Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park - is a national park in Quang Binh province in central Vietnam with an area of 885 km². The National Park has the oldest karst mountains in Asia, which has formed about 400 million years ago. There are hundreds of caves, underground rivers and long underground passages with stalactites and stalagmites. In 2005 the park has been discovered a new species of gecko. The park has about 300 caves and caverns with a total length of 70 km. British and Vietnamese scientists have examined 20 km. There are many underground rivers, streams and waterfalls in the park. Phong Nha - Ke Bang included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Serious exploration of the caves began only in the 1990s when it first Cavers forced deep into Phong Nha Cave, one of the longest cave systems in the world. Paradise Cave was discovered in 2005, and in 2009 a team found the world's largest cave - the Son Doong. In 2015, the public was given access to two cave systems.
Serious exploration of the caves began only in the 1990s when it first Cavers forced deep into Phong Nha Cave, one of the longest cave systems in the world. Paradise Cave was discovered in 2005, and in 2009 a team found the world's largest cave - the Son Doong. In 2015, the public was given access to two cave systems.
The Hien Luong Bridge - a bridge across the Ben Hai river, which was part of the border between North and South Vietnam from 1954 until the reunification in 1976. Today, the bridge is still there and seen as an important national monument to the reunification of Vietnam. Near the bridge is also a museum, propaganda war remnants and two memorials.
The old narrow bridge itself is a simple steel structure built by the French. The bridge is now just a pedestrian bridge. A modern bridge, which is next, takes all the traffic across the river on its behalf. You can walk across the old bridge over the entire length (165 meters).
The old bridge was during the war with the Americans, part of the DMZ. The acronym DMZ stands for Demilitarized zone (literally a demilitarized area). It is a buffer zone between two countries where tensions exist. In this case, it was the North and South Vietnam.
In Vinh Moc - you'll find a very impressive temple complex. They are the remains of a North Vietnamese fishing village, where the people have built a tunnel complex to protect themselves against the American bombing. Literally, the village went underground. It offered protection to more than 90 families. The tunnel complex has three levels. The majority of the tunnels is open to visitors and is kept in their original state (with the exception of the recent addition of electric lighting).
The tunnels were used not only for civilian purposes (the distinction between civilians and Vietcong is a dim area), but were also used to transport weapons and other equipment. These were brought to Con Co Island, a base off the North Vietnamese coast near Vinh Moc in the South China Sea.
The tour usually starts at the museum, which is above the ground. There are objects and photographs on displays. There is also a watch, which is a gift from the GDR.
Then begins the real visit to the tunnels. The tunnels are situated at a depth of 11 to 20 meters. You'll pass the "family quarters" - really just niches on the side of the main tunnel, with barely enough room for three people and zero privacy. They also show you larger dwellings, which were used for meetings, storage, and as a hospital. Nowadays, there are life-sized puppets, to make it clear for the tourists.
Suddenly you stand again in daylight, right by the sea, just above a beach. This output is well camouflaged. This output was at night to receive weapons and other supplies, which were sent via Con Co Island. Then you go back in and finally you'll get out at one of the ground-level exits.
During the approximately four years they lived under the ground, there were 17 babies born in the "tunnel hospital." In principle, these babies would only see the light when the war was over.
De Dong Hoi Citadel - is located in the centre of town. It is a complex of high fences and towers. A citadel is a fortress that dominates the city. This fort had to defend the king and the capital from the Nguyen dynasty defend since 1630. The citadel is 1,500 meters away from the Nhat Le beach and it is adjacent to the Nhat Le River on the east side and the forest on the west side. Only two gates and a moat remain of the citadel. You can climb up in the gates, but inside you will find syringes and burnt debris.
Dong Hoi citadel has played an important position in many periods of history. In 1885 the French army attacked the citadel, but the people and soldiers of Dong Ha defended the citadel well and won the battle triumphant, that's why the French had to withdraw. During the war between Vietnam and France in 1945-1954, the locals also made several attacks on the citadel. Nowadays there is no more war in Vietnam, but the beautiful Dong Hoi citadel is still alive as an honourable symbol of the brave country. It draws many visitors from all places in Vietnam and around the world.
