Thursday, February 28, 2013

Experience Exotic Vietnam on your honeymoon

There are many exotic honeymoon destinations in the world, but none more than Vietnam.  Vietnam has become known as one of the world's most fascinating and romantic destinations in Asia. With pristine landscapes, alluring cultures, and incredible hospitality, it's no wonder you can expect to have the ulitmate honeymoon.

We'll start your honeymoon in northern part of Vietnam in the city known as Hanoi. This 1,000 year old city promises to offer you history and tradition.  Hanoi's present architecture is mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the stately French-built section of town is largely intact. Hanoi is cleaner, leafier, and quieter than other big cities in Vietnam — in a word, it's "cooler." You will most likely be exhausted after your lengthy flights, but there are a great deal of sites to see and do in this wonderful Vietnamese city. Hanoi's street life is fascinating. In the morning, you may see tai chi practitioners, martial arts exponents, badminton players, and joggers along Hoan Kiem Lake. Bicyclists wearing berets ride past with baguettes tucked into their baskets. Strolling through the old French sector, you can find a street occupied by outdoor barbers clipping their customers in front of mirrors hung off building walls. On Trang Tien Street there's a beautician at work: a woman with a flashlight mounted on her head, cleaning a customer's ears. At street corners in the Old Quarter, men with green pith helmets chat over steaming bowls of noodles. Farther along the street, women sell fresh-cut flowers from the backs of bicycles.

Bicycle or stroll around Hoan Kiem, or the Lake of the Restored Sword as thousands of Hanoians do on weekends. At the crack of dawn locals assemble on the thin parkland perimeter for an hour or so of tai chi, jogging, or badminton. There is a legend from the 15th century that a a humble fisherman named Le Loi asked the heavens for help in resisting the Ming dynasty Chinese who occupied the north. A golden turtle from the lake then brought him a magic sword that flashed like lightning. After leading at insurrection against the Chinese, Le Loi returned to the lake, and the turtle reclaimed the sword.

At the northern end of Hoan Kiem is Ngoc Son Temple, reached by the bright red Sunbeam Bridge, an arched Chinese-style wood en structure built in 1855. Before crossing the bridge you pass Penbrush and Inkslab towers built in 1864 to commemorate the learned school at Nguyen Van Sieu. Ngoc Son Temple is a mixture of temples and gift shops, and is the desired place for Vietnamese to have their pictures taken. Built in the early 19th century, it has undergone a few renovations, most recently in 1994. The temple honors several Vietnamese icons, including Van Xuong, the god of literature; Quan Vu, a martial arts exponent; physician La To; and 13th-century hero Tran Hung Dao. At the back of the shrine is the preserved body of a huge turtle found in the lake in 1968. It weighed 552 pounds and was believed to be 400 years old-some say 500 years old, to make it old enough to serve as the turtle of legend. On an islet at the south end of the lake is a dilapidated three-tiered tower, built in honor of the valiant turtle. Turtles are occasionally still sighted in the lake. On the west bank there is a small temple with a statue of Le Loi.

A stroll through Hanoi's happily chaotic Old Quarter will quickly put to rest the conception that the city is gray, dull, and reserved. In the middle of the Old Quarter you will fine a commerce in trade and handicrafts. The place is full of character and characters. You might come across a woman strolling down a street with a shoulder pole of dual baskets of porcelain, an old woman who reveals blackened teeth when she smiles, or a group of men crouched over bamboo bongs at tiny sidewalk stools. The quarter is a medieval maze of alleys lined with shops, homes, and cafes. It's best to tackle the area on foot,make sure to bring comfortable shoes, allowing time to stop and poke around. Unfortunately, the sidewalks are often blocked by parked motorcycles, the narrow roads filled with bicycles and motorbikes. Just a note of caution when walking around the Old Quarter, sidewalks can be uneven with gravel and other hazards.

One of the most popular attractions in Hanoi is water puppetry. This magical art form is intended for children but will amaze adults as well. Unique to Vietnam, it's seen regularly only in the north. The exact origins of water puppetry are uncertain, but it's known the Red River Delta area nurtured and preserved this traditional theater over many centuries. What goes on under the water is closely guarded secret some puppeteers have t swim under other puppeteers. Water plays a key part in the show-the surface of the water is flaring with a naval battle, or romantically calm when a group of fairies float across. Underwater fireworks bring flashing dragons to life and furnish a haze of smoke for mythical settings. Puppeteers and percussionists provide explosive sound effects-rhythmic mush and zany sound effects maintain the tempo.

Obiviously there is much more to Hanoi, such ashaving brunch while cruising along Halong Bay, visiting Ho  Chi Minh Mausoleum, and make sure you don't miss visiting Bai Tu Long Bay, Coc Island, Cap De Island, Bo Cau Island, Vong Vieng fishing village,Trong Cave,Ho Dong Tien Cave,

Let's explore the southern area of Vietnam known as Ho Chi Minh City, formally known as Saigon. You can either enjoy this historic city tour takes in the most popular attractions for a wholesome Vietnam holiday plan, including the Reunification Palace, Jade Emperor Pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral and Thien Hau Pagoda. Take a short shopping trip to Ben Thanh Market. This market is one of earliest surviving structures in the city. You'll be able to find local handmade crafts, textiles, and local cuisine.  The perfect way to end your day in this amazing city is to take a break at a nearby cafe watching local folks coming and going. Softly with the music, your heart gets under old Saigon's magical spell.

One of the most historic sites located just outside the city is the remainder of a reminder of wartime  history buffs' passions, that is the Cu Chi Tunnel System. This system has many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrances to other tunnels. These tunnels are nationwide and was the base where the Vietnamese mounted their operations of the Tet Offensive in 1968.

We believe we have shown you parts of this incredible destination which will allow you to consider honeymooning in this part of the globe. What's wonderful with this part of the world, is you can combine an array of countries to  your Vietnam plans.  There is Thailand (see our previous blog on Thailand), Camdodia, and other breathtaking and unique countries to give you a trip of a lifetime!

For more information, please contact one of our Southeast Asia Specialists who would be happy to assist you with all of your planning.  Make sure to check in next month for our continued tour to Cambodia.

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