Bucket List: Visit Vietnam’s Lesser-Known Forbidden City

The ancient walled fortress of the Imperial City in Huế, Vietnam, is a wonder as stunning as its Chinese counterpart

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Photo: danielcastromaia / Shutterstock.com

Speak of the Forbidden City and grand images of Beijing’s ancient palaces and citadels often come to mind. Not many know about this other hidden Forbidden City in Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. At 520ha, the Imperial City remains the most massive structure ever built in the country.

After the last of the Vietnamese Emperors in 1945, the City was almost entirely destroyed in wars; but when the site was declared a UNESCO site in 1993, its remaining buildings have undergone restoration and preservation.

Despite this, the site still sports the scars of time, war and natural wear that exude a humble but strong stoicism. Here, the history and hidden charm of Vietnam come alive.

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Photo: Chris Howey / Shutterstock.com

How to visit

From Phu Bai International Airport, the Imperial City is accessible via 1A Highway. The entrance fee is 150,000 Vietnamese Dong (about $9) and you may hire an on-site guide for the same cost.

It is recommended for visitors to spend half a day here.

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