VIETNAM

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VIETNAM

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Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world that has transformed itself into one of the most sought after tourist destinations in just a matter of decades. The serene beauty contained in the country is truly addictive once visited. Not to mention the intoxication felt by tourists with its compelling history rich undertone of exploration and nascent curiosity.
With tourism booming in Vietnam, many visitors find that the country’s offerings go beyond the basic allure advertised and the true essence of Vietnam can only be encapsulated when sought after in person. Be it the jagged mountains, the Red River, the Mekong or the plethora of sights to see, Vietnam is a must see for anyone even with smallest inkling of travel in their blood.

 Culture

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Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world that has transformed itself into one of the most sought after tourist destinations in just a matter of decades. The serene beauty contained in the country is truly addictive once visited. Not to mention the intoxication felt by tourists with its compelling history rich undertone of exploration and nascent curiosity.
The most sacred festival in Vietnam is Tet Nguyen dan. It falls on the day when the New Year comes by and when the old year is over. The cycle of the universe finishes at the same time. Spring comes in and Winter ends. Spring signifying the season of birth of all things. Tet is a time when the Vietnamese people send best wishes for the new year, pay respects to their ancestors and grandparents, and say positive things about each other.
During Tet, various customs are followed. Customs such as ancestral worshipping, visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year, giving lucky money to young children and old people, wishing longevity to the oldest people, opening rice paddies or opening a shop.
Heritage
Vietnam is one of the oldest countries in Southeast Asia, with the ancient Bronze Age Dong Son culture being widely considered one of its most important forerunners. Due to a millennium of Chinese rule, Vietnam was heavily influenced by Chinese culture in terms of politics, government, Confucian social and moral ethics, and art. Vietnam is considered to be part of the East Asian cultural sphere.
Following independence from China in the 10th century, Vietnam began a southward expansion that saw the annexation of territories formerly belonging to the Champa civilization (now Central Vietnam) and parts of the Khmer empire (modern southern Vietnam), which resulted in minor regional variances in Vietnam’s culture due to exposure to these different groups.
During the French colonial period, Vietnamese culture absorbed various influences from the Europeans, including the spread of Catholicism and the adoption of the Latin alphabet. Prior to this, Vietnamese had used both Chinese characters and a script called Chữ nôm which was based on Chinese but included newly invented characters meant to represent native Vietnamese words.

 

Scenic Beauty

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Ghenh Da Dia

Not as often visited as other beautiful places in Vietnam this hidden gem is a natural wonder formed from volcanic basalt rocks which appear to be sculptured columns of different heights. As though made by a craftsman a million years back the volcanic eruption met with the water and cooled framing these interesting naturally made figures. The wonder has stayed untainted by visitors as it’s somewhat off the beaten path in A Ninh Dong Commune in Phu Yen Province.

 

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Halong Bay – Bay of Descending Dragons

Within the still waters, 3000 island limestone formations rise out of the water in all manner of shapes and sizes. The water is regularly canvassed in fog giving it a spooky climate. There are some wonderful caves in the little islands which are lit making the zone considerably more mysterious. The Karst limestone formations can be seen by taking a voyage in a conventional wooden canoe, you can likewise kayak or swim here.

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Tram Ton Pass

Sapa is a mountain town in the northwest of Vietnam known for its beautiful mountain landscape, green valleys, curious customary tribal towns possessed by the ethnic minorities, bamboo timberlands, rice patios and stunning views. The best view of Sapa can be had from the Tram Ton Pass or Heaven’s Gate, the most elevated mountain go in Vietnam. Likewise in the range is the Bac (silver) Water fall, on the off chance that you have the energy, proceed up the Fanispan Mountain for a really eminent view. Untainted by tourism, this is one of the wonderful concealed pearls in Vietnam.

