31 Oct A Beginner’s Guide to Vietnam Part II: Northern Cities
Guide to Vietnam: Northern Cities
Our guide to Vietnam refers to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay as Vietnam’s northern cities.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. This vibrant and bustling city is also a very loud one. It is full of history revealing periods of both French and Chinese occupation.
One of the most important tourist attractions in Hanoi is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It holds the embalmed remains of Ho Chi Minh, revolutionary who commanded the communist North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War. He was also prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City in his honor.
One Pillar Pagoda is also a must-see. Built of wood atop a single stone pillar, One Pillar Pagoda is designed to resemble a lotus blossom. The lotus blossom is a symbol of purity, rising from sorrow. Emperor Ly Thai Tong built the original Pagoda in honor of his only child and heir in 1049.
Hoan Kiem Lake is another attraction you can’t miss. Also known as the Lake of the Restored Sword, the lake is beautiful and backed by legend which claims that Emperor Ly Thai To was sent a magical sword from heaven which he used to drive the Chinese from Vietnam. After the war, a giant golden turtle grabbed the sword and dove into the lake to restore the sword to its divine owners.
Ha Long Bay
A new highway connecting Hai Phong and Halong Bay is now open, reducing travel time between Hanoi and Halong Bay to 2.5 hours. Some cruise buses use this expressway and charge a fee, some use the old highway in which it takes 4 hours. Toll fee is $15/one way.
Ha Long Bay is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Sight in 1994 for its beauty & again in 2000 for its outstanding geological value. The trademark emerald green water and 3,000 islands of towering limestone are really worth the hype. In addition, it is remarkably all natural. It is an unforgettable cruise destination and even a great place to take a kayak to a nearby fishing village and watch the locals go about their day-to-day in such a gorgeous environment. It’s truly a sight to behold!
And that concludes our Guide to Vietnam and it’s cities!
Guide to Vietnam: Getting Around Northern Vietnam
Fly into Hanoi
The best way to explore Northern Vietnam is to fly into Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.
Getting from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
A new highway connecting Hai Phong and Halong Bay is now open, reducing travel time between Hanoi and Halong Bay to 2.5 hours. Some cruise buses use this expressway and charge a fee, however, some use the old highway in which it takes 4 hours. Toll fee is $15/one way.
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