Thien Mu Pagoda

There’s a religious site in Hue that lures tourists by its beautiful and ancient architectural structures of worship, Thien Mu pagoda in the ancient Hue city.
Where is it in Hue city? Thien Mu Pagoda (namely Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda), also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, is one of the most fascinating and ancient pagoda in Hue city. It is situated on Ha Khe hill, on the north bank of the Perfume River, in Huong Long village, 5 kilometers from Hue city, which is easy to reach from the city center.

Legendary story

The name of the pagoda derives from a special legend. Long time ago, an old woman appeared on the hill where the pagoda stands today, telling local people that a Lord would come and build a Buddhist pagoda for the country’s prosperity. Lord Nguyen Hoang therefore ordered the construction of the pagoda the “Heaven Fairy Lady” or Thien Mu in Vietnamese (also called Linh Mụ). Thanks to such a mysterious history, the pagoda has attracted a great number of tourists from both inside and outside of the nation to come and explore the legend themselves.

Thien Mu Pagoda (namely Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda), also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, is one of the most fascinating and ancient pagoda in Hue city.
Thien Mu Pagoda (namely Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda), also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, is one of the most fascinating and ancient pagoda in Hue city.

Formation and growth

The beautiful pagoda was built in 1601. Later on, several kings of the Nguyen Dynasty such as Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri and Thanh Thai, all had the pagoda restored. At this very initial time, Hoang was the governor of the province of Thuan Hoa (now known as Hue), yet, started ruling his independent state in central Vietnam. According to the royal annals, Hoang was on a sightseeing trip and holiday to contemplate the seas and mountains of the local area when he passed by the hill, which is now the site of the Thien Mu Pagoda. On hearing the mentioned local legend, he had the pagoda constructed. The initial temple was in a very simple form of construction, but as time went by, it has been redeveloped and expanded with more intricate features.

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A special architectured site

The most striking feature of the pagoda, Phuoc Duyen tower (initially called Tu Nhan tower), was erected in 1884 by King Thieu Tri, and has become the unofficial symbol of Hue. This octagonal tower has seven storeys (2m high), which is dedicated to a Buddha who appeared in human form. It is the highest stupa in Vietnam, and is often the subject of folk rhymes and cadao about Hue, such is its iconic status and association with the city. More importantly, it is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital.

To the left of the tower is a pavilion sheltering an enormous bell. The bell, called Dai Hong Chung, was cast in 1710 by Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu. It is famous for the great size, which is 2.5m high and 3,285 kg weigh. It is considered to be an outstanding achievement of 18th century bronze casting.

To the right of the tower is a pavillion containing a stela dated from 1715. It is set on the back of a massive marble turtle, a symbol of longevity, and is 2.58 m high.

Besides, there are several popular works of art inside the pagoda, which are of great captivation to tourists. For instance, Dai Hung shrine, the main-hall, which presents a magnificent architecture. As bronze cast statues, it shelters some precious antiques: the bronze gong cast in 1677, the wooden gilded board with Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu’s inscriptions (1714).

Besides the architectural value, Thien Mu pagoda features a great historical role, which is also of absorption to visitors.
Besides the architectural value, Thien Mu pagoda features a great historical role, which is also of absorption to visitors.

A historical role

Besides the architectural value, Thien Mu pagoda features a great historical role, which is also of absorption to visitors. During the summer of 1963, Thien Mu Pagoda, like many in South Vietnam, became a hotbed of anti-government protest. South Vietnam’s Buddhist majority had long been discontented with the rule of President Ngo Dinh Diem since his rise to power in 1955. Diem had shown strong favouritism towards Catholics and discrimination against Buddhists in the army, public service and distribution of government aid. Discontent with Diem exploded into mass protest in Hue during the summer of 1963 when nine Buddhists died at the hand of Diem’s army and police on Vesak, the birthday of Gautama Buddha. Accordingly, Buddhist protests were held across the country and steadily grew in size. In those historical days, Thien Mu Pagoda was a major organising point for the Buddhist movement and was often the location of hunger strikes, barricades and protests.

Today, the pagoda is surrounded by flowers and ornamental plants. At the far end of the garden stretches a calm and romantic pine-tree forest. It is much well-maintained and very welcoming to all visitors.

Another news: Hue – an ancient citadel of Vietnam

Perfume River

A visitor to Hue once remarked after his vacation here: “A visit to Hue would not be complete without a boat excursion on the gentle Perfume River, or else you cannot feel the romance of Hue”.The Perfume River (Vietnamese: Sông Hương or Hương Giang) is a river that crosses the capital city of Hue, in the central Vietnamese province of Thua Thien Hue. Perfume or Huong River is around 80 kilometers long, and owes its name to the fact that it flows through many forests of aromatic plants before reaching Hue, bringing with it a pure and fresh aroma.

