Located on the banks of the Perfume River in central Vietnam, the historic city of Hue was the national capital for 170 years, until the abdication of Emperor Bao Dai in 1945, when the capital was moved to Hanoi.
The centrepiece of the original walled citadel was the Forbidden Purple City, where only the Emperor, his closes aides and his concubines where permitted to enter. A death sentence awaited anyone foolish enough to enter uninvited. Alas little remains of original Forbidden City, following years of neglect and the Battle of Hue in 1968, one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War, fought during the Tet Offensive. In recent years, however, reconstruction work has started to restore some of the central walled citadel.
The surrounding area is full of constant reminders of the Vietnam War and some fascinating, if perhaps a little harrowing, day tours out of the city include the DMZ, the Vinh Moc Tunnels and the infamous Khe Sanh airbase.
But there is so much more to discover here, if you take the time to explore the city on foot. The Dong Ba Market is highly recommended as is a trip on one of the many boats pottering along the Perfume River and wrap it all up by sampling some of the best cuisine in the nation.
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