Saturday, 28 January, 2023

Essential Vietnam destinations and holiday tips and tricks


Attractions and vacation tricks and tips in Vietnam today? In the Ninh Binh province of Northern Vietnam near is Tam Coc, which translates to English as three caves. The three caves are nestled in a scenic landscape of limestone cliffs and rice paddies, and the river winds through the region. The caves are called Hang C?, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba, and they serve as the area’s main attraction. Guided boat tours take you to the caves and along the Ngo Dong River, which is often dotted with floating vendors capitalizing on the tourist visiting on a day trip from Hanoi. See extra info at https://tourdulichgiare.com.vn/tour-da-nang-4-ngay-3-dem/.

Beautiful Hoi An is the most atmospheric city in Vietnam, with bags of surviving historic architecture. The old town quarter is a joy to explore, packed to the brim with well-preserved merchant houses that hark back to Hoi An’s trading center heyday of the 15th century, when the town was a major meeting point for Japanese and Chinese merchants who flocked here for the local silks. Plenty of the old merchant houses have been opened to the public, so you can get a taste of these times. The best is 17th-century Tan Ky House, with fascinating architectural and decorative elements. Hoi An’s major symbol is the delightful Japanese Bridge at the western end of Tran Phu Street, while nearby, the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation is the old town’s most highly decorated temple. There are numerous small pagodas and museums dotted about town, but Hoi An’s true charm is found in simply rambling the old town streets admiring the well-preserved facades.

My Son Hindu Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a great sample of the ancient Champa civilization located in the southern part of Vietnam. It was an independent state from around the 2nd to the 17th century, at which time it was occupied by Vietnam. The complex houses around 70 structures devoted to Hindu gods and goddesses and the most noticeable one, Shiva, was considered the protector of the Champa’s kings.

Wartime legacies are prominent attractions in Ho Chi Minh City and these two museums are the most popular, equally fascinating, and a must-do experience. The imposing Independence Palace (or Reunification Palace) is of great symbolic importance in the nation’s history. Formerly, the South Vietnam government’s HQ and official presidential residence, this was where North Vietnamese Army tanks crashed through the main gates on April 30, 1975: the defining ‘Fall of Saigon’ moment and the start of Reunification. Now a ‘National Cultural and Historical Relic,’ museum and VIP function space, this landmark monolith building, ensconced in pretty grounds, stands frozen in time from that fateful day. Take a guided tour through five floors and rooms preserved in the 1960s and 1970s time-warp: highlights include the bomb-proof basement, with secret tunnels and war command room, kitschy cinema and casino, and glittering reception halls.

Traditional water puppetry originated in the North’s Red River Delta, where for centuries, farmers practiced this recreational art form in flooded paddies. Handed down the generations, this unique puppetry nearly died out but has seen a huge revival, recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage and performed in theatres in major cities and award-winning international tours. Hidden behind a bamboo screen, puppeteers manipulate lacquered wooden puppets using rods while wading in waist-deep water, which act out traditional stories based on ancient folk tales and rural village life on an ever-changing, watery stage, The hour-long shows of short vignettes are accompanied by live traditional music and while all in Vietnamese, the comical, delightful puppetry and music keeps the audience enthralled. In Hanoi, book your tickets at the world-famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theater and in Ho Chi Minh City, at The Golden Dragon Water Puppetry Theater or Museum of Vietnamese History.

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