Photo essay: Enchanting Vietnam
(from The Migrant Times; the original story is here https://themigranttimes.org.nz/stories/2016/8/28/photo-essay-enchanting-vietnam?rq=vietnam)
Vietnam is a truly beautiful country with breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture, warm and welcoming people, and a rich history. Every town and city has a character of it's own. Vietnam never fails to charm.
Dating back to 4th century AD, the ruins of the once glorious temples of My Son are a sight to behold. They consists of several temple clusters, only some of which still stand strong. Majority of the temples were bombed out of existance by the American forces during the Vietnam war.
Hoi An, another UNESCO world heritage site was the site of the first chinese settlement in Vietnam. It used to be a major South-East Asian trading centre from the 15th to 19th century. Today, Hoi Anis a delightful little town. Taking a walk down the alleys of the old town, with well preserved buildings from the past, which have now been converted to temples, emporiums, and museums, it is not very hard to imagine how life would have been back then. The colourful markets light up at night where you can buy anything and everything. Tailor made shoes and clothes are a speciality of Hoi An. You'll see numerous shops lined up where they can make lovely shoes and dresses for you, in just one day!
Cu chi tunnels, where the horrors of the American-Vietnam war come alive, are part of a much larger network of several stories deep underground tunnels, which served as a hiding place for the Vietnamese. The tunnels contain complete living quarters with homes, kitchens, and hospitals. Some of the tunnels have been opened for visitors, and it is only after vising this place does one realise what life meant for these people brave and fearless people, and just how hard it was to live this way.
The marble mountains, near the city of Da Nang, is a group of five hills that contain a number of natural caves and tunnels. Some of the caves are quite big and take the visitor by surprise. There are several buddhist and hindu temples in this complex. It is a popular tourist destination. The area is famous for marble sculpture making and stone-cutting crafts. Just outside the complex there are numerous shops selling scuptures of all types. Some of the showrooms are huge and have endless collections on display. The quality of the craft is stellar.