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DESTINATIONS: VIET NAM

 DA NANG   
White Sand, Paradise Shops and back in time, Danang is Vietnam’s third international gateway and a major seaport with magnificent beaches.

Its historical significance stems back to 192AD when it was the capital of the Kingdom of Champa.  Relics from this period can be found in the open-air Cham Museum, considered to be one of the finest collections of Cham sculptures in the world. Danang was also the site of the first military landing in 1965 by American troops and was a major base for American Marines and naval forces during the war.  Sightseeing includes Marble Mountain, with its natural grottos and Buddhist sanctuaries and China Beach

Gateway to world Heritages, just a short drive from Danang lay four UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites: the former imperial city of Hue (2 hours), the ancient ‘Silk Road' trading port of Hoi An (30 minutes away), the spiritual centre of the Champa civilization, My Son (90 minutes) and the mystical Phong Nha Caves in Quang Binh province (3 hours), considered by some an access to the inner earth!

In the little riverside hamlet of Hoi An , time has stood still. You will find yourself strolling past houses the colors of after-dinner mints - lavender, canary yellow, pink. You'll pass galleries, tailor shops and pagodas with clay-tiled roofs. Peer into the windows of an old shop-house and the scene is straight out of the 19 th century: round Chinese cloth lanterns, dark wooden beams, intricately carved teak furniture, lacquer screens, an ornate, gilded altar...

Three centuries ago, this little town in central Vietnam was a bustling port, full of traders from Japan, China and beyond. Today, this World Heritage Site is a living museum. A 40-minute drive from Danang (Vietnam's fourth largest city), Hoi An offers ancient Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture and traditional Vietnamese hospitality.

Hoi An reveals but one layer of the region's history. From the 2nd to 15th centuries, the land around Danang was ruled by the Chams, an Indianised people who built brick temple towers in honor of Hindu gods. The ruined temple complex of My Son , a World Heritage Site just 60km from Danang, provides visitors with a fascinating glimpse into this ancient culture. Cham statues of graceful dancing girls and awesome deities create a lasting impression. In Danang itself, a gracious, French-built museum houses the world's finest collection of ancient Cham stone carvings.

Stone carvers continue the Cham's legacy at the nearby Marble Mountains , a major pilgrimage site since Cham times. Here, visitors can venture through a fascinating maze of cave temples, hidden within five sacred, marble hillocks.

Following all this cultural exploration, head for Danang's beaches. With its warm, lapis lazuli water, fine white sand and coconut palms, this coastline deserves its reputation as a tropical paradise. Sun - worshippers can explore Nam 0, My Khe and the postcard-perfect Lang Co Beach, which lies across the Hai Van Pass, or "Pass of Ocean Clouds". This zigzagging stretch of road boasts some of the most spectacular ocean views in all of Asia. Whether you wish to explore Vietnamese culture or lounge by the sea, Vietnam's central coast is not to be missed

 

Linh Ung Pagoda:

Location: Linh Ung Pagoda is located in Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, about 8km from the center of Danang City.

Characteristic: The pagoda was built during the 18th century. It was later conferred the name Ngu Che Ung Chon Tu during Minh Mang’s reign.

Linh Ung Pagoda is 100m from Tam Thai Pagoda overlooking the East Sea. Tang Chon Cave is also in the same area.

The name was changed to Linh Ung Pagoda in the third year of Thanh Thai’s reign. The pagoda, considered part of the beautiful landscapes of Danang, was renovated many times. Precious documents about the history of the pagoda are safely kept in the pagoda.

Cham Museum:

Location: The Cham Museum is located at the intersection of Trung Nu Vuong and Bach Dang Streets, Danang City.

Characteristic: The Cham Museum was built in 1915 with the financial support of the French Far-East Research Institute in Vietnam. This museum houses the most extensive collection of Cham art worldwide.

In the past, the capital of the Champa nation was located in Danang; other famous sites of the Champa civilization include Tra Kieu, Dong Duong, My Son, and Thap Man.

The Cham Museum was built in Cham architectural style, using thin lines that are simple and gentle. Cham architecture originates from the period between the 5th and 15th centuries, when a matriarchal society prevailed. At present, the museum displays approximately 300 sculptures, among which some are made from terracotta. The sculptures were collected from Cham Temples and towers throughout Central Vietnam, more specifically the area stretching from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan. All the sculptures are displayed in ten showrooms named after the localities where the pieces have been discovered. After viewing the pieces in the showrooms, there are exterior exhibitions that can be visited.

Ba Na - Chua Mount Tourist Area:

Location: Ba Na - Chua Mount Tourist Area is located in Hoa Vang District, 30km from the centre of Danang City.

Characteristics: The mountain, which stands at the altitude of 1,487m above sea-level, has an average annual temperature that varies between 17 and 20°C (62.6-68°F).

Each of the four seasons appears within a single day in Ba Na: spring in the morning, summer at noon, autumn in the afternoon and winter at night. One particular characteristic is that the clouds are at the mid-height of the mountain, so the peaks are always clear. Ba Na also possesses very beautiful forests with green pine hills.

Nowadays, coming to this place, you can feel your interests with a lot of pretty villas, newly built hotels, and bungalows here. Each one has its own flower garden with many types of aristocratic flower that Frenchmen left during the 50 past years.

