Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hanoi Opera House - A Truly Beautiful Building

Hanoi Opera House is a worthy artistic centre, a cultural and architectural relic of the capital Hanoi. This is truly a beautiful building in Hanoi.

Looking down Trang Tien Street, you can see Hanoi Opera House standing strongly, deserving to be one of Hanoi's grandest buildings.
Hanoi opera house
Built by the French in 1911, and renovated in the late 1990s, this is an incredible building. Hanoi Opera House is an old theatre with French architecture and typical Gothic and Mosaic characters reflected on the door domes and the glassed room respectively. The facade is colonial French with pillars and balconies overlooking the city center. The 900-seat opera house plays host to visiting foreign performances as well as Vietnamese symphonies. The exterior is a delightful mix of French neo-classical design with shuttered windows, wrought iron balconies and tiles friezes.
For a long time, Hanoi Opera House has been a rendezvous for those who love theatrical performance and traditional songs and music, symphonies, opera and classical opera. It is also a tourist attraction for local and foreign visitors.
History of Hanoi Opera house
Hanoi Opera House is a great construction built by the French Colonialist Government during the early years of the 20th century. Harley and Broyer were designers. This design was much modified by ideas of some architects. The work was started on june, 7th, 1901, undertaken by a local supervisor - Harley Architect. Mr Travary and Savelon were in charge of the construction. The work, the peak of which is 34 meters above the ground, was carried out in a total area of 2600 square meters with the 87-meter length and 30-meter width. The designers consulted Corankta Greek ancient architecture in combination with Tuylory Castle and Opera de Paris to form a unique architecture.
Hanoi Opera House has a great value in history, architecture as well as its use. It was a historical evidence of Vietnamese social and cultural development under French rule, a vestige for an architectural development stage dating back to the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries in Vietnam. The theatre has seen many significant historical events associated to the August Revolution and the early years of Vietnam Democratic Republic.
Striking characteristics
Hanoi Opera House is renowned for its unique architecture and good composition. It is furnished rationally and harmoniously. Since its establishment, Hanoi Opera House is the largest theatre in Vietnam.
Previously the site was a big pond, adjacent to the city gate of Tay Long (also called Tay Luong) of the ancient Thang Long Capital. The construction met with many difficulties, because the foundations of the theatre were built on the pond. Before building a concrete foundation, nearly one metre thick, the pond was emptied and dredged, then 30,000 hard bamboo stakes were placed on its bed.
Hanoi Opera House is of the same architectural style as the Opera House in France. Some foreign architects said that due to being built nearly 300 years after the Paris Opera House, Hanoi Opera House avoids superfluous architectural details, which make it more magnificent and attractive. Inside the opera house are a large stage and a main audience room with a size of 24x24m, with many small rooms for audience on the central floor. The middle staircase leads to a large Hall on the second floor. The sub-staircase and corridors are located in both sides.
At the back of the Opera House is a management chamber consisting of 18 make-up rooms, 2 rooms for voice training, 1 library and 1 meeting room. Facing the stairs is a magnificent mirror room on the second floor. Opera house has been so far a typical, large-scaled art showing place, wherein party state meetings and international conferences are held. It is considered a cultural work with the best value in Vietnam, a unique architectural work with great historical, cultural, architectural and fine-art value, a unique works in urban area as well as in the capital city. The theatre has been equipped with state-of-art facilities and appliances, compatible for all types of artistic performances, from folk music and songs, ballets and piano to classical opera, reformed opera, Vietnamese operetta and drama, all made great impressions on the audience. Hanoi Opera House has also successfully organized many large-scale international concerts.
Being an ancient architecture work, the Opera House is now becoming a national art work of international renown, which contributes to our country's modern cultural field, also serves as a foundation in cultural exchanging, in our present social economic development and the national cultural innovation in particular.
Hanoi Opera House is a worthy artistic centre, a cultural and architectural relic of the capital Hanoi. This is truly a beautiful building in Hanoi and the best place to see the Opera House is from the 6th floor of the Hanoi Hilton.