Tam Toa Church is a Catholic church located on Nguyen Du Street, Dong My Ward, Dong Hoi City, Quang Binh Province. The church was built in 1886.
Han Mac Tu was baptized here in 1912 with the Christian name Nguyen Trong Tri Franois. In the eight years from 1964 to 1972, the US air bombardment of North Vietnam. Dong Hoi was flattened, Tam Toa church was bombed only the bell tower remained. After the Geneva Agreement in 1954, the whole Tam Tran migrated to the South. Since then the church has been abandoned. During the Vietnam War, Tam Toa Church was bombed 48 times by the United States Air Force. On February 11, 1965, the church was hit by a bomb, leaving only the bell tower with bullet holes.
Dong Hoi town was razed by US bombs and the church bell tower became a war relic. On February 26, 1997, the People's Committee of Quang Binh province issued Decision No. 143 / QD-UB, The court has become a war crimes vestige and is historical-cultural vestiges of the province, which need to be strictly protected.
October 23, 2008, Quang Binh People's Committee and the Bishop of Doai was united and signed a memorandum saying: "The old Tam Toa Church is now evidence of war crimes. The two sides will maintain and embellish in order to protect and serve the traditional research and education for the young generation...
In the Quang Binh tour short or long, visitors more or less have the opportunity to visit many historical relics, evidence of war in this land. Tam Toa Church is the largest Catholic church in Quang Binh, also the largest and only church of Dong Hoi city, located in the heart of the city.
Hai Van Pass or Sea Clouds Pass offers an impressive landscape of verdant mountains and clear blue skies, overlooking Da Nang City, Tien Sa Port, Son Tra Peninsula, and South China Sea. Crossing over a spur of Truong Son mountain range between Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang City, it stands at 500m above sea level, making it the highest pass in Vietnam.
The 25 kilometre-long mountain pass is popular amongst thrill-seeking motorcyclists due to its winding roads, sudden curves and blind corners, while its lookout point offers gorgeous views of Da Nang Bay.
The pass also hosts the ancient Tran Dynasty’s Hai Van Gate, Hai Van Tunnel (the longest in ASEAN), wartime gun towers, and a decrepit French-built fort that was later used as a bunker by South Vietnamese and US armies during the Vietnam War. Prior to the construction of the Hai Van Tunnel, the mountain pass was notorious for its fair share of fatal accidents – look out for small altars set along the roadside that are dedicated to perished victims.
Phap Lam Pagoda is a two-storey temple in Da Nang City Centre, featuring towering trees, manicured gardens, and intricate Buddhist sculptures. Formerly known as Tinh Hoi Pagoda (until renamed as Phap Lam Pagoda), it was built in 1934 along Ong Ich Khiem Street, where Con Market is just a five-minute stroll away.
Despite its location within the bustling Da Nang city centre, the atmosphere here is very serene and peaceful. You can see locals praying in the morning or getting their fortunes told while the resident monks go about their daily lives. As with any Buddhist temple in Vietnam, Phap Lam Pagoda gets packed with devotees during annual festivities such as Tet and Lunar New Year.
The top floor of the pagoda is a presbytery that features intricately carved pillars, handwritten Buddhist Pali incantation, and a golden statue of Buddha while the ground floor hosts an amphitheatre that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. The courtyard of the pagoda houses a 1.1-metre-high seated Buddha statue as well as brass statues of the Goddess of Mercy (Avalokitecvara) and Dai The Chi Bodhisattva. Entrance to Phap Lam Pagoda is free of charge, but donations are welcomed.
Da Nang Cathedral was built by French priest Louis Vallet in 1923, with a pink-painted edifice that earns its reputation as one of the most unique catholic churches in Vietnam. Standing at 70 metres, it’s also known as Con Ga Church (Rooster Church) due to the imposing bell tower that’s topped with a rooster weathercock.
