Hue city is said to be a peaceful and dreamy picture of Vietnam. Poetic, romantic and the city of World Heritage are names visitors give for it. However, the picture is not perfect if do not have the highlight of this picture. It is Perfume River or Song Huong as Vietnamese call.
Perfume River is a river crossing the city of Hue, looking like “a silver sword upright to the sky”, it becomes invaluable symbol of Hue city over the centuries.
Why is it called the Perfume River?
There are many interesting legends around the name of Huong River. One of the most famous legend and almost people believe is that the scent of flowers which dropped in the water from upriver orchards. It makes the river have fragrant aroma like perfume, so the locals called Perfume River.
Perfume River derives from Truong Son Mountain but has two sources. The left one ( Ta Trach) flows from Truong Dong mounts through 55 majestic waterfalls, and then slowly passes Bang Lang Fork. The shorter right tributary (Huu Trach) crosses over 14 impressive waterfalls, flows through Tuan ferry. Consequently, it meets the left source in Bang Lang Fork, forming a poetic Perfume River.
The river is not too long. The total length of Perfume River is only 100 km from upstream source to estuary. But from Bang Lang Fork to Thuan An estuary is about 30 km. Because the river level is not much above the sea level. It runs very gently and slowly from Bang Lang through villages, historical sites, into the heart of Hue city. And then stream continue to countryside and downstream before reaching the sea. Perfume River is said to be like a romantic and mysterious Hue’s girl, flow gently, but sometimes flows fiercely as obstinate girl.
The beauty of Perfume River
Perfume River is well-known belonging to only Hue city. The beauty of Perfume River is the beauty of nature, culture, history and Hue people.
The beauty of nature
The river is beautiful from its source. It carries wild and liberal beauty that no longer places have. It winds among mountains, forest, trees, plants, etc, bringing powerful song of old forest as well as gentle of red pinkster flower. Leaving from the upstream of river, slowly running through villages to reach to peaceful Hue city. Get out of wild girl, but it becomes romantic and gentle girl. It escapes the darkness color when winding along foot of Ngoc Tran mount- the Jade Cup temple, put on itself by blue water. Until meet the sound of bell of Thien Mu pagoda, the blue color twinkles like sapphires under the sun. It flows and scents with the scent of flower through Kim Long, Nguyet Bieu, Vi Da, Dong Ba…
The beauty of culture
Most of famous historical sites and architecture of Hue city lies on two sides of the river with citadels, pagodas, towers and temples…. It reflects into water in Perfume River, which makes it huge all culture of Hue city inside. The beauty of Perfume River is not only in words, but in literature, poetry, music, painting and films. Specially, it’s pretty is described in “Who put the name for River” of Hoang Phu Ngoc Tuong Writer, folk melodies of local people. Many people think that thanks to Perfume River, Hue city has peaceful, gentle and dreamy landscapes. The river also brings city poetic scenery and harmonious limpidity emanating from a land of age-old culture.
Perfume river is has a strong attachment to Hue people. Traditional cultural activities such as listening Hue music on the river, boat racing, dropping color lanterns into water are still intact.
The beauty from history view
Perfume River used to protect the south border of Vietnam over centuries. In 18th century, it glorious reflected Citadel in the river. It is also witness of many revolutions in 19th such as August Revolutions, Mau Than War…. Perfume River knows how to make it become hero, and then when war ends; it returns itself to a gentle river.
Besides the Perfume River, Ngu Binh Mount is the second invaluable gift endowed by Nature to Hue. The combination between Perfume River and Ngu Binh Mount create unique beauty of Hue city
What should you do in Perfume River?
Visit every corners of Hue city along Perfume River
Most of famous landscapes of Hue city are set along Perfume River. Therefore, one of the most attractive tourists is to cruise along the River to see a series of beauty-spots and enjoy activities on the boat when visit Hue city. At day, tourists have an option to take traditional dragon boat to explore iconic landmarks such as Thien Mu pagoda, Hon Chen temple, and the tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, Tu Duc.
Activities at night on Perfume River
Sunset Cruise or Dinner Cruise with Hue folk songs
When the night comes, the surface of the river sparkles under the moonlight and led lights on the banks of river. Many youths come to Trang Tien Bridge- an ancient bridge crossing Perfume River, to enjoy fresh air from the river. But the most interesting activity on Perfume River is dinner cruise while immerse in local people’s folk songs (Ca Hue) in the evening. Hue instrumentalists not only play traditional music, but familiar foreign songs for foreigners from different countries. Tourists can have a chance to listen the combination of folk songs and royal court songs, which is performed in two ways North and South. While performing Hu folk songs, musicians wear turban, play erbu, moon lute, flute and monochord and female singers wear traditional Ao Dai and play other instruments as well.
Night Cruise and floating lanterns
Tourists also have experience on floating paper lantern lights on the Perfume River; especially it is more beautiful in a bright moonlight night to admire the most sparkling and stunning view. The history of dropping lanterns on the river originates from local people wishes of being safe and sound. Each floating lanterns is their owner’s wishes. If you visit Hue in big holidays and festivals such as Lunar New Year, apart from lighting floating lanterns, you also see people light the lambs in the sky to celebrate and to pray for happiness and peace. It is considered an act to honor spiritual and cultural values of Vietnamese people.
Sitting on the boat, enjoy authentic Vietnamese dinner, including dishes: Bun Bo Hue (Hue Beef Noodle soup), Banh It Ram (fried sticky rice dumplings),… to feel distinctive foods of Hue city.
If you come to Vietnam, do not miss Hue landscapes and Perfume River as well. Just come there to enjoy and feel the romance and beauty of dreamy city.