A modern system of cable cars helps the visitors get a bird's-eye view, very miraculous and attractive while enjoying a feeling of flying in the blue sky amidst the clouds and wind. Danang Tourism Company will build the new resorts, including convalescence homes, a three-star hotel with 100 rooms and an area for private businesses' investment. These facilities would help reduce the overload of tourists during summer time, giving the visitors a feeling of being in a fairy-land they have never seen before. Enjoying nature they will feel relaxed and healthy and have peace of mind. However, Ba Na by night is more wonderful. You can attend a friendly camping fire, drink can wine, sing and dance comfortably around the warm fire in the coldish weather. All worries of life will likely disappear, giving place for pleasures and happiness.

Every year, in the middle of July, the big tourism event “Meeting at Ba Na” is held with many exciting and attracting activities such as Procession planquine, Tug of war, Music and song, Exhibition of paints and pictures about Ba Na, displaying of birds-bonsai-fish, Calligraphy contest.

Marble Mountain:

Location: The Marble Mountains are located in Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, about 7km from the centre of Danang City in the southeast.

Characteristic: The Marble Mountains, also referred to as Ngu Hanh Son or Mountains of the Five Elements, consist of five marble mountains: Thuy Son (water) which is the highest, Moc Son (wood), Kim Son (metal), Tho Son (soil), and Hoa Son (fire).

Thuy Son has been exploited as a popular tourist resort because of its alluring beauty. Stone steps carved into the mountain lead to the Tam Thai Pagoda where Phat Di Lac is worshipped. At the back of the pagoda is Huyen Khong. In the past, the pagoda paid tribute to Hindu and Buddhist gods and is now dedicated to Cham deities. Huyen Khong was the base for Vietnamese revolutionaries during wartime.

The Marble Mountains are famous for traditional stone engraving activities. In Dong Hai Village close to Thuy Son, 600 families chisel stone producing statues, jewelry, and art work. Stone from the Marble Mountains has been exported to many countries.

One of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam is located 2km from the mountains and 10km from Danang. It is Non Nuoc which is very convenient for visitors who want to go climbing and bathing.

Non Nuoc Beach:

Location: Non Nuoc Beach runs for 5km against the Marble Mountains in Danang City.

Characteristic: Non Nuoc Beach is famous for its seaweed, which reaches exportation standards.

It is bound by Dien Ngoc Sea to the south and Danang to the north. The beach gently slopes towards the calm, clear, blue sea; the clarity of the water attracts people who come to bathe and enjoy the seafood. Many five-star hotels were built in Non Nuoc to accommodate the domestic and foreign tourists in the area.

Hai Van Pass:

Location: Hai Van Pass is lying on National Highway No1A on the border between Thua Thien - Hue Province and Danang City.

Characteristic: Hai Van Pass is like a giant dragon and which is considered to be one of the largest frontier posts in Vietnam. The name De Nhat Hung Quan, meaning the most colossal frontier post, is engraved on an incense burner in Thai Temple.

In the past, Hai Van Pass was known as the Thuan Hoa and Quang Nam frontier. In the early 14th century (1306), Che Man, a king from Cham Pa, offered two mountainous administrative units of O and Ri as engagement gifts to Princess Huyen Tran, daughter of King Tran Nhan Tong. On his way to see off the Princess in the Quang area in a summer sunny noon, the King and his entourage were on horse back for almost half a day but could not reach the top of the pass. Facing upwards, the King saw a rampart of mountains in dim clouds, and at the foot of the pass, an immense ocean, of waves. Though sorry for his daughter's difficult journey, the king was comforted by the closer ties between the two nations.

Whenever one goes through Hai Van Pass, two feelings are experienced: amazement at passing through the clouds and fear when seeing the dangerous bends of the road. A 21km-long road over Hai Van Pass, opened at the end of the 19th century, winds back and forth to a height of 435m above sea level. With sudden curves and blind corners, Hai Van Pass is likened to an arrogant but beautiful girl challenging drivers' skills. Its name means "Pass of the Ocean Clouds," since the peak of the mountain is in the clouds while its foot is close to the sea.

From the top of Hai Van Pass, one can admire Lang Co Beach to the north and Danang to the south. The curving railway through Hai Van Pass is 3,200m long including sections running through seven tunnels. There are endless forests to the west of Hai Van Pass and the ocean is to the east. Hai Van Pass is a real challenge for drivers, as well as for adventurers.

Non Nuoc Fine art Village:

Location: Non Nuoc Fine art Village is located in Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, Danang City.

Characteristics: Perhaps no one comes to the Five Marble Mountains without visiting Non Nuoc Fine Arts Village, where nationwide and worldwide famous marble handicraft works are produced.

The Non Nuoc Fine Arts Village has a three or four-hundred-year history. This is affirmed by some steles which still remain at some ancient pagodas in the Quang Nam Province. Currently, there is a temple of the “Marble Fine Arts Founders” at the well-known spot of the Five Marble Mountains, and many ancestor anniversary activities take place largely in this village on the sixth day of the first lunar month every year.

Many gardens of statues have their back to the mountains. So, the overall artistic spaces of these gardens are arranged skillfully thanks to the outside landscape. Visitors will be very interested in and surprised by the artistic stone works exhibited here. Polished, petite and sophisticated statues are presented with both traditional and modern motives and taken to parts of the world by visitors.

Lifeless stone has become a lively thing with the human spirit through the craftsmen of the Non Nuoc Fine Arts Village. It is certain that this process takes place in many work stages, including extremely difficult ones. The happiness with the completed works, the admiration of connoisseurs and also the benefits from the job united the people of this fine arts village in their care.

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