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Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 16, 2009 at 06:57:02 :: Vietnam

It's easy to understand why Ha Long Bay (also written Halong Bay) draws throngs of visitors each year. With 3000 limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes that soar out from calm turquoise water, and caves and grottoes dotting the seascape, the scenery is simply majestic. So much so that some beautiful films, such as Tomorrow Never Dies of the James Bond franchise and the French love story Indochine, have been shot there.

Ha Long Bay or Halong Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long), panorama, Quảng Ninh province, Vietnam


Meaning the "Land of the descending dragons" in Vietnamese, the local myth of Ha Long Bay recounts the story of Vietnamese soldiers fighting off Chinese invaders when a family of dragons is sent down from the gods to help them defend their territory. The dragons spat pearls, which transformed into jade-stone islands as soon as they touched the waters of Ha Long Bay. The islands and islets that formed served as a formidable fortress and the enemies and their vessels were thwarted.

Halong Bay cliff


Lying nearly 170km east of Hanoi in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 1994. Within the bay area you find Cat Ba National Park, which boasts an incredible rich and diverse environment with a tropical moist evergreen ecosystem as well as a marine and coastal ecosystem. You can also spot endangered species including the golden-headed langur, civet cats and rhesus macaques as well as an enormous variety of plants.
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Follow the track of Bill Clinton

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, December 20, 2006 at 09:40:33 :: Vietnam

Back in 2000, while visiting Ho Chi Minh City, former US president Bill Clinton stopped at the Pho 2000 restaurant (see below) for a bowl of Pho (the vietnamese traditional noodle soup).

Pho 2000 (famous for having been visited by former US president Bill Clinton in 2000), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Follow the track of Bill Clinton, have your own bowl of noodle at Pho 2000.

No time for a Pho? Then visit Pho 2000, Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam on Landolia!
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Cao Daism and Victor Hugo

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, December 16, 2006 at 09:51:32 :: Vietnam

If you go to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, you may take the opportunity to go also to the Cao Dai Holy See, in Tây Ninh, 96 km North West from Ho Chi Minh City. The complex houses the Cao Dai Great Temple, house of the Cao Daism.

Cao Dai (full name: Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ) is a relatively new, syncretist, monotheistic religion, officially established in Tây Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926


Cao Daism was officially established in Tây Ninh, in 1926.

Caodaism's basic principle is to unite the Doctrines of Buddhism, Taoism , and Confucianism. It believes in one God, God the Father (Duc Cao Dai), as well as worships the Universal Mother and the Divine Beings (Sakyamuni, Jesus Christ, Confucius, Lao-tse, and Khuong Thai Cong).

What is the link with Victor Hugo then?

Well, Cao Daism sees itself as the product of the "Third Alliance Between God and Man", the third and final revelation. And in the Great Temple, you'll find a mural in front of the entry hall (see below) which depicts the three signatories of the "Third Alliance" : Chinese statesman Dr Sun Yatsen, Vietnamese Poet Nguyen binh Khiem... and Victor Hugo!

Kind of Obelisk in the complex houses Cao Dai Great Temple (Thanh That Cao Dai), Tay Ninh, Vietnam


Visit the Cao Dai Holy See now, on Landolia!
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In The News

Halong Bay, Vietnam

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 17, 2007 at 21:14:34

Large panorama of the Halong Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long), 170 kilometres east of Hanoi (Hà Nội), Vietnam (Việt Nam)Ha long Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long), Bay of the Descending Dragon, in the Gulf of Tonkin, near the border with China, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, which rise spectacularly from the ocean.
Halong Bay, 170 kilometres east of Hanoi, is one of the world's natural wonders, and is the most beautiful tourist destination of Vietnam with the 120 km coastline of Bai Chay Beach. Its waters are host to a great diversity of ecosystems including offshore coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, mangrove forests, small freshwater lakes, and sandy beaches.

Halong Bay with its 1,969 limestone monolithic islands, in the Gulf of Tonkin, VietnamLong ago when their forefathers were fighting foreign invaders from the north, the gods from heaven sent a family of dragons to help defend their land. This family of dragons descended upon what is now Ha Long bay (hence the name "Bay of Descending Dragons") and began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form barriers against the invaders. The people were able to keep their land safe and formed what is now the country of Vietnam. A modern legend claims that a creature named the tarasque still lives in the bay. The Dragon family fell so much in love with this area for its calm water and for the reverence of the people of Vietnam that they decided to remain on earth. Mother dragon lies on what is now Ha Long and where her children lie is Bai Tu Long. The dragon tails formed the area of Bach Long Vi known for the miles of white sandy beaches of Tra Co peninsula.

