Every other year, the city of Huế stages a festival to celebrate the city’s rich tradition of craftsmanship. On stage, along the Perfume River and in the streets, the city showcases its legacy as Vietnam’s former imperial capital and the home of countless craft villages dating back hundreds of years. This year the Huế Traditional Craft Festival runs from April 26 to May 2. With a packed line-up of engaging exhibits and events, Huế Traditional Craft Festival 2019 promises to be the best yet. Here’s your guide to this week-long spectacle of arts and culture.
On its 8th year, the Huế Traditional Craft Festival is highlighting the impressive heritage of Vietnamese artisanal crafts. The festival program for 2019 will showcase the artistry of Hue, neighbouring craft villages and Vietnam as a whole. These tactile artworks will be displayed and available for purchase, with products stemming from centuries of tradition such as Thanh Tien paper flowers, as well as modern Vietnamese crafts such as Truc Chi paper.
The opening ceremony is always an impressive showcase of culture, highlighting the charm of Huế and area’s signature crafts. The ceremony will be hosted at a park along the riverside, which is also the location for the equally cinematic closing ceremony on May 2 at 8pm.
Where and when: Bia Quốc Học, 8:30pm on April 26
An inspiring collection of áo dài tunics will be showcased during this stylish show, titled, “The áo dài along the heritage path.” Discover the story of this fashion item, Vietnam’s national dress, and see the newest styles from outstanding local designers.
Where and when: The Meridian Gate, Imperial Palace of Huế, 8pm on April 28
International hot air ballooning teams from the Netherlands, Thailand and Malaysia will take to the skies at the Hue Memorial Park between the Meridian Gate and Huế Flag Tower every day from April 27 to 29. Watch the balloons float over the historic citadel during the first flight.
Where and when: Hue Flagstaff, 7:30pm on April 27
For the entire festival, Huế’s parks will be brimming with fun activities showcasing traditional and modern arts of the area. From April 26 to May 1, see calligraphy by experts at Pham Boi Chau Park, listen to street music performances at Vo Thi Sau pedestrian street, watch kite-flying at Phu Van Lau park.
Discover the variety of products made with lotus: stunning paintings, sweet jam, soothing tea, smooth liquor and colourful cloth from Huế, Hanoi and Dong Thap on display in Tu Tuong Park.
Dive into the world of traditional medicine -- used during Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty -- with this exhibition at the Lieu Quan Buddhist Cultural Centre.
See fabrics from the country’s most renowned silk villages, including Thai Nam Nha Xa, Van Phuc, Nam Cao, Bao Loc and others. This showcase will take place at 15 Lê Lợi.
See handiworks from countries from all over the world at the international craft exhibits held at the Huế Cultural Museum.
See the full program of the Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2019 at this link .
Coming for the festival? Here are some useful tips for your trip.
Pham Ngu Lao – Chu Van An – Vo Thi Sau area, Huế - These areas are all close to the night market and many cafes and restaurants are in walking distance.
Le Loi – Doi Cung area by the Perfume River, Huế - This part of Huế has lovely sidewalks along the river, as well as some colonial buildings.
Thuan An beach, Thuan An town, Phu Vang district (15km from Huế) - If you prefer to stay by the beach and just come into town now and then, Thuan An beach has several options for you.
Lang Co beach, Phu Loc district, (65km from Huế) – Lang Co is home to upscale resorts, golf courses and spa retreats. The drive to Hue takes less than an hour.
Bún bò Huế - Thick Huế style noodles with a tangy broth of beef, pork and lemongrass
Try it: Tran Cao Van – Hanoi St.
Bánh khoái - Fried pancake made of rice flour stuffed with pork, shrimp, diced green onion, and bean sprouts
Try it: Hong Mai restaurant or Lac Thien restaurant, Dinh Tien Hoang St.
Bánh bèo – nậm - lọc – These are typical authentic Huế dishes
Try it: Hanh on Pho Duc Chinh St., Ba Do in Nguyen Binh Khiem St., Hang Me on Vo Thi Sau St., or Chi on Le Viet Luong St.
TIP: Street food lovers should wander over to Mai Thuc Loan street and Huế Night Market; while vegans can check out Bo De restaurant on Le Loi street and San May restaurant, on Thanh Tinh street.
By plane: Vietnam Airlines and Viet Jet Air have direct flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Huế. Jetstar Pacific Airlines offers direct flights from Da Lat and Ho Chi Minh City.
By train: Several trains a day arrive Huế city from the north and south. These are run by Vietnam Railways. Check their official website for timetable and fares.
By bus: Open buses are operated by Sinh Tourist and Hung Thanh. Both have booking offices in major cities throughout Vietnam.