Wonderful Vietnam

By | Jul 17, 2017 | Views: 259
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Vietnam is a thin strip of land that borders with China up in the North, and Laos and Cambodia to the West. It was once a lesser-known travel destination but Vietnam has since become widely popular in recent years.

In fact, Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi is consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 holiday destinations. Since the late 80s, Vietnam has opened its doors to foreign tourists along a popular trail of attractions. You easily find backpackers and tourists even in the most remote Vietnamese province of Ha Giang. While Vietnam has been scarred by war, its exposure to French, American and Chinese cultures has left indelible marks on the country and added to its rich tapestry. A stunning and diverse landscape, mouthwatering cuisine, beautiful beaches and a vibrant shopping scene are all great reasons to travel to the fast-developing modern Communist state.

 

Regions of Vietnam

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Vietnam is geographically a part of Southeast Asia and the easternmost country in the Indochina region. The shape of the country resembles the letter ‘S’ and its long coastline lies along the South China Sea. The country borders China in the north, Laos along the long western border and Cambodia in the southwest. Vietnam has a population of 95.4 million people (in 2017), making it number 13 on the list of the most populous countries in the world.

Vietnam is divided into 58 provinces (Vietnamese: tỉnh), and there are 5 centrally-controlled municipalities existing at the same level as provinces: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Da Nang and Hai Phong.

A map of Vietnam's regions. Click to enlarge.

A map of Vietnam’s regions. Click to enlarge.

Vietnam has eight regions:

  1. Northwestern Region (Tây Bắc, Dong Bac)
  2. Northeastern region (Đông Bắc Bộ)
  3. Greater Ha Noi/ Red River Delta (Hà Nội Kinh-Dong Bang Song Hong)
  4. North Central Coast (Bắc Trung Bộ)
  5. South Central Coast (Nam Trung Bộ)
  6. Central Highlands (Tây Nguyên)
  7. Southeastern (Đông Nam Bộ)
  8. Southwestern region, in the Mekong River Delta (Tây Nam Bộ-Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long)

 

Religion in Vietnam

Vietnam is home to many religions, including Caodai, a monotheistic religion

Vietnam is home to many religions, including Caodai, a monotheistic religion

There are several established religions in Vietnam (including those arising from Vietnamese folk beliefs), which has been historically tied with the doctrines of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (collectively called the three teachings or tam giáo). According to official 2014 statistics by the Vietnamese government, there are 24 million people who are identified with one of the major organised religions out of a population of 90 million. Of these, 11 million (12.2%) are Buddhists, 6.2 million (6.8%) are Catholics, 4.4 million (4.8%) are Caodaists (an indigenous folk religion), 1.4 million (1.6%) are Protestants, and 1.3 million (1.4%) are Hoahaoists. In addition, there are 75,000 Muslims, 7,000 Bahais, 1,500 Hindus and other smaller groups (less than 1%). Traditional folk religions (worship of gods, goddesses, and ancestors) has also experienced a revival since the 1980s.

 

Best Time to Travel to Vietnam

Low Season(April – June, September–November)
This is usually the best time to travel throughout Vietnam as tourists and visitor numbers is at its lowest, and prices of goods and services are lower. However, be warned that the central and northern coastline are frequently lashed by typhoons until November.

Mid Season(December – March)
During the Tet Vietnamese New Year festival (around Jan – Feb), the entire nation is on the move and prices experience spikes. Central Vietnam does get cool weather and visitors can expect cold conditions up north. However in the south, clear skies and sunshine are the norm.

High Season (July – August)
This is the period when tourists flock to Vietnam and as a result, prices go up by as much as 50% especially along the coastal areas and it would be wise to book hotels well in advance to avoid disappointment. All of Vietnam at this time, except for the far north, is hot and humid, with the summer monsoon bringing downpours.

 

Brief History of Vietnam

Nguyen Emperor Khai Dinh

Nguyen Emperor Khai Dinh

Vietnam’s story is a narrative of difficulty, with its history filled with a succession of wars, colonization and rebellion. In its earlier history, the Chinese imperial forces occupied Vietnam for over a thousand years. At different points in history, Vietnam was torn asunder by civil wars and invaded by the Song Dynasty from China, the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, the Champa Empire, the Ming Dynasty, the Dutch, the Qing Dynasty, the French and then American forces.

