a kitchen. In the courtyard stand a stele house and a bell tower. The two-storey entrance gate is topped with Dhamma Guardian's pavilion.  Located between Dong Ba and Gia Hoi bridge, the pagoda attracts many visitors.  Dieu De was the third site listed by King Thieu Tri in the 20 beauty spots of Hue.

Hermitage Bien Duc Thien An :
The Hermitage Bien Duc Thien An, usually name Thien Duc Hermitage, has been founded in Summer 1940 by the Bien Duc French hermits with the name of Thien An (Peace from Heaven). The Hermitage is situated on the Thien An Hill - the name of the hill comes from that of the Hermitage. Before the hermitage managed also an infirmary and a school; the students by now have become cadres mainly of the locality. To day the hermitage is only a place for religious formation.

The hermitage is surrounded by a quiet pine forest, situated between the tomb of Thieu Tri and that of Ming Mang, about 6 km from the ancient capital Hue, in the South - Western direction. Walking in this Thien An pine hill, the tourist would think he is somewhere in the forests around Da Lat. Here is the Thuy Tien lake, and there the Luu Ly lake, all this contribute to enhance the charm, the poetic and dreamy spell of the Thien An hill, making it a tourism and entertainment site, and a picnicking zone for schoolboys and students.

The heritage with this quiet and silent environment helps its members to deepen in their religious meditations, and also creates more favourable conditions to all those who come here to fray and search for peace of mind.

"Ho Quyen" - Tiger's Arena :
Ho Quyen was the arena where duels between elephants and tigers were arranged for the entertainment of the Emperor, the royal family and mandarins..

Ho Quyen was built in 1830 on the south bank of the Perfume river and 4 km from the citadel. It is a unique construction, open air and solidly built as a citadel. The coliseum consists of two concentric circles built with bricks and mortar. The first staircase with 20 steps was exclusively reserved for the

Emperor and royal family leading up to the rectangular tribune with the surface of 96m sq. the height of 1.5m in comparison with the path surface. Looking down from the tribune, people can see the cavity with the coliseum. The second staircase, with 15 steps was used by the soldiers and the common people leading up to the earthen part. Between the two staircases is a big entrance 1.9 m wide and 3.9 m high for the elephants to enter the coliseum.

The way running around above this curved door is narrowed into a small bridge across the curved door. Under it is a big two-wing wooden door with stone hinges which still remain undamaged.

Opposite to the tribune for the Emperor on the other side of the arena are five cages for tigers and leopards. Above the middle cage is a stone sign inscribed the two Chinese words "HO QUYEN".

The duel between elephants and tigers is a long standing entertainment for Emperors and Lords.

In the old time, the duels HO QUYEN were held once a year. The last one was organized here in 1904 in Thanh Thai's reign.
The Tiger's arena is a unique architectural work rarely found in South East Asia.

Though it is not as huge as the arenas of the Emperor Romance but it still bears an outstanding figure and creates a martial and imposing atmosphere.

Hon Chen Temple :
Standing just on the bank of the Perfume River inclined to poetic dreams and 10 km upstream of Hue, the Hon Chen temple for cult of Po Nagar, the Goddess of the ancient Cham minority. After then, the Vietnamese continued the cult and name the Goddess as Heaven Goddess Y A Na.

This temple for Goddess appeared in this place centuries ago, but with a very simple design, and after then, reconstructed with a larger and more beautiful architectural scale in 1886.

The Hon Chen temple is situated at a lovely site seated on the slope of the mountain Ngoc Tran (Jade - cup) with sheer cliff and mirroring in the deep blue water of the Perfume River.

Hue Quoc Hoc School :
Quoc Hoc High school was founded pursuant to the royal decree dated September 17th 1896 (the 8th year of Thanh Thai reign) and the decree on November 18th 1896 of the French Resident-Superior in Indochina. The school was built on the site of a former squadron headquarter - a royal navy headquarters (1806 or the 5th year of Gia Long's reign).

Quoc Hoc High school was founded in order to train those who would serve the feudal colonial government, so in the study curricula then, French was the main subject. The conditions of the students accepted by Quoc Hoc High school:

- The sons of the King's relatives.
- The sons of royal families.
- The mandarin's sons.
- The students of Thanh Nhon school and Quoc Tu Giam school.

In 1915, when the decree annulling Emperor ancient exam in the province and the ancient exam of the capital in the North was issued, Quoc Hoc High school was rebuilt. The rows of thatch roofed apartments were torn down and replaced by two rows of buildings, the walls made of brick, the roof covered with tiles. It was solid, and comfortable according to the western European architecture. Most of the architectures are still extant.

In 1932, the school opened many specialized classes and its name was changed into Khai Dinh Lycee. During the resistance against French Colonialists on December 19th 1946, the school was moved into two places and followed the resistance.

- One branch: the 1st stage with the name "Binh Tri Thien school" was situated in Huong Khe, Ha Tinh province.

- The branch of 2nd stage school with the name "Huynh Thuc Khang school", was situated in Duc Tho, Ha Tinh Province. The branch returned to Hue after ten years of interruption, and was occupied by colonialists as a barrack on April 29th 1955, the school was restored and has resumed normal operation.

