Place of Interest
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Hanoi   [HaLong Bay, The Huong Pagoda]
Hue [The Citadel, The Thien Mu Pagoda, King Khai Dinh's Tomb]
Saigon [Notre Dame Cathedral, Formal Presidential Palace, China Town]
Nha Trang
Vung Tau
Travel Tip [Climate, Language, Accommodation, Transportation, Water]
Impressions from a vacation trip to Vietnam by Lyon, Popanz & Forester
Photographs

icon.gif (941 bytes) Ha Long Bay

Recognized by UNESCO (United Nation  Education Science Culture Organization) as the world heritage, the bay has been considered as the most magnificent place of interest in Vietnam.  Located in Quang Ninh province abundant in open coal mines. It looks like a paradise; the bay comprises of 3000 islands and islets an area 1500 km2. Water color is emerald. Ha Long appeared in the first epoch as the huge limestone scattered in the delta of the delta of the Red River full of alluvium. It is a mysterious, magnificent and unique bay in the world.  There are many remarkable grottoes like the Pelican cave, Dau Go, Tam Cung, Thien Cung, and tunnels like Hanh built up by wind and tide.

Ha Long Bay The islets of strange shapes own different special names: Cockfight Islet, Islet of Toad, Dome Islet. They all have been covered by green and dense vegetation. Legends said that a huge dragon and its children descended there to help the Vietnamese fight against Northern invaders.  After the victory, these dragons decided to stay with the local people.  Since then this area has been called the "descending dragon" region.  Sightseeing tours and tourist activities continuously go in the bay.  The local junks move gently along the islets in the sunset  brings a strange experience.  Ha Long is a city of fishing people and coal miners.   Nearly half the city is on the other side of the ferry. 


icon.gif (941 bytes) The Huong Pagoda

Chua Huong Take a boat ride on the Yen stream through rice fields up to the mountain and the end is a complex of worshipping areas.   Most temples were built amidst a chain of blue mountains, forests, lakes and grottoes.  Pilgrims from different parts of the country pour into the Huong Pagoda in Spring time.  The highest cave situated on the top of the mountain.  Thousands of stone steps easily challenge tourists adventurous desires.  Even the elderly women devoutly are wearing long kerchiefs while murmuring their prayers between their lips in the belief that it would lessen the arduousness of the climb.
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icon.gif (941 bytes) Ancient Royal City of Hue

"Hue" means harmony.  Mirrored in the water of the Perfume river that flows quietly and shaded by the ancient palaces and other royal properties.  From 1802 to 1945 it was the ancient capital of the last dynasty of the Nguyen.  The town of Hue actually is inhabited by about 340,000 people on an area of approximately 6.777 hectares.  Recognized by UNESCO as the World Heritage, Hue attracts tourists thanks to its charm, rich architecture famous for the citadel, the palaces, the temples, the royal tombs that used to have a rich and exciting past.  It played not only the role of a political capital seated by the emperors for more than a century but also of the cultural development of the country.  It is "a masterpiece of urban construction". 

The Citadel
Hue Citadelwas constructed in 1805 to 1835 the big outer wall is 6 meters high, 11 kilometers long, with 11 gates and 24 watch towers.  The citadel suffered from big damages due to fire in 1945 and war bombardments.  The places of interest inside the citadel and the imperial city are the flagpole, the Noon Gate, the courtyard for royal ceremonies, the palace of supreme peace, the memorial temple for Nguyen kings, nine dynastic urns and the forbidden city for the royal families.

Thien Mu Pagoda The Thien Mu Pagoda (Buddhist monastery) was erected in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang, the ancestor of the Nguyen dynasty.  It was renovated in 1844 under King Thieu Tri sovereignty.  Legends said that one night people found an old lady seating on this small hill, wearing a red long dress and green trousers and she claimed that this place belongs to the supernatural power so a pagoda should be constructed here.   After saying, the lady disappeared in the cloud, since then it was called the pagoda of the old celestial goddess.


Khai Dinh Mausoleum King Khai Dinh's Tomb was built on the Chau E mount.  Construction started from 1920 to 1931.  The combination of Asian and European architecture and decoration mark the king's special interest in European civilization.  The multicolored ceramics inlaid style make his mausoleum gracious and magnificent.  Khai Dinh, the twelfth king of the Nguyen Dynasty is the father of King Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam.
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icon.gif (941 bytes) Nha Trang