Mandarins of Nguyen Dynasty

Mandarins of Nguyen Dynasty

Vietnam managed to fend off many invaders and remained independent but she was still a tributary state to China until the time the French came and colonized her. The last emperors of Vietnam were those of the Nguyễn Dynasty that ruled from the capital at Huế between 1802 to1945. However, after 1884, the fall of Tự Đức led to a succession crisis that opened an opportunity for the French to colonize Vietnam. Both the Chinese and French left a lasting impact on Vietnamese culture with Confucianism being the heart of its social etiquette, and the French significantly influencing its culinary history.

Capture of Lang Son by French forces

Capture of Lang Son by French forces

After the short-lived Japanese occupation, the communist Việt Minh regime under Hồ Chí Minh resumed their fight against the French. In 1945, the last Emperor, Bảo Đại abdicated the throne and a proclamation of independence ensued. By then, the majority of French had left the country but they returned a year later to resist Vietnamese independence until a decisive defeat in 1954 at Điện Biên Phủ. The country then became divided at the 17th parallel latitude with the Communist occupying in the north while the south was ruled by Ngô Đình Diệm who declared himself as the President of the Republic of Vietnam.

The Viêt Công backed North and the Republic South eventually clashed in what became known as the Vietnam War, although the Vietnamese themselves called it the American War. In the years prior to the war, the Unites States of America had progressively increased aid to South Vietnam. The aid included a vast expansion of American troops. This was part of President Kennedy’s fight of what he regarded to be a communist insurgency. It was supposed to be a quick military operation for the US troops but it dragged on until a cease-fire agreement of 1973. Two years later, a North Vietnamese tank drove defiantly into the Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh City and ended the war as South Vietnam fell to the communist. Throughout the war, it was estimated somewhere between 800,000 to 3 million Vietnamese and over 55 thousand Americans perished.

The American War is just one of many wars fought throughout Vietnam’s history but it was one of the most brutal. Such was the damage that today, over two thirds of the country’s population was born after 1975, after the war ended.

During the American War, the South Republic was overrun by the communist Viet Cong despite American aid

During the American War, the South Republic was overrun by the communist Viet Cong despite American aid

 

Vietnamese Culture

Traditional dress in Vietnam

Traditional dress in Vietnam

Vietnam’s bronze age flourished during the Đông Sơn period who were skilled in wet rice cultivation, fishing and sailing in canoes dug out from barks of tree trunks. Apart from that, the people of that era developed expertise in casting bronze and were especially famous for their bronze war drums. However, the Vietnamese people’s national consciousness and identity are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture drawing on elements from Confucianism and Taoism.

The foundation of Vietnamese society is structured around làng or ancestral villages and all Vietnamese celebrate a common ancestral day, which is on the 10th day of the 3rd lunar month. There is undeniable influence of Chinese influence brought by Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien and Hainan immigrants. The national religion of Vietnam is Buddhism and it is clear to see its impact upon popular culture and identity.

However, these days, the Vietnamese government is taking a more active role in shaping the Vietnamese consciousness and culture via the government-controlled media and ethnic-based programs.

 

Languages in Vietnam

The romanised Vietnamese alphabet is used throughout the country

The romanised Vietnamese alphabet is used throughout the country

The national language of Vietnam is a tonal Mon–Khmer language which is spoken by the majority of the population known as Tiếng Việt. Vietnamese originally used Chinese characters in its written form. Then in the 13th century, the Vietnamese developed its own characters and called it Chữ nôm. The romanized Vietnamese alphabet used today is called Quốc ngữ, which was developed by the Jesuit Alexandre de Rhodes and several other Catholic missionaries in the 17th century. Quốc ngữ became widespread and was instrumental in bringing literacy to the masses in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s diverse minority groups also speak a diversity of languages including Tày, Mường, Cham, Khmer, Chinese, Nùng, and H’Mông. Due to colonial rule, many older and educated Vietnamese speak French as a second language. Hence, Vietnam is a full member of the Francophonie, and there is a revival of interest in this language. In recent years, Vietnam’s contact with Western nations has increased due to trade, tourism and the Internet resulting in English becoming a more popular choice as a second language alongside French and in some schools completely replacing the French language.

