The Perfume River (Song Huong River)—so-called due to the aroma released by blooming flowers in autumn—provides visitors with a wealth of activities. The river affords spectacular photo opportunities at sunrise and sunset, and it is flanked by cycle and walking paths that offer a cooling escape from the humidity of Hue.
Most one-day Hue sightseeing tours—which provide an easy way for travelers to visit more attractions in less time—include a cruise on the Perfume River by dragon boat, an ornate vessel that resembles its namesake. Travelers can combine sailing on the Perfume River with a visit to the famous Citadel (Da Noi) and the Thien Mu Pagoda, a 7-tiered temple on the banks of the river.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A must for nature lovers and history buffs.
- If you’re visiting the river at sunset, make sure you use plenty of insect repellent, as mosquitoes are rife at dusk.
- Prices for dragon boat rides vary greatly so be prepared to barter if the initial price seems unreasonable.
How to Get There
The river divides the city in two, so wherever your Hue accommodation is located, you’re probably close to the river. You can reach the river by bike, bicycle-rickshaw, or taxi. If you’re visiting from Hoi An or Da Nang for the day, trains to Hue run regularly and take about one and a half hours.
When to Get There
During autumn, when blossoms emit a sweet smell, the river is at its most beautiful. Visiting at sunset allows you to watch the city change from day to night and, if you’re lucky, you may even spot some fireflies in the mangroves.
Cycling Along the Perfume River
For active travelers, cycling along the Perfume River is a must. The route, which benefits from the cool river breezes, passes the ancient Thien Mu Pagoda, emerald rice paddies, and elaborate tombs. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also make a stop at an abandoned water park.