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Vietnam Popular Places to Visit

One Pillar Pagoda

The One Pillar Pagoda is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples.

The temple was built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. According to the court records, Ly Thai Tong was childless and dreamt that he met the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Ly Thai Tong then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple in gratitude for this in 1049, having been told by a monk named Thien Tue to build the temple, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, similar to the one he saw in the dream.

The temple was located in what was then the Tay Cam Garden in Thach Bao, Vinh Thuan district in the capital Thang Long (now known as Hanoi). Before the pagoda was opened, prayers were held for the longevity of the monarch. During the Ly Dynasty era, the temple was the site of an annual royal ceremony on the occasion of Vesak, the birthday of Gautama Buddha. A Buddha-bathing ceremony was held annually by the monarch, and it attracted monks and laymen alike to the ceremony. The monarch would then free a bird, which was followed by the people.

The temple was renovated in 1105 by Emperor Ly Nhan Tong and a bell was cast and an installation was attempted in 1109. However, the bell, which was regarded as one of the four major capital works of Vietnam at the time, was much too large and heavy, and could not be installed. Since it could not be tolled while left on the ground, it was moved into the countryside and deposited in farmland adjacent to Nhat Tru Temple. This land was widely inhabited by turtles, so the bell came to be known as Quy Dien chung, which means Bell of the Turtle Farmland. At the start of the 15th century, Vietnam was invaded and occupied by the Ming Dynasty. In 1426, the future Emperor Le Loi attacked and dispersed the Chinese forces, and while the Ming were in retreat and low on weapons, their commanding general ordered that the bell be smelted, so that the copper could be used for manufacturing weaponry.

The temple is built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter and 4 m in height, and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity, since a lotus blossoms in a muddy pond. In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War. It was rebuilt afterwards

Hanoi, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a mausoleum which serves as the resting place of Vietnamese Revolutionary leader & President Ho Chi Minh in HanoiVietnam. It is a large building located in the center of Ba Dinh Square, where Ho, Chairman of the Workers' Party of Vietnam from 1951 until his death in 1969, read the Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It is also known as Ba Đình Mausoleum and is open to the public.

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.

 

Hanoi, Vietnam

My Tho

My Tho, is the capital of the Tien Giang province in Southern Vietnam. It is the first city in the Mekong Delta travellers from Ho Chi Minh City will arrive and hence a popular spot for dropping tourists on one of the many Mekong boat tours.

Its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City and its position on the northern bank of the Mekong is the key to My Tho’s importance. It should come as no surprise that in the late 19th century, French colonialists, in their quest to exploit and export, built the Saigon-My Tho railway line to connect the then capital to the river highway. It was the first railway line of French Indochina, part of a dream for a network across the Mekong Delta. Though the dream and line faded (stopping altogether in 1958), roads and bridges now move the goods and the city remains an important commercial hub for the region.

Vietnam

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province, in the northeast of Vietnam, is165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. Covering an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabitated and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate. The property’s exceptional scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.

The outstanding value of the property is centered around the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying spectacular pillars with a variety of coastal erosional features such as arches and caves which form a majestic natural scenery. The repeated regression and transgression of the sea on the limestone karst over geological time has produced a mature landscape of clusters of conical peaks and isolated towers which were modified by sea invasion, adding an extra elemant to the process of lateral undercutting of the limstone towers and islands.

 Comprised of a multitude of limestone islands and islets rising from the sea, in a variety of sizes and shapes and presenting picturesque, unspoiled nature, Ha Long Bay is a spectacular seascape sculpted by nature. The property retains a high level of naturalness, and despite its long history of human use,  is not seriously degraded. Outstanding features of the property include the magnificent towering limestone pillars and associated notches, arches and caves, which are exceptionally well-developed and among the best presented of their type in the world.

As the most extensive and best known example of marine-invaded tower karst in the world Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s most important areas of Fengcong (clusters of conical peaks) and Fenglin (isolated tower features) karst. Abundant lakes, occupying drowned dolines, are one of the distinctive features of the Fencong karst, with some appearing to be tidal. Possessing a tremendous diversity of caves and other landforms derived from the unusual geomorphological process of marine invaded tower karst the caves are of three main types: remnants of phreatic caves; old karstic foot caves and marine notch caves. The property also displays the full range of karst formation processes on a very large scale and over a very long period of geological time, possessing the most complete and extensive exzample of its type in the world and providing a unique and extensive reservoir of data for the future understanding of geoclimatic history and the nature of karst processes in a complex environment.

