Vietnam History Culture and Tourism

Vietnam once unknown or less known to the World, gained popularity widely in no lesser time as one of the famous tourist destinations in recent years. Hanoi is the capital and second largest city of Vietnam. Vietnam is officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam which is a long and thin country of Southeast Asia. It has its neighbouring countries like China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west.It is consistently ranked best among the World's top destinations, found by European tourists as far as in Ha Giang-The Plateau of Rocks, which is one of the most remote mountainous part. Now it provides great hospitality and other accomodation needs to the tourists visiting this place by having lots of breathtaking historical and modern structures in the country and has beautiful natural white sandy beaches.
 
Dong Van Karst Global Geopark in Ha Giang
 
Dong Van Karst Global Geopark in Ha Giang
 
Ha Giang a province in northern Vietnam is very less known to tourists which is full of hills, valleys and villages. The people for about 90% of this place belong to ethnic minorities ( (Hmong, Tay, Giay, Pu Peo, Dao, Nung, Lo Lo ) with their own cultures and lifestyles. The Dong Van Karst Global Geopark, is the farthest and the most beautiful place of Ha Giang province, designated by UNESCO as one of 77 sites with important geological and cultural heritage. This Geopark is littered with the ethereal karst formations nearly 400 million years old, and also has two protected areas. 
 
Dong Van Karst Geopark Ha Giang Vietnam
 
Dong Van Karst Geopark Ha Giang Vietnam
 
History of Vietnam:
 
History shows that Vietnam was independent and tributary state to China until the French colonisation and was occupied nearly four times by China but managed to fight with its offenders and got victory.
 
The most remembered Vietnam War was the result of fighting between South and North Vietnamese, which was officially declared as American War. It was on 30 April 1975,when a North Vietnamese tank drove into the South's Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh City and the war got ended with the conquest of South Vietnam, which killed over 50,000 Americans and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese.
 
The Vietnam War
 
The Vietnam War
 
The Vietnam war was the only one of many that the Vietnamese have fought, which has passed the most brutal consequences in its history. The American tourists receive a warm welcome in Vietnam as the youngsters here follow ape American mores and venerate US pop culture.
 
Culture and People of Vietnam:
 
As we peep into the history we can see that Chinese occupied Vietnam nearly four times, as a result mostly influenced by Southern China culture and formed the basis of Vietnamese society.It is noticed different from Chinese as it has also absorbed its neighbouring Hindu civilizations such as the Champa and the Khmer empires
 
Champa People of Veitnam
 
Champa People of Veitnam
 
Vietnamese language contains many words from Chinese but both the languages are different and unrelated. There are about 85% of Vietnamese people identified as Buddhists due to Buddhism culture also seen in Vietnam which is the single largest religion followed and have dominant school of Buddhism in Vietnam named as Mahayana School. Christianity is the second largest religion which is followed by the local Cao Dai religion.
 
For more information on Mahayana Buddhism in Vietnam : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana
 
Most of the people in Vietnam are ethenic Vietnamese, though some Vietnamese are of Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City, who descended from migrants from Guangdong province and are of bilingual in Cantonese or other Chinese dialects and Vietnamese. Majority of Vietnam people are catagorised in some ethnic groups like Kinh, Tay, Tai Ethnic, Muong, Khmer Krom, Hoa, Nung, Yao and Hmong people.  Khmer Krom is the other minority ethnic group in the lowlands near the border with Cambodia. 
 
For more information on People of Vietnam visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_Vietnam
 
Like in Southern India Coffee is the most popular beverage among locals and has large impact of French Colonization with baguettes in Vietnamese Society. 
 
Coffee Plantations in Vietnam
 
Coffee Plantations in Vietnam
Traditional Costume:
 
"Aodai" is the long traditional dress worn by the people of Vietnam which have strong bond with their tradition,history and culture.Its a silk dress split on its side,representing the country and people around the world.Tourists can spot this outfit on occassion of important festivals of Vietnam,solemn ceremonies like death anniversary of Hung Kings,Quanho Bac Ninh,Huong Temple celebration and New year’s Eve. Originally designed for both men and women, but mostly preferred by women due to its slender, elegant design which suits to honor Vietnamese women. It is worn along with Nonla ( “leaf hat”) or a cloth worn over one’s head called Khandong ( “silk hat”). Some versions of Aodai are miniraglan Aodai, turtleneck Aodai, etc. "Miss Aodai" pageant is one of the most popular beauty contests held wearing this traditional costume.Tourists visiting Vietnam can watch this show at Ho Chi Minh City palace of culture. The one wishing of their own Aodai can have from these branches like Thai Tuan Ao dai and Lien Huong Ao Dai.
 
Veitnamese National Costume
 
Veitnamese National Costume
Sports in Vietnam:
 
Soccer is this country's most popular team sport. The other sports like Vovinam and Binh Dinh martial arts are widely spread all over the Vietnam. In 2008, its national team had won the ASEAN Football Championship. Other Western sports widely popular here include - volleyball, badminton, chess, tennis and ping-pong.
 