A visitor to Hue once remarked after his vacation here: “A visit to Hue would not be complete without a boat excursion on the gentle Perfume River, or else you cannot feel the romance of Hue”.
A visitor to Hue once remarked after his vacation here: “A visit to Hue would not be complete without a boat excursion on the gentle Perfume River, or else you cannot feel the romance of Hue”.

Source and flow

The Perfume River has two sources, both of which begin in the Truong Son Mountain range and meet at Bang Lang Fork. The Ta Trach (Left Tributary) originates in the Truong Dong mountains and flows northwest towards Bang Lang Fork. The shorter Huu Trach (Right Tributary) flows through the Tuan ferry, landing towards Bang Lang Fork.

Then it flows in south-north direction passing the temples of Hon Chen and Ngoc Tran, and  turns north-west, meandering through the Nguyet Bieu and Luong Quan plains. From this, the River then continuously flows int the north-east direction to Hue city, only an echo of Truong Son mountain, and passes the rest place of the Nguyen Emperors. The river of green water continues its itinerary, passing Hen Islet and various villages, crossing the Sinh junction, which is known as the capital of ancient Chau Hoa, before emptying into the Tam Giang Lagoon.

From Bang Lang to Thuan An estuary, the Perfume River is 30 km long and runs very slowly (as the river level is not much above sea level). The Perfume River darkens as it winds along the foot of Ngoc Tran Mountain – home of the Jade Cup Temple – where there is a very deep abyss.

Artist inspiration

Today, travellers coming to Hue could not miss a while of boating along the river. Most of them admit that this is one of the most beautiful and extremely splendid riverside landscape (especially at night when lights are on) that they have ever visited!
Today, travellers coming to Hue could not miss a while of boating along the river. Most of them admit that this is one of the most beautiful and extremely splendid riverside landscape (especially at night when lights are on) that they have ever visited!

The poetic romantic Perfume River is the deep inspirations to numerous artists, poets, and composers.

In the autumn, flowers from orchards upriver from Hue fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma, and a beautiful poetic view. I have asked several artists about the reason for their inspiring love for Perfume River, and received nearly the same answer: “Well, my inspiration derives from the pure water, the fascinating landscape, and the gentle bridge over the river”.

Today, travellers coming to Hue could not miss a while of boating along the river. Most of them admit that this is one of the most beautiful and extremely splendid riverside landscape (especially at night when lights are on) that they have ever visited!

Another news: Hue – an ancient citadel of Vietnam

Hue – an Ancient Citadel of Vietnam

Location

Hue is located in central Vietnam on the banks of Perfume River (Sông Hương), just a few miles inland from the East Sea. It is about 700 kilometers (438 miles) south of the national capital of Hanoi and about 1100 kilometers (690 miles) north of Ho Chi Minh City.

 Perfume River
Perfume River

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History

Hue people take their pride in a long-lasting history. The city has gone through 7 centuries of establishment and development. In 1802, Hue became Vietnam’s capital when Emperor Gia Long, the first King of the Nguyen emperors (Nguyen dynasty), chose the location for the imperial city. The city remained the nation’s capital until 1945, when Bao Dai, the last of the Nguyen emperors, abdicated and a communist government was established in Hanoi. In the Vietnam War, Huế’s central position placed it very near the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Thanks to the long precious history, Hue has integrated material and spiritual values, which become its own unique special Culture.

Natural conditions

The city has 2 main seasons: dry season and rainy season. The former is fairly hot, lasting from March to August, while the latter begins from August, and is cool and wet. But the most special point is the short spring lasting from January till February, with a very cool and fresh atmosphere and green purity of new tree leaves here and there. This means if you would like to visit the city but still afraid of the hot or wet weather, please come in between January and February.

Culture

Hue is one of the main cultural, religious and educational centers of Vietnam. So far, Hue remains to be the only originally historical vestiged city in Vietnam. Many of Hue’s attractions are found along the banks of the romantically named Perfume River with 11km length. This valuable construction includes more than 100 architectural works, which are the reflection of the life of Emperors and mandarins under Nguyen’s reign.

