Vietnam: The land of the Nguyen, the Trinh and Pho noodles

Vietnam Photos
This photo of Vietnam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Vietnam really came into prominence onto the world stage during the Cold War era, during the military conflict between the communistic North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam supported by the United States. It was guerrilla warfare versus military air technology; artillery shelling, air strikes, the sickening odour of napalm, and the metallic smell of blood in the air characterized the day-to-day life in Vietnam during the war. Nearly 60 years on, the landscape of Vietnam has changed drastically and while it has taken a long time for Vietnam to heal, this South East Asian country has undergone rapid industrialization in recent years. It has become one of south-east Asia’s fastest-growing economies and has set its sights on becoming a developed nation by 2020.

Vietnam Photos
This photo of Vietnam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

For nearly a millennium, Hanoi which is the capital city of Vietnam was the seat of power in this region. With its French colonial influences and Chinese heritage deeply interwoven within the city’s history, the well-preserved streets and monuments of Hanoi are quite a sight to behold. Amidst Hanoi’s rapid development, UNESCO stepped in to ensure that a vital piece of this amazing country’s history and culture was preserved – the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. Given that it’s not every day that one gets to see an UNESCO world heritage site, we recommend visiting this attraction if you’re ever in Hanoi.

Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Located right in the middle of Hanoi along Hoang Dieu Street, the citadel is only a 10-minute drive away from Fraser Suites. This historic site was built by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty in the 11th century, and was the political centre for over 800 years. It was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century built on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. The citadel complex also served as a palace and where the rulers held court. However, a political change was gradually happening, starting in the mid-17th century. The Emperor became more of a symbolic figurehead, with the real political power being exerted by two powerful families, the Trinh in the north and the Nguyen in the south. The Nguyen family won the political fight at the beginning of the 18th century and established a new dynasty, with its new capital in the more centrally located Hué. Sadly, most of this majestic citadel’s surrounding royal palaces and structures were destroyed by French Colonialists in the 1900s. The central sector was preserved, and for the next few decades, the citadel became the military headquarters for the French Colonialists, the Japanese during the Japanese occupation from 1940 to 1945, and the North Vietnamese military command during the Vietnam War.

Within the historical site, we have compiled a list of several must-see features such as the citadel complex, the flag tower, museum, etc. that are opened to the public and highly recommended.

Citadel Complex – Up till quite recently, the grounds of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long were still used by the Vietnamese military and therefore closed to the public. After the UNESCO declared the area a heritage site in 2010, the Vietnamese government began opening up a few sections of the citadel complex for visitors. Several rooms within the complex contain displays of Vietnamese relics and captioned photographs, but the rest are still mostly off-limits to visitors.

Open daily from 8.00 am – 11.30 am, 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm Closed on Mondays and admission is free.

Imperial Gates and 15th Century Stone Dragons – The imperial gates are reminiscent of what one would see in an ancient Chinese fortress, with the dragons portrayed as a 4-legged serpent with horns and scales. Found on the entrance of what used to be the main building of the palace, these gates and stone dragons, along with the palace’s architecture serve as a reminder of Vietnam’s early East Asian heritage.

Images of Hanoi Flag Tower, Hanoi
This photo of Hanoi Flag Tower is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Flag Tower of Hanoi – One of the sights synonymous to Vietnam would be this 33-meter tall watchtower that flies the National Flag of Vietnam, colloquially known as the Cot Co Tower. Despite being one of the original structures of the citadel, the tower’s appearance differs slightly from the rest of the older structures because it was only built in 1812, several hundred years later than the rest of the palace buildings. When the French colonialists arrived, they left it largely intact, using it as a military post. Today, visitors can climb up the tower to enjoy the scenic 360-degree view of the citadel and the vast piece of land that it rests upon.

Open daily from 8.00 am – 11.30 am and 1.30 pm to 5.00 pm. Closed on Mondays and admission is free.

D67 – One of the newest and most interesting exhibits within the citadel compound would be this little building codenamed “D67”. During the Vietnam War, the citadel was once again made the headquarters of the North Vietnamese Army. And it was from within this small building’s reinforced concrete walls that the country’s military top brass planned their defence against the US backed South Vietnamese army. The building, offices, meeting rooms, and a 9-meter deep bomb shelter have been restored to their original condition and furnished to look just like it had during the cold war period, providing travellers experience an authentic experience of what it would have been like to walk down the corridors of Vietnam’s “Pentagon” over 60 years ago.

Open daily from 8.00 am – 11.30 am and 1.30 pm to 5.00 pm. Closed on Mondays and admission is free.

Images of Hanoi Flag Tower, Hanoi
This photo of Military History Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Vietnam Military History Museum – One of the 7 national museums of Vietnam, this war museum is located right next to the citadel. Interesting fact… Apart from excavated artefacts from the citadel compounds and various war paraphernalia from past conflicts, the museum features the wreckage of a real US B-52 bomber and F-111 shot down during the Vietnam War! The museum also displays an impressive collection of war propaganda and photographs from the past, documenting the country’s turbulent history in great detail. A must-visit for all history and military buffs!

Open daily from 8.00 am – 11.30 a, and 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Admission: 30.000 VND. Additional 20.000VND for photography and 50.000VND for videography.

Frasers Hospitality HanoiMake Fraser Suites Hanoi your ideal accommodation in Hanoi. With its strategic location in Syrena Tower on Xuan Dieu Street, Fraser Suites Hanoi is a prime address for expatriates who desire a home close to their place of business, but yet offers a tranquil repose from the bustle of the city. Our well-appointed Gold-Standard serviced residence is in the scenic Westlake district, the residential enclave preferred by foreign executives and their families. Embraced as the newest and most modern addition to the serviced residence segment, it is already setting a new benchmark in concept, product and service delivery. Ultra-chic, it is designed to meet the refined taste and expectations of discerning corporate travellers – with sophisticated amenities and equipment such as large screen LCD TV, entertainment system, as well as exclusive key card elevator access.

Frasers Hospitality Hanoi

Frasers Hospitality Hanoi

Frasers Hospitality Hanoi

Check out our Summer Promotion Package (Valid from 01 May – 31 July 2012)

Package includes:
· Welcome amenities
· Daily breakfast for one (01) person per bedroom (additional breakfast @ US$8++ per person /day)
· Complimentary broadband internet access
· Complimentary daily local English newspaper
· Complimentary use of facilities: 24-hour gym, swimming pool, steam bath, children playroom & playground
· Complimentary scheduled shuttle to city center (except weekends)
· Daily housekeeping service


Terms and Conditions:

· Rates are quoted in US dollars
· All rates are exclusive of 5% service charge & 10% VAT
· Check-in time is after 1400H
Note that children age 12 & above are charged the adult rate. Please include them in the number entered in the Adults Per Unit box.


3 thoughts on “Vietnam: The land of the Nguyen, the Trinh and Pho noodles

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s