Khmer ethnic people enjoy New Year festival

A jubilant atmosphere covers the whole Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang as nearly 400,000 local Khmer ethnic people celebrate their traditional New Year Festival Chol Chnam Thmay.
The Chol Chnam Thmay Festival, which begins after the first harvest of the year, fell on April 13-15.

Xa Loi - First pagoda of Ho Chi Minh City

Xa Loi Pagoda was established to worship the Great Buddha and it is known as the first pagoda of Ho Chi Minh City and also a rather modern pagoda. Tourists in Vietnam travel visiting Xa Loi are interested in its beauty of new architectural style with an altar above and an amphitheatre staying lower.

 Xa Loi Pagoda- The First Pagoda of Ho Chi Minh CityXa Loi Pagoda is a large pagoda and also a relic at the city level of Ho Chi Minh City, lying at the corner of Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, District 3 with the huge precinct of 2,500 square kilometers.
The pagoda was started to build on August 5th 1956, following the drawing of the architects Nguyen Van Duong and Do Ba Vinh. And the engineers Du Ngoc Anh and Ho To Thuan were responsible for the construction site. The pagoda building then was finished on May 2nd 1958.

The pagoda was established to worship the Great Buddha and was called with the name "Xa Loi" for short by common people. For that reason, in inaugurating day, the superior Buddhist monk has named it "Xa Loi Pagoda".

This pagoda used to be the main headquarters of the Association of Buddhology of Vietnam from 1951 to 1981. After that, from 1981 to May 1993, it became the headquarters of Buddhist Church of Vietnam (the second office).

Xa Loi Pagoda is the first pagoda of the city which was built in a new style of architecture with an altar above and an amphitheatre staying lower. The design of the pagoda includes a sanctum worshipping Buddha, an amphitheatre, a bell tower, a library, monks' quarters, purifying house, office, a room publishing prayers and bibles, guests' room and an area for travelers staying.

The pagoda worships a huge statue of The Sakyamuni which is made by the School of Fine Arts Bien Hoa. In 1969, the statue was restored with the whole body made of gold and has the shape like today. The sanctum at the upper floor is decorated with a set of big pictures including 15 pictures created by the professor Nguyen Van Long of the School of Fine Arts Gia Dinh. Those pictures have described the life of the Sakyamuni, from newborn time to the time of entering Nirvana.

 Xa Loi Pagoda- The First Pagoda of Ho Chi Minh City
Xa Loi Pagoda- Ho Chi Minh City
The bell tower Xa Loi was opened in 1961. It is 32 metres high and has 7 floors. This is the highest bell tower of Vietnam. Inside the tower, on the highest floor, there hangs a great bell which weighs 2 tones and was casted according to the model of the bell in Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue.
You, tourists in Vietnam travel, should not miss to visit Xa Loi Pagoda when you are in Ho Chi Minh City. The pagoda is opened daily from 7 to 11 am and from 2 to 5 pm.

Nha Trang's Church

One of Nha Trang’s first and oldest buildings constructed primarily of steel reinforced concrete, it’s also sometimes called Stone Church. The foundation was begun on September 3, 1928 on Mot Hill in the center of town, overseen by Paris Foreign Missions Father Louis Valley, and inaugurated on May 14, 1933. Father Valley had also built the cathedral in Danang in 1923.
The 760-square-meter cathedral has a seating capacity of 600, and attracts a large following. The original masses  were read in Latin, French, and English, but today services are held only in Vietnamese. The hill was much higher at the time of construction, and French engineers used 500 explosive charges to make the hilltop level and provide an access road. 

The main entrance is on Thai Nguyen St., but if it’s closed you can follow the southern driveway off Nguyen Trai St., which is the route to take if you’re on wheels. As you go up the road that sweeps the left flank, you’ll wind past about 4,000 cinerary urns with plaques showing the names of prominent local Catholics, many of whom were interred after a nearby cemetery was razed to make way for a new railway building.

Also along the stone drive leading from the foot of the hill to the church are 14 stations of the cross and dozens of statues of saints. The grave of the church’s founder, Father Louis Valley is next to the southern driveway, and that of Bishop Marcel Piquet, the first bishop of Nha Trang, is also on the church grounds next to the steps above the square.
Ever Blue Travel :: Nha Trang Cathedral
Nha Trang Cathedral
The church compound is paved with stone bricks, and encircling the complex are effigies of saints. There’s an interesting grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built in 1940, where you’ll find a wooden statue of Christ surrounded by a motley collection of rectangular tribute plates, potted flowers, and a cascading bougainvillea tree.