 

Vietnamese Cuisine

A popular noodle dish known as Pho

A popular noodle dish known as Pho

Vietnamese cuisine is traditionally made up of a combination five main taste ‘elements’, which is known as ngũ vị. These elements consist of metal for spicy, wood for sour, fire for bitter, water for salty and earth for sweet. Vietnamese cooking includes ingredients like fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. In addition, Vietnamese cooking commonly uses spices like lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird’s eye chili, lime and basil leaves. In general, traditional Vietnamese cooking uses a lot of fresh ingredients, minimal use of oil, and a lot of herbs and vegetables and is considered one of the healthiest cuisines.

Northern Vietnamese cooking is less spicy than southern dishes. This is due to the difficulty in procuring spices in the past because of the colder climate in the north. Black pepper is deliberately used in place of chilies as the ingredient to make the dish spicy. Northern Vietnamese cooking also uses predominantly seafood. Most popular Vietnamese dishes, such as bún riêu and bánh cuốn, originated in the north and was brought down south to central and southern Vietnam by migrants.

Vietnamese spring rolls

Vietnamese spring rolls

Bahn Mi

Bahn Mi

Quang Noodles

Quang Noodles

 

20 Popular Destinations in Vietnam

 

1. Saigon Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Opera House

Saigon Opera House

The elegant Saigon Opera House which was also known as the Municipal Theater stands right in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. This old building was one of the more impressive structures in all of old Saigon. The French architect Eugene Ferret built this opera house in resplendent style reminiscent of the French Third Republic in 1898. The opera house stands just two meters above street level and has 2 layers of doors to prevent street noise from penetrating the interior.

The opera house stands on the city’s central axis, which is in parallel to the metro station and the roundabout right in the front of Ben Thanh market. When viewed from afar, the Opera House resembles an ornate pair of city gates. The architecture of the building showcases stone-carved ornaments, classical statues at the entrance, elegant chandeliers and a shiny granite floor of the lobby, which are all imported materials from France. The 468 seats of the oval auditorium were positioned in such a way that each seat has an excellent view of the stage. The wall is lined with material that absorbs sound so it is echo-free and preserves the sound quality from within theatre.

Naturally, the opera house is the venue for numerous high profile events and cultural and entertainment activities within the city. It is recognized to be a national relic in 2012 and is one the most popular destinations for those visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

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How to get there

The opera house stands right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City and this makes it accessible via taxi, buses and motorcycle taxis from any part of the city. Airport shuttle bus no.49 ply the routes between the airport and the city center.

Address: 7 Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 862 7044 50
Website: https://ticketbox.vn/aoshow/en
Opening hours: 12:00–23:59 daily
Entrance fee: Ticket prices are available in the ticketbox website.

 

Accommodation

1. Opera Hotel
Address: R2-27,28, Nam Quang 1 area, Phu My Hung, District 7, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
Phone: +84 285 4123 919

2. Little Saigon Boutique Hotel
Address: 36 Bis/2 Le Loi Boulevard, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 835 2184 64

3. Silverland Sakyo Hotel
Address: 10A Le Thanh Ton St., Ben Nghe Ward, Dist. 1, Ho Chi Minh, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 283 8295 295

 

2. Giac Lam Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City

Giac Lam Pagoda. Click to enlarge.

Giac Lam Pagoda. Click to enlarge.

This temple was built in 1744 and is believed to be the oldest in the city. Giac Lam has the atmosphere of an old Vietnamese temple surrounded by serene landscaped gardens. The temple’s name in Chinese characters (覚林寺) literally means ‘Feel the Woods Temple’ and the Bodhi tree stands in the front garden was a gift from a Sri Lankan monk in 1953. Buddhist prayers are done daily from 4am to 5am, 11am to noon, 4pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm.

A white statue of Quan The Am Bo Tat or the Goddess of Mercy standing on a lotus embodies ideals of purity. Typical of Vietnamese Buddhist temples, one can observe aspects of both Taoism and Confucianism elements. The pagoda with an iconic bronze bell is a pilgrimage spot for the sick and elderly as it is believed that when struck, one’s prayers would be fulfilled.

The inner sanctum in the main hall is filled with ancient gilded Buddha statues. On the central dais at the back of the shrine sits Adida Buddha, recognizable with his multi-colored halo. There is also a prominent laughing Buddha surrounded by five children and the Ameda, the Buddha of Infinite Light, Compassion and Wisdom. This historic pagoda temple is just 3km from Cholon and can be reached by taxi or motorbike taxi (xe om).

