Ha Long Bay's history

Posted by vnb73 on March 5, 2009 under Vietnam Beaches, Vietnam World heritages | Read the First Comment

 

 dragon Ha long

Vinh Ha Long considered as Bay of the Descending Dragon is often touted by proud Vietnamese as the world’s Eighth wonder. One of the main attractions of Ha long is the bay’s calm water and the thousands of limestone mountains dotting the seascape. The Bay’s water is clear during the spring and early summer. Some of the islands are quite large and there are small alcoves with sandy beaches where swimming is possible. Ha Long bay lies in the northeastern part of Vietnam and is 165 Km from Hanoi.

 Ha Long literally means descending dragon(s) and according to local myth, the story goes as follows:

Long ago when their forefathers were fighting foreign invaders from the north, the gods from heaven sent a family of dragons to help defend their land. This family of dragons descended upon what is now Ha Long bay and began spitting out jewels and jade. Upon hitting the sea, these jewels turned into the various islands and islets dotting the seascape and formed a formidable fortress against the invaders. The locals were able to keep their land safe and formed what is now the country of Vietnam. The Dragon family fell so much in love with this area for its calm water and for the reverence of the people of Vietnam that they decided to remain on earth. Mother dragon lies on what is now Ha Long and where her children lie is Bai Tu Long. The dragon tails formed the area of Bach Long Vi known for the miles of white sandy beaches of Tra Co peninsula
This myth is in line with the Vietnamese myth of their origin Con Rong Chau Tien. This myth describes the union between a king (representing the dragon) and his bride (representing a goddess) giving birth to 100 children which are the ancestors of the Vietnamese people. The Ha Long myth illustrate the Vietnamese belief of their origin and the fact that throughout their history, they are aided by their ancestors, the dragon and the gods, in the defense of their land.

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Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park

Posted by vietnamtravelblog on October 14, 2008 under Vietnam Destinations, Vietnam World heritages | Be the First to Comment

The Park is considered a paradise for researchers and explorers of grottoes and caves and is the home to 140 families, 427 branches, and 751 species of precious plants

Phong Nha – Ke Bang is a national park in the center of Quang Binh province in north-central Vietnam. It protects one of the world’s two largest karst regions with several hundred caves and grottoes. Its name derives from Phong Nha cave, the most beautiful one, with numerous fascinating rock formations, and Ke Bang forest. The plateau is probably one of the finest and most distinctive examples of a complex karst landform in Southeast Asia.

Location:

Geographically, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (PNKBNP) is located in central Vietnam, about 500km south of the capital, Hanoi, within the Quang Binh Province.

The western boundary of the Park partially forms Laos-Vietnamese border, which is only 42km from the sea. The Park is found within the geographical co-ordinates of 170 20′-170 48′ N and 1050 46-1060 24′ E in Bo Trach and Minh Hoa Districts.

Recognition by UNESCO in 2003

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park was first nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The dossier submited to UNESCO was for the recognition of Phong Nha nature reserve as a world natural heritage under the name “Phong Nha Nature Reserve”. The reason given for the nomination was that this nature reserve satisfied the criteria of biodiversity, unique beauty and geodiversity (criteria I and iv).

It was recognized as a world natural heritage site at the UNESCO’s 27th general assembly session being held in Paris in June 30thJuly 5th, 2003. At the session, delegates from over 160 member countries of UNESCO World Heritage Convention agreed to include Phong Nha-Ke Bang park and 30 others worldwide in the list of world heritage sites. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park meets with criteria viiii in accordance with UNESCO’s appraisal scale since it displays an impressive amount of evidence of earth’s history and is a site of importance for increasing human understanding of the geologic, geomorphic and geo-chronological history of the region.

Physical features:

Criterion (viii): Phong Nha is part of a larger dissected plateau, which also encompasses the Ke Bang and Hin Namno karsts. The limestone incontinuously demonstrates the complexity interbedding with shales and sandstones. This, together with the capping of schists and apparent granites has led to a particularly distinctive topography.

Looking into the caves, you may recognize discrete episodic sequences of events, leaving behind various levels of fossil passages, formerly buried and now uncovered palaeokarst (karst from previous, perhaps very ancient, periods of solution); evidence of major changes in the routes of underground rivers; changes in the solutional regime; deposition and later re-solution of giant speleothems and unusual features such as sub-aerial stromatolites. The location and form of the caves suggest that they might owe much of their size and morphology to some as yet undetermined implications of the schists and granites which overlay the limestone. On the surface, there is a striking series of landscapes, ranging from deeply dissected ranges and plateaux to an immense polje. There is evidence of at least one period of hydrothermal activity in the evolution of this ancient mature karst system. The plateau is probably one of the finest and most distinctive examples of a complex karst landform in SE Asia.

http://nguoiquangbinh.net/forum/hinhanh/dong-phong-nha.jpg

Cultural heritage:

The oldest evidence of human occupation of the area are Neolithic axe heads and similar artefacts found in some of the caves. There are some relics of Ham Nghi King, a final King of the Nguyen dynasty before the French colonial period, at the Maria Mountain in the north of the Park. Currently the Arem, Ma Coong and Ruc ethnic groups live in two villages in the core zone of Phong Nha Ke – Bang National Park. Until 1962 these indigenous people lived in the forest in houses made of bamboo and leaves or in the caves, living from forest products and hunting. They used simple tools and their clothes were made from the bark of a toxic forest tree (Antiaris toxicaria) and lianas.

