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Hanoi city and its Pagodas


Danang, Vietnam 23 Aug - 29 Aug 2008  


The continuation of this travel news in Vietnam on the above date will hopefully bring some insight to the life of the people in Vietnam.  This time I was in Danang followed by Hanoi again.  I shall include some of my personal travel pictures and perhaps give readers an idea what is like in Vietnam and someday visit this beautiful country.


To begin with, I arrived Danang airport with my party around 7.30pm after 9 hours journey from the time I took off from KLIA with flight transit in Hanoi NoiBai airport. There is no direct flight from Malaysia therefore it is cumbersome to reach this coastal province in Vietnam.  But the travel time is worth it to see the beauty of Danang as not many people have actually gone to this part of Vietnam.  The most popular places you can always hear is Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Halong Bay.


Stayed at Tourane Hotel in Danang. It is a wonderful French colonial style hotel located at My Khi Beach Danang.  About 25 minutes away from the airport.  Danang is a developing city and assure you in the next 10 years, a lot of modernization is going to take place.




A photo of the French colonial design villas.  It is a 2 storey walk-up apartment style and with large balcony on the 2nd floor.  




The swimming pool facility. It is hot at 12 noon at the time when this photo was taken. Vietnamese will go to swim from 5 AM.  They will go indoors from 9AM onward due to the heat.












My Khi Beach front just outside Tourane Hotel.

At 5AM this beach will be crowded with people and fisher man.






















Danang is famous for its marble sculpture. Vietnam exports a lot of marble products and the production is for export markets. 


A huge marble scupture of Kuan Yin flanked by two elephants on the side.





Ordering seafood at Hoi An province (about 30km from Danang).  This is also a beautiful seaside tourist heaven with plenty of local operated resorts.  Location is China Beach.








This Hoi An beach area is named China Beach where photo was taken just outside the seafood restaurant.













Coming back to Hanoi, I have managed to snap some pictures of the city itself during my working lunch hour.




Hoan Kiem Lake.  This is one of the many lakes that can be found in Hanoi.  It is a popular tourist area because this lake is located at the city center.  Taking a stroll during the summer heat can be very taxing.  It would be good to take a leisure walk around the entire lake during winter when the weather is much more cooler.



Hang Dao Street, Hang Gai Street, Hang....., Hang......, they are all shopping streets.  Many products ranging from everyday use to souvenir items can be easily found here.  This is a shopping heaven for ladies in particular.  Like what I said earlier, if you don't like the intense summer heat and prepared to sweat a lot, visit here during Nov/Dec winter season. 








Most of the buildings seen in Hanoi city especially in the Old Quarters are of French colonial architectures.   


This is a travel epilogue from a Hanoi trip during 13 Aug – 17 Aug 2008.  I have decided to reveal the city and share with everyone.  I will recommend Hanoi and assure you that this city is a very interesting place to visit.  After several trips to Hanoi before, I finally got some free time to go around visiting the famous pagodas in the bustling city and get a deeper understanding of the country’s religion and culture.  There are plenty of pagodas in Vietnam and I only managed to visit 2 of the temple pagodas during this trip. The main religion of Vietnamese people is Taoist and the practices of praying to deities are very similar to other practicing Taoism countries e.g. Malaysia, Hong Kong, or China. 


Shopping at the old quarters and strolling along Hoan Kiem Lake is a good experience. The weather during the summer heat can be excruciating hot for anyone. But the winter cold during December month can be something to look forward to.  For this time around, I just got to bring my camera and visit the Pagodas under the intensifying heat together with the help of my local Hanoian associates to bring us better understanding of the country’s culture and religious practice.


For a start, perhaps some footages of Hanoi’s interesting limelight of the people, lifestyles, and buildings.   




Beautiful French influenced building design are common sights; tall and slim with very narrow stairways are common in most public and private properties.   




 Motorcycles are very common in Hanoi. 





Tran Quoc Pagoda


This pagoda may be one of the oldest in Vietnam.  According to legend it was built during the Nam De Dynasty (544-548).  Originally, the pagoda had been built adjacent to the Cai River and called Khai Quoc (Founding of the Nation).  




Its name was changed to An Quoc Pagoda. Then in the reign of King Le Kinh Tong (1600-1618), the river bank broke, the people removed the pagoda and rebuilt it on Ca Vang island in the middle of West Lake (its current location) where the Ly Kings had built Thuy Hoa Hall and the Tran Dynasty had constructed Ham Nguyen Palace.  King Le Hy Tong (1668-1705) changed its name to Tran Quoc.



The present pagoda still maintains a unique architecture so different from other pagodas. At the front, there is a visitors hall before entering the interior of the pagoda.  At the rear there are two corridors and a bell tower.  Inside the pagoda are various beautiful statues ,the most notable of which is the wooden gilded statue of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha. There are also stone slab steles, the oldest of which was built in 1639 on which Dr. Nguyen Xuan Chinh wrote the history of the major repair to this pagoda in that very year. There is a luxurioant Bo tree in the pagoda’s current playground that was a monument presented by the President of Inda who paid a visit to thie pagoda in 1959.









Quan Su Pagoda


Situated halfway along the street bearing the same name and numbered 73, the entire compound is the ancient village of An Lap.  In this place at the beginning of the Le Dynasty (15th century), a hall called Quan Su was built to receive ambassadors from Laos, Chiem Thanh (Cambodia), etc.  when they visited the capital of Thing Long. Because they were all Buddhists, a pagoda was built near Quan Su for their convenience to worship.  Later on the Quan Su Hall was destroyed but the pagoda was maintained.  





It continued to undergo various changes and in 1934, the Bac Ky (northern Buddhist Associatioin) used this pagoda as its headquarters.  In 1942, it was rebuilt incorporating its current architecture and interior decoration.  In 1958, Vietnam’s United Buddhist Associated was founded and took the pagoda as its office.

A recent encounter with a very nice Hanoian friend told me that Southern Vietnam pagodas are similar to those of Thailand.  Although I was not able to get further details, there is reason for me to believe that Southern part like H.C.M may very well have Thai Theravadian Buddhist temples.  It should be interesting for me to research temples or pagodas in H.C.M. and hopefully able to reveal Vietnam's votive tablets by some notable Buddhist masters over there.  I certainly hope someday when the right opportunity comes, we will be able to gain much benefit. 

Thank you for staying up with us in this mesmeric article on Vietnam's Buddhism.