Life scene, Halong Bay, VietnamSeveral of the larger islands (Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), and Mai Nha Islet (roof)) have extensive caves, Hang Đầu Gỗ (Wooden stakes Cave) is the largest grotto in the Halong area. Although they are poorly lit and have slippery pathways, they offer a little adventure to liven up a long, lazy day of boating. Birds and animals including bantams, antelopes, monkeys, and iguanas also live on some of the islands.
There are two bigger islands, Tuan Chau and Cat Ba, that have permanent inhabitants. There are a number of wonderful beaches on the smaller islands.

HCMC, Vietnam

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, December 15, 2006 at 00:29:26

Thien Hau Pagoda, built by the Cantonese Congregation in the early 19th century, Đ Nguyen Trai, Ho Chi Minh City, VietnamLargest city in Vietnam (Vietnamese: Việt Nam), Ho Chi Minh City or HCMC (Vietnamese: Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Khmer: Prey Nokor, former name: Saigon, Sài Gòn) stands on the bank of the Saigon River. We are back from this city, after a one week journey, with a lot of photos. We have covered lots of beautiful places in Ho Chi Minh City, including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Chinese Quarter with its wonderful Pagodas, the City Hall and the Reunification Palace...Cao Dai is a relatively new, syncretist, monotheistic religion, officially established in Tây Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926

Around Ho Chi Minh City you will enjoy the Cao Dai Holy See in Tây Ninh, cradle of the Cao Dai religion (full name: Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ), and the Ben Dinh's Cu Chi Tunnels (Củ Chi), location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War.


UNESCO World Heritage

Vietnam, Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 16, 2013 at 12:19:50

Location Vietnam
Coordinates N20 4 41 E105 36 17
Property 156 ha
Date of Inscription 2011

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1358 )

The 14th -century Ho Dynasty citadel, built according to the feng shui principles, testifies to the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Viet Nam and its spread to other parts of east Asia. According to these principles it was sited in a landscape of great scenic beauty on an axis joining the Tuong Son and Don Son mountains in a plain between the Ma and Buoi rivers. The citadel buildings represent an outstanding example of a new style of south-east Asian imperial city.

Photos from TWIP

North gate, Citadel of the Ho Dynasty South gate, Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map


Vietnam, Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 16, 2013 at 12:09:52

Location Hanoi, Vietnam
Coordinates N21 2 22 E105 50 14
Property 18 ha
Date of Inscription 2010

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1328 )

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet. It was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. It was the centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption. The Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains in the 18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads between influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south.

Photos from TWIP

Princess Palace, Hanoi Citadel Citadel of Hanoi

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map


Vietnam, My Son Sanctuary

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 16, 2013 at 12:00:46

Location Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam
Coordinates N15 31 0 E108 34 0
Property 142 ha
Date of Inscription 1999

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/949 )

Between the 4th and 13th centuries a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Viet Nam. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in a dramatic site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence.

Photos from TWIP

My Son Sanctuary, Temple My Son Sanctuary

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map


Vietnam, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, November 10, 2009 at 15:04:16

Location Bo Trach and Minh Hoa Districts - Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Coordinates N17 32 14 E106 9 4.5
Type Natural
Property 85,754 ha
Date of Inscription 2003

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/951 )

The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Palaeozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geomorphic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers.

Photos from TWIP

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park Cave, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map


Vietnam, Hoi An Ancient Town

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 30, 2009 at 15:10:31

Location Hoi An Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam
Coordinates N15 52 60 E108 19 60
Type Cultural
Property 30 ha
Date of Inscription 1999

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/948 )

Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.

Photos from TWIP

Town House, Hoi An Old street, Hoi An Street, Hoi An
Hoi An, Chua cau    

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map


Vietnam, Ha Long Bay

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2009 at 17:54:52

Location Quảng Ninh province, Vietnam
Coordinates N20 53 60 E107 5 60
Type Natural
Property 150,000 ha
Date of Inscription 1994

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672 )

Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.

Photos from TWIP

Halong Bay, Panorama Halong Bay, Limestone islands Cliff, Halong Bay

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map



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