Places to visit

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Da Nang

The cutting edge riverside city of Da Nang is progressively making it onto each explorer’s must-see list. It’s especially alluring after dark when the neon light spills over the Han River; on weekend evenings, the distinctive Dragon Bridge is lit up and, amazingly, it breathes fire. East of the city, an apparently endless extend of sandy shoreline stretches out 30km to

Hoi An

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The central coast’s centuries-old ancient port has retained its charm despite the throngs of tourists drawn here by the heady mix of wooden-fronted merchant houses, graceful bridges and ornate temples. Around evening time, vivid lamps are dangled from each shop front and light up the tight roads of the atmospheric old town, throwing a romantic sparkle over the Thu Bon River.

Hue

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Hue is packed to the brim with relics from the reign of the 19th-century Nguyen emperors. Sitting along the banks of the stunning Perfume River, the Imperial Enclosure is an enormous site set inside walls that sprawl for 2.5 kilometers. While visiting the grounds look for the exquisite Ngo Mon Gate, the Thai Hoa Palace with its finely lacquered inside detailing, the Dien Tho Residence where the Queen Mothers would live, and the Halls of Mandarins with its safeguarded roof wall paintings. An astonishing number of memorable sites lie outside the Imperial Enclosure walls too.

 My Son

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Encompassed by rich wilderness secured mountains, My Son is a destroyed Cham era temple city that dates from the fourth century. This old Hindu religious center was still being used amid the seventh to tenth centuries and just fell into complete decay and surrender amid the thirteenth century. There are around 20 sanctuary structures remaining here, all worked of block or sandstone squares and demonstrating intriguing impacts from different Asian domains, including Indian and Malay.

Food

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Vietnamese cuisine conventionally features a blend of five fundamental taste elements: Spicy (metal), salty (water), sour (wood), sweet (earth) and bitter (fire). The cuisine has subtlety in its flavours and incredibly diverse in its offerings. The flavours in the cuisines are largely determined based on the geography of the country. Spices are more dominant in Vietnam’s southern cuisine while soups in the north are influenced by Chinese flavours. While in the regional markets of Vietnam, one will have the opportunity to try rice wine and sample a myriad of local dishes.
The local foods in the north are less spicy than the south in part to the limited availability of spices. Meats like pork, chicken, and beef are relatively limited in the area, hence crustaceans and freshwater fish are the primary ingredients in the cuisine of the northern areas.

Famous Restaurants

Banh Xeo

The house speciality is banh xeo – crispy folded pancakes stuffed with pork, bean sprouts and shrimp – cooked over open fires out the front. Other Vietnamese dishes are served too. This place is wonderfully animated at night-time.

 La Camargue

Renowned fine-dining venue with a romantic ambience. Expect classic French and Mediterranean cuisine with Asian accents – think duck confit samosas with balsamic and shallot dipping sauce. Extensive wine list and immaculate service.

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Named after the year the Hanoi Opera House was completed, it features a walk-in wine cellar and serves gourmet Continental and refined Vietnamese dishes. Both the service and the food are exquisite.

Lac Thien, Lac Thanh and Lac Thuan

Opened in 1965 and perhaps the most famous restaurants in Hue. The three establishments, which stand back to back, are owned by deaf siblings. The traditional Hue cuisine served is excellent and still very cheap.

How to Reach Vietnam

As it is, tourists can reach Vietnam by fight, road, rail and sea. The NoiBai International Airport in Hanoi is what most tourists prefer and you may also choose Danang International Airport. There are direct flights offered by airlines like Air Asia, Qantas, Air France and Lufthansa.

Do’s and Don’ts in Vietnam

  • Don’t wear shorts or old T-shirts to visit a Pagoda, they won’t let you in. Be sure to dress conservatively and dress for the occasion
  • Don’t sit with your feet pointing towards a family altar if you are staying in someone’s house
  • Don’t take pictures of anything to do with the military
  • Don’t take video cameras into the small villages, it is considered very intrusive
  • Do drink loads of water as you’re wandering around checking out the sights
  • Do hold your bag in front of you and wrap it around a limb when riding in a Cyclo – bag snatching is a big problem
  • Do take off your shoes at the entrance If you’re invited into a local’s home
  • Do travel by train, it’s one of the best ways to see the country through the eyes of the locals

 

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