Vietnam, Lake of the Returned Sword – Hoan Kiem
We imagined the visit to the lake as relaxing time after quite a busy day. The reality was seriously different from our expectations. I have remembered the first impression until today. With my daughter and son, we dodged through the local traffic and it was not really easy. The flood of motorcycles was not to stop. We naively thought that someone might slow down or even stop. Don't expect that. Just walk to the other end of the road. And be brave.
Finally, we have got over all the roads and we reached the place. It was a merry feeling for us to sit on a bench. We do not enjoy for long though. A man is approaching us in a cart First of all shy, then with more enthusiasm he offers us postcards. In a few moments, there are several people around us, everybody offers something and they do not take no for an answer. It's really unpleasant. But I have a great message for you, the situation has improved. Sometimes in 2016, motorbikes have been banned in the area on weekends. The widest road is free and you can walk around in peace. Listen to a concert of classic or modern music, there are a lot of musical groups. Or take your own guitar and some friends and you can play by yourself.
There is a legend going on about the lake which says why its name. Quite recently large freshwater turtles lived in the lake. And they also have their Turtle Tower there. Unfortunately, the last one died a few years ago, and it did not bring anything good for all the people of Vietnam. There wer fears that the loss of the city's icon would cause poor harvest, floods and other disasters. Being in the country at that time, I witnessed weather turning bad suddnely. Temperatures dropped to zero, and it began to snow.. The seeded fields of northern Vietnam perished andhundreds of water buffaloe perished as well.
As for now, the Lake of the Returned Sword is one of my favorite places in the city. I always try to plan to visit it on the weekend to enjoy the great atmosphere. If you have enough time, go to the Nephrite Mountain Temple, reachable by the red-colored The Huc bridge. It is best to plan a visit in the afternoon and evening hours when the sights are lit around the lake. Alternatively go there very early in the morning when you can see the locals exercising. Otherwise it is completely tranquil there.
The renowned Water Puppet Theater is situated close to Hoan Kiem which has a great tradition in the country. Performances are held several times a day. To make sure you get the ticket, book or buy them in advance.
Next time we will comple the tour of the city and, among other things, we will talk about the Temple of Literature, which is oasis of tranquility in the the restless city of Hanoi.
Příště prohlídku města dokončíme a krom jiného si povíme o chrámu Literatury, který je druhou oázou klidu v naprosto neklidné Hanoji.
GPS: 21°01'42.9"N 105°51'09.1"E
Text a foto: Magdaléna Radostová
Upon our arrival and first impressions of Vietnam, we take a tour of Hanoi. The guide first takes us to Ba Dinh Square, which is famous especially for Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
One day trip to the Bach Ma National Park, approximately 40 kilometers from Hue, was one of our best days in Vietnam. The park was founded in 1991 and its name means a white horse. It covers an area of 220 square kilometers.
Upon an hour of waiting for a visa I was free to explore the capital of the country I really looked forward to exploring. First of all, I somehow let a cab driver to make a 300 crown rip off. Sometimes things like this happen. But honestly – this happens in Prague as well. Aboard the airplane I could see streets where millions of bikes stream in all directions. And “down” here the traffic is even more crazy. If I compare Ho Chi Minh city to Bangkok, a city of comparable size, in the former there are much less traffic jams. One must add that there is no subway, or rail that would go above the ground. It seems that high taxes on car is working.
Nha Trang is practically the most famous tourist resort in Vietnam, not so much for some landmarks, this coastal city of Khanh Hoa province is famous for its seven kilometers long sandy beach with adjacent islands. The city of approximately 392,000 inhabitants and this number is growing steadily.
After a tough night-train trip, we arrive early in the morning to Da Nang City, where we do not stay very much. First we head to perhaps the most beautiful Vietnamese city - the Hoi An lantern, from which we go for a trip to the Marble Mountains, Vietnamese Ngũ Hành Sơn.
In the evening we arrive at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). We are already busy only to lodge for a quick dinner in the busy streets of this largest Vietnamese city and sleep. The next day a very exciting war trip is waiting for us - we go to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam's most famous and popular tourist destinations. It is located in Tonkin Bay in the South China Sea in Quang Ninh Province. Since 1994 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ha Long means the place where the dragon descends into the sea. It is also said that thanks to the dragon there were created interesting limestone rocks from the sea, which attract many tourists every year.
Vietnam is no destination where climbers would travel intentionally. Yet once you are there you should try its climbing areas. We travelled to Cat Ba island which I highly recommend to any climber.
When visiting south Vietnam, go to the Mekong river delta. The river originates in China and runs across five countries. It is however in Vietnam where it enters the sea. The area lures in tourists who may experience boat rides here, a floating market, or see interesting life of the locals on the riverbank. Its brown color is not appealing for locals use it to their everyday activities – washing, cleaning etc. There are no dangerous animals in the river so you can swim in it.
Last year already, we brought you a video of the "wedding" town of Dat Lat, Vietnam. Our reporteur made a return there to ride down one of the best roads in Vietnam for a road trip on motorbike.
Da Nang (a city almost in the geographic center of Vietnam) is largely unknown. Which is unfortunate. An average tourist usually passes by there in a taxi on his way from the airport to his favorite Hoi An hotel…. I spent three weeks in Da Nang. And the city got on the list of my favorite places in Southeast Asia (right next to Chiang Mai). In Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson called the old road to Hue as the “abandoned fragment of perfection.” I absolutely agree.
Omnipresent honking, grandmas pulling bikes with flowers, Vietnamese sitting on small chairs, food, bikes, wires, bikes, French cafes, bikes with food, bikes with chairs, bike transporting part of another bike… Welcome to Hanoi! It is a city crazy beyond believe. You either love it or you hate it eternally.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is often regarded economic heart of Vietnam. It is not as hold as Hanoi (Hà Nội) but still it has some magic.
Every time I have the feeling I know something more about something I come to realization which tells me the opposite. I spent one year of studying and travelling in China. Bit arrogantly I had felt Asia couldn’t surprise me much more. Fortunately, I hadn’t boarded a plane to the Czech Republic, instead I boarded a plane to Vietnam.
I was feeling like travelling in China when I was on my way to Hoi An – “there is going to be this yellow bus. It will take you there“.
On the following day we set off to Hoi An (Hội An . It was during the daylight and also it didn’t rain. The sun was pleasantly shining and warm. We reached the historical center by foot and were ready for some great sightseeing (even the one in the night had its atmosphere).
Cat Ba is an island southeast of Vietnam. It was very difficult to get there until recently. In September, a new road featuring a bridge made it easier to travel to the island. Hence, Cat Ba is a popular tourist resort. You may buy a ticket to Cat Ba town in Hanoi and Ninh Binhu zakoupit. It takes 4 hours to get there from Ninh Binhu and 3 hours from Hanoi.
As much as I hate to travel by bus, I would repeat the ride from Nha Trang and Da Lat. The former is the city of two hundred thousand. It is the most popular spot to spend honeymoon at in Vietnam. It is situated at 1500 meters in the Central Highlands. You can enjoy a number of great views while on the road. And it gets even better on bike …
I have always longed to see a large desert with sand dunes. However, neither in Europe nor in Southeast Asia (the places where I spend most of my time) is one. Once I first saw pictures of Mui Ne, Vietnam I knew for sure that I want to go there. Okay, it is not a desert per se but sand dunes there are huge.
Someone loves it. Someone swears to not to come again. There is nothing in between. I am with the first group. From the first day on in Saigon, a hectic city, and I turned into a side street. We are about to introduce you to a new series where we tell you about interesting places in the city and the country. First of all, let’s talk some important facts about the country.
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