As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. In this issue, we take our readers to Vietnam via few pictures.
Vietnam is a truly
beautiful country with breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture,
warm and welcoming people, and a rich history. Every town and city
has a character of it's own. Vietnam never fails to charm.
The scenic trains
journeys are a great way to see the country.
Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO
World Heritage Site, is absolutely breathtaking with thousands of
monolithic limestone islands rising from it's emerald waters.
A night's stay on a
boat is a must in Ha Long Bay.
Standing true to it's
name, the Surprise cave is the most magnificent cave in Halong bay
and leaves it's visitors awestruck. When you begin following the tiny
path that leads up to this cave, it is hard to imagine just how huge
and spectacular this cave could be.
Dating back to 4th
century AD, the ruins of the once glorious temples of My Son are a
sight to behold. They consists of several temple clusters, only some
of which still stand strong. Majority of the temples were bombed out
of existance by the American forces during the Vietnam war.
Bombs used by the
American forces to destroy the temples.
Hue was the imperial
capital of the Nguyen dynasty. The imperial city, surrounded by a
wall of 2 Km by 2 Km, is a fortress, consisting of the palace,
temples, gardens and tombs.
The tombs of Nguyen
dynasty are top tourist attractions in Hue. Emperor Tu Duc's tomb is
one of the most beautiful tombs. It has a vast sprawling complex with
a calm and serene ambience, built around a beautiful lake and full of
pine trees. It consists of several tombs and temples dedicated to
wives, some courtesans, and other relatives.
Hoi An, another UNESCO
world heritage site was the site of the first chinese settlement in
Vietnam. It used to be a major South-East Asian trading centre from
the 15th to 19th century. Today, Hoi An is a
delightful little town. Taking a walk down the alleys of the old
town, with well preserved buildings from the past, which have now
been converted to temples, emporiums, and museums, it is not very
hard to imagine how life would have been back then. The colourful
markets light up at night where you can buy anything and everything.
Tailor made shoes and clothes are a speciality of Hoi An. You'll see
numerous shops lined up where they can make lovely shoes and dresses
for you, in just one day!
The marble mountains,
near the city of Da Nang, is a group of five hills that contain a
number of natural caves and tunnels. Some of the caves are quite big
and take the visitor by surprise. There are several buddhist and
hindu temples in this complex. It is a popular tourist destination.
The area is famous for marble sculpture making and stone-cutting
crafts. Just outside the complex there are numerous shops selling
scuptures of all types. Some of the showrooms are huge and have
endless collections on display. The quality of the craft is stellar.
Cu chi tunnels, where
the horrors of the American-Vietnam war come alive, are part of a
much larger network of several stories deep underground tunnels,
which served as a hiding place for the Vietnamese. The tunnels
contain complete living quarters with homes, kitchens, and hospitals.
Some of the tunnels have been opened for visitors, and it is only
after vising this place does one realise what life meant for these
people brave and fearless people, and just how hard it was to live
Vietnamese surely know
how to honour their martyrs. There are separate graveyards for
soldiers and common people in all villages, and they have detailed
listings of everyone who rests there. Some of the graves were quite
fancy. They likely belonged to officers of higher cadre.
Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum
in Ho Chi Minh city is where the embalmbed body of Ho Chi Minh is
kept, protected by four armed guards at four corners. There's a very
strict code of conduct that everyone must follow. People wait in long
queues everyday to pay their respects to the father of nation.