Giac Lam Pagoda

Giac Lam Pagoda

The inner sanctum of the main prayer hall

The inner sanctum of the main prayer hall

 

How to get there

This historic pagoda temple is just 3km from Cholon and can be reached by taxi or motorbike taxi (xe om). Cholon is the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City.

Address: 565 Lạc Long Quân, phường 10, Tân Bình, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 838 6539 33
Opening Hours: 05:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 20:00 daily
Entrance Fee: No

 

Accommodation

1. Khải Hoàn Apartment
Address: Lau1, 624 Lạc Long Quân, Phường 5, Quận 11, Tp. Hồ Chí Minh, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 839 7564 20

2. Huy Hoang Hotel
Address: 117 Trương Công Định, phường 14, Tân Bình, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

3. Lilly Hotel
Address: 1 Bàu Cát, phường 14, Tân Bình, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 394 9313 9

 

3. Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City

Cu Chi Tunnel

Cu Chi Tunnel

The Cu Chi tunnels is a legendary underground structure of the 1960s, for its role in maintaining control of the rural area around 30km to 40km radius from Ho Chi Minh city. At the height of the Vietnam War, this tunnel system stretched from the city to the Cambodian border. In fact, the Cu Chi district alone had a network of over 250km that is spread out all over the countryside. This network of tunnels that at some parts go several storeys deep into the earth, consists of innumerable trapdoors, living spaces, storage areas, weapon factories, field hospitals, command centers and kitchens.

These networks of tunnels at Cu Chi represent the tenacious spirit of the Vietnamese people. There is little evidence today of the bitter fighting, bombing and utter destruction that enveloped Cu Chi during the war. These days you can only see it when one digs deeper below the surface and descend into these caves. Vietnamese school children and Communist Party cadres frequent these caves to pay homage to the indomitable spirit of the people.

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How to get there

Cu Chi Tunnels is 75 kilometers northwest or a two-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, it would be best to arrange a taxi or a car specially arranged through an agent.

Address: Ấp Phú Hiệp, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Bến Tre 733800, Vietnam
Hours: 07:00–17:00 daily
Phone: +84 837 9488 30
Entrance Fee: 110,000 VND per person for entrance

 

Accommodation

1. Les Hameaux de l’Orient
Address: Hamlet Rang, Trung Lap Thuong, Cu Chi, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 838 9268 39

2. Ibis Saigon Airport
Address: 2 Hong Ha Street, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
Phone:: +84 838 4855 56

3. Quang Trung Hotel
Address: 1118 Quang Trung, 8, Gò Vấp, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 989 0701 44

 

4. War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City

War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

This museum is highly popular with tourists and was formerly known as the Museum of The Chinese and American War Crimes and is located in the building that was once housed the US Information Service. There are several similar museums but few that convey the brutality of the war and the sufferings of the civilian population, as effectively as this one. The evidence of atrocities on display in this museum is well known but rarely do Western audience hear the story as told by victims of US military action during the war. Although the narrative in the museum is biased but most of the disturbing photographs that illustrate US brutality were actually from US sources, including the infamous My Lai Massacre.

The compound outside the museum is dotted with American armored trucks, wartime artillery, bombs and infantry weapons. There is also a corner dedicated to displays of the French and South Vietnamese prisons at Phu Quoc and Con Son Island. There are old artifacts used for punishment, from that era including the French guillotine and the cruel ‘tiger cages’ that were used to imprison Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communists) prisoners.

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The ground floor of the museum is dedicated to collection of wartime posters and photographs that showcase antiwar sentiment. In contrast to the horrors that are displayed elsewhere in the museum, this is a welcome change. The photos on display upstairs are jarring and they should proof of children burnt and disfigured by US bombing and napalm attacks, an exhibit that would shake even the most hardened war-enthusiast. Aside from evidences of atrocities, rare experimental weapons that were once highly classified, are on display, like the flechette, an artillery shell filled with a thousand of tiny darts designed to inflict maximum damage on groups of people.

Then, there is the poignant Requiem Exhibition by the legendary war photographer Tim Page that brings together the works of various photographers killed during the war on both sides including Larry Burrows and Robert Capa. All the exhibits in this museum are captioned in Vietnamese and English.

