A three-hour drive from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, will bring you to the calm and charming Ha Long Bay. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin in northeast Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has withstood the test of time, and yes, naval battles and legends. Literally translated as “Bay of the Descending Dragon”, Ha Long Bay offers visitors a majestic view of naturally-formed limestone pillars and, if you have much time to spare, over 1,600 islands and islets. A popular way to enjoy the scenery is by taking one of the numerous Ha Long Bay cruises through glass-like waters (although it was a bit too green for me!) aboard these ships that looked like the ones used back in the 1900s era (my first thought was the Huckleberry Finn cartoons!), giving it an old world feel. We spent two days and a night aboard one (and I was happy to see two very able Filipina crew managers) and although we were actually working (yep, no kidding!), in that short time, I really got to appreciate the calmness (so unlike the 2Go weather fiasco!), majesty and beauty that Ha Long Bay offers to its visitors.
When I booked my Cebu Pacific piso fare from Ho Chi Minh to Manila way before deciding to actually do a Southeast Asia trip, the driving force was to eat the noodle soup pho and the fresh vermicelli spring rolls in Vietnam.
The ignorant that I am of Asian and world history, the only things I knew of Vietnam were the food I wanted to eat and the war with America.
Last night, at the Thirstday Thursday CouchSurfing Manila meet-up, there were two CouchSurfers from Vietnam and with other Filipino CS members, we talked about Cu Chi Tunnels, perhaps one of the most visited and most popular tours in Ho Chi Minh city.
Together with Indians-but-Singapore-based Sid and Sulabh, whom I met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I went to Cu Chi Tunnels in the morning (it’s a half-day activity) to see for myself how the Vietnamese lived underground for years during the Vietnam War. Continue reading Backpacking South East Asia: Vietnam – Cu Chi Tunnels Tour
Yes, you read right—there really is a water puppet show and you can watch it at Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh city!
And no, it’s not like any other puppet show you’ve seen before. Neither is it set on a stage with fake water/waves scenes as the backdrop. The puppet show here in Vietnam really is on water!!!
Held at the Rong Vang Water Puppet Theater (aka Golden Dragon) in Ho Chi Minh City, the show presents the amazing craftsmanship and dedication of its actors/puppet controllers. Imagine, you have to be underwater to be able to control the puppets! I think that in itself is amazing!
The only thing though is that the story is told in Vietnamese so you really won’t be able to fully understand what’s going on. Unless you speak Vietnamese of course. Or, you’re just really good in following storylines. Hehehe
So, if you’re like me, you’d read up on the story based on the sheet of paper distributed before the show. Then, you’ll focus all your energy in watching the movements of the water puppets and feel the rhythm of traditional Vietnamese music, sung and played live from the sides of the theater!
Also, if you are like me, you will be amazed and captivated by the water puppets. Whether you’re waiting for the puppeteer to show up gasping for breath or trying your hardest to understand what’s going on, the water puppets will surely keep you engrossed.
Some people are asking whether watching the water puppet show at the Golden Dragon or Rong Vang Water Puppet Show is worth it or not. I can’t remember the exact price that we paid for but I sure got value for my money. I mean, it’s probably just me, and the two Indian travellers I was with, but we felt that the water puppets and their puppeteers performed well.
Besides, it’s not often that you see puppets in the water! Really, the water puppets show is something I will always remember about Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam!
I’m supposed to sleep already but since I remembered my upcoming backpacking trip across six countries in South East Asia in four weeks, I went back to tripline.net and tried to make my “trip line”. Here’s the product. I really hope I can raise the funds for this, especially since I’m slacking off with my other work!
Anyway, since I am on WordPress.com and not on WordPress.org, I can only share here the picture/general map. If you want to know where I’m going exactly, click on the Map to be redirected to tripline’s website. Once you get there, click “Full Screen” on the lower right side and then click the play icon. This has music in the background so if you don’t wish to get you bosses’ ire, don’t open it in your office without a headset on, ok?!
There’s also a list of places to be visited plus a little information just before you play the video. So, read on if you wish.