Imperial Citadel
Imperial Citadel

Architecture in Hue is the combination of royal architect, folk, religious ones, tradtional and modern sides. On December 11th, 1993, it was classified by UNESCO as the world cultural heritage. On the north bank of the river is the Imperial Citadel, built along the line of Peking’s Forbidden City, enclosed by 10-metre thick walls and surrounded by a moat. A few kilometers further up the river are perhaps Hue’s best-known religious site. Inside the citadel, there are still wonders. For example, the seat of the Nguyen emperors occupying a large, walled area on the north side of the river. Inside the citadel was a forbidden city where only the concubines, emperors, and those close enough to them were granted access, the punishment for trespassing was death penalty.

If you like something mysterious and valuably architectural, you should take a visit to the tombs of ancient Kings. Situated in the middle of the hills on the Southern bank of Perfume River are very beautiful tombs of Nguyen Kings. Among these tombs are the four famous ones with the name and the arrangements of the tomb reflecting each Emperor’s points of view, personality, and tastes. This is majestic Gia Long tomb, imposing Minh Mang tomb, poetic Tu Duc tomb and magnificent Khai Dinh tomb. No architects who would like to discover ancient architecture of Vietnam could ignore Hue’s old citadel vestiges.

Royal Music

A lot of foreign tourists are curious about Hue’s ritual royal music. Originated from 8 kinds of ritual music under Le dynasty, under Nguyen dynasty, it has improved into 2 kinds of music: “Dai nhac” and “Nha nhac”, which are really magnificent, and skillful. Those are only played on formal occasions. This city is proud to be the cadral of traditional music. The Royal Refined Music was proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on December 1993.

A lot of foreign tourists are curious about Hue’s ritual royal music.
A lot of foreign tourists are curious about Hue’s ritual royal music.

Religion

Hue is also an important center of Buddhism. In Hue and the surroundings still exists tens of pagodas constructed more than 300 years ago, and a hundred of temples and pagodas built in the early century. Thien Mu Pagoda, with its distinctive seven-storey octagonal tower.

Besides all these, Hue’s culture is also found in its famous “non la” or conical hats. You can buy these at the enormous Dong Ba Market as a remarkable and graceful piece of souvenir of Vietnam. A foreign friend of mine had a chance to meet a long-haired Hue’s Vietnamese girl in the traditional violet long dress and a graceful conical hat. And can you guess what happened? He fell in love with her at first sight, and they are now a very happy couple – husband and wife!! Vietnamese cultural grace could win any heart!

Festival and Cuisine

Festivals are also attractions of Hue. There are two main kinds of festival here. Royal festival reflects the life and ritual activities of Nguyen dynasty, almost paying more attention to the ritual than the ceremony. Folk festival consists of multi activities such as Hue Nam festival in Hon Chen temple which follow Champa’s belief, handicraft’s father memory festivals, and some cultural activities as boat racing, westling,…

The cuisine of Hue are rich, but one of the most striking differences is the prominence of vegetarianism in the city. Several all-vegetarian restaurants are scattered in various corners of the city to serve the locals who have a strong tradition of eating vegetarian twice a month, as part of their Buddhist beliefs.

No one who has come to Hue could ignore its ancient beauty and romance. Taking a cruise along the Perfume River, having some special cuisine, and listening to Nha Nhac Royal Music, you can feel the actual picturesque view of this natural classical mysterious city!

Another news about Hue: Lang Co Beach

Hanoi’s Old Quarter

There’s an old Vietnamese saying, “Hanoi has thirty-six streets and guilds – Jam Street, Sugar Street, Salt Street…”. Inside a modern and dynamic city, there appears an antique quarter, the Hanoi’s Old Quarter – the represented eternal soul of the city. These days, most Vietnamese and Westerners are familiar with the phrase “Hà Nội – Ba mươi sáu phố phường” (translated as “Ha Noi – 36 districts” or “Hanoi – 36 Old Streets”), or “Phố cổ Hà Nội” (translated as “Hanoi’s Old Quarter”), the top special historical vestige and sight-seeing of the capital, luring international visitors thanks to their mostly original state.

Where is the Old Quarter located? Located between the Lake of the Restored Sword, the Long Bien Bridge, a former city rampart, and a citadel wall, the Old Quarter (consisting of 36 old streets inside) started as a snake and alligator-infested swamp. It later evolved into a cluster of villages made up of houses on stilts, and was unified by Chinese administrators who built ramparts around their headquarters. The area was named “Dominated Annam” or “Protected South” by the Chinese.

The beauty of Hanoi’s Old Quarter
The beauty of Hanoi’s Old Quarter

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How old are the streets? It would be a big surprise should you know that Hanoi’s Old Quarter came into being at the time King Ly Thai To selected Thang Long as the country’s capital in 1010, that is, the streets have a nearly 1,000-year old history and became crowded & lively in 15th century. What makes them unique is that many of them remain in their very ancient architecture of the 15th century. Up to now, it has been the oldest continuously developed area of Vietnam.