Atop the gothic modeled steeple of the church is a grand four-faced clock tower, within which are three giant bells built by the famed Bourdon Carillons Company. The bells ring loudly at every hour and at times of mass, and can be heard throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. Stepping inside the church proper is like walking into a European abbey, complete with magnificent arches and medieval-looking s t a ined-gl a s s windows, all installed in 1933.

Ever Blue Travel :: Calm interior of Nha Trang Cathedral

At the base of the church compound, and at the foot of the busy roundabout is the 2,500 square meter Ave Maria Square. Currently, there’s a massive construction project underway to refurbish the entire area. Previously, there was a large statue of the Virgin Mary atop a pavilion, while the rest of the square went largely ignored. It served as a parking lot during large congregations, and a make-shift café serving sugar cane juice in the cool evenings. When construction started there was a rendering of the finished project, showing a medieval-styled battlement looming over a newer statue of Mary, with the main square having flagstones crisscrossed with gardens. 

Time will only tell when the renovations are complete. Outside the perimeter fence you can still see enterprising vendors who have set up plastic lounge chairs along the curb selling fruit and sugar cane juice to the buzz of the traffic circle.

Hon Chong - A beautiful island

Hon Chong is a cluster of huge stones located in Khanh Hoa Province. Hon Chong and Hon Vo has become a island couple. With beautiful scenery, they are attractive many tourist every year.

Hon Chong is a cluster of huge stones located in Khanh Hoa Province. In the language of Vietnamese, there are two meanings of Chong: to stack and husband. Normally, local people refer to Hon Chong in the second meaning.  However, the first meaning seems to be more appropriate in explaining the arrangement of these giant stones.
Hon Chong - the boulders stack on each other
On the slope of a mountain full of rocks stacking on one another, Hon Chong stands vividly and impressively. It overlooks the ocean from the cliff, seeming to fall down in any minute yet remaining stable. Hon Chong’s large boulders are combined to form such an imbalance position that they shock anyone who glances at them for the first time. 
One by one, the boulders stack on each other, supporting and conflicting at the same time. The largest one has the size of a small hill; it makes the foundation to hold another huge boulder which has the size of a house on its peak. On the side facing the seashore, there is a handprint with 5 fingers, which nowadays still confuses and intrigues visitors, historians and scientists alike.
Hon Chong to be with Beautiful scenery
The name of Hon Chong comes from the fact that its shape and location make it look as if it is snuggling against another cluster of stones called Hon Vo (the wife). Hon Vo is a spectacular cluster located not too far away. However, in reality, there are actually two Hon Chong clusters (the other one is near Sat Thon islet), so it might be a little bit confusing to point out which one is actually the husband. You are wondering? Come and find your own answer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lang Biang Mountains in Dalat City

Driving 12 km from the center of Dalat, tourists in Vietnam travel will see the Lang Biang Mountains standing high and beautiful as the roof of Dalat city. This area is typical for the tourism activities like camping, exploring the nature, and the culture of ethnic minority groups living here.
As not far from the centre of Dalat, just about 12 km, tourists in Vietnam travel will see the Lang Biang Mountains standing high and beautiful as the roof of Dalat city, Lam Dong province. Legend has it that there was once a couple who were deeply in love with each other - the boy named K'lang and the girl named Ho Biang. However, there was a feud between the two tribes so they were not allowed to get married. At last, they overcame all the prejudice and got married. They moved onto a mountain to live.

Then Ho Biang was ill and K'lang tried in vain to save her. So he came back to the tribe to ask for help but the people in the tribe had shot him with a poisonous arrow. However, it was Ho Biang to be shot since she had shielded her husband. K'lang could not suffer such loss. He cried and his tear made up a big stream which is now called Dankia (the Golden Stream).