The church features a simple interior design of engraved motifs, rhombic-shaped arches, medieval-style stained glass windows of various saints, and statues depicting events from the Holy Bible. There’s also a grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary set behind Da Nang Cathedral, which is a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France.
As the only church in Da Nang, it serves the local Catholic community of over 4000 parishioners to this very day. Services are held in different languages daily, with English-spoken sermons on Sundays at 9:00. If you’re looking to visit this church for Mass, make sure to head there early due to limited seats. Entrance to Da Nang Cathedral is also free of charge.
With their roots dating back as far as 192 AD, Vietnam's indigenous Cham people lived an Indian way of life in both culture and language. The Cham Museum in Danang is dedicated to this period and the Champa existence which began predominantly in the coastal areas of Vietnam. Housing the largest exhibition of Cham sculpture in the world, the museum displays almost 300 terracotta and stone works of art ranging from the 7th to the 15th centuries.
Many of the exhibits are considered masterpieces of their field showcased according to the region in which they were found with a total of ten separate interior exhibition rooms. All of the sculptures on display fall into one of the following sections – icon, pedestal, pediment, or fragment, with the area in which they were found determining where they are exhibited.
When you've finished browsing the internal creations, step outside to appreciate the building itself carefully crafted with objects of worship including idols and holy animals surrounded by flowers, leaves and turrets all symbols of Hinduism.
Dragon Bridge in Da Nang is the longest bridge in Vietnam, offering a dazzling display of lights, fire, and water that no first-time visitor to Da Nang should miss out on. Measuring at 666 metres in length, it is located in Da Nang City and constructed in the shape of a golden dragon.
The six-lane bridge crosses the Han River, serving as direct routes to My Khe Beach and Non Nuoc Beach as well as a popular spot amongst travelling photographers. Dragon Bridge was officially opened in 2013 after a two-year-long construction, commemorating the 38th anniversary of Da Nang City’s liberation. According to local beliefs, which date back to the Ly Dynasty, the dragon is a significant symbol of power, nobility and good fortune.
The Fifth Military Division Museum of Da Nang was built in 1977, offering visitors a glimpse of Vietnam’s tumultuous past with extensive displays of war relics, news articles, and photographs taken by soldiers of the Fifth Military Division. The museum also commemorates Vietnam’s most beloved leader with a replica of Ho Chi Minh's residence and a separate Ho Chi Minh Museum.
Divided into four main sections, its outdoor display area houses authentic aircraft, military tanks, and weapons used during the French and American wars. Most of these exhibits are in pristine condition, with must-sees including the A-37 Dragonfly light-attack aircraft, Cessna O-1 Bird Dog observation aircraft, and the M48 Patton gun tank.
The museum’s indoor display area comprises 12 showrooms, displaying thousands of photographs and news articles on the Vietnamese military’s establishment, struggles, and victory. There are also numerous personal belongings and interesting backgrounds of prominent soldiers, including a pair of slippers that belonged to Phan Thi Mua. She was a female special task force member who detonated an American fuel depot in 1972 by smuggling dynamite powder in her slippers.
Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain is a breath-taking national park in Da Nang that stands 693 metres above sea level. It’s a 35-minute drive from Da Nang, making it a popular retreat amongst locals and travellers looking to escape the heat and busy traffic of the city. Locally known as the Son Tra Peninsula, the verdant mountain is also surrounded by pristine beaches such as Bai Bac, Bai Nam, Bai But, and Tien Sa Beach.
Monkey Mountain was a prominent observation base during the American-Vietnam War, housing two radar domes that are now taken over by the Vietnamese military as well as a helicopter pad, which makes for a cool lookout point.
A prominent attraction in Da Nang is Linh Ung Pagoda, which is also set on Son Tra (Monkey) Mountain. The stunning pagoda was built during the 18th century and houses a 67 metre-tall white statue of the Goddess of Mercy, which is set atop a lotus-shaped platform. Hailed is the tallest statue of the deity in Southeast Asia, there are 17 levels within the structure and a total of 21 miniature Buddha sculptures. Entrance to Linh Ung Pagoda is free of charge, though it’s known to get crowded with pilgrimages during special occasions.