What are their names’ origins? Due to their long-lasting age, they are called “Old Quarter” or “36 Old Streets” (as consisting of 36 member streets). Similarly to the Guilded age of Europe, “Ha Noi’s 36 districts” is Vietnam’s version of the guild concept. In the past, as artisans moved to the capital city to do business, they gathered together in this area to share the resources. As a result, many of the streets were named after the crafts sold at that individual street. Pho Hang Bun (Vermicelli), Pho Hang Ma (Paper Product), Pho Hang Bac (Silver), etc. are examples of the streets carrying the name of the products sold there.
The phrase “36 pho phuong” often causes much confusion for most people; “Phố” means a street or a place for merchants to gather to do business, while “Phường”, a district or a guild of artisans specializing in a particular trade (phuong cheo, phuong tho, etc.). Yet, in any case, both are right to some extent.

Specialized craft streets and guilds: Most tourists are eager for exploring the old streets well-known for each one’s specialized A corner of Hang Gai Street A corner of Hang Gai Streetindustry. Hang Gai Street offers silk clothing ready-made and tailored, embroidery, and silver products. Hang Quat, the street that formerly sold silk and feather fans, now stuns the visitor by its brilliantly colored funeral and festival flags and religious objects and clothing. To Tich Street connects the above two and is still the wood turner’s street. Hang Ma glimmers with shiny paper products, such as gift wrappings, wedding decorations and miniature paper objects to burn for the dead. Lan Ong Street is a sensual delight of textures and smells emanating from the sacks of herbal medicinal products: leaves, roots, barks, and powders, etc. Coming here, you may feel as if you were in a classical-styled area in terms of both architecture and product types!

the old section of Hanoi is often called the "36 Old Streets
the old section of Hanoi is often called the “36 Old Streets

36 old streets or more? Although the old section of Hanoi is often called the “36 Old Streets,” there are more than 36 actual streets. Some researchers believe that the number 36 came from the 15th century when there might have been 36 guild locations, which were workshop areas, not streets. When streets were later developed, the guild names were applied to the streets. Others attribute the 36 to a more abstract concept. The number nine in Asia represents the concept of “plenty.” Nine times the four directions makes 36, which simply means “many”. In fact, there are now more than 70 streets in the area.

Although many of the streets no longer sell the products after which they were named, some still do. Today, the Old Quarter has become the unique classical feature of Hanoi, and the inspiration of numerous writers, poets, and painters, and one of the desired tourist destinations in Hanoi.

To fully explore the Old Quarter in Hanoi, prepare your feet for a day of walking street to street and taking in the locals’ daily life, the old-style narrow streets and houses, the colorful souvenir shops, and of course trying some of the most tasty traditional foods of Hanoians. Many agree that joining a Hanoi walking tour or food tour offered by travel agencies will give foreign visitors a full experience of Hanoi Old Quarter, including the daily lifestyle, the history lesson and the feast for their tummies. Those who would like to walk around the area might want to check out this Hanoi Old Quarter walking tour, while those who look to explore the tasty traditional food in the area are recommended to take a look at this.

Another place to see in Hanoi: Explore Charming Hanoi

Temple of Literature

The very first stop-over of any foreign tourist in Hanoi is always Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam (translated as Temple of Literature), which reveals the Hanoians’ spirit of study in the past!
Situated at the south of Thang Long citadel, is on top of the historical and beautiful sightseeings of the beautiful capital of Vietnam. Please follow us in a brief tour of exploring his beauty and deep values;

Historical meaning

Tourists, particularly the foreign ones, now flock to the site for taking a look into its profound traditional meanings of both a Confucion temple and the first university of Vietnam. Văn Miếu or Temple of Literature, known as “pagode des Corbeaux” during the period of French colonisation, was founded as a Confucian temple in 1070.

Only parts of the Văn Miếu complex date back to the earliest period, although much of the architecture dates to the Ly (1010 – 1225) and Tran (1225 – 1400) Dynasties. In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the Quốc Tử Giám (or National University), was established within this temple to educate Vietnam’s mandarin class. The university functioned for more than 700 years, from 1076 to 1779, during which, 2,313 doctors graduated. Hence, the complex has been attached to the name of Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam up to now.