Since 1992 the Government of Vietnam has set up two new settlements for these 475 people, who are the two smallest ethnic groups in Vietnam. These people are familiar with a number of economically valuable species, especially precious timber such as Mun and Hue (Diospyros spp., Dalbergia rimosa), and oil-extraction from species such as Tau (Hopea hainanensis) and many medicinal plants. The Phong Nha Cave has long been a site of religious and touristic importance, with an old Cham Temple discovered in the cave and it was a site of worship in the ninth and tenth centuries. During the war with the USA the Phong Nha – Ke Bang forest and caves were a garrison and weapons store for the Vietnamese army.

Conservation value:

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is of high conservation value as one of the largest areas of intact forest habitat remaining in Vietnam. As part of a continuous forest block with the neighbouring Him Namno Biodiversity Conservation Area in Laos it forms one of the largest areas of forest on limestone karst in Indochina. The presence of tall lowland forest, which is regionally threatened as a habitat type, in the National Park increases the area’s conservation value.

Tourist activities

The number of tourists has increased dramatically since the park was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Tourism activities in the area are the responsibility of the Trading and Tourism Department of Quang Binh province, with 280 international standard rooms in the province and 8 vehicles with capacities of 4 to 15 seats for tourist transportation. The forest guards of Son Trach commune in Bo Trach district are placed on tourist security duty.

Quang Binh Province has invested into upgrading the Phong Nha-Ke Bang visitor site to turn it into one of Vietnam’s major tourist destinations.

Multiple eco-tourist projects have been licensed for development and the area is being heavily developed by the province to turn it into a major tourist site in Vietnam. Phong Nha Ke Bang is part of a tourism promotion program called: “Middle World Heritage Road” which includes the ancient capital of Huế, the Champa relics of My Son, the city of Hoi An, nha nhac and the Space of Gong Culture in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Tourist activities in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park are organized by local travel agencies and vary in form:

  • Tour for expedition of caves and grottos in boats and with professional cave expedtion means.
  • Ecotourism, discovering the florae and fauna in this national park in the Ke Bang Forest.
  • Mountain climbing: There are extreme sloping mountains here with a height of over 1,000 m, which is a real challenge for adventurous climbers

In order to facilitate the increasing flow of tourists to the site, the Dong Hoi Airport was constructed and is due to be operational at the end of 2008.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang, together with Ha Long Bay and Fanxipan of Vietnam, is listed as a candidate for 7 new world natural wonders vote. As of February 12, 2008 it ranked 10th in the voting list

In summary, Phong Nha displays an impressive amount of evidence of earth’s history. It is a site of very great importance for increasing our understanding of the geologic, geomorphic and geo-chronological history of the region.

Hue, Imperial City

Posted by vietnamtravelblog on August 18, 2008 under Vietnam World heritages | Read the First Comment

Still remaining its form of City underMiddle Age and the constructions of monarchic, a invaluable museum of Vietnam, this is Imperial City – the last remaining section of 19th-century Hue, and it is now a modern experiment in recreating traditional Vietnam. The Imperial City was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 1993. Let’s take a trip through the most important historical and cultural monument of Vietnam.

The layout of the Imperial City

The main reason to visit Hue is the citadel of the old capital, along with the royal tombs scattered around the countryside. In the early 19th century the Emperor Gia Long chose the present site at Hue. The Emperor wished to recreate, in abbreviated form, a replica of the Forbidden City in Beijing. This vast structure is an unusual hybrid, built according to the notions of Chinese geomancy but in the style of the noted French military architect Sebastien de Vauban.

Dominating the skyline is the 37m (120ft) high Cot Co or Flag Tower, first erected in 1809. Cot Co achieved international renown on the morning of 31 January 1968, when communist forces seized the Citadel and ran their yellow-starred banner up its tall mast.

The lower part of the gate is stone, while on top is the “Belvedere of the Five Phoenixes” where the emperor appeared on important occasions, and where the last emperor abdicated to Ho Chi Minh’s Revolutionary Government in 1945.

Just inside the gate is a lotus pond with a bridge once reserved for the emperor’s private use. Across the bridge is the Thai Hoa Palace used for official receptions and other important court ceremonies. The columns supporting the roof are lacquered and inlaid with gold.

Thai Hoa Palace

Behind the Thai Hoa Palace are a pair of smaller halls used by mandarins to prepare for court ceremonies. The halls form a courtyard, the fourth side of which was once a wall dividing the more public area of the citadel from the emperor’s private residence, the “Forbidden Purple City.” The name conjures up images of grand palaces like Beijing. Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit of imagination to picture the buildings that once occupied what is now a grassy expanse. What wasn’t destroyed by a fire in 1947 was bombed in the 1968 Tet Offensive. The picture at above left was taken from the upper-most level looking back at the Thai Hoa palace and the Flag tower.

Off to one side of the central axis of the forbidden city, about midway, is the Thai Binh Lau or Royal Library. This small building stands in a garden and is fronted by small pond mostly taken up by a mountain-island well-grown with moss and bonsai. You will find similar ponds, fountains or even large bowls of water in many structures all over Vietnam.

Although you must enter the citadel through the main gate, you can exit it at several other points. Between the Thai Hoa palace and the halls of the mandarins, a path leads to the Hien Nhon gate (left). Leaving by this gate is the shortest route to get from the forbidden city to the museum at Long An palace. Along the path are a couple of buildings worth a look.

A visit to Hue might be considered incomplete without a boat trip on the outstandingly lovely Perfume River. Boats are readily available for hire, either for an exploratory trip in the vicinity of Hue, or for a longer journey upstream to the tombs of Minh Mang and Gia Long.

Perfume River

It’s hard to explain the uncanny beauty of the river, though doubtless the irridescent, aquamarine waters, together with the profusion of colourful craft and boat women sporting non la–the ubiquitous cream-coloured conical hat of Vietnam–all contribute to the effect. On a clear, sunny day the Perfume River can indeed be magical.

By Vietnam-beauty.com