Cycling in Hue Vietnam - review by Rusty Compass
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Cycling in Hue Vietnam

| 08 Mar 2018
Cycling in Hue Vietnam
Our rating
08 Mar 2018

Hue is one of the best places in Vietnam for cycling. You can easily visit the main sights by bike. Head off the man roads to mellow lanes for deeper exploration of one of our favourite places. Or take a longer ride to Gia Long’s tomb, or along the coast to Thuan An beach and beyond.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Hue is one of our favourite places for cycling in Vietnam. You can easily do the main sites by bicycle. And you can rent good bikes in Hue too - something surprisingly rare in Vietnam. The main roads may be getting busier, but it’s easy to find quiet lanes filled with historical and architectural gems spanning Nguyen Dynasty, colonial and post-colonial times.

Here are a few of our favourite cycling itineraries, from short rides, to more intensive expeditions.

For more on each specific place, check out our Hue see and do listings.

Cycling Hue's garden houses
Photo: Mark Bowyer Cycling Hue's garden houses

Renting a bike in Hue

Hue is one of the only places in Vietnam where reasonable quality bikes are available for rent. Most hotels offer basic bikes which are ok for short rides. You’ll be better off on a bike with gears for some of the longer cycles. These two places are located close by the traveller triangle Pham Ngo Lao and Vo Thi Sau and rent hybrids and mountain bikes with gears.

We rented mediocre mountain bikes with gears for 100K VND from Kangaroo Cafe. They weren’t great but they got us around OK.
31 Vo Thi Sau St, Hue

Hue Smile Travel rents quality mountain bikes and hybrids that are properly maintained for 200K VND per day. They also offer bike tours.
40A/42 Nguyen Cong Tru Street, Hue City

Hue Cycling itinerary 1 - The main sights - Citadel - Garden Houses - Thien Mu Pagoda - easy (includes longer extension).

Head across the French colonial era Trang Tien Bridge to Hue Citadel - the centrepiece historical sight of the city. Take a ride around the citadel perimeter for a sense of its scale. We love exploring the lanes around the citadel too.

After visiting the citadel, head along the Perfume River towards An Hien Garden House. Stop by for a look at an 1895 traditional house and temple set in stunning gardens.

Head a little further along to the 17th century Thien Mu Pagoda - perhaps the most beautiful spiritual structure in Vietnam. Try and avoid the crowds. 

If you’re taking a short ride, head back from here, crossing the Da Vien Bridge. You can check out Hue’s cool colonial era railway station and the Quoc Hoc, National School on Le Loi St. This ride will total around 15 to 20 kms kms allowing for diversions.

If you want to do some more serious riding, continue to Minh Mang Tomb and then back via Khai Dinh’s tomb to make this a more extensive day of cycling. You can also pass by the ruins of Nam Giao - the spiritual heart of the Nguyen Dynasty. This ride will total around 40 - 50 kms allowing for diversions.

Hue Cycling Itinerary 2 - The long ride - The main sights above and Gia Long’s Tomb

Embark on itinerary 1 and then from Minh Mang’s Tomb, head out to Gia Long’s tomb. Gia Long was the first Nguyen Dynasty king. His tomb sees few visitors and is in a beautiful setting.  Gia Long’s tomb is around 8kms from Minh Mang’s tomb (18kms from Hue). Depending on diversions, this itinerary will come in at around 50 - 60kms.

Hue Cycling Itinerary 3 - Alternative Hue - Churches, Pagodas, Schools, markets and cool streets

Head along the Perfume River to Quoc Hoc School - Hue’s National School. Many of Vietnam’s most important historical figures, including Ho Chi Minh, were schooled here. You may not be able to get in - but it’s well worth a look - a colonial complex with incredible history. The memorial to Vietnamese lives lost in WWI - directly opposite - is a reminder of the toll of French colonial rule.

From here, head away from the river to the main Hue Catholic Cathedral.

From the Cathedral head to the former royal residence Cung An Dinh on Phan Dinh Phung St.

From Phan Dinh Phung St, head back to Hue centre and across the Trang Tien Bridge aka. Truong Tien Bridge and head right. Pop into Dong Ba Market for a look before random exploration of the Chi Lang area and Bach Dang St. There’s lots of architecture, temples and street food to explore in all these places. Chi Lang area was Chinatown in old Hue.

Itinerary 4 - Thuan An beach and beyond.

This is an open journey of exploration. There are lots of things to see between Hue and the coast - rice paddies, villages, fading temples and some spectacular waterways. The beach itself is OK. Head south if you’ve got the energy. Thuan An Beach is around 12 kms from Hue via direct route. Take country lanes for a slower more enjoyable ride.

Cycling tours in Hue

We did a cycling tour with Slow Travel Hue. They specialise in cultural touring options in Hue. The tour was interesting and informative. The guide and bike were good. This was a casual cycling tour.

Disclosure: We were invited guests on this tour - we did not pay. The owner of Slow Travel Hue is a business acquaintance. We only ever list things we recommend.

You can contact them here.

Safety warning

Hue may be one of the safest places to cycle in Vietnam, but Vietnam’s roads are dangerous and many of Hue's major roads are becoming busier.  Be careful.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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