Nha TrangThe capital town of Khanh Hoa province of about 250,000 inhabitants in 1,300 km far from Hanoi and 450 km from Ho Chi Minh city.   It is located in the ancient religious area of Cham.  Nha Trang is the Cham word that means "The river of mangroves".  These plants used to be popular at the Cai River.  Next to the river, on the hill is Ponagar, the Cham famous vestige from the 9th century.  Nha Trang is the seaside and important tourist spot thanks to the superb sandy beach considered as paradise with palms and coconut trees, washed by the emerald sea of the Pacific ocean.  There are many interesting places like the Cham vestiges of the fish port.  A boat trip can bring back a chance enjoying the coral reef and fish.
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icon.gif (941 bytes) Saigon

The "Pearl of the Far East", famous worldwide before 1975, used to be the name for Saigon.  Glorious Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City nowadays, has opened a new area towards a bright future.  Booming, lively, dynamic, and attractive, Saigon has become an important economic, industrial center of Vietnam for ever, ready to receive visitors for different purposes: business, tourism.  Saigon is delighted to welcome you, to show you the harmony of the Gothic architecture and modern houses and charming smiles of its people.  In 1998, Saigon is celebrating its 300th anniversary with many interesting and joyful festivals throughout the year.

Nha tho Duc Ba Notre Dame Cathedral was built by all imported materials from France it tried to symbolize the power of the colonial government.  This is one of the big Catholic center of Vietnam.  Saigon Archbishop is working in here.  Two services in the morning and in the afternoon are convenient for all believers.

Former Presidential Palace now is a museum in memory of Reunification of Vietnam.

China Town - ChoLon is not really the same as some China Towns in other countries, China town was set up by the end of 18th century when the Ming dynasty in China was overthrown.  Many Chinese faithful to the Ming ran to Vietnam for help and peace and business and were permitted by the Vietnamese Lords.  Now there are almost half a million Chinese with many shops and family factories.  Binh Tay market is always crowded as a wholesale market.
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icon.gif (941 bytes) Vung Tau

Have you ever visited Brazil?   What is the difference between the sunset on Jesus' Statue in Rio de Janeiro and the one on Jesus' Statue on the mountain side facing the Pacific Ocean in Vung Tau?   A big resort city right on the Pacific Ocean will help to release all your worries.

Bai Dau Beach A walk around the fishing village to visit the fish sauce family factory to know the unique country taste or the final afternoon ballad on the beach so that you can forget all worries and restlessness of the soul.  Vung Tau is located not very far away from Saigon with white sand for children, sun for the young, waves for ...all people.  A golf course is also available for tourists and those who like deluxe entertainment.
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Travel Tips
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icon.gif (941 bytes) Climate

The North of Vietnam has 4 clear cut seasons.   The sunny season lasts from October till June, however, the South has dry and wet seasons.  It usually showers in the evening or early morning.  The highlands have temperate climate.  The humidity degree varies from 80% to 100%.  Every year, Vietnam receives approximately 600 billion tons of rainfall.  The average temperature changes from 22 to 27 degrees centigrade.  Some places like Dalat and Sapa have a maximum temperature of 20 degrees in the summer.  Visitors can come to Vietnam all year round with no climatic disadvantages.

icon.gif (941 bytes) Language

In spite of 1000 years being dominated by Chinese, the Vietnamese have their own language.  They modified Chinese characters once.  Since 1900 they absorbed the Latin system through the Western missionaries.   Vietnamese is a monosyllabic language.  Each sound has meaning.  English, French, and Japanese can be communicated in many shops, restaurants, hotels, and resorts.

icon.gif (941 bytes) Accommodation

Vietnam offers a wide variety of accommodation, from $8.00 per room a night for backpackers to the lavish deluxe Saigon Prince just right at the heart of the city, New World, Omni, Equatorial, Century, Saigon Star, Asian, Mondial, Metropole, Mercury, Van Lang, Dong Khanh hotels in Saigon city; Faifo, Orient, Furama resort in Da Nang, Century, Huong Giang, Hoa Hong in Hue and Daewoo, Sofitel, Lakeside, Hanoi, Bao Son, Hang Nga, Chain First Eden hotels in Hanoi.

icon.gif (941 bytes) Transportation

Airlines: There are two.  Vietnam Airlines an Pacific Airlines serve all domestic routes with daily flights to all big cities and islands.

Taxis: In big cities like Saigon, Ha Noi, Hue, Vung Tau, Da Nang.  There are meter taxis.  Taxis are available at all airport.

Trains: Daily departure from Ha Noi to Saigon and vice versa.  Sleeping berths are arranged in a compartment for 4 people.

Popular Public Transportation: Local people prefer motorcycles and bicycles due to narrow streets.  For the more adventurous tourists bicycles and motorcycles can be hired.

River Boats:  Available at all river ports with reasonable prices.

icon.gif (941 bytes) Water

Drink only boiled water and be cautious when having ice in your drinks.  Bottled water is common and dirt cheap at the market or small restaurants.

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Created by: Dan Dan Tu
Hieu Nguyen
Trung Van Vo