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How to get there

The War Remnants Museum is a war museum at 28 Vo Van Tan, in District 3 of the city. Taxis, busses and motorbike taxis are available. Bus routes 14, 28 & 06 ply the major roads that lead to the museum.

Address: 28 Võ Văn Tần, Phường 6, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Hours: 07:30–18:00
Phone: +84 283 9305 587
Website: http://warremnantsmuseum.com/
Entrance fee: 15,000 VND

 

Accommodation

1. Sonnet Saigon Hotel
Address: 14 Trương Định, phường 6, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 283 9301 999

2. Aristo Saigon Hotel
Address: 3A Vo Van Tan St District 3, phường 6, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 862 6825 55

3. Hotel des Arts Saigon MGallery Collection
Address: 76 78 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Str, District 3, Hồ Chí Minh, 070000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 283 9898 888

 

5. The Old Quarter, Hanoi

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter

It is said that right in the heart of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam lies a centuries-old quarter, which embodies the very soul of the city. The locals affectionately call this place “Hanoi – 36 districts” or “Hanoi – 36 Old Streets” or just simply as “Hanoi’s old quarter”.

Getting to the Old Quarter from Noi Bai International Airport is about a 45-minute taxi ride and a 15-minute taxi ride from the Hanoi Train Station. This top tourist spot lies between the Hoan Kiem Lake, Long Bien Bridge, the old city rampart and the old citadel walls. The spot used to be a snake and alligator-infested swamp that eventually became a complex of workshop villages. Over time, this place developed a reputation as a vibrant trading center of the Red River delta. Today, the Old Quarter is known for its old and unique architecture, vibrant history, culture and a reputation for a variety of handicraft wares.

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The reputation of the Old Quarter over centuries has attracted many craftsmen to live and work here. These craftsmen and merchants producing similar goods gathered together in guilds and a system of production and transportation that developed over time. During the French colonization, the Old Quarter became a prosperous marketplace for trading between local and faraway merchants from China, India and France.

Today, tourists walk up and down these old streets to discover hidden treasures and interesting wares. Here is a general guide where one might find different things in Old Quarter:

  • For fine China and porcelain ware, go to Bat Su St.
  • For roasted fish, go to Cha Ca St.
  • For silver and fine jewellery, go to Hang Bac St.
  • For women’s accessories, go to Cau Go St.
  • For shoes and sandals, go to Hang Dau St.
  • For silk, go to Hang Gai St.
  • For a variety of fruits, go to To Tich St.
  • For combs, go to Hang Luoc St.
  • For earthen jars, go to Hang Chinh St.
  • For tour services, go to Ma May St.
  • For candies, dry apricot and other delicacies, go to Hang Duong St.
  • For fried and roasted sour pork hash, go to Tam Thuong lane on Hang Bong Street St.
  • For bamboo products, go to Hang Buom St.

On top of that, local city-dwellers and tourists would frequent the night market that is held along four pedestrian streets – Hang Dao, Hang Ngang, Hang Duong and Dong Xuan Streets. The Old Quarter’s night market takes place in the evenings on Fridays to Sundays. The night market offers exotic street delicacies and local souvenirs at an incredibly affordable price.

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How to get there

In order to reach the Old Quarter from Noi Bai International Airport, it is about 45-minute taxi ride and 15-minute taxi ride from the Hanoi Train Station. Generally, bus routes no.9 passes through the Old Quarter that originate from Bo Ho to Cau Giay.

Address: 14 Yên Thái, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

 

Accommodation

1. Hanoi Old Quarter Hotel
Address: 2 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 9261 850

2. Hanoi La Siesta Diamond Hotel & Spa
Address: 32 Lò Sũ, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 9351 632

3. Essence Palace Hotel
Address: 27-29 Gia Ngư St., Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Dist., Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 9262 135

 

6. One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

This One Pillar Pagoda is an ancient temple built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong who reigned between 1028 to 1054 CE. It was written in the imperial annals, the childless emperor dreamt that he met Quan The Am Bo Tat, the Goddess of Mercy, who placed in his arms, a male heir. Not long after, Ly Thai Tong married a peasant girl and gave birth to a son that became his heir. In gratitude, the emperor built the pagoda in the year 1049 CE.

The pagoda was built from wood upon a single stone pillar and was constructed to resemble a lotus flower that represents the bodhisattva, a symbol of purity which rises above a sea of suffering. The last act of the French before leaving Hanoi in 1954 was to destroy the original One Pillar Pagoda. However, the new government rebuilt the pagoda.