Considered to be Vietnam's most picturesque beach, the white sandy 20-mile stretch of My Khe Beach was named by the American troops who visited during the Vietnam War for R&R. It offers excellent surfing from September just off the shores of Danang. There are also a number of high-end resorts within the vicinity should you be in need of pampering with most offering a rich choice of treatments at their spas and a range of dining options.
Sunbathing and surfing aside, there are a host of historical sites situated close by including the port of Hoi An which is only 10 minutes away by bus and offers wonderfully preserved merchant houses and small alleyways to explore. Hoi An is also a superb place to get anything you desire tailor-made usually within 12 hours, and while you wait it’s definitely recommended that you try some local delights including very fresh shrimp pancakes.
The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It's also a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all just waiting to be discovered. Named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire and earth, Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area that is renowned for stone-cutting and sculpture about 9km south of Da Nang.
The caves within the mountains hold many secrets including bullet holes from when troops used to spy on the US soldiers relaxing on My Khe Beach below and buildings standing within the caves and grottoes. There are also Buddhist sanctuaries and places of worship dotted across the mountains which are a much-visited spiritual site. You can even see a special circular cave here. It leads to the summit, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
Non Nuoc Beach in Da Nang takes up five kilometres of Hoa Hai Ward’s coastline, featuring soft white sands, a gentle slope, unpolluted waters and mild waves all year long. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, visitors can do plenty of sightseeing and leisure activities whilst enjoying local seafood dishes at its many beachfront restaurants.
If you’re looking to surf during your holiday in Da Nang, the best time to visit Non Nuoc Beach is between the months of April and September, when the wave angles are optimum and average water temperatures of 25°C and 28°C. There are also surf and stand-up paddling lessons available for inexperienced visitors.
Non Nuoc Beach is a ten-minute walk from the iconic Marble Mountains, which houses 17th-century Buddhist sanctuaries and pagoda temples, sacred limestone caves, and local handicraft villages. Nature lovers can also enjoy hours of jungle-trekking or boating along Co Co River (Stork Neck River).
The Perfume Pagoda, known locally as Chua Huong or ‘inner temple’, is at the centre of a very revered and sacred site featuring a maze of mainly Buddhist temples built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich. At the heart of this complex lies the Perfume Temple or Perfume Pagoda in the Huong Tich Cave.
It is believed that the first temple was built here in the 15th century, although legend declares that the site was actually discovered over 2,000 years ago by a Buddhist monk who was meditating nearby. The mountain foothills are an area of great natural and spiritual beauty filled with streams, tropical plants and temples.
There are many pagodas to visit, each offering a different shrine, most of which are Buddhist although one or two are animist. The Perfume Pagoda attracts pilgrims and tourists seeking good luck from the stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave which have been named according to the individual blessing they can bestow. Dun Tien offers prosperity and Nui Co offers the chance of giving birth to a girl whilst Dun Gao translates as a ‘rice stack’ to those hoping for a bountiful harvest.
Bat Trang, traditional porcelain and pottery village with a history of seven centuries is an interesting attraction in Hanoi that tourists should not ignore. Bat Trang, the seven-century old pottery village, is an interesting attraction in Hanoi that tourists should not ignore.
Bat Trang ceramics are produced for daily household use (bow, cup, plates, pot, bottle…), worshipping, or decoration purposes. Nowadays, the pottery artists bring into ceramics many innovations in production techniques, and creativity in products’ features, hence many new products have been born, and even daily household items may have the beauty like decoration ones.
Visiting Bat Trang, tourists can take a walk or join a buffalo tour for sightseeing and shopping. Besides many ceramic stores along the road in the village, tourists should visit Bat Trang Porcelain and Pottery Market where they can directly make pottery products by themselves. Many youngsters and foreign tourists are interested in in this pottery- making experience, and spend a whole day in the market to make a gift for family or friends.
