The Perfume River or the Huong River is a popular tourist destination in Hue. It is 30 kilometers long and found in the middle of two springs that both originate from the Truong Son Mountain: the Ta Trach on the left tributary and the Huu Trach from the right tributary. The Ta Trach runs North-West from the mountain through 55 waterfalls and slows down to Bang Lang Fork. The Huu Trach flows South-North from the mountain through 14 waterfalls and Tuan ferry until it reaches the Bang Lang Fork. The Bang Lang Fork where the two springs meet is where the Perfume River is formed.
The river makes a beautiful sight and with the mountain breeze and the smell of plants and mountain trees coming from its water source, the river brings with it the smell of the mountains too. And this is probably why the river was named “Perfume River”.
From the Bang Lang Fork, the river flows through verdant trees and the small villages of Vy Da, Gia Hoi, Kim Long, Dong Ba, Nguyet Bieu, Dinh, Nam Pho and the Bao Vinh.
Nearby, the Ngu Binh Mountain provides a magnificent backdrop with its symmetrical shape. Together, the mountain and the river offer a marvelous view to visitors of Hue. Often, tourists refer to Hue as “the land of the Perfume River and the Ngu Binh Mountain”.
From both sides of the river, from the Citadel, the gardens, pagodas, fortress and temples, the view of the river is also breathtaking. The reflections from the water inspire romance and whimsical imagination. The poetic emotions roused by the river are what most believe to be the reason why Hue is perceived as a peaceful, quiet and a sleepy city by many tourists. And Hue is indeed a tranquil city, seemingly oblivious to the modern changes happening all around it.
In the morning, the blue waters appear iridescent under the sun, and in the night, the waters shimmer under the bright silver glaze of the moon. With boats rowing up and down the river and the melodious sound of the rivers gently flowing, the river is truly mesmerizing.
This is why boat tours along the Perfume River are very popular and tours that you should not miss when you’re in Hue. The river tour will take you through small fishing villages like the Gia Vien and then to several fortress, precincts, hamlets, pagodas, towers and temples. From the river, these cultural and religious sites appear very mysterious and often quite breathtaking. The mirrored images of these structures on the waters contribute to making the river truly fascinating.
Overall, the Perfume River is a must-visit, even if it’s just a river. With the river running through the city too, the boat trip would be a great addition to your itinerary. So, if you’re in Hue, and especially when you’re traveling with your partner, a trip down the river could be very romantic and magical. You should go and discover for yourself why it’s one of the reasons people find Hue lovely and charming.