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Quan The Am Bo Tat, the Goddess of Mercy

Quan The Am Bo Tat, the Goddess of Mercy

 

How to get there

The One Pillar Pagoda is in the park that lies behind the museum near Ba Dinh Square and this is along Ong Ich Kiem Street in the Ba Dinh District. This is right in the city, accessible via buses, taxis and motor taxis as well.

Address: Chùa Một Cột, Đội Cấn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 968 0865 29
Hours: 08:00-11:30 daily & 14:00-16:00 Tue-Thu, Sat & Sun

 

Accommodation

1. Hanoi Delight Hotel
Address: 93 Đội Cấn, Ba Dinh District, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 914 8899 59

2. Kuretake INN Kimma
Address: 132 Kim Mã, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 439 8777 77

3. Hotel 24 Kim Ma
Address: No 65 Kim Ma street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 902 8893 33

 

7. Imperial City of Thang Long, Hanoi

Thang Long Imperial City

Thang Long Imperial City

The imperial city of Thang Long was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 and was opened to the public in 2012. The Imperial Citadel was the center of Vietnamese military power for over a millennium. There are ongoing excavation digs of the ancient palaces, old pavilions and imperial gates, littered throughout the city. These ancient sites are complemented with military command bunkers from the Vietnam War era and the exhibition showcase maps and 1960s radio equipment used by wartime Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap.

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How to get there

Thang Long is situated right in the heart of Hanoi, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. Therefore, it is accessible with busses, taxis and motor taxi as well.

Address: Quán Thánh, Ba Đình, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: +84 904 4811 57
Entrance Fee: 30,000 VND per person
Hours: 08:00 to 17:00 daily except Mondays.

 

Accommodation

1. Thang Long Espana Hanoi Hotel
Address: 63 Nguyễn Trường Tộ, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 7163 233

2. Thang Long 2 Hotel
Address: 52 – 62 Cau Go Hoan Kiem – Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: +84 438 2623 30

3. Sạn Thăng Long Opera
Address: 1C Phố Tông Đản, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 8244 776

 

8. Hoa Lo Prison Museum, Hanoi

Hoa Lo Prison Museum

Hoa Lo Prison Museum

The historic Hoa Lo Prison Museum was ironically nicknamed ‘Hanoi Hilton’ during the war by the American prisoners of war (POWs). The French built Hoa Lo Prison in 1896 and originally it was intended to house 450 inmates but by the 1930s there were close to 2000 prisoners. However, Hoa Lo was not a secure prison and hundreds of inmates escaped its walls over the years, many of whom squeezed through the sewer grates.

Most of the displays showcase the usage of the prison up to the mid-50s, which focus on the Vietnamese independence struggle from the French colonial masters. The relic from that period was the menacing French guillotine, used to behead countless Vietnamese revolutionaries and freedom fighters. Aside from that, there is also a display that focuses on the American pilots who were imprisoned at Hoa Lo during the war. Amongst them is Pete Peterson, who was the first US ambassador to a unified Vietnam in 1995 and Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for the US presidency in 2008. The museum also had McCain’s flight suit on display alongside a photograph of Hanoi locals rescuing him from Truc Bach Lake after being shot down in 1967.

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How to get there

The best way to get to Hoa Lo Prison is via taxi to 1 Pho Hoa Lo, which is right at the corner of Pho Ha Ba Trung, south of Hoan Kiem Lake on the outskirts of the French Quarter.

Address: 1 Hoả Lò, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 439 3422 53
Entrance Fee: 10,000 VND
Hours: 08:00 – 17:00

 

Accommodation

1. Somerset Grand Hanoi
Address: No 49 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 9342 342

2. Kuretake Inn Tho Nhuom 84 Hotel
Address: 84 Thợ Nhuộm, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 7847 777

3. Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi
Address: 83 Lý Thường Kiệt, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 438 2228 00

 

9. Ngoc Son Mountain, Hanoi

Ngoc Son Mountain

Ngoc Son Mountain

This name literally means the ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’ and this is Hanoi’s most popular temple. This temple was built on a small island in the northern side of Hoan Kiem Lake and is connected to the shore by a red bridge built in classical Vietnamese style. This temple is dedicated to the triune of legendary Vietnamese personages – General Tran Hung Dao who was famed for defeating the Mongols in the 13th century, La To (a patron saint of physicians) and the erudite scholar Van Xuong.

