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Staying a slow life in Huế

As a world-famous Buddhist teacher from Huế once said, “If you want to live deeply, you have to live slowly.’ People from Huế strive to live life toward that ideal. For visitors, there are ample opportunities to deepen the experience with access to nature, fresh and healthy food, and meditations on the region’s beautiful landscape.
Từ Hiếu Pagoda
Mind every footstep you make in the serene garden of Từ Hiếu, the root pagoda of the world-famous Vietnamese Zen master Thích Nhất Hạnh, to feel the state of ‘Peace is every step’(*). Walking meditation takes place every morning in the pagoda’s courtyard.
In Thủy Xuân Commune. About 6 km away from the city center of Huế.
(*) Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh’s quote.
Hương River overlooked from Vọng Cảnh Hill
Vọng Cảnh, which literally means ‘viewing landscape’, is the best hill top in Huế to survey the sampans traveling up and down the Hương River (more commonly known to Westerners as the Perfume River). This vista is framed by imposing mountains and lush gardens, made all the more glorious by sunset. This hill inspires photographers, poets and sunset seekers. A short walk from here is the majestic yet elegant architectural complex of Emperor Tự Đức’s Tomb.
In Thủy Xuân Commune. About 7 km away from the city center of Huế.
Tam Giang Lagoon
Stretching 70 km length along the coast, Tam Giang – Cầu Hai is the largest lagoon system in South East Asia. Fishermen harvest brackish water shrimp and fish from the ample lagoons, while pristine barrier beaches beckon the leisure set. There are ruins of the Champa Kingdom at Phú Diên Tower by the coast, and three-hundred-year-old Thánh Duyên Pagoda on Mount Túy Vân, overlooking Cầu Hai.
Tam Giang Lagoon is about 20 km away from the city center to the North-East, while Cầu Hai Lagoon is about 60 km away to the South-East.
Thanh Toàn Bridge
Wooden Thanh Toàn Bridge offers sitting areas overlooking verdant paddy fields and serves as a relaxing stop for travelers and a window on your future if you consult, in English, with an old local woman who was once married to an American. Travelers who understand Vietnamese will be entertained with poems about Thanh Toàn composed and wholeheartedly read by a beverage sales lady.
Thanh Toàn Village, Thủy Thanh Commune, Hương Thủy District. About 8 km away from the center city of Huế.
Đông Ba Market
Go local by riding an engine boat from Đập Đá (Stone Dam) across Hương River to Đông Ba Market, the most bustling, traditional market in Huế. You can find everything here – from a needle to an elephant. After challenging your bargaining skills with the persuasive sellers, why not sit down on a low plastic stool to try some chè or bánh – Huế specialties while the chaos swirls on around you.
On Trần Hưng Đạo Street.
Nem rán - a signature dish at Bội Trân s Garden
Many famous contemporary Vietnamese artists’ works are displayed at Bội Trân’s Garden, a complex of three traditional nhà rường (panel houses) and a highlander nhà sàn (stilt house). This fragrant garden with one-hundred-year-old frangipani trees and lovely lotus ponds on lush Thiên An Hill is not only a fantastic backdrop for fine art but also for delicate home meals with Huế royal cuisine, local specialties, and especially vegetarian feasts for herbivore diners.
On Thiên An Hill, Thủy Bằng Commune, Hương Thủy District
Tel: +84 54 388 4453 / +84 54 222 1168
Beautiful egg cups made from recycled telephone wire
Shop for a good cause at Healing the Wounded Heart Shop where beautiful recycled and traditional souvenirs are hand-made by clever and friendly young deaf and mute artisans. As well, relax with a cup of fruit & flower tea – their signature drink in the cozy bamboo-furniture space indoor or on the patio of their brand new tea room.
Healing the Wounded Heart Shop and Tea Room
23 Võ Thị Sáu Street
Tel: +84 54 381 7643
La Residence Hotel & Spa (A photo courtesy of La Residence Hotel & Spa)
The art décor ambiance of La Residence Hotel & Spa is one of the reasons this hotel rank’s as the city’s finest. Built in 1930, the hotel won world-renown in 2007 when Conde Nast Traveler called out the hotel on its prestigious Hot List. Breakfast on the terrace of the hotel’s restaurant Le Parfum, or sip cocktails by the swimming pool in the verdant garden overlooking the iconic Trường Tiền Bridge and Huế Imperial City. Meanwhile, the river life courses by as the sampans beat up and down fabled Hương River.
La Residence Hotel & Spa
5 Lê Lợi Street
Tel: +84 54 383 7475

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