Lang Biang Mountain- The Roof of Dalat City

After their death, Ho Biang's father was too repentant of his mistake so he unified the tribes into one called K'ho. Since then, boys and girls in K'ho group are allowed to get married to each other. The mountain in La Ngu Thuong Village where the couple died is named Lang Biang. It is to memorize the couple with profound love.

Lang Biang Mountain is considered one of the highest mountains in Dalat. This area is typical for the tourism activities like camping, exploring the nature, and the culture of ethnic minority groups here. Lang Biang is also an ideal place for adventurous activities like mountain climbing, conquering high peaks. At the foot of the mountain lies a large valley which can be regarded to as an entertainment and ecological tourist site. Tourists can join in exciting programs like camp-fire, enjoying "Can wine" with ethnic minority people while listening to their cultural stories.

When hiking to Langbian Mountains, standing on its mount peak, tourists in Vietnam travel can see the Golden Stream and Silver Stream and have an overview of Dalat City. Dalat seems to be more fanciful when you observe it from Lang Biang mountain, like an aquarelle with two pieces of silk (the Golden and Silver Stream) prominently emerging among the limitless green forests and mountains.

Ban Phu Citadel in Dien Bien

Ban Phu Citadel, also known as Tam Van or Sam Mun, was built in the 15th century in Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien province. It covered an area of dozen of hectares. In front of the citadel were deep ditch, and two systems of defense works, which were three kilometers long and approximately two meters high.


The foot of the citadel was covered with clusters of bamboo. The present- day Noong Het Commune was the center part of the citadel. At present, a part of the wall of Ban Phu Citadel is restored so that visitors can picture the citadel is restored so that visitors can picture the citadel of the past. In the 18th century, Chinese invaders occupied the citadel. Hoang Cong Chat (1739-1769) was sent to fight against the invaders.

After he died in 1769, Dien Bien residents erected a temple to commemorate in the area of the citadel, 12km from the center of Dien Bien Phu City. Ban Phu Citadel and Hoang Cong Chat Temple is an attractive tourist site in Dien Bien.

Pa Khoang Reservoir in Dien Bien

Pa Khoang Reservoir is located in Muong Phang Commune, Dien Bien District, 20km from the Dien Bien City. Initially, Pa Khoang was just a stream. However, when irrigation works were built, the stream became a lovely lake with a system of drainage and watertight gates used to regulate the water running onto the thousands of hectares of rice fields.

With a large surface area of 400 to 600ha, Pa Khoang displays charming scenery of pretty stilt- houses mirrored in the transparent water upon which some small boats slowly glide across. Pa Khoang Reservoir offers favorable conditions for a combination of eco-tourism and outdoor activities.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stork island in Hai Duong - Vietnam

Photo: Đức Linh
 Located in the middle of vast lake, the stork island emerges as a pearl endowed by the nature for Chi Lăng Nam. The local residents still tell each other the legend for this land. It is said that at the beginning of the 15th century, deluges broke the large dyke along the Red River for three consecutive times. At the second breakage, an island emerged in the middle of the lake. Then, "birds perch good land", each herd of storks, herons and water birds come here from everywhere.

With the time, storks and herons residing in the island are more and more crowded in the quantity and diversified in species. From September to April every year, most storks can be seen with up to ten thousands of storks and thousands of herons perching in close proximity to one another on the bamboo tops and tree branches like flowers filled with white cotton from a remote view.

They get together to nest, lay eggs and nurse their babies. The tourists are more excited to see young storks with immature legs on soft bamboo branches. When the sunset is let down, the storks return home. They fly into herds, each herd including 50 to 70 storks, even hundreds of storks creating true white curtains on the trees in the island.
After flying for many times covering the whole lake space, they land safely on the green clump of trees in the middle of vast sea in the glow of sunset. It is followed by spans of the herons pending search for food at night. The tourists will witness an interesting "chorus" of families of storks and herons. The stork island is excited with sound like a natural chorus tearing a quite atmosphere of a Vietnamese village.

Tourists who come to the stork island in the season need only one day to visit the whole island. A small boat that is arranged so as not to disturb living environment of the storks will slowly take the tourists around the lake and see the life of storks. However, if the tourists expect to watch the live of storks more carefully, please stay overnight on the stork island. From 9.00 to 10.00, the storks come back most. The family reunion also starts from this time to the next morning. At that time, the tourists will have more time to study the life of storks on the island.

