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Phu Quoc Island - Tropical Paradise In Vietnam

8 May 2023

1. Phu Quoc - Tropical Paradise In VietnamPhu Quoc Island, located off the southwest coast of Vietnam, is a stunning island and an emerging tourist destination. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush green forests, Phu Quoc offers a peaceful retreat for travelers seeking a tropical escape.In the “Top 23 most beautiful islands” in the world in 2023 voted by Travel + Leisure magazine, Phu Quoc is famous for its long stretches of white sandy beaches, diverse marine life, and dense tropical forests. The island is also home to a growing number of luxury resorts, making it an ideal destination for honeymooners, families vacation, and adventurous travelers.2. Top Destinations and Activities in Phu QuocSao Beach: a secluded beach with powdery white sand and turquoise waters.Phu Quoc National Park: Indulge yourself in nature, trek through lush rainforests, and spot exotic wildlife.Vin Wonders: Is an entertainment complex - A “fairytale world” with many interactive games and six different themes park areas: the Thrill Zone - Adventure World, Water Park - Tornado World, Central Castle - Medieval Europe, Fairytale Zone - Enchanted World, and Viking Zone - Secret Village.Grand World: Grand World is famously known as the "Sleepless City" for its top-notch investment in art performances and unique themed museums. With its unique architecture, Grand World is dubbed the Asian version of a miniature Venice.Phu Quoc offers a range of activities for travelers, including snorkeling, diving, and fishing in its crystal-clear waters. Visitors can also explore the island's underwater world by taking a glass-bottom boat tour or a scuba diving excursion.Those seeking relaxation can indulge in a spa treatment at one of the island's luxurious resorts, or simply unwind on one of the many secluded beaches. 3. WeatherPhu Quoc enjoys a tropical climate with two distinct seasons. The dry season, from November to April, is characterized by sunny days and warm temperatures, while the wet season, from May to October, brings occasional heavy rain and high humidity.4. How to get there?Phu Quoc is accessible by both domestic and international flights, with direct flights available from major cities in Vietnam, as well as from Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia...Get in touch with us to plan your next holiday and visit this stunning island.http://7luckevent.vn/
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Chu Chi Tunnels
The Chu Chi Tunnels are part of a massive war museum in Ho Chi Minh. They offer visitors a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948. The site has over 120km of underground tunnels, with trapdoors, living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, armoury, hospitals, and command centres. After the war against the French, Vietnamese soldiers expanded the tunnels and included effective air filtration systems, which helped them survive the Chu Chi carpet-bombings. It is now one of Ho Chi Minh’s most iconic attractions. You can enjoy plenty of activities during your visit. A popular option is following the narrow routes of the underground tunnel. Before entering the underground tunnels, visitors watch a short film of Chu Chi Tunnels so that they understand how the tunnel system works. Parts of Chu Chi Tunnels are also cemented and widened so that the crawl is less harrowing than it would have been in the past. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/cu-chi-tunnels.htm
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Reunification Palace
Reunification Palace was the base of Vietnamese General Ngo Dinh Diem until his death in 1963. It made its name in global history in 1975. A tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Army crashed through its main gate, ending the Vietnam War. Today, it's a must-visit for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. The palace is like a time capsule frozen in 1975. You can see two of the original tanks used in the capture of the palace parked in the grounds. Reunification Palace was the home and workplace of the French Governor of Cochin-China. It has lush gardens, secret rooms, antique furniture, and a command bunker. It's still in use to host important occasions in Ho Chi Minh, including APEC summits. The Reunification Palace has five levels. The basement features tunnels, a war room and telecommunications centre. The war command room has original maps on its walls. Period telecommunications equipment are also on display. Its adjoining basement rooms display war propaganda materials. On the third floor, there's a card playing room while the fourth houses a casino. Reunification Palace's rooftop terrace is fitted with a heliport. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/reunification-palace.htm
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Binh Tay Market
Binh Tay Market, constructed by the French in the 1880s, is located in the centre of Vietnam’s largest Chinatown district. Unlike Ben Thanh Market in District 1, this market mainly serves the local population with its extensive range of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat and seafood from regions across Vietnam. Also known as Cholon Chinatown Market, Binh Tay Market occupies a two-storey building along Thap Moui Street. Travellers can also find an assortment of handicrafts, lacquerware, and textiles that are sold in bulk, though goods are not varied compared to other (more touristy) markets in downtown Hanoi. Along with the interesting historical and cultural aspect of Cholon, Binh Tay Market is great for experiencing the local lifestyle and sampling unique Vietnamese-Chinese delicacies. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/attractions/binh-tay-market.htm
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Bitexco Financial Tower
Ho Chi Minh City’s Bitexco Financial Tower & Sky Deck stands 262 metres high at the centre of the city’s business district and offers visitors an unparalleled city view from its Sky Deck. Designed by renowned American Architect Carlos Zapata, this 68-storey tower houses offices, shops, restaurants, and a helipad. CNNGo recently ranked the building fifth in their listing of the world’s 20 most iconic skyscrapers. The structure also received an ‘Excellence in Structural Engineering’ award from NCSEA in 2011 and is currently the 124th tallest building in the world. The main attraction at the tower is the Sky Deck where visitors can enjoy dramatic views across the bustling city below. Sky Deck visitors are accompanied by an English-speaking guide and can also enjoy interactive touch screen fact boxes delivering information on points of interest regarding city landmarks seen from above. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/bitexco-tower-sky-deck.htm
