Hue is famous for its royal relics and also for its romantic scenery. The Huong (Perfume) river and Ngu mountain typify Hue’s romanticism.
Hue people say it is the Huong (Perfume) river that makes Hue beautiful and romantic. The 80-km river begins in the Truong Son range, zigzags through the mountains, crosses Hue city, and flows through the Tam Giang lagoon emptying into the Thuan An estuary.
The river was called Linh Giang, Thien Tra, Dai Giang, Huong Tra, Lo Dung, Dinh, and Yen Luc before it was named the Huong (Perfume) river.
Hue researcher Phan Thuan An said, “There have been different theories about the origin of the name Huong river. I lean toward the name Huong Tra, the name of a local district because a river often bears the name of an area that it runs through. Previously, Phu Xuan-Hue belonged to the Huong Tra district, so I think they named the river after the district. They might have called it Huong Tra and later shortened it to Huong”.
There’s another theory that the river owes its name to the fact that it flows through many forests of aromatic plants before reaching Hue, bringing with it a fresh aroma.
The river flows through a series of scenic spots, taking visitors traveling by boat to every corner of the ancient citadel. Tourists visit Da Vien, Phu Xuan, and Truong Tien bridge, the Tomb of Minh Mang, Hon Chen Shrine, Thien Mu Pagoda, and finally to go for a swim and enjoy seafood at Thuan An beach. Upstream, at the Tomb of Thien Tho, the sound of rustling pine trees may inspire you to create poem!
When night comes, the surface of the river glistens the moonlight, and only the songs of the boat rowers breaks the silence. Possibly the most popular attraction in this romantic city, a boat ride on the Huong river is included in most Hue city tours or day trips.
Ngu Binh Mountain is another gift of nature, that teams up with the Huong river as a symbol of Hue. People often call Hue- the Huong River- Ngu Binh Mountain area. Ngu Binh Mountain, also known as Ngu Mountain, Hon Mo, or Bang mountain stands 105 meters high on the right bank of the Huong river. It is about 4 kilometers south of Hue city. Ngu Binh is flanked by two smaller mountains: Ta Phu Son and Huu Bat Son.
The mountains are covered with pine forests which are green all year round. Many tourists come here to enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Hoang Thi Bich Hanh, a guide with Sinhcafe Tourist, said “On a nice day, from Ngu Binh Mountain, you can see the whole city with the sparking palace, ancient pagoda and the peaceful Huong River. From here, you can see the hills, pine forests and vast plains of Huong Thuy, Phu Vang and Huong Tra district and farther off the Truong Son range- a breathtaking picture”.