The beautiful Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 by the then ruling French. It’s a phenomenal piece of neo-classical French architecture featuring Gothic themes on the doors and domes with pillars, shuttered windows, balconies and a glass room. Musicians, actors and dancers play to a 600-strong audience delivering powerful operatic and classical performances, making it a very popular theatrical attraction.
The Hanoi Opera House is the biggest theatre in Vietnam and speaks volumes as historical and cultural evidence of Vietnam under French rule. The interior is even more magnificent than the exterior with many arguing it is aesthetically even more appealing than the Paris Opera House. Visitors today will be entertained at this architectural landmark which features a range of events including local Vietnamese opera, traditional folk music, ballets and many international concerts.
Maison Centrale in Hanoi, also known as Hoa Lo Prison and the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ housed Vietnamese revolutionaries and American POW during the Vietnam War. The fortress was once a vast colonial-style prison, most of which was torn down in the 1990s.
Visiting today you will find the small southern section resting alongside a hotel and office complex.
The prison is still a popular tourist attraction for those on the war history trail. Official records claim inmates numbered in their hundreds although it was not unknown for up to 2,000 prisoners to be crammed into a space reserved for 600 inmates. Around 200-300 inmates were captured American pilots brought to Maison Centrale for interrogation and torture, it was the American prisoners who sarcastically gave the jail its nickname ‘Hanoi Hilton’.
Hoa Lo Prison today portrays a different side of the horror stories told by former inmates despite the prominently displayed shackles hanging on the walls. Much of the emphasis is on the Vietnamese revolutionaries some of whom were executed at the prison. The American POWs have well documented their own experiences, little of which is available at Maison Centrale today.
Ngoc Son Temple was built in the 18th century on Jade Island in the centre of the ‘Lake of the Returned Sword’ or Hoan Kiem Lake. Legend describes how an emperor was once given a magical sword which helped him defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty and in doing so saw the return of the Golden Turtle God to the lake.
Today ‘Turtle Tower’ stands close to the lake in memory of this legend. There are also endangered large soft-shell turtles swimming in the lake, and to see one of these gentle giants is considered very auspicious. The name of the temple translates to ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’ and is predominately dedicated to war hero General Tran Hung Dao who defeated an armed force of 300,000 soldiers sent by Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan in the 13th century to invade Vietnam.
Also inside the pagoda are a large bronze bust and other deities. There are altars dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, some ancient artefacts including ceramics and a preserved specimen of a giant turtle found in the lake weighing 250kg.
The world-famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi has its roots in an art form that dates back to the 11th century. The tradition of water puppet theatre stems from a time when rice paddy fields were flooded and villagers would make entertainment by standing in the waist-deep water with the puppets performing over the water.
Using large rods to support the puppets it appeared as if they were moving across the water with the puppeteers hidden behind a screen.
This tradition is unique to North Vietnam but has recently found fame on stages all over the world; so it’s a rare treat to see the puppets perform in their original location at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Performances are accompanied by a Vietnamese orchestra playing traditional music using drums, wooden bells, horns, bamboo flutes and cymbals. There are also authentic Vietnamese operatic songs telling the story that is being acted out by the puppets. Most of the shows recount Vietnamese folk tales and legends with topics including the celebration of the rice harvest depicted in a humorous fashion.
The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture.
This ancient site offers a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty. Visiting the Temple of Literature you will discover historic buildings from the Ly and Tran dynasties in a revered place that has seen thousands of doctors’ graduate in what has now become a memorial to education and literature.
Originally the university only accepted aristocrats, the elite and royal family members as students before eventually opening its doors to brighter ‘commoners’. Successful graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles.
Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Hanoi Weekend Night Market is a busy, bustling gathering of roadside stalls and local food vendors that brings huge crowds of locals and tourists. It runs through the Old Quarter district from 19:00 onwards, starting from Hang Dao Street and running north to the edge of Dong Xuan Market.