It is the first university in Vietnam
It is the first university in Vietnam

>> Vietnam travel guide

A beauty-spot of architectural values

This ancient Confucian sanctuary is now considered one of Hanoi’s finest historical and cultural sites. “The ever special architetural style of Van Mieu dates back to the 11th century, evoking an inspiration of classical creativeness of many of us”, one of my tourists remarked. Just take a look into the art of architecture, you will share the feeling! The temple is based on Confucius’ birthplace at Qufu in the Chinese province of Shandong. It consists of five courtyards lined out in order, entrance to the first, via the impressive twin-tiered Van Mieu gate leads to three pathways that run through the length of the complex. The centre path was reserved for the King only, the one to its left for administrative Mandarins and the one to its right for military Mandarins.

The first two courtyards are peaceful havens of ancient trees and well-trimmed lawns where the scholars could relax away from the bustle of the city outside the thick stone walls. Entrance to the third courtyard is through the dominating Khue Van Cac (constellation of literature), a large pavilion built in 1802. Central to the this courtyard is the Thien Quang Tinh (“Well Of Heavenly Clarity”), either side of which stand two great halls which house the true treasures of the temple. These are 82 stone steles. Another 34 are believed to have been lost over the years. They sit upon stone tortoises and are inscribed with the names and birth places of 1306 men who were awarded doctorates from the triennial examinations held here at the Quoc Tu Giam (“National University”) between 1484 and 1780, when the capital was moved to Hue.

In a corner of Temple of Literature
In a corner of Temple of Literature

The fourth courtyard is bordered on either side by great pavilions which once contained altersl of 72 of Confucius greatest students but which now contain offices, a gift shop and a small museum which contains ink wells, pens, books and personal artifacts belonging to some of the students that have studied here through the years. At the far end of the courtyard is the altar with statues of Confucius and his four closest disciples. The fifth courtyard contained the Quoc Tu Giam, Vietnam’s first university founded in 1076 King Ly Can Duc, but this was destroyed by French bombing in 1947.

Though having gone through lots of restoration work, the temple still retains its very first original shape, to be one of the visit-worthy sightseeings of Hanoi, captivating to a huge number of tourists elsewhere.

A space of peace, green trees and solemnity covers the whole temple of historical and traditional love for study, making tourists feel like they were lost in a land of Confucion and traditional values. If you are in Hanoi, you should really come and explore it yourself!

Being an ancient school of Thang Long and the first university in Vietnam, Temple of Literature is acknowledged as an ancient historical-cultural heritage which gives tourists deeper understanding about Hanoi’s years of culture and tradition. Tourists should definitely add the Temple of Literature to their visiting list in Hanoi. It is included in a lot of Hanoi city tours as one of the main attractions in this bustling capital city. Coming here, tourists might see many Vietnamese students visiting the places as a ritual for good luck before they enter an important exam such as the entrance exam into college.

Another place to see in Hanoi: Bat Trang Ceramic Village – Dong Ky Carpentry Village

Hoan Kiem lake

Hoan Kiem lake or Lake of the Restored Sword was once part of the Red river (song Hong). Throughout thousands of years of geographical changes, the lake moved eastward to its present position kilometers from the river. Before the famous historical legend of King Le Loi here, Hoan Kiem Lake used to be called Luc Thuy Lake (or Green Water Lake) since the water was green all the year round. In 15th century, it was named Hoan Kiem Lake after the legend of Emperor Le Thai To, which is somehow similar to the story of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake’s.

Now please close your eyes and turn back time to the Le Dynasty 6 centuries ago to witness the legendary story. During the war against the Minh aggressors, King Le Thai To was given a precious fairy Sword by the Golden Turtle God. After 10 years of continuous struggling, the King finally defeated the Chinese and reclaimed the nation’s independence. After that, on a nice day, while boating on lake Luc Thuy, a large turtle came towards him.

Hoan Kiem Lake is now situated inside a complex of Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower in the surroundings
Hoan Kiem Lake is now situated inside a complex of Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower in the surroundings

It immediately grabbed the sword with its mouth and submerged. The king mourned the lost of such a valuable sword, yet could not find either the turtle or the sword. He realized that the God must have lent him the sword to drive back the enemy, but then that his nation was free, the sword must be returned. Hence, King Le Thai To named the lake Ho Hoan Kiem or Lake of the Restore Sword after this episode.

Since the reign of King Le Trung Hung (XVI century), every King in the Le dynasty, and Lord Trinh have all contributed to the beauty of the lake. Lord Trinh Giang built Khanh Thuy shrine on Ngoc island on the north end of the lake. He also had the two man made hills built across fromNgoc son Shrine. At the end of the Le Dynasty, Khanh Thuy was toppled by Chieu Thong. A philanthropist named Tin Trai built Ngoc Son pagoda, which was renamed into Ngoc Son shrine during the reign of Thieu Tri III (1843) as it was no longer a Buddhist shrine. Instead, it became  a shrine of Van Xuong, a deity, in charge of literature and the various tests required to become a Mandarin. It has also been a shrine of General Tran Hung Dao, a national Hero who secured numerous victories against the Mongols.

