If you’re wondering about the origins of the Perfume River in Hue, here it is. In the autumn, flowers from orchards upriver from Huế fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma, according to Wikipedia. It’s 30km in length and it’s mouth ends at the South China Sea. There are two bridges – the Truong Tien Bridge or Phu Xuan bridge which allow you to make a crossing the Perfume River in Hue by foot into the Imperial City. If you’re thinking of which bridge to use, read on.
Crossing the Perfume River in Hue – should you take the Truong Tien Bridge or Phu Xuan bridge?
Using the Truong Tien Bridge
We were eating at Ba Hoa (a local Vietnamese eatery in Hue) and decided to walk over to the Imperial City. According to Google Maps, it was a 15 min walk. The walk along Truong Tien Bridge was pleasant. There was a designated pedestrian walkway on two sides of the bridge, allowing you to take pictures of the Perfume River. When we were there in the afternoon, there was a fair bit of traffic but the bridge was not congested.
The walk was pleasant – there were not that many tourists using the bridge. It appears that most tourists do take a taxi in. There was some construction ongoing which made crossing the road a little precarious. But if you’re used to crossing Vietnamese roads, it shouldn’t be a problem. When in doubt, just follow a local.
Using the Phu Xuan bridge
We used the Phu Xuan bridge as a crossing on our way back, from the Imperial City to the City Centre. Unlike the Truong Tien Bridge, it had unique steel structures by the side and over the bridge – read that that’s one of the iconic factors of the bridge.
We were walking towards the bridge at about 5pm in the afternoon, and the roads leading to the bridge were pretty congested. I noticed an interesting fact – all the vehicle traffic leading to the bridge were motorbikes – for some reasons cars are not allowed. If I recalled correctly, cars are allowed to use the Truong Tien Bridge.
Similar to the Truong Tien Bridge, there are pedestrian walkways on the Phu Xuan bridge too, albeit narrower in width. As it was a ‘peak hour’ of sorts, there were more people using the bridge and we had to walk in a single file. The somewhat enclosed environment of bridge and the roaring sounds of the motorbike engines, the heat, dust and the smell of petrol made me feel a tad uncomfortable, and I really wanted to get off the bridge as quickly as possible.
The perk is that there is a little park at the end of the bridge, on the opposite side of the river, from the Imperial City. The park features wide pedestrian pathways, which make strolling alongside them quite a breeze. The park makes for a good resting place too.
The Travelling Squid’s Take
In terms of architecture of the bridge, I would say that the Phu Xuan Bridge is more interesting than the Truong Tien Bridge. But the experience of crossing was much better when we used the Truong Tien Bridge. First, the pedestrian walkway was wider. Second, it was less crowded, and we had more opportunities to take pictures of the Perfume River as well as the adjacent Phu Xuan Bridge. But it could be the issue of timing. The only way to find out is to experience crossing with the two bridges.
Have you crossed the Perfume River in Hue via either of the two bridges? Feel free to drop a comment below with your experience.