Pedestrian streets and historical sites within the area are illuminated with decorative lights, making this a popular spot for travelling photographers. Shopping-wise, the fashion items on sale won’t turn many heads as you will find the usual array of inexpensive t-shirts, handicrafts, accessories, shoes, sunglasses and souvenirs at Hanoi Weekend Night Market. However, the overall environment is very lively and bargaining is a way of life here - a good start is to offer about 75 per cent off the opening price.
Bach Ma Temple is believed to be the oldest temple in Hanoi. This Buddhist temple was originally built in the ninth century by King Ly Thai To in honour of Bach Ma. According to a sign inside the temple, originally the site of the temple was Long Do Mountain. The temple was moved to its current location in the Old Quarter of Hanoi in the 18th century, during the Ly Dynasty, to guard the east side of Thang Long.
The translation of Bach Ma is ́White Horse ́ and this refers to a story behind the construction of the Temple. King Ly Thai To had been struggling to build the temple as its walls kept collapsing. It is said that a white horse delineated the best area to build the temple with its hooves to help the king in constructing the temple.
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells.
On top of these discoveries, archaeologists also found bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia, all of which demonstrate a close trading relationship in the area. Visitors should head for the display room that features interesting excavated items and mock-ups of the citadel itself.
Established in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter. It’s also known as Hanoi’s largest indoor market, offering a wide range of goods such as fresh produce, souvenirs, accessories and clothing, as well as electronic and household appliances.
Similar to most markets in Southeast Asia, Dong Xuan Market has a bustling wet market section on the ground floor, where locals shop for seafood, meat, and vegetables while the back section sells an array of pets (cats, dogs, and fish) and fresh flowers from all across Vietnam. If you’re looking to shop for souvenirs, head to the upper levels, where you can find numerous stalls selling tee shirts, fabrics, school uniforms, handbags, handicrafts, all of which are sold at wholesale prices.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi. It is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the most iconic and popular leader of Vietnam, known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’. His body is preserved here in a glass case at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in central Hanoi (albeit against his wishes).
For visitors, a trip to Uncle Ho’s final resting place can be an extraordinary experience as it is not just an average attraction; it’s a part of a unique history.
Started in 1973, the construction of the mausoleum was modelled on Lenin's mausoleum in Russia and was first open to the public in 1975. The granite building meant a great deal for many locals as it ensures that their beloved leader ‘lives on forever’.
Security is tight and visitors should dress with respect (no shorts, sleeveless shirts and miniskirts) and everyone has to deposit their bags and cameras before getting in. Visitors are not allowed to stop and hold the constant queue up as the place is constantly busy. Uncle Ho’s remains are sent yearly to Russia for maintenance therefore the mausoleum is closed usually from October onwards. It’s best to recheck with your hotel tour desk before visiting. Admission is free but donations are accepted.
To West Lake (Ha Noi), visitors can admire the charming scenery and have the opportunity to join Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding – a water sport originated from Hawaii and imported into Viet Nam for about 3 years.
Ba Vi National Park is one of Vietnam’s most famous areas of outstanding natural beauty and is centred around a three-peaked mountain jutting steeply out of the landscape. The national park offers a great escape from the city with cool fresh mountain air in a mystical atmospheric backdrop of clouds, jungle and tropical rainforest. There is also a spa resort nestled at the foot of the mountain offering a host of natural therapies in an absolutely stunning setting.
The three mountain summits are Dinh Vua which is the highest at 1,296m, Tan Vien which is 1,226m and Ngoc Hoa the smallest at 1,131m. Together they form a three humped crest which is often obscured by clouds at the highest point due to the varied climate at the park. Pilgrims and tourists alike usually make the walk to the summit of the Tan Vien peak where an 11th sacred century shrine stands in memory of the Mountain God.
There are also superb tropical forest views and vistas all the way to Hanoi to be enjoyed from this peak. The fast-flowing Da River is located on one side of the national park; there are also several streams running through the park.