The harmonious intercalation between trees, birds and lake together with fresh, ventilated tropical weather as well as such historical and cultural monuments as temples, pagodas and traditional trade villages such as fish nursery, rice pancake, decorative plant, Chi Lăng Nam has full factors to become a typical ecological tourist area for the North Vietnam village. Hải Dương Tourism has made the tour on Chi LăngNam stork island a new tourist product of the province.

If you are interested in exploring Vietnam travel, you can visit Vietnam travel guide, Vietnam travel company, Halong cruise, Halong Bay, Halong tours site to know further attractive places. 

Source: VTR

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Son - A unique beautiful sanctuary

My Son Holy land (Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn) - a unique beautiful sanctuary world of the ancient Chăm religion, is day by day attracting thousands of tourists elsewhere.

Situated inside the 2-kilometer wide valley in Quang Nam province, the My Son Sanctuary temple complex was ever the central praying and worship ceremony place of Cham Pa reigns. My Son is also a tool to assist the reigns to contact with God and Saints. The land accordingly become the significant religious and cultural center of Cham Pa reigns.

The Chăm people (người Chăm or người Chàm in Vietnamese) belong to an ethnic group in Southeast Asia. They formed the core of the Muslim communities in both Cambodia and Vietnam. Chăm is remnant of the Chăm Pa Kingdom (7th to 15th centuries), closely related to the Malay race.

All of the Chăm towers were built on a quadrate foundations and each comprises three parts: a solid tower base, representing the world of human beings, the mysterious and sacred tower body, representing the world of spirits, and the tower top built in the shape of a man offering flowers and fruits or of trees, birds, animals, etc., representing things that are close to the spirits and human beings.

According to many researchers of the ancient Chăm towers, the architectural art of the Chăm towers at Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary is the convergence of different styles, including the continuity of the ancient style in the 7th-8th centuries, the Hoa Lai style of the 8th-9th centuries, the Dong Duong style from the mid-9th century, the Mỹ Sơn and Mỹ Sơn-Binh Dinh styles, etc. Among the remnants of many architectural sites excavated in 1898, a 24 metres high tower was found in the Thap Chua area and coded AI by archaeologists and researchers on Mỹ Sơn. This tower is a masterpiece of ancient Chăm architecture. It has two doors, one in the east and the other in the west. The tower body is high and delicate with a system of paved pillars; six sub-towers surrounding the tower. This two-storey tower looks like a lotus flower. The top of the upper layer is made of sandstone and carved with elephant and I ion designs. In the lower layer, the walls are carved with fairies, water evils and men riding elephants. Unfortunately, the tower was destroyed by US bombs in 1969.

My Son Holy Lan

The sanctuary comprises more than 70 architectural works. They include temples and towers that connect to each other with complicated red brick designs. The main component of the Chăm architectural design is the tower, built to reflect the divinity of the king. Bricks are main material for the construction of the Cham Towers. However, it has yet been unable to figure out the reasonable explanation for the linking material, brick baking method, and construction method of the Cham Pa. Even these days, this still remains as an attractive secret to contemporary people.

Although there are not many remnants left, those that remain display the typical sculptural works of cultural value of the Chăm nationality.They are also vivid proof, confirming the history of a nationality living within the Vietnamese community boasting of a rich cultural tradition.

Honorably recognized as a World Heritage in 1999, My Son Holy Land is captivating in various cultural values. Therefore, it is extremely useful and meaningful for those interested in Southeast Ahsian culture, which owes its core to ancient Cham culture, to drop off the land. Although time and the wars have destroyed some towers, the remaining sculptural and architectural remnants still reflect the style and history of the art of the Chăm people.

Their masterpieces mark a glorious time for the architecture and culture of the Chăm, as well as of Southeast Asia. If  tourists like untouched nature and pre-touristic surrounding, don't hesitate traveling to My Son holly!