Museums in Hue

Ho Chi Minh Museum (Branch in Hue) :
Museum opens  everyday (except Sunday) :
              - Morning: 7h30' - 11h30'               - Add: 6  Le Loi street, Hue
              - Evening: 13h30' - 16h30'               - Tel: 054.822152 - 820445

Ho Chi Minh museum is arranged in a two-storey building on Le Loi Street looking over 8the lovely Perfume River. Many exhibits and pictures about the life and revolutionary activities of President Ho Chi Minh are displayed here, especially introduce the ten years He lived in Hue.

A visit to Ho Chi Minh museum will help tourists to understand more about the life and 88the career of President Ho Chi Minh, the venerable leader of Vietnam, to understand more about the unlimited esteem of the people of Thua Thien-Hue to Uncle Ho.

Imperial Museum :
Add: 3 Le Truc street 

The Imperial Museum of Hue is a gallery of antiques displaying collections of bronze, pottery, chinaware, Phap Lam enamel, court robes, head-gear and personal belongings of former Vietnam Emperors.        

It is a 7-compartment, 2-bay building constructed in the "double" architecture, originally called the Long An Palace (Emperor's Security) in the Bao Dinh Residence of Tay Loc precinct. When French troops took Bao Dinh Residence for their headquarters in 1885, Long An Palace was removed and materials were stored. But, in 1909, by order of Emperor Duy Tan, they were moved to the present-day site (3 Le Truc St.) where was built the New Library and Office of Association of Friends of Old Hue.

It served later as the Khai Dinh Museum in Emperor Khai Dinh's time, in 1923. The building (former Long An Palace) housing the museum is a monument of remarkable value. The Wooden panels are covered with 35 poems and essays composed by Emperor Thieu Tri.

Phu Cam Main Cathedral :
Phu Cam main Cathedral is situated at Phuoc Vinh, Hue City. The Cathedral was built with modern architecture, designed by the architect Ngo Viet Duc.

In early 1963, the construction of the Cathedral was built. To 1967 only the Saint Palace was built and then to 1965, the Cathedral was basically completed.  Phu Cam cathedral was built by new concept of physical structure. Supporting pillars were concreted closely attached to the walls and gradually and supplely bended ahead. The three supporting pillars at each of four corners stretch out and create a fairly large space to embrace the whole of Saint Palace and Saint Altar.

The interior of the Cathedral was built following classical tradition with Latin Holy Cross and two opening doors. There are two row of colour glass windows located in the upper interior of the Cathedral and in the middle, there is a Holy Cross made of steel and concrete.

The Saint Palace is a round shape with foot steps and on the top there is a smaller round shape with the altar made of marble bloc. Temporary house was closely built to the backstage of the cathedral fitted in the concave part behind and settle on a high platform in the center.

In the two wings of the crucifix, there is the tomb of the former archbishop Philipe Nguyen Kim Dien (1921-1988) in the left and in the opposite right - the altar for presenting the Saint.

In front of the Phu Cam main cathedral there are two moulding statues: the Saint Phero is in the right, and in the left is Saint Paulo and other missionaries of the Phu Cam diocese. The open-space of Phu Cam main cathedral looks like an opening-mouth-dragon and in general Phu Cam cathedral with its top perpendicularly stretching to the sky is very purified and full of artistic and religious characters.


The Cathedral was built in 1937 and completed in 1942. The Cathedral located at the end of Nguyen Hue street, in Hue City.

The particular architecture of the cathedral is its large doors without partitions. The verandah of the Cathedral is largely designed in order to make who ever stay in the verandah, feel that they were in the interior of the church.

Main altar is made of rose marble and its bloc is 3.6m long, 1.25 m wide and 2.8 m high. Near by the main altar, there are two smaller ones also made of rose marble in bloc. In the Cathedral, there are dums, gongs deeply characterizing East-Asian characters.

Beyond the verandah, there is a small room to maintain remains of dead Christians ashes in small earthenware for worshipping (with burning incense stick).

The campanile consists of four bells operated by electricity. The Cathedral of the Redeemer has its pointed cone stretching out to the sky and its main roof is covered by tiles, all of those show the combination of western and eastern architecture in design and construction. This is a cathedral of fine architecture in Hue City.

Thien Mu Pagoda :
The name of the pagoda comes from a legend: a long ago, an old woman appeared on the hill where the pagoda stands today. She told local people that a Lord would come and build a Buddhist pagoda for the country's prosperity. Lord Nguyen Hoang, on hearing that, ordered the construction of the pagoda of the "Heavenly Lady".

The pagoda is situated on Ha Khe hill, on the left bank of the Perfume River, in Huong Long village, 5km from Hue city.

It was built in 1601, and then Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan had it renovated in 1665. In 1710, Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu had a great bell cast (2.5m high, 3.285kg) and in 1715, he had a stele (2.58 m high) erected on the back of a marble tortoise.