The tenth century temple of Banteay Srei is renowned for its intricate decoration carved in pinkish sandstone that covers the walls like tapestry.
Banteay Srei is an exquisite miniature; a fairy palace in the heart of an immense and mysterious forest; the very thing that Grimm delighted to imagine, and that every child's heart has yearned after, but which mature years has sadly proved too lovely to be true. And here it is, in the Cambodian forest at Banteay Srei, carved not out of the stuff that dreams are made of, but of solid sandstone.
Shrouded in dense jungle the temple of Ta Prohm is ethereal in aspect and conjures up a romantic aura. Fig, banyan and kapok trees spread their gigantic roots over stones, probing walls and terraces apart, as their branches and leaves intertwine to form a roof over the structures. Trunks of trees twist amongst stone pillars. The strange, haunted charm of the place entwines itself about you as you go, as inescapably as the roots have wound themselves about the walls and towers', wrote a visitor 40 years ago.
Ta Prohm is among the largest of the monuments in the Angkor complex, the inscription gives an idea of the size of the temple. The complex included 260 statues of gods, 39 towers with pinnacles and 566 groups of residences. Ta Prohm comprises a series of long low buildings standing on one level, which are enclosed by rectangular laterite wall (600 by 1,000 meters, 1,959 by 3,281 feet). Only traces of the wall are still visible. The center of the monument is reached by a series of towers connected with passages. This arrangement forms a ' sort of sacred way into the heart of the monument’; three-square galleries enclose the area.
It is a testimony to the love of symmetry and balance which evolved its style....in pure simplicity of rectangles its beauty is achieved. It is a pyramid mounting in terraces, five of them ...Below Bak-Keng lays all the world of mystery, the world of the Khmer, more mysterious ever under its cover of impenetrable verdure.
Phnom Bakheng is located 1,30 meters (4,265 feet) north of Angkor Wat and 400 meters (1,312 feet) south of Angkor Thom.
Enter and leave Phnom Bakheng by climbing a long steep path with some steps on the east side of the monument (height 67 meters, 220 feet) In the 1960 this summit was approached by elephant and, according to a French visitor, the ascent was "a promenade classic and very agreeable.
Arrive at the summit just before sunset for a panoramic view of Angkor and its environs. The golden hues of the setting sun on this vista are a memorable sight.
There are few places anywhere on earth to match the splendour of Angkor Wat. The temple is one of the largest monuments to religion ever built and is truly one the wonders of the world. Believed to have been constructed as a temple and mausoleum for King Suryavarman II at the peak of the Khmer empire in the first half of the 12th century, Angkor Wat is probably the best-preserved of the Angkorean temples. As with other Angkorean temples and walled cities such as Angkor Thom, the central theme of Khmer architecture revolved around the idea of the temple-mountain.
Angkor Thom is undeniably an expression of the highest genius. It is, in three dimensions and on a scale worthy of an entire nation, the materialization of Buddhist cosmology, representing ideas that only great painters would dare to portray.
Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire, was a fortified cit enclosing residences of priest, officials of the palace and military, as well as buildings for administering the kingdom. These structures were built of wood and have perished but the remaining stone monuments testify that Angkor Thom was indeed a "Great City" as its name implies. Temples inside the walls of the city described are Bayon, Phimeanakas, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, Prah Palilay, Tep Pranam and Prasat Suor Prat.
Symbolically, Angkor Thom is a microcosm of the universe, divided into four parts by the main axes. The temple of the Bayon is situated at the exact center of the axes and stands as the symbolical link between heaven and earth. The wall enclosing the city of Angkor Thom represents the stonewall around the universe and the mountain ranges around Meru. The surrounding moat (now dry) symbolizes the cosmic ocean.
The First Night Market In Cambodia. It is located just off of Sivatha Road, in the heart of the town. It is an outdoors market, but is covered by a roof to protect it from the elements. With around 240 shops, it is the biggest and most interesting night market to see.
