Hue has been so famous to most of the tourists once coming to visit Vietnam in general and Hue city in particular, thanks to its charming reputation as the city of romance and ancientness. Ancient architecture, peaceful atmosphere, beautiful nature as well as friendly and nice local people have contributed to the wonder of this city. People often say that visiting Hue without travelling on the Perfume River would be considered not going there at all. Having to say, the Perfume River has become the symbol and an attractive spot of Hue City.
The Perfume River, around 80 kilometers long, is a river that crosses the capital city of Hue, in the central Vietnamese province of Thua Thien Hue. Looking like “a silver sword upright to the sky”, Perfume River is really an invaluable godsend to Hue City and owes its name to the fact that it flows through many forests of aromatic plants before reaching Hue, bringing with it a pure and fresh aroma.
The Perfume River has two sources, both of which begin in the Truong Son Mountain range and meet at Bang Lang Fork. The Ta Trach (Left Tributary) originates in the Truong Dong Mountain and flows northwest towards Bang Lang Fork. The shorter Huu Trach (Right Tributary) flows through the Tuan ferry, landing towards Bang Lang Fork. Then it flows in south-north direction passing the temples of Hon Chen and Ngoc Tran, and turns north-west, meandering through the Nguyet Bieu and Luong Quan plains. From this, the River then continuously flows into the north-east direction to Hue city, only an echo of Truong Son Mountain, and passes the rest place of the Nguyen Emperors. The river of green water continues its itinerary, passing Hen Islet and various villages, crossing the Sinh junction, which is known as the capital of ancient Chau Hoa, before emptying into the Tam Giang Lagoon. From Bang Lang to Thuan An estuary, the Perfume River is 30 km long and runs very slowly (as the river level is not much above sea level). The Perfume River darkens as it winds along the foot of Ngoc Tran Mountain – home of the Jade Cup Temple – where there is a very deep abyss.
Because the river flows through a series of beauty-spots, it can take visitors to every corner of the ancient citadel when travelling by boat. Along the river, tourists can visit Da Vien, Phu Xuan, and Truong Tien Bridges, come to the Tomb of Minh Mang, Hon Chen Shrine, Thien Mu Pagoda, and finally to bathe in the sea. Upstream, at the Tomb of Thien Tho, visitors can hear the rustling of the pine tree and the tranquil atmosphere charmingly. That is the reason why Perfume River has been a typical topic and a romantic inspiration to numerous artists, poets and composers thanks to the pure water, the fascinating landscape, and the gentle bridge over the river. Especially when the night comes, the surface of the river glistens under the moonlight, and the songs of the boat rowers can be heard breaking the silence. Tourists can hire a junk and have a seat inside. Then the artists will perform the folk melodies of Hue using some traditional instruments and the only thing tourists should do is to enjoy the sweet song and feel the softy flow of water of the Perfume River.
Becoming one of the most popular attractions in this romantic city of Hue, the Perfume River has appealed an enormous amount of tourists coming to enjoy such a wonderful moment that can hardly find in other places outside Vietnam. Many people think that Hue city has peaceful, gentle and tranquil landscapes mostly thanks to the Perfume River. Therefore, there would not be wrong to state that this river brings to the city a meditative poetic characteristics and the harmonious limpidity exhaling from a land of age-old culture.