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Cao Dai Temple
The Cao Dai Temple was finished in 1955 when the Cao Dai Army was formed following the Japanese occupation of Indochina. Caodaists believe that all religions are ultimately the same and seek to promote tolerance throughout the world. The Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and Confucius, in addition to Joan of Arc and Julius Cesar are all honoured at this temple. There are nine hierarchies of worship including a pope, cardinals and archbishop with festivals, rituals and prayer all practised regularly. The temple is similar in design to a Christian Cathedral featuring side aisles and an altar, as well as a long central nave, all positioned as they would be in a Christian Church, there is even a high dome decorated with clouds and saints. The main focal point is a Divine Eye symbolising God which has the Ying and Yang icon in its pupil. Ceremonies take place daily with two services accompanied by musicians and a choir singing in English to traditional Vietnamese music. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/cao-dai-temple.htm
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Jade Emperor Pagoda
Emperor Jade Pagoda, also known as Tortoise Pagoda, is one of the five most important shrines in Ho Chi Minh City. Built at the turn of the 20th Century by a community of Cantonese who migrated from Guangzhou province in Southwest China, this pagoda is a fine representation of Mahayanist branch of Buddhism that is practised widely in Vietnam. In the main hall, the Emperor Jade Chua Ngoc Hoang or the 'God of the Heavens' reigns supreme. Aided by two assistants, the Emperor decides who can enter this higher realm. Those who don't pass this gate will meet with the formidable 'God of Hell', on the left, who will send sinners to one of the 10 levels of hell. Life in purgatory is magnificent if somewhat gruesomely represented by the intricate carvings on the temple wall, depicting different kinds of punishments that await transgressors. In a different hall, the goddess of fertility Kim Hua, surrounded by figures of women and small children, blesses childless couples who pray for an offspring here. The goddess of mercy Kuan Yin, who forms a very important part of any Taoist temple, has an altar in a room on the top floor. Emperor Jade Pagoda is a living and working shrine very much in use by the locals who come here to prayer or make votive offerings of flowers and light candles and joss sticks. With worshippers coming and going, the temple can get busy and feel a little cramped. Its dimly lit, the narrow passageways filled with smoke lend an atmospheric feel to the place, adding to its charm. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/jade-emperor-pagoda.htm
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War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City first opened to the public in 1975. Once known as the ‘Museum of American War Crimes’, it's a shocking reminder of the long and brutal Vietnam War. Graphic photographs and American military equipment are on display. There's a helicopter with rocket launchers, a tank, a fighter plane, a single-seater attack aircraft. You can also see a conventional bomb that weighs at 6,800kg. American troops had used these weapons against the Vietnamese between 1945 and 1975. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/war-remnants-museum.htm
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Artinus 3D Art Museum
Artinus 3D Art Museum is an interactive art gallery, which gives it visitors a truly wonderful experience in the magic of 3D. This museum has more than 100 different 3D paintings, created by Korean artists. The artworks are created in a way that the visitors can step inside them and be part of some stunning 3D scenes. You will be amazed by all the optical illusions on display and surely have the chance of taking many pictures which will blow your friends’ minds. You can be trapped in a bottle, fight with a dragon and much more. Among the nine zones are the wildlife world, ancient Egypt, Renaissance art, Oceans and, of course, Vietnam. The Artinus 3D Art Museum is not overcrowded and therefore gives its visitors the time to enjoy the art and take pictures at their leisure. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/attractions/artinus-3d-art-museum.htm
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Ho Coc Beach
Ho Coc Beach, located north of Ho Tram Hamlet, is home to mostly mid-range and high-end resorts as well as one of the most pristine beaches in Vietnam. Accessible within a three-hour leisurely drive from central Ho Chi Minh City, the beach features five kilometres of white sand where you can enjoy a day of sunbathing, swimming and beach games, as well as sample fresh seafood and local Vietnamese cuisine. Ho Coc Beach is home to beachfront resorts and hotels that cater to just about any budget and preference. If you’re staying at one of the beach’s high-end resorts, the chances are you will also get to enjoy unwinding on a private beach. Sundecks are available for rent for those who aren’t staying at the resorts, and there are some parts of the beach that are still available for public use. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/vung_tau-con_dao-islands/attractions/ho-coc-beach.htm
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Mariamman Hindu Temple