The National Museum of Cambodia houses one of the world's greatest collections of Khmer cultural material including sculpture, ceramics and ethnographic objects from the prehistoric, pre-Angkorian, Angkorian and post-Angkorian periods.
The main activities of the National Museum of Cambodia include exhibiting, safeguarding and promoting understanding of Cambodia’s cultural and artistic treasures. Keeping objects safe and working to ensure the repatriation of pieces stolen from Cambodia are important aspects of the museum’s work, particularly as looting and illicit export of cultural material are a continuing concern. In addition, the Museum strives to engage its visitors through its exhibitions and to fulfil its role as an integral part of the community. The Museum believes that Cambodia’s cultural heritage is of great value and can provide a source of pride and identity to the Cambodian people who have lost so much in recent decades. The availability of multilingual Museum tour guides and Publications, as well as the Museum’s public library, all serve to increase the accessibility of the collection both for local and international visitors.
Cambodia’s Royal Palace complex was begun by King Norodom I (ruled 1860-1904) in 1886, when the capital was moved to Phnom Penh. Most buildings were completed before World War I, with involvement by French administrators and Thai designers and architects. French influence can be seen in the formal gardens which enhance the palace, and there are some European-style buildings on the grounds. Now Royal Palace is a home to His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Sihamoni, King of Cambodia.
Royal palace has four gates. The eastern Victory Gate leads directly to the entrance of the throne hall and is used only by royalty and VIPs. The northern or funeral gate is only opened after the death of a monarch. After being embalmed, the monarch’s body is kept in state at the palace for three months, with the face hidden by a one-kilogram solid gold mask, before being taken out via this gate. The west or executing gate was used by condemned prisoners exiting the palace to be killed. The southern gate is reserved for use by commoners and it is through this gate the public reaches the Silver Pagoda.
At the top of palace’s throne hall, note the four pale, almost clown-like faces, which represent the all-seeing king. The hall itself is painted vivid yellow, a symbol of Buddhism, and white, for Hinduism, the two main faiths of Cambodia until they were combined into one by Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. The central door of the five at the front of the throne hall are reserved for royalty and VIPs. Inside, note the 1913 ceiling mural telling the story of the Ramayana. The thick carpet supplied by China in 1993 matches the lotus-bud floor tiles.
Wat Preah Keo Morakot (Silver Pagoda) is located in the southern portion of the Royal Palace complex. The pagoda was formerly known as Wat Uborsoth Rotannaram because it is where the King worshiped, prayed and practiced every Buddhist Silas Day. In the additional, the royal family and officials also held Buddhist ceremonies there.This pagoda has no monks. However, this Majestic King Norodom Sihanouk lived there for one year when he entered the monkhood on July 31, 1947. Because the pagoda has no monks, visitors usually refer to it as Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot. When the King celebrates Buddhist ceremonies, monks from other pagoda such as Wat Unaloam and Wat Botumvattey are invited to attend the ceremonies. Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot was built between 1892 and 1902, during the reign of King Norodom, but at that time it was constructed of wood and brick. Its design is base on Cambodian architectural style. Then Banhchos Khan Seima ceremony was held on Feb 5, 1903.
There are 1,650 art objects housed in this temple. Most of them are Buddha figures. They are made of gold, silver, bronze and other valuable materials. Some are decorated with diamonds. They are gifts from the King, the royal family, dignitaries and other people who worship at Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot, where they pray for peace and prosperity, for happiness and for the preservation of Cambodian cultural heritage for the next generation. In front of the throne, site a Buddha statue made of gold, weighing 90 kilograms (about 200 pounds) and decorated with 2,086 diamonds. The biggest diamond is on the crown. It is 25 millimeters. This statue was commissioned in 1904 by King Sisowath, following the suggestion of King Norodom. King Norodom said, after his body was cremated the gold casket should be melted to make Buddha statue representing Preah Srei Araymetrey. This Buddha statue is named Preah Chin Raingsei Rachik Norodom.