A vital lifeline in war and peace, Vietnam’s North-South Railway provides an all-in encounter with the country’s incredible beauty, people and history.
Just before noon each day, the southbound train from Hai Phong to Hanoi rumbles past Mrs Bay’s front room, missing her porch by no more than inches. To me, the scene looks like something from a disaster movie. With its horn blaring like the last trumpet, the huge locomotive barely squeezes through the tiny space where the railway track runs between two rows of dwellings. It’s close enough to block all the light from the windows, flap the drying laundry and silence our conversation.
Mrs Bay, a well-preserved 64-year-old, whom I’ve bumped into on a stroll, bats away my concerns.
The flow of foreign tourists to the central province of Thua Thien-Hue increased 31.29 percent to 1.07 million in the first nine months of 2017.
The Republic of Korea ranked first in terms of number of holidaymakers visiting Thua Thien-Hue, making up 26 percent of the total number.
In the reviewed period, the province served a total of 2.78 million visitors. The Hue Relics Preservation Centre alone welcomed 2.4 million visitors, up 18.55 percent from the same period last year.
In September 2017, the provincial Department of Tourism and Traveloka Vietnam Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding on tourism development, which aims to connect accommodation establishments, airlines and potential customers.
The locality also signed a cooperation agreement with the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines to promote Hue at domestic and foreign tourism trade fairs as well as increase flights and launch new routes to the imperial city.
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue has put many efforts to preserve and restore relics of the UNESCO-recognised Complex of Hue Monuments in Hue City, the former royal capital of Vietnam, over the past two decades.
Established as the capital of Vietnam in 1802, Hue was the political, cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen Dynasty until 1945. Many of its palaces, temples and pagodas remain almost intact, although some were bombed and ruined in the Anti-American Resistance War.
The province has allocated over 1.46 trillion VND (64.24 million USD) for funding the relic preservation and restoration between 1996 and 2017, including 933 billion VND (41 million USD) for the 2010 – 2017 period, according to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Dung.
The Prime Minister has approved an Adjusted Planning Framework for the Complex of Hue Monuments from 2010-2020 in June 2010, laying grounds for the province’s preservation work, Dung said.
About 25,000 tourists visited the Hue imperial relic site in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on National Day (September 2), according to Director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre Phan Thanh Hai.
Free entrance tickets were offered to Vietnamese visitor at the imperial palace and monuments on the day. Meanwhile, local residents received a discount of 50 percent from September 1.
A string of royal activities have been restored on the occasion, including “doi gac” (changing working shift) festival and ceremonial music performance, Hai stressed.
The Vietnamese cultural heritage has been also nudged closer to visitors through exhibitions and royal art programmes, which feature cultural and historical values of the site.
The imperial relic site was recognised by UNESCO as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage in 1993.
A group of South Korean actors, singers and artists from the band TWICE, JYP Entertainment, and the nationwide cable TV network and broadcasting company JTBC are making a video about Thua Thien Hue.
The filming has been organized by the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in cooperation with the Hanatour Service Corporation, one of the largest South Korean travel companies, to introduce the beauty and cultural heritage of Thua Thien Hue to the South Korean public.
The video is being filmed at the UNESCO World Heritage’s the Hue Citadel, the Khai Dinh Tomb, the Huong River, with its charming natural scenery, and at exhibitions of ao dai (Vietnam’s traditional dress). The crew also filmed neighboring Da Nang and Quang Nam province.
Vietnam is a long, narrow country that snakes its way down the eastern shores of the Asian continent. Within the last few decades, it has emerged from its complicated and violent past as a top destination in Southeast Asia among many types of travelers. Vietnam is well worth crossing the Pacific for, offering diversely beautiful landscapes, exquisite cuisine, and competitive prices. But it would be a disservice to ignore the war, which is remembered through numerous monuments, museums, and, in some cases, ruins. Herewith are nine of the top destinations in Vietnam. (Since Vietnam is such a long country, we’ve oriented the list of top destinations per region to make it easier to tackle.)
Vietnam’s bustling capital lies in the very northern reaches of the country.
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam holds huge potential for cultural and spiritual tourism thanks to its diversity in terms of culture, customs and traditions, which have been shaped and practised across the nation for thousands of years.
Official statistics show that Vietnam has around 40,000 tangible and 60,000 intangible heritages. Most of them are in connection with temples, pagodas, monuments, churches, and expressed in religious rituals, traditional festivals and art forms.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognised 11 intangible cultural heritage of humanity in Vietnam.