 
Regions of Vietnam:
 
1)Northern Vietnam:Includes (Hanoi, Bac Ha, Ba Be National Park, Cao Bang, Cat Ba, Cuc Phuong National Park, Dien Bien Phu, Dong Dang, Dong Hoi, Ha Long Bay, Haiphong, Lao Cai, Ninh Binh, Ha Giang, Sapa, Bac Giang , Son La)the Harbours are the most magnificent views of this capital city and the iconic Ha Long Bay is one of the chance to visit indigenous hill tribes.
 
2)Central Coast:Includes(Cham Islands, Da Nang, DMZ, Dong Ha, Hoi An, Lang Co, Hue, My Son, Na Meo, Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Thanh Hoa, Vinh)with the ancient city of Hue,home of the still recent Vietnamese kings and in Hoi which is one of the nicest old seacoast towns in Vietnam.
 
3)Central Highlands:Includes(Buon Ma Thuot, Dalat, Kontum, Ngoc Hoi, Pleiku)with lush forests covering hills with indigenous tribes and their occasional elephants.
 
4)Southern Vietnam:Includes(Cat Tien National Park,Con Dao, Can Tho,Chau Doc ,Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh City,Long Xuyen,Mui Ne,My Tho,Phan Thiet,Phu Quoc,Vung Tau,Tay Ninh, Vinh Long,Tra Vinh)with the economic engine of Vietnam,covering the lush and fewer visited Mekong Delta is present the rice basket of Vietnam built around Ho Chi Minh City.
 
Some of its Famous Cities:
 
Hanoi - It is the capital and second largest city.
 
Hanoi City of Vietnam
 
Hanoi City of Vietnam
 
Ha Giang - It is in the north pole province with amazing scenery
Haiphong - It is the third largest city and a major port in north Vietnam
Dalat  - It is the largest city in the highlands
Ho Chi Minh City - It is the largest city and the main economic centre of Vietnam, formerly Saigon (Sài Gòn)
Hoi An  - It is one of the delightfully well-preserved ancient port near the ruins of Mỹ Sơn
Da Nang - It is the fifth largest city and most important city of the central coast
Hue - It was former home of Vietnam's emperors
Nha Trang - It is a burgeoning beach resort
Phan Thiet -It is "The Resort Capital" with Mui Ne beach
Vinh - It is the major city in north central Vietnam with Cua Lo beach
Can Tho - It is the fourth largest city and the center of the Mekong Delta
 
Other destinations:
 
1)Ban Gioc Waterfalls - It is seen in the Cao Bang Province.
2)Cat Tien National Park - It is a jungle, rare primates, birds and crocodiles, 3 hours from Saigon.
3)Con Dao  - It is an island off the Mekong Delta.
4)Cu Chi - It is a site of the Cu Chi Tunnels.
5)Cuc Phuong National Park - It is home to some of Asia's rarest wildlife and the Muong hill tribe.
6)The DMZ
7)Dong Van - The Dong Van Karst Plateau Geo Park is unique combination between Geoheritages and cutural heritages.
8)Ha Long Bay - It is famous for its unearthly scenery.
 
Cruise Liner in Halong Bay Vietnam
 
Cruise Liner in Halong Bay Vietnam
 
9)Kontum - It is a relaxed little town providing access to a number of ethnic minority villages.
10)My Son - It is an ancient Hindu ruins which are a a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
11)Phong Nha-Ke Bang - It is the most beautiful, magnificent & magic cave in South East Asia.
12)Tam Coc - The un Ninh Binh province south of Hanoi with Ha Long Bay-like scenery.
13)Moc Chau - Hightland Moc Chau is travel experience.
14)Quang Ngai - My Lai Massacre Museum.
15)Son Doong Cave - It is the largest cave in Vietnamese known as “Mountain River cave”, located in Son Trach, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh province, Vietnam.It was first discovered by a local man named Hồ-Khanh in 1991,and then known internationally by scientists from the British Cave Research Association, led by Howard Limbert, conducted a survey in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng in April 2009.Son Doong cave having two entrances, and a hole on the ground offers excellent shots by giving one the opportunity in using sunbeam light which adds ethereality to photos taken in the cave atmosphere.
 
Son Doong Cave
 
Son Doong Cave
 
Son Doong Cave Inner View
 
Son Doong Cave Inner View
 
16)Hoi An - It is a dream location for all tourists across the world as it is full of creative individuals ranging from craftsmen to tailors and so on.It is a great shopping centre as people from all parts of the world visit this place annually, mainly because of its traditional uniqueness and the variety of artifacts in stock and also relax at its white sand beaches.
 
