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Travelling: Vietnam: Where History and Mystery Abound PDF Print E-mail
Vietnam: Where History and Mystery Abound

craftsmen making lion dance costumesIn the Orient, the coming of the new moon always brings joy to families. Vietnam is no different. The most important festive is Tet Nguyen Dan, or the Tet Lunar New Year, which is celebrated during the first week of the first lunar month.

The Vietnamese New Year sees children receiving Li Xi or lucky money. In accordance with age old customs, food is also served in shapes that symbolise heaven and gratitude for rich harvests. This is such an important festive that Vietnamese families are known to spend their whole year's income to celebrate it.
lady in traditional Vietnamese dressIn the weeks that follow, unique games like co nghoi ( human chess) are played. Requiring young, unmarried and attractive candidates to act as chess pawns, it certainly adds a new dimension to the word "live."

Enter the the ancient city of Hanoi and be charmed by its beauty. Founded in 1010 by King Ly Thai To after he sighted the auspicious Golden Dragon rising from the area, Hanoi has been blessed with breath-taking lakes, shaded boulevards and beautiful public parks.

Turn back the clock when you step into the city's colonial-era buildings that are now home to many of Hanoi's hotels, state stores and embassies. Return to Vietnam's tumultous past as you glimpse at Hoan Lo prison, home to American POWs during the Vietnam War. Visit the Independence Museum where Ho Chi Ming wrote Vietnam's declaration of independence or stroll through the Cite Indigene and be captivated by the romance of 1930s French provincial towns.

Getting There:

Both Vietnam Airlines, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines fly to Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi from Singapore several times a week. Fares range from S$600 to S$700. Don't forget: Visas are required! Arrange through your travel agent or directly from the Embassy (Tel: 6462-5938).

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