You will be picked up from your hotel by cyclo and head straight to Dai Noi, the ‘Old City’. Tinh Tam Lake is where the Emperors used to come to relax; often full of lotus flowers during the summer months, and now surrounded by Vietnamese-style coffee shops, where university students come to debate and study. Continue by cyclo to Tay Loc Market – a local market, rarely visited by tourists. From here you switch transport to a regular vehicle and head to a beautiful pagoda which dates back to 1843, situated in a forest of pine trees and once a monastery which was home to a famous Zen master. One of the most fascinating parts of this pagoda are the eunuch tombs from the former Royal Court. If you are fortunate enough to be in Hue on either a Thursday or Sunday (between 0900-1000) you can join up to 20 Buddhist monks and nuns who gather together to pray and read aloud from scriptures.
The next stop is Ho Quyen, an arena where duels between elephants and tigers were fought for the entertainment of the Kings. The last fight was held here in 1904 and although small, you can climb the nearby ramparts and see the area where the poor animals were obliged to fight. Last but not least, you visit the Royal Antiquities Museum – a beautiful ancient house restored as a museum and home to a a collection of ornaments from dynastic times.
The tour can be taken either in the morning or afternoon.