Several kings of the Nguyen Dynasty such as Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri and Thanh Thai, all had the pagoda restored. Phuoc Duyen tower (at first called Tu Nhan tower) was erected in 1884 by King Thieu Tri. This octagonal tower has seven storeys (2m high). Dai Hung shrine, the main-hall, presents a magnificent architecture. As well as bronze cast statues, it shelters some precious antiques: the bronze gong cast in 1677, the wooden gilded board with Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu's inscriptions (1714). On both sides of the pagoda are a room for the bonzes and a guest-room for visitors.

The pagoda is surrounded by flowers and ornamental plants. At the far end of the garden stretches a calm and romantic pine-tree forest.

The pagoda was heavily damaged in 1943. Bonze Thich Don Hau hence organized a great renovation of the pagoda, that lasted for more than 30 years.

Nowadays the pagoda is very well-maintained and very welcoming to all visitors.

Tu Dam Pagoda :
Tu Dam pagoda is one of the biggest pagodas in Hue. The pagoda was founded at the end of the 17th century (in about 1695) by the Venerable Minh Hoang Tu Dung, a Chinese who belonged to the 34th sect of the Lam Te school of Zen. He was the high-ranking monk who taught and gave the certification to monk Lieu Quan, the Buddhist initiator of Vietnam in the South.

Tu Dam pagoda is now in the district of Truong An, on a beautiful piece of land: high, wide and flat. The pagoda is only 2km from the centre of Hue city, along Dien Bien Phu street, across Nam Giao Bridge up to the end of the first slope. The pagoda has a south-east orientation. Kim Phung mount in the front served as a natural wind-screen. Linh Quang pagoda and the temple dedicated to respectable patriot Phan Boi Chau stand on the left, and Thien Minh pagoda, in the back.

Tu Dam is not the biggest nor the oldest pagoda in the country, but it is famous and nationally known for its important role in the process of development of Buddhism, and the struggle for peace and for freedom of religion.

Tu Dam pagoda was designed following the model of a conference pagoda (Chua Hoi). The old and new architectures blend together creating spacious and harmonious elements. The three main parts of the pagoda are the three entrance gate, the main sanctuary and the conference House.

The gate is high and wide with a tiled roof. Just inside the gate is a big bodhi tree, providing shadow all year around. As a branch, this bodhi tree was taken right from the bodhi tree under which Buddha reached Nirvana. Mrs Karpeies, Head of the French Buddhist Association, brought it back from India as a present offered to the pagoda and planted it there in 1936. The pagoda yard was built on a very large surface so that it can provide enough space for thousands of people. Every year, on Buddha's birthday, it is a gathering place where many important and most crowded festivals of Hue’s Buddhists take place.

The main sanctuary consists of a service hall and an ancestors' altar. The service hall was built on a marble foundation 1.5m high with an old style roof forming a towering and impressive pagoda. On the edge and top of the roof are many curving, gentle, symmetric pairs of dragons creating a well-balanced and harmonious beauty. Under the ancient roof are frescoes telling Buddha’s stories. Many long couplets are hung on the pillars of the Service hall. The building is flanked by two stele and drum towers.

Tu Dam pagoda worships one Buddha only, so that its appointments are rather simpler than that of other pagodas in Hue. In the temple, there is a Buddha Sakyamuni sitting on a lotus pedestal. There are an ancestors’ altar house and a monks’ house behind the main temple. The two storey Conference Hall is large and wide building with 10 rooms to meet the requirements of a conference pagoda.

Tu Hieu Pagoda :
The pagoda is located at Duong Xuan Thuong III hamlet, in Thuy Xuan village, 5km southwest of Hue. It faces the southeast and uses Ngu Binh mount as a front screen.

The pagoda was originally a small hut built by Nhat Dinh in 1843, who was formerly recognized by royal authority as the monk of Giac Hoang Pagoda. In 1848, the pagoda was restored by monk Cung Ky with the help of the king's eunuchs and courtiers. Tu Hieu hence became a large pagoda.

In 1894, it was rebuilt by Cuong Ky with the support of King Thanh Thai and the King's eunuchs created the half-moon lake. In 1962, the pagoda was renovated by Most Ven. Chon Thiet. And in 1971 the three entrance gate and the staff houses were rehabilitated by senior monk Chi Niem. 

The pagoda was built in the shape of the Chinese character "Khau" (mouth), with the main building consisting of three rooms and two wings. The main sanctuary is devoted to the worship of Buddha. Behind there is a room honoring former monks of the pagoda. Across a courtyard, the Quang Hieu Duong Hall houses an altar dedicated to local Buddhist devotees on the right, another to the deity Quan Cong in the center, and a third to the eunuchs on the left. A separate altar in this hall honors Le Van Duyet, an outstanding mandarin during the reign of Emperor Gia Long. On the left side of the courtyard are the living quarters of the monks (Ta Lac Thien) and to Tu Hieu right is the guest-house (Huu Ai Nhat).

The entrance gate to the pagoda is a curved two storey structure. On the second storey, a statue of the guardian spirit Ho Phap protects the pagoda. Inside the gate is a crescent-lotus pond. On both sides of the courtyard are stele houses engraved with the history of the pagoda.

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