Integrity

All elements necessary to sufficiently protect the outstanding scenic and geological values of the Ha Long Bay property are included within the boundaries of the property and its size and area provide sufficient integrity for the large scale geomorphological processes to operate unhindered. It benefits from being completely surrounded by a large and extensive buffer zone with both the size and area providing sufficient integrity for the large scale geomorphic processes to operate unhindered.

Located within an area of high tourism, marine transport, fisheries and the daily activities of people living and conducting their business on Ha Long Bay, management of the area, instituted since inscription of the property, applies strict regulation and control of activities in an attempt to minimize impacts on the integrity of the property. There is a continuing challenge to improve the integrity and quality of the environment. The natural scenic features, geomorphology, landform values and cultural heritage along with key features such as islands, caves and grottoes remain intact and the property retains a high level of naturalness despite the long history of human use in the area.

Quang Ninh, Vietnam

Bac Ha Market

Once a week, the quiet town of Bac Ha becomes a hub of culture and trade in Northwest Vietnam. Residents from the surrounding villages and valleys flock to Bac Ha, and the roads are filled with buses packed with tourists. Visiting on a Sunday means watching locals in their traditional ethnic dress, sipping the juice from fresh coconuts and browsing countless stalls. Shoppers can find everything for sale in Bac Ha, including water buffalo, delicious Hmong and Thay cuisine, brightly colored fabrics and fragrant spices.

Bac Ha, Vietnam

Temple Of Literature

In the city of Hanoi, there is an incredible temple dedicated to Confucius. Built in the 11th century, the Temple of Literature honors scholars and the many academic achievements of the Vietnamese, past and present. The Temple of Literature was even the site of the very first university in the nation. Among countless statues of Confucius and his disciples, there are impressive pagodas and a pond known as the Well of Heavenly Clarity.

A rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture, the complex honours Vietnam’s finest scholars and men of literary accomplishment. It is the site of Vietnam’s first university, established here in 1076, when entrance was only granted to those of noble birth.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hang Son Doong Cave

One of the largest caves in the world, and certainly the largest in Vietnam, is Hang Son Doong. Approximately three million years old, Hang Son Doong Cave is an incredible destination unlike anywhere else on the planet. The cave is enormous, and it is possible for dozens of people to camp within it at a time. Bright blue water pools are located in the cave, and a river runs through it. Lush greenery lines the walls, thanks to erosion that lets in beams of sunlight. The cave is ethereal, and guided tours are available to best explore this amazing landmark.

It takes explorers 6 hours of walking through a 10 kilometer long forest path from Truong Son Highway to reach the mouth of Son Dong cave.

Bo Trach, Vietnam

My Khe Beach

The most scenic spot in Da Nang is arguably My Khe Beach. Also known as China Beach, this was where US servicemen were helicoptered in for R&R during the Vietnam War. These days people come here however for tis pristine white sand, blue water and sunny skies. Visitors can rent a lounge chair on the sand, relax in the shade under a thatched umbrella or rent a kayak from nearby vendors. Many hotels and cafes are within walking distance of My Khe Beach, making it a hub for visitors as well as locals in search of incredible views.

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. 

Danang, Vietnam

Tam Coc

In the Ninh Binh province of Northern Vietnam near is Tam Coc a popular tourist destination in north Vietnam and part of the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex UNESCO World Heritage site. Tam Coc translates to English as three caves. The three caves are nestled in a scenic landscape of limestone cliffs and rice paddies, and the river winds through the region, Tam Coc is best appreciated on a languorous rowing-boat ride, with the soundtrack of the river lapping against the oars.The caves are called Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba, and they serve as the area’s main attraction. Guided boat tours take you to the caves and along the Ngo Dong River, which is often dotted with floating vendors capitalizing on the tourist visiting on a day trip from Hanoi.Major tourist attraction of Vietnam for travelers. The Vietnamese call the paddy fields of Tam Coc as the Green Sea. 

Bich Dong pagoda, located 2 km from the caves of Tam Coc is composed of 3 structures: Have Pagoda (lower pagoda), Trung Pagoda (Middle pagoda), and Thuong Pagoda (upper pagoda) and a cave.

Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

In Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, stands the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral. Built in the late 19th century between 1877 and 1883, the cathedral is brick, neo-Romanesque and clearly influenced by European architecture of the same time period. In fact, many of the materials used in construction were imported directly from France. While the exterior is impressive, the interior is also worth exploring. Look for the surviving stained glass panels as well as carved tiles and a statue of the Virgin Mary.

English-speaking staff dispense tourist information from 9 AM to 11 AM Monday to Saturday. Mass is 9.30 AM Sunday. If the front gates are locked, try the door on the side facing the Reunification Palace.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam