A journey on Perfume River

A trip aboard a ‘royal boat’ on the Huong (Perfume) River is a great way to discover the historic town of Hue.

The central town of Hue is well known for its dragon boat trips along the Huong (Perfume) River. It is a great way to learn about the unique culture and history of the central region. On most trips, visitors can travel via these boats to visit the Nguyen Kings’ mausoleums while enjoying ca Hue (traditional Hue singing).

The Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) was the last monarchy of Vietnam and for a truly royal experience, visitors can opt to take a special royal boat adapted from the dynasty’s Yen Nhu boat. This type of vessel was featured at the Legend of Huong River Festival, part of Festival Hue 2008.

Compared with ordinary dragon boats that serve tourists, the royal boat is much bigger. It is 27 meters long, seven meters wide, and nearly six meters tall with seating for 120 people. Spectacular dragons and tigers are carved into the boat’s wooden floor and railings.

The cruise begins at Nghinh Luong Dinh Quay and lasts one and a half hours from 7 p.m. every night. On the voyage, visitors travel along the Huong River, from Truong Tien to Bach Ho bridges. The boat cruises gently past several scenic areas of Hue while traditional cuisine is served with musical accompaniment.

The trip is also enhanced by drama performances including royal songs, time-honored dances and poetry readings. Visitors can also share in the fun by trying on costumes like that worn by the kings and royal family during gala dinners.

Guests are sure to enjoy an evening of floating along the peaceful river while learning about royal culture and history.

A royal boat trip costs a base rate of VND50,000 (US$2.90) with optional activities costing more.