The Perfume River of Vietnam

Vietnam's Perfume River
Perfume River, from the air. Photo: Oscar Saunders

I reckon this might be the most romantically named river ever. It certainly beats ‘The Thames’ which, by the way, is said to mean dark or wide. Dark because it’s filthy I guess.

Perfume River isn’t its official name, it’s actually called Sông Hương but is more widely known by its nickname.

Perfume River in Vietnam
Perfume River – very green, isn’t it? Photo: Everjean

The river runs for almost 50 miles through Vietnam – from Truong Son Mountain down through the city of Hue. Its aromatic name was given to it over 100 years ago because the flowers that fell from the banks travelled downriver carrying an amazing fragrance with them.

Thien Mu Pagoda, as seen from the Perfume River, Hue
Thien Mu Pagoda from the Perfume River, Hue. Photo: Claire Cox

The aroma is most prevalent in autumn when the summer flowers are dying off and shedding their petals. Unfortunately, the smell these days isn’t as strong – modern boats with engines mask the fragrance. And who wants to smell boat engine?!

A dragon boat on perfume river, Vietnam
Riding the dragon on Perfume River. Photo: David McKelvey

Even if you don’t get to smell the river, it still seems like a nice place to visit especially during and after sundown. The view of the sunset from the river is supposed to be particularly beautiful, turning all shades of orange. After dark, the neon lights along the riverside come on and the place starts to get a buzz about it. If you don’t smell flowers you will smell street food, which is just as good in my eyes/nose.

Sunset on Perfume River
The end of another busy day. Photo: Karen Clarke Ng

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About Lizzie Brooks

Lizzie Brooks

The most beautiful place I have been (so far!) has been Norway. Coming in to land in Oslo was like coming in to land in a fairytale; pine trees that looked like velvet amongst frozen fjords, the occasional wisp of smoke coming up from a little yellow or red house within the trees. Beautiful!

I kind of expected to see a Moomin emerging (but they are from Finland, of course).

Lizzie works in our marketing team

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