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Statues of General Tran Hung Dao, La To, and Van Xuong

Statues of General Tran Hung Dao, La To, and Van Xuong

 

How to get there

In order to get there, head towards the Old Quarter and specifically to the main post office, which is just next to the lake. Tickets to the temple are purchased at a booth located on the left-hand side before you cross the bridge.

Address: Dinh Tien Hoang St., Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 839 1005 55
Entrance fee: 20,000 VND
Hours: 08:00 – 17:00 Daily

 

Accommodation

1. Hanoi HM Boutique Hotel
Address: Số 3 Hàng Dầu, P. Hàng Bạc, Q. Hoàn Kiếm, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 24 3266 8586

2. Hanoi Pearl Hotel
Address: 6 Bảo Khánh Lane, Hàng Trống, Hà Nội, Hàng Trống, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 9380 666

3. Golden Sun Villa Hotel
Address: 68 Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 243 9386 269

 

10. Imperial City of Hue, Central Vietnam

Imperial City of Hue

Imperial City of Hue

The imperial complex of Hue has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the city of Hue in central Vietnam. The first king of the Nguyen Dynasty, Gia Long established Hue as his capital in 1802. The dynasty ruled Vietnam under nine successive monarchs until 1945.

The sprawling imperial complex consists of hundreds of buildings and ruins like the Forbidden Purple City, which was once the royal residence of the imperial family but was badly damaged during the Vietnam War. The Imperial City also consists of the royal mausoleum, pagodas, temples, flag tower, library and the museum itself.

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The city of Hue lies along the Huong or Fragrant River and is approximately a three-hour drive north of Da Nang. Among the great ancient monuments that stand within the imperial city is the Ngo Mon Gate, which was once exclusively used by the royal family and their eunuch servants. There is also the resplendent tomb of Emperor Minh Mang and Tu Duc that are worth visiting. Many of these buildings and monuments surrounding the imperial buildings were built in the early 19th century and were modeled after Beijing’s Forbidden City. The outer wall of the Imperial City is 6 meters high and runs for two-and-a-half kilometers long around the complex.

The entire complex is literally an open-air museum with its rich and intricate architecture and traditional landscaping. Hue is historically rich and worth a visit. However, one should avoid Hue during the rainy months from October to December as the northeastern monsoon brings torrential downpours. In addition, this small city offers its famous Imperial-style cuisine that is not to be missed.

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How to get there

There are domestic flights or trains to Hue from either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

Address: Huế, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam
Phone: +84 234 3501 143
Hours: 08:00–17:30

Entrance Fee – Single:

  1. Hue Imperial Palace (Imperial City – Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities) ~ 150,000 VND
  2. Tombs: Minh Mang, Tu Duc, Khai Dinh ~ 100,000 VND
  3. Tombs: Gia Long Tomb, Thieu Tri Tomb, Dong Khanh Tomb; Hue Nam Shrine ~ 40,000 VND
  4. An Dinh Residence; Nam Giao esplanade ~ 20,000 VND

Entrance Fee – Group:

  1. Hue Imperial Palace (Imperial City – Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities) ~ 30,000 VND
  2. Tombs: Minh Mang, Tu Duc, Khai Dinh 20,000 VND
  3. Group of 3 sites: Hue Imperial Palace – Minh Mang Tomb – Khai Dinh Tomb ~ 55,000 VND
  4. Group of 4 sites: Hue Imperial Palace – Minh Mang Tomb – Tu Duc – Khai Dinh Tomb ~ 70,000 VND

 

Accommodation

1. Sunny C Hotel
Address: 25 7, Hai Ba Trung Street, Hue 530000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 543 4966 2

2. Gold Hotel Hue
Address: 28 Ba Trieu Street, Hue, Vietnam
Phone: +84 947 6155 99

3. Hong Thien Hotel 1
Address: 35 / 6 Chu Van An, Hue 084, Vietnam
Phone: +84 234 3947 575

 

11. Hang Son Doong, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Hang Son Doong

Hang Son Doong

Hang Son Doong literally means Mountain River Cave and it is the world’s largest cave system and naturally, it offers some of the most spectacular subterranean views in all of South East Asia. In the past, it was prohibited to enter the cave but access was approved in June 2013 by the Vietnamese president for a specialist operator Son Trach to lead tours.

