Budget: The total cost for my 2-day, 2-night stay in Huế is around 1.5 million VND per person, which is incredibly affordable.
Palaces and Tombs I Visited:
Huế Imperial City: I rented a traditional ao dài outfit and visited the Imperial City on a sunny morning. The ancient, poetic space is incredibly spacious. I wandered around for about 4 hours, but it wasn't enough. A tip is to avoid midday visits due to the heat, and allocate 3-4 hours for exploring the Imperial City. Carry bottled water, comfortable shoes or sandals, and rent an audio guide at the entrance for only 50,000 VND per person.
And if possible, I highly recommend renting traditional costumes for some authentic photos. Costume rental spot: BohoShop (21 Điện Biên Phủ) - only 100,000 VND for the full set with accessories. The owner even helped me style my hair.
Additionally, when buying tickets for the Imperial City, I purchased the combo ticket for the Imperial City and 2 Tombs, which costs 420,000 VND and saves 80,000 VND compared to buying separate tickets. I also visited the following Palaces and Tombs:
Khiêm Mausoleum - Tự Đức Tomb
Ứng Lăng Mausoleum - Lăng Khải Tomb
An Định Palace (I got free entry during my visit; regular price is 50,000 VND for the tour)
Other Places I Visited:
An Hiên Garden House - Thiên Mụ Pagoda - Văn Thánh Huế
Lăng Tự Đức - Lăng Khải Định - Vọng Cảnh Hill - Thiên An Hill - Thuỷ Xuân Village
These are all along the same route, so it's recommended to plan your visits for the same day.
Dong Ba Market: I stopped by here before leaving to buy souvenirs. The vendors are very friendly.
Accommodation: I stayed at Metta homestay, which is a bit far from the city center but very affordable and the rooms are charming. Prices start from 400,000 VND for a double room.
Transportation: I rented a scooter from the homestay for 150,000 VND per day.
Dining: People in Huế eat moderately, with small portion sizes. So, in 2 days, you can experience a variety of dishes.
Bún Bò Huế (Hue-style Beef Noodle Soup): Many places serve delicious Bún Bò Huế, so I'll note a few for you.
Bún cơm nguội: 06:00 - 09:00 AM: 206 Trịnh Công Sơn, Huế City
Quán bún Mệ Kéo: 20 Bạch Đằng, Huế City
Bún Bò bà Tuyết: 47 Nguyễn Công Trứ
Bún Bò lò củi: 147/2 Nguyễn Lộ Trạch
Cơm Hến Hoa Đông: (Clam rice) Across Cồn Hến - Vĩ Dạ Village, the birthplace of Cơm Hến. There's a spot here that serves amazing Cơm Hến.
Cơm nhà chuẩn vị Huế (Authentic Hue-style Home-cooked Rice): Chạn Rice Restaurant - 1 Nguyễn Thái Học. We ordered boiled meat with sour shrimp sauce, sour soup, stir-fried vegetables, along with rice - it cost only 300,000 VND for 2 people and was incredibly filling.
Bánh ép chị Huệ: 116 Lê Ngô Cát - near my homestay, so I had it delivered.
Bánh canh Nam Phổ: (Vietnamese thick noodle soup) 374 Chi Lăng
Tào phớ under Thiên Mụ: Enjoy the sunset over the Perfume River.
Ốc Minh Nghĩa: 800 meters from my homestay, a longstanding and famous seafood restaurant in Huế with tasty and cute-spicy snails for just 100,000 VND for 2 people.
Local dessert shop: They offer delicious chè bột lọc heo quay (rice dumplings with roasted pork) and chè chuối (banana dessert) for 15,000 VND per bowl.
Salted coffee - 142 Đặng Thái Thân: 15,000 VND per cup (I bought some to bring back to Hanoi; the café provided a bottled version).
Bánh mì tràng tiền O Tho: 10-15,000 VND each, a variety of flavors, a perfect way to end the night on a full stomach.
Relaxing coffee spots: I couldn't visit all the cafes on the list due to time constraints, but here's a note for you in case you have more time:
Trốn - 5/21 Lê Quý Đôn: Coffee during the day, cocktails in the evening, a very chill spot for any time.
Tân (3 locations): The newest one is at 86 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, super close to the Imperial City.
Đề Pô cafe: second floor of Dong Ba Market
Giao: 118 Chi Lăng
Many thanks to Dương Thuỳ Trang, for the beautiful photos and detailed reviews.