The Huc Bridge
The Huc Bridge

Hence, Hoan Kiem Lake is now situated inside a complex of Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower in the surroundings, making a sparkling colorful natural picture! Ngoc Son has undergone a lot of renovations, one among which was the addition of Thap But (translated as Pen Tower) on its hill, which was once called Dao Tai. Three words were inscribed on the tower: “Ta Thien Thanh” or “write on blue sky”. Inside the gate a pool resembling the shape of an ink well was added. Beyond the ink well is The Huc bridge, which means “where the sun light is absorbed”. The bridge leads to Dac Nguyet Lau (or “Moon Light tower”) – Ngoc Son shrine. Beyond the gates to the shrine, there are two walls called bang Rong and bang Ho (dragon and tiger slate), where the names of those who passed the national test were inscribed.

What could not be missed in this beautiful complex is the Turtle Tower, which lies in the middle of the Lake, so as to remind Vietnamese people of the Turtle God of his great assistance. It was told that King Le Thanh Tong used to fish here. Lord Trinh also built the structure to house his entourage while visiting the lake.

Despite the time’s ashes and dust, Hoan Kiem Lake – the popular historical and legendary beauty-spot is eternal for good as an evidence of a fairy & heroic Hanoi during the past wars, and a romantic & charming Hanoi of Today!

Hoan Kiem Lake is considered one of the first things to see in Hanoi when one arrives in this bustling capital city. Visitors are recommended to hire a tour guide or book a Hanoi day tour so that they can learn many interesting stories and legends about the lake and other attractions surrounding it. For day tour information, take a look at this Hoan Kiem lake tour.

Another Hanoi tour: HANOI CYCLING TOUR TO CO LOA CITADEL 1 DAY

Ly Quoc Su Pagoda

Ly Quoc Su Pagoda is at 50 Ly Quoc Su Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. The Pagoda worships a Buddhist Monk of the Ly Dynasty (the 10th – 12th centuries). This Monk, whose full name was Nguyen Chi Thanh, was born on 1066 in Dien Xa Village, Gia Vien District in Ninh Binh Province in the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong.

In 1077, at the age of 11, Nguyen Chi Thanh began practicing for the Buddhist monkhood and was taught by Tu Dao Hanh, a well-known monk. As the legend says, Monk Tu Dao Hanh was erudite in Buddhism and excellent in healing. He admired and respected Nguyen Chi Thanh’s talent and virtue. In 1138, in his seventies, Monk Nguyen Chi Thanh cured King Ly Than Tong of a disease that many famous doctors had failed to do. For his respectful virtue and talent, he was given the title Ly Quoc Su by the King, which meant Great Monk and Merit Teacher of the nation.

The King provided Ly Quoc Su with a serene residential quarter, which was situated next to Bao Thien Pagoda in the centre of Thang Long Capital, on a side of Luc Thuy Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake of today). This pagoda had a 12-storey tower. Apart from preaching Buddhist sutra for the monks and nuns, Ly Quoc Su taught medicine, prescription of medicines and demotic scripts to many people in the temple and surrounding areas. Skilled in bronze casting, Ly Quoc Su also trained many bronze casting craftsmen.

In a corner of Ly Quoc Su pagoda
In a corner of Ly Quoc Su pagoda

That is why when he died at the age of 75 at Giao Thuy Pagoda in Nam Dinh in 1141, King Ly Anh Tong (holding power from 1138 to 1175) had a temple erected right on the ground of the residential quarter where Ly Quoc Su had lived. Throughout the country there are many pagodas worshipping both Buddha and Ly Quoc Su, who is considered the Saint of the bronze casting craft, such as Giao Thuy Pagoda in Nam Dinh and Keo Pagoda in Thai Binh.

Ly Quoc Su Pagoda was rehabilitated and redecorated many times with the biggest restoration being made in 1954. The cultural and historical treasure of this temple still remains Ly Quoc Su’s statue, Buddha statues and statues of Monk Tu Dao Hanh and his mother and Monk Giac Hai. There is also the precious bell of Tu Chung, cast in the 19th century and a stone stele with inscriptions made in 1855 by Le Dinh Duyen, a famous man. The name of Ly Quoc Su was given to a 244 metre-long street running from Hang Bong to Nha Tho streets.