Hoi An Sunset
 
Hoi An Sunset
 
Hoi Quan Trieu Chau Temple Hoi An
 
Hoi Quan Trieu Chau Temple Hoi An
 
17) Cao Dai Temple - This temple is one of the most historical attractions of the country and is a fusion of teachings from different religions including Confucianism, Islam, Taoism, Christianity and Buddhism.
 
Cao Dai Temple in Vietnam
 
Cao Dai Temple in Vietnam
 
18)Hue Monument - It was built by Nguyen Kings the most glorious and dynastic rulers of Vietnam several decades ago.This King's tomb is a must visit place for all tourists as it gives how things lived in historical times. 
 
Hien Lam Pavilion Gate Hue
 
Hien Lam Pavilion Gate Hue
 
Bigstock Tomb Of Emperor Khai Dinh Hue
 
Bigstock Tomb Of Emperor Khai Dinh Hue
 
Hindu Temples in Vietnam:
 
1)Subramanian Temple:-It is located at 98, Nam Ky Khor Nglina Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City and one of the central business. The main deity is Lord Murugan seen with his consorts Valli and Deivayaani on his right and left sides, respectively. Lord Ganesh is located on the right side of Murugan and to his right are Rahu and Ketu. A Mouse is seen infront of Lord Ganesh behind which a balipetham (sacrificing platform) is situated. To the left of Muruga, is seen Lord Venkatesh with his consorts Goddess Lakshmi and Andal on both the sides.  Speciality of this temple is that the Navagrahas(Nine grahas)are dressed with different coloured silk clothes. The flowers and incense sticks are kept in porcelain containers. Some pictures of Shiva, Muruga, Lakshmi, Saraswathy and Krishna are also found in the temple.
 
2)Mariamman Hindu Temple:-It is the only Hindu temple still in use in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) which resembles little piece of southern India in the centre of Saigon. Though there are 50 to 60 Hindus in Saigon - all of them Tamils - this temple, known in Vietnamese as Chua Ba Mariamman, considered sacred by many ethnic-Vietnamese and ethnic-Chinese. The locals have a strong belief in the sacred power of Mariamman and regularly visit this temple.The temple is said to have miraculous powers and was built at the end of 19th century and dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Mariamman.
 
Mariamman Temple of Vietnam
 
Mariamman Temple of Vietnam
 
At the time of autumn the lion (Simma Vahanam) to the left of the entrance is used to be carried around Saigon in a street procession.In the shrine in the middle of the temple is Mariamman, flanked by her guardians - Maduraiveeran (to her left) and Pechiamman (to her right). There are two lingas infront of the figure of Mariamman. Favourite offerings placed nearby often incense sticks, jasmine, lillies and gladioli. When one enters the building to the left is the wooden stairs leading to the roof, are found two colourful towers covered with innumerable figures of lions, goddesses and guardians.
 
3)Sri Thendayutthapani temple:-It is located at 66 Ton That Thiep, Quan 1 (District 1), Ho Chi Minh City. 
 
The main deity of this temple is known as Thendayatthapani (another name for Lord Muruga)and seen with spear (Vel) in his hand. There are other shrines for Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna located on the left and right sides, respectively. On walls of the temple, very big framed potraits of Mahathma Ghandi, Swami Vivekanada, Rabindranath Tagore, Thiruvalluvar, Abdul Kalam Azad, Nehru, Mahavishu can be seen. Narayana on Garuda and Palani anadavar are found. Other attraction of this temple is the presence of four beautifully painted vahanas (vehicles) to take the deities on procession during festival days namely yellow cow, swinging red horse, brown sheep and fiercely looking Idumpan. The pictures of four Saiva saints(Shiva devotees) namely, Thirugnanasampathar, Thirunavukarasar, Sundarar and Manicavasagar are placed for the prayers. This temple has both inner and outer paths for the devotees to go around the deities. 
 
All Hindus who are on a trip to Vietnam must pay a visit to these temples. The foreigners are now welcomed in Vietnam for joint-venture projects. 
 
How to Reach:
 
By Road: Buses run between Ha Tien in Vietnam to Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh in Cambodia.The main crossing point is the Moc Bai/Bavet on the Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh road.
 
By Air: Vietnam is having 21 civil airports and 3 major International airports in its major cities like Noi Bai - Hanoi,  Tan Son Nhat - Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang International Airport - Da Nang. Non-stop flights are available from Australia, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Macau, Qatar, Turkey, Dubai and the U.S.
Direct flights are available through flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.Long-haul flights are available with transits via Bangkok, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei.
 
By Train: Veitnam is having a single-track railway line (metre guage) which connects the capital city Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south known as Reunification Express (North-South Railway). Direct international train services are available from Nanning and Beijing in China to Hanoi. 
 
 
Image Courtesy: rhezarevestir.blogspot.in, viptourasia.blogspot.in, en.veitnamitasenmadrid.com, exchange.blogs.tamk.fi, north-vietnam.com, s574.photobucket.com, www.utz.org, www.slideshare.net 
 
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