A holiday in Vietnam is filled with numerous marvels. Head to this mountainous peninsula in Southeast Asia and stand in awe of its temples, pagodas, and rainforests.
Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site during your Vietnam holidays. Hue -- where the old city, Perfume River, and Imperial Citadel lie -- was the site of a battle between the North and South forces during the Vietnam War. Among the remnants of an eventful past is the residence of Emperor Gia Long, dating back to 1804; the Noon Gate, from where he would address his people; and the Palace of Supreme Harmony, where he met with foreign dignitaries. Tour the Tombs of the Emperors for examples of Vietnamese Buddhist architecture.
Also a World Heritage Site is Halong Bay, called the “Bay of Descending Dragons” by a Frenchman who spotted a sea snake here in the 19th century. A natural wonder of limestone islands rising above jewel-toned waters, it is filled with caves such as Sung Sot (“Surprise”), so-named after French explorers stumbled upon it in 1901. Stalactites and stalagmites shaped like animals are found here, illuminated in vibrant, unearthly hues. There is an interesting local story about a beautiful girl who killed herself to escape having to marry an old king, and her body turned into a stone statue in front of Hang Trinh Nu (“Virgin”) cave.
Since exploring the whole country is impossible in one go, the Museum of Ethnology offers a sampler of sorts. Learn about the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam through collections of everyday objects for cooking, fishing, and making music. Weaponry, jewellery, and clothing can also be seen, as well as artefacts from wedding, burial, and spiritual ceremonies.
Enjoy a performance at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, where an art form perfected over a thousand years ago by the Red River Delta continues to thrive. Mua roi nuoc or water puppetry began as a pastime for farmers, where colourful, bamboo-carved figures – people, horses, ships, or otherwise – are characters in local myths, romances, and tales of daily life, all revolving around water.