Another place to see in Hanoi: Hanoi Cyclo Tour

Indochina Sails 2 days/1 night

Indochina Sails – a luxury cruise team in Halong Bay – were designed in time-honored traditional style, with contemporary and luxurious cabins and facilities. What better way to experience the natural beauty and spectacular seascape of this UNESCO World Heritage site than on board an Indochina Sails junk!

Day 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay (L,D)
07.30 – 08.00 Pick up at hotels in Hanoi Old Quarters (optional).
Indochina Sails boarding time is at 12:15 pm. Upon boarding guests are greeted with a welcome drink and gather in the dining room for a comprehensive safety and boat orientation briefing followed by itinerary details.
Indochina Sails - a luxury cruise team in Halong Bay - were designed in time-honored traditional style, with contemporary and luxurious cabins and facilities.
Indochina Sails – a luxury cruise team in Halong Bay – were designed in time-honored traditional style, with contemporary and luxurious cabins and facilities.

>> Indochina package travel

After the briefing and check in we have a bit of free time till lunch is served at 1:00pm. Lunch is a multi-course Vietnamese and Western set menu. Any and all dietary needs will be catered to.
During lunch we cruise through the Bai Tu Long Bay, cruising through the most beautiful and quiet area in Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay to visit Cua Van Fishing Village. Cua Van Floating Fishing Village (the largest fishing village on the Bay). At the village, which has a population of about 600 residents living in about 150 floating houses, guests can choose between kayaking through the village or visiting on small bamboo boats (sampans) rowed by the villagers.
Back on board after visiting the village there will be free time of about one and a half hours before the Cooking Class on board will be held by our Chef and all the passengers could attend to this. During that time the chef will conduct a Cooking Class showing the guests how make some Vietnamese food which is traditional food in Vietnam and guests will taste the food after the class. In addition we will have the first of our double happy hours from 6:00 till 7:00 during which time one free drink will be received for each one ordered. The dinner is served at 7:30pm.
Dinner is a sumptuous buffet featuring an array of salads, seafood, meat dishes, seasonal fresh fruits and deserts.
After dinner guests can relax in the dining room and lounge or on the upper deck and enjoy the second happy hour from 9:00 till 10:00. Board games and playing cards are available and massage services as well (massage service is available throughout the cruise). Also, everyone can try their luck at squid fishing from the boat with help from the crew.
Day 2: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B)
What better way to experience the natural beauty and spectacular seascape of this UNESCO World Heritage site than on board an Indochina Sails junk!
What better way to experience the natural beauty and spectacular seascape of this UNESCO World Heritage site than on board an Indochina Sails junk!
The next morning coffee, tea and breakfast pastries are on offer from 6:45. Tai Chi lessons are led by our tai chi master at 7:00 before we leave the boat at 7:45 for a walking tour of Titov Beach Island. About one hour is spent on the island allowing time for a climb up the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Bay (there is also an expansive viewing deck half way up). After the climb there is time left to relax on the beach and have a swim.
Back on board it’s time for final packing and freshening up before enjoying a full breakfast buffet, including traditional Vietnamese Noodles (Pho). After breakfast guests may relax in the dining room and lounge or on the deck enjoying the last Bay views before disembarkation at 11:00am. Transfer by tender to the pier, relax inside the pier building while waiting for return transportation (optional).
Another Halong cruise: Victory Star Cruise

Paloma Cruise 2 days/1 night

Paloma Cruise is a brand new Chinese wooden junk crewed by a professional, loyal and dedicated team. Come on board Paloma Cruise and be charmed by her exquisite luxury, intimate setting and unrivaled home from home service. An unforgettable way to witness the serene, calm setting of Halong bay’s exceptional natural beauty.