Mariamman Hindu Temple is a sacred Hindu Temple dedicated to the goddess of the Rain ‘Mariamman’. This temple was built in the late 19th century by traders coming from India and has been well preserved. This complex is the only Hindu temple in Saigon and is believed to have miraculous powers giving luck and wealth to its visitors. The outer wall of the Temple has a collection of interesting statues of different gods and goddesses like Mariamman, Vishnu, Brahma and Ganesha. The main hall of the complex (The Rajagopuram) stands twelve metres tall and inside you find a well-maintained statue of Mariamman flanked by her protectors ‘Maduraiveeran’ and ‘Pechiamman’. If you would like to enter the Mariamman Hindu Temple than do not forget to take of your shoes and dress appropriately. To favour the goddess of the rain you can also take some offerings such as joss sticks, jasmine, lilies and gladioli. These can be bought in front of the entrance. In the near vicinity of this temple, you can also find Ben Thanh Market. Entrance to the temple is free of charge and can be visited from 07:00 – 19:00. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/mariamman-hindu-temple.htm
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Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 1880s by French colonists, is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in the largely Buddhist Vietnam. Located in Paris Square, the name Notre Dame was given after the installation of the statue ‘Peaceful Notre Dame’ in 1959. In 1962, the Vatican conferred the Cathedral status as a basilica and gave it the official name of Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. Measuring almost 60 metres in height, the cathedral’s distinctive neo-Romanesque features include the all-red brick façade (which were imported from Marseille), stained glass windows, two bell towers containing six bronze bells that still ring to this day, and a peaceful garden setting in the middle of downtown Ho Chi Minh City District 1. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/notre-dame-cathedral.htm
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Saigon Central Post Office
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh is a beautifully preserved remnant of French colonial times and perhaps the grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia. Located next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, the two cultural sites can be visited together and offers visitors a chance to imagine life in Vietnam during the times of the Indochinese Empire. The building was designed by Alfred Foulhoux and features arched windows and wooden shutters, just as it would have in its heyday in the late 19th Century. The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh was constructed between 1886 and 1891 and once inside, the looping arches, intricately designed marble floors and antiquated telephone boxes all serve as a reminder of the importance the post office played in days before email and mobile phones. Although the architecture is distinctly French, the large portrait of Ho Chi Minh hanging high above everyone at the far end of the building reminds everyone we are definitely in Vietnam. Painted onto walls overhead are two maps of the region; one of them showing the telegraph lines that crisscross Vietnam and Cambodia and the other displaying a map of the Saigon region in 1892. Although the experience is a fascinating glimpse into history, the fact that this is still a functioning post office makes the experience even sweeter, and we encourage everyone to send a letter or postcard from here – it’s a piece of living history where even the old fashioned glue pots are still in use for sticking stamps to letters. There are two wings branching out from the main office, selling souvenirs, postcards and lacquerware but the prices are inflated and the same products can probably be found elsewhere for a better price. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/post-office-ho-chi-minh.htm
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Saigon Opera House
The Saigon Opera House in Ho Chi Minh is an elegant colonial building at the intersection of Le Loi and Dong Khoi Street in District 1, very close to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and the classic Central Post Office. The restored three-storey 800-seat Opera House was built in 1897 and is used for staging not only opera but also a wide range of performing arts including ballet, musical concerts, Vietnamese traditional dance and plays. Performances are advertised around the building and information can be found in the state-operated tourist information centre close by. The exterior has the appearance of polished pearl and makes a great place to photograph – especially at night when bathed in a soft, orange light. The entrance is through a vaulted archway that is kept in immaculate condition; inside, expect swathes of red velvet, classical friezes and hardwood floors. Although the official name of the building is The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh it is by far more commonly known as the Saigon Opera House and after the restoration work in 1995, the building is just as it was at the turn of the 19th Century. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/opera-house.htm
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Galerie Quynh
Spending time with Quynh Pham, founder and director of Galerie Quynh, is always a delightful experience, and highly recommended as a starting point for one’s expedition into Saigon’s dynamic art scene. Her eyes alight with passion during one-on-one tours. For more than a decade, Galerie Quynh has been Saigon’s leading art space, championing the country’s most established and emerging artists. http://vietnamtourism.vn/things-to-do/contemporary-art-scene-ho-chi-minh-city
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SAPA - VIETNAM

9 May 2023

Sapa - a destination for nature lovers and culture enthusiasts alike, is a charming town nestled in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range in northern Vietnam. Here are some of the highlights of this breathtaking destination:Top destinationsSapa is famous for its stunning natural beauty. Here are some things you can expect while visiting this beautiful town: Majestic mountain, terraced rice fields, and cascading waterfalls.Fansipan: It is known as the "Roof of Indochina" and stands at an impressive height of 3,143 meters (10,312 feet). At the top of Fansipan, visitors are greeted with panoramic views of the surrounding mountain range and lush green valleys. On a clear day, it is even possible to see all the way to the neighboring countries of Laos and China. The summit is also home to a small temple and a bronze statue of the Buddha, providing a peaceful and spiritual atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.The terraced rice fields of Muong Hoa valley boast breathtaking views of magnificent rice terraces that are sculpted into the mountainside, especially