If you are interested in exploring Vietnam travel, you can visit Vietnam travel guide, Vietnam travel company, Halong cruise, Halong Bay, Halong tours site to know further attractive places. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cua Tung – Queen of beaches

The beach is surrounded by a belt of basalt and stone mountains that resemble a huge comb passing through the hair of the waves. 
Located in the coastal district of Vinh Linh in the central province of Quang Tri, Cua Tung Beach is the nation's "Queen of Beaches", arousing the curiosity of many tourists to come and experience its beauty.

The one kilometre-long beach is not particularly long or wide, but the water is gentle and clear. Two underground rock formations, Mui Si and Mui Lai, encroach on the sea, creating a small bay that shelters the beach from strong waves and tides.

The beach is surrounded by a belt of basalt and stone mountains that resemble a huge comb passing through the hair of the waves. On the hill grow green orchards of jackfruit, pineapple, banana and custard-apple.

While the central region is known for its harsh weather, with dry winds from the southwest and major storms from the sea, Cua Tung Beach is protected by Mother Nature, out of the wind on most days, and the bay offers safe harbour for fishing boats.

The first foreigner to set foot here during the time of French colonialism saw the area’s potential for developing resorts. At that time, Vietnam was divided into three regions and the central region was known as Annam. Ernest Albert Briere, the governor of Annam from 1891-97, was one of those who fell in love with the place, and he built a palace here in 1896 to spend his holidays on the beautiful beach.

The palace was transferred to King Duy Tan (1900-45), the 11th king of the Nguyen Dynasty, who ascended the throne at age 7 and bridled at living in confinement in palaces under the control of the French. He travelled extensively around the country, and Cua Tung was one of his stops.

King Bao Dai (1913-97), the 13th and final Vietnamese feudal king, often traveled from his capital in Hue to Cua Tung to enjoy this amazing beach.

The Frenchman Andre de Laborde, who had a deep understanding of this land, described Cua Tung as a gentle sloping beach which is part of the green highland 20m above sea level. From the slope, people can see the changes in the colour of the sea and sky. Shades of blue change hourly under the sunshine, surprising anyone who has the chance to witness it.

The sea here is so shallow that a person can run about half a kilometre from the shore and the water will only be up to their chest.

Nearby Cat Son village is a short stroll along the beach. It has been famous for hundreds of years for its fish, drum-making, carpentry and mother-of-pearl inlay. Here, you can dine on cuttlefish, prawns, lobster, butterfish, mackerel, Chinese herring, and other kinds of seafood cooked in the local way.

To the south of the beach is the estuary of the Ben Hai River with Hien Luong Bridge just 10km from Cua Tung Beach. The bridge lies on the 17th parallel and formed the border between North and South Vietnam between 1954 and 1975.

This symbol of separation and loss in wartime is now one of the links between Vinh Linh and Vinh Gio districts in the province. Boarding a boat at the base of the bridge, travellers can see lush rice paddies, bamboo and casuarinas trees along the river banks. The slow rhythm of life, the whisper of the wind and the rippling of the water, all bring a feeling of peace.

About 30km offshore from the beach is Con Co Island, a 4- sq. km island with a coastline of about 8km and an average elevation of 5-30m above sea level. At the centre of the island is a 63m-high mountain which was a strategic position during the time the country was divided. Though it is isolated from the mainland by heavy winds, soldiers braved the strong waves and enemy attacks to carry food and weapons to the island.

Lush forests and fruit trees cover the island, including hardwoods with resin as red as blood. In autumn, the bang (Malabar almond) trees also turn red, making the island even more picturesque.

Since 1989, 4,000 coconut trees, symbolising the 4,000-year history of Vietnam, have been cultivated on the island. It is also the home of a small rattlesnake that is used to steep in rice wine to make medicine for treating backache and other ailments. Black and white sea cucumbers as big as a toe are found in the surrounding waters and make a good dish that also has medicinal properties.

Tours to the battlefields in the province and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) allow visitors experience the Vinh Moc Tunnels – a 2km-long network of tunnels up to 23m underground that were used to shelter residents during wartime – as well as the Old Citadel of Quang Tri, the Ta Con airstrip, the Khe Sanh – Road 9 Battlefield, and the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail.

If you are interested in exploring Vietnam tourism you can visit Vietnam travel agency, Halong cruises, Halong Bay, Halong travel site to know further attractive places.