Paloma Cruise is a brand new Chinese wooden junk crewed by a professional, loyal and dedicated team.
Paloma Cruise is a brand new Chinese wooden junk crewed by a professional, loyal and dedicated team.
Day 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay
07.30 – 08.30 Pick up service by shuttle bus at hotels in Hanoi Old Quarters (optional).
12.30 Arrive at Paloma office, Halong City. Transferred by tender to Paloma Cruise – enjoy welcome drink. Receive cruise briefing, check into cabins and begin your cruise.
13.15 – 13.30 Having lunch – delicious Vietnamese set menu (Massage service is available after lunch and thoughout the cruise).
15.00 Head to Bai Tu Long bay, pass the towns of Hon Gai and Cam Pha, Oan Lagoon, Mat Quy (Monster Head) and Am Tich (Teapot) Islets and Vung Vieng fishing village.
Visit the Vung Vieng fishing village by local rowing boat (01 hour) or Kayak into the village then return to the vessel for your leisure or join one of the following optional activities: Sunbathing, traditional massage, swimming etc.
17.00 Drop anchor in the calm water surrounded by islets near Hang Trong.
Happy Hour (sunset party)
18.30 Vietnamese cooking demonstration on boat.
19.15 Sumptuous Set-dinner on board.
21.00 Relaxing on your cabin or join the on board activities: film entertainment, light music for dancing in the dining room (please book in advance with your tour guide), board games and playing cards are available, and massage services are available. Passengers may also try their luck at squid fishing from the boat.
Happy Hour! Buy two drink – get one free (wine by the bottle excluded)
Overnight aboard Paloma Cruise.
Paloma Cruise
Halong Bay
Day 2: Paloma Cruise – Hanoi
06.15 Starting your day with Tai Chi on the Sundeck while complimentary tea & coffee are served.
07.00 Have breakfast in dinning room.
08.00 Explore the Surprise Cave (Sung Sot).
08.15 Transfer by tender to the Surprise Cave. Walk up about 100 steps to the cave entrance and tour the cave for approximately 45 minutes. Walk down about 100 steps and return to the boat.
10.00 Upon return to the boat you will have 30 minutes to freshen up and finish packing. Please remove all of your belongings from the cabins, you may leave heavy luggage outside of the cabins (staff will transfer directly to the pier).
10.30 Enjoy Set Menu for lunch in the dining room. We will settle bills after breakfast. Relax on the sundeck or in the dining room enjoying the bay scenery as we approach the pier.
11.30 – 12.00 Arrive at Hon Gai Habour. Transfer by tender to the pier, relax inside the Paloma Office while waiting for return transportation.
16.00-16.30 Arrive in Hanoi.
Another  Halong cruises: Emotion Cruise

Bia Hoi in Vietnam

Bia hoi: fresh and cheap and sometimes half decent, sometimes well… just fresh and cheap. Served straight from the metal kegs into distinct bia hoi glasses, it’s an iconic Vietnamese drink.

After the French left Vietnam in 1954, the Hommel brewery was renamed as Hanoi Brewery. It actually took a while for this refreshing carbonated beverage to become popular, until the brewery hit on the novel idea of producing an instant draught beer known as “bia hoi”, literally translated as “fresh beer” or “gas beer”. Nevertheless, the locals still preferred the traditional Vietnamese rice wine. After the government restricted home production of spirits, people began to accept this legal alternative “bia hoi” as a refreshing, low-alcohol summer drink. Bia hoi shops are now very popular and seen as one of the long-lasting images of the Northern Vietnamese culture.

ta-hien-beer-hanoi

Not merely a drink, “bia hoi” has become a symbol for the Vietnamese culture and a way of life. Foreigners in Hanoi, including residents and visitors, have been seduced by “bia hoi” culture.  Western backpackers tell each other about ‘bia hoi junction’ at the corner of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets in the Old Quarter. Through word-of-mouth, travelers often share tips with their friends after trips to Vietnam. According to “bia hoi” sellers at the junction, customers are mainly from UK, Germany, France and Australia. To approximately four million people visiting Vietnam each year, it is considered that drinking “bia hoi” on Hanoi’s streets is as emblematic of a trip to Southeast Asia as ordering pad Thai in Bangkok

nternational Beer corner or bia hoi junction doesn’t require much explanation: the junction of Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien and Dinh Liet. bia hoi is on every corner, charging 3,000 VND a glass. Now there are fewer outlets and the price is 5,000 VND a glass — that’s inflation.

The first and foremost reason why these western travelers love “bia hoi” is simply its cheap price. . Each night, hundreds of travelers and a good number of locals descend on makeshift outdoor bars in the old quarter to sit on plastic stools, drink beer and watch the city rush by.

Especially busy during the hot nights of summer, for Vietnamese drinkers this is not the best spot for Hanoi’s famous bia hoi. Cold bottled beer is usually in good supply. Bia hoi is better had at random spots around the city – marked out by crowds of local men and bia hoi signage. On the other hand, they are more great to foreigners because they likes its low alcohol volume.

Sitting at a street corner in Hanoi old quarter with a beer glass, chatting with your freshly made friends while watching people pass by might be one the most memorable pages in your travel journal.

It is said that the word “Bia-hoi” is third in importance only after “Xin chao” (Hello) and “Cam on” (Thank you) when one learns Vietnamese

In recent years, Bia hoi is listed in a bucket thing when travelling to Indochina. So Beer corner has recently spilled over into along the street, especially Ta Hien st. creating a long strip of outdoor drinking that’s become a backpacker magnet. Drinkers occupy their stools, grab their beers and try and make sense of the competing beats from the different bars. travel to vietnam