during the harvest season when the fields turn golden yellow.In addition to its natural beauty, Sapa is known for its cultural diversity and the unique traditions of its ethnic minority groups. Some of the top cultural destinations in Sapa include Cat Cat Village, where you can learn about the daily life and traditions of the Hmong people, and Ta Phin Village, where you can visit the traditional home of the Red Dao people.Other destinations: Ta Phin Village, O Quy Ho Pass, Tram Ton Pass, Silver Waterfall, Love Waterfall, Hill tribe markets around Sapa, Hoang Lien Son Mountain…Activities in SapaSapa offers a variety of outdoor activities for nature lovers, including trekking, hiking, exploring, and cycling.For those looking for a more relaxed experience, you can take a leisurely stroll around the town, explore the local markets, or enjoy a traditional herbal bath. Weather in SapaSapa's climate is relatively cool year-round, with temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit Sapa is from September to November or from March to May when the weather is dry and cool.Getting to SapaThe easiest way to get to Sapa is by train from Hanoi. There are also buses available, but the journey can be quite long and uncomfortable.Sapa is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to northern Vietnam. Its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural diversity, and endless outdoor activities make it a truly unique and unforgettable experience.https://www.saigontourist.net/
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Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/hochiminh-mausoleum.htm
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Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/imperial-citadel.htm
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Water Puppet Theatre
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/water-puppet-theatre.htm
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Perfume Pagoda
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/perfume-pagoda.htm
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Ba Vi National Park
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/ba-vi-national-park.htm
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Bat Trang
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. https://www.vietnamonline.com/attraction/bat-trang-porcelain-and-pottery-village.html
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Dong Xuan Market
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/shopping/dong-xuan-market.htm
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Hanoi Opera House
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/hanoi-opera-house.htm
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Maison Centrale
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/hanoi-maison-centrale.htm
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Ngoc Son Temple
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/hoan-kiem-lake.htm
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Temple Of Literature
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/temple-of-literature.htm
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Bach Ma Temple
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/attractions/bach-ma-temple.htm
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Weekend Nightmarket Hanoi
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. http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/shopping/hanoi-weekend-night-market.htm
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West Lake
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. http://hanoi.tourism.vn/english/index.php/item/133
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SON DOONG CAVE - VIETNAM

10 May 2023

Sơn Đoòng is a natural wonder located in the heart of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. It is considered the world's largest cave, with mesmerizing landscapes that attract adventurers and nature lovers from all over the world.Sơn Đoòng is a must-visit destination for any traveler seeking a unique adventure. The cave was discovered by a local man named Ho Khanh in 1991, but it wasn't until 2009 that it was first explored by a team of British cave experts. Since then, Sơn Đoòng has become a popular destination for adventure seekers, attracting tourists from all corners of the world.The cave boasts breathtaking natural beauty, including its own river, a dense jungle, and a massive underground chamber known as the "Great Wall of Vietnam." Visitors can trek through the jungle, swim in the river, and explore the cave's many wonders. The highlight of any visit to Sơn Đoòng is the chance to witness the stunning underground chamber, which is the largest in the world.There are a variety of activities available for visitors to Sơn Đoòng, ranging from easy hikes to more challenging treks. The most popular activity is the Sơn Đoòng cave tour, which takes visitors on a 4-day, 3-night journey through the cave's chambers. Along the way, visitors will get to experience the cave's stunning scenery, swim in the underground river, and camp in the jungle.For those looking for a less challenging adventure, there are plenty of other activities available. Visitors can trek through the surrounding jungle, visit nearby villages, or even take a hot air balloon ride over the national park. The best time to visit Sơn Đoòng is between February and August when the weather is dry and mild. The rainy season lasts from September to January, making it difficult to access the cave due to the high water levels in the jungle.Sơn Đoòng is a natural wonder that definitely should be on every traveler's bucket list. From its stunning natural beauty to its unique adventure opportunities, it's no wonder why Sơn Đoòng has become such a popular destination in Vietnam. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders.
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Hien Luong Bridge
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. https://www.vietnamsite.nl/hienluongeng.htm
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Tam Toa Church
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. https://originvietnam.com/destination/vietnam/quang-binh/tam-toa-church.html
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Vinh Moc Tunnels
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. https://www.vietnamsite.nl/vinhmoceng.htm