The cave is in a remote area such that it is not possible for it to be a day-trip destination. The only way such a trip can be possible is if it is a seven-day group expedition with around 16 porters assiting the operator. It costs US$3,000 per person and a team of 10 trekkers is required on each trip. This gigantic cave was actually recently discovered in the early 90’s when Ho Khanh, a hunter who lived in the jungle settlement near the Vietnam-Laos border, took shelter in it. In 2009, it was confirmed as the world’s largest cave when British explorers returned with Ho Khanh. The principal cavern is more than 5km long, 200m high and, in some sections of the cave, 150m wide.

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Reaching this massive cavern is a challenge in itself and to do that, you have to cross over a vast mountainous barrier called the ‘Great Wall of Vietnam’, which divides the cave. Once this barrier is crossed, the scale of the massive cavern is revealed and even big enough for a battleship to sail through. There are sections on the ceiling that are punctured which allows sunlight to shine through illuminating the stunning formation of stalagmites that cover the floor. This is aptly called the Cactus Garden. Some stalagmites tower over 80 meters high and massive cave pearls measuring 10cm in diameter have been found in these caves. These magnificent pillars were formed by centuries of crystallization as moisture from the cave ceilings drip and mix with grains of sand. On the floor of the cave features ethereal rimstone pools which are also formed from drips of water from the ceiling of the cave.

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How to get there

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park is a protected area in north-central Vietnam bordering the Hin Namno Reserve in Laos. The area is only accessible via Oxalis Adventure Tours.

Address: Phong Nha Commune, Son Trach Village, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Hours: 7:30 – 12:00 & 13:30 – 17:30 (Monday – Saturday)
Phone: +84 232 3677 678
Email: contact@oxalis.com.vn

 

Accommodation

1. Thien Thanh Hotel
Address: ĐT20, Phong NHA, Sơn Trạch, Bố Trạch, Quảng Bình, Vietnam
Phone:: +84 232 3677 069

2. Jungle Boss Homestay
Address: ĐT20, Phong NHA, Sơn Trạch, Bố Trạch, Quảng Bình, Vietnam
Phone: +84 943 7480 41

3. Thanh Tam Restaurant and Hotel
Address: Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Sơn Trạch Town, Bố Trạch, Quảng Bình, Vietnam
Phone: +84 973 5516 81

 

12. Halong Bay, Northeastern Vietnam

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay was designated World Heritage Site in 1994 and has been made famous for its picturesque landscape being used as backdrop for a recent slew of blockbuster movies such as Pan, Kong, Skull Island and some others. Halong Bay consists of a spectacular string of islands that are scattered with wave-eroded grottoes that make it one of the most beautiful places on earth and stamping this northern Vietnam destination as a favorite on the world tourism map. The bay features towering limestone pillars, small islands covered with lush green forest that rise from the depths of the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.

The vibrant Halong City is the main gateway to the bay but its drab tall buildings belie the natural beauty of the bay. Most visitors normally go on cruise-tours that allows them to sleep on board around the bay. However, some tourists choose to avoid the main bay completely and head straight to Cat Ba Island in order to access the equally beautiful Lan Ha Bay.

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How to get there

Most travellers book their Halong Bay tours in Hanoi. Here are some recommended operators:

  • Vega Travel

Good-value overnight and two-night tours with comfortable cabins, and kayaking included.
Address: cnr P Ma May & 24a P Hang Bac, Hanoi
Phone: +84 439 2620 92
Website: www.vegatravel.vn

  • Cat Ba Ventures

Tours of Cat Ba Island, Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay.
Address: 223 Ð 1-4, Cat Ba Town
Phone: +84 313 1388 8755 / +84 912 4670 16
Website: www.catbaventures.com

  • Indochina Sails

Traditional Chinese junk with modern conveniences.
Phone: +84 439 8423 62
Website: www.indochinasails.com

  • Handspan Adventure Travel

Sailing ships and kayaking tours in nearby Lan Ha Bay.
Phone: +84 439 8423 62
Website: www.indochinasails.com

 

Accommodation

1. Novotel Ha Long Bay
Address: 160 Ha Long road, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh, Ha Long City, Quảng Ninh 200000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 203 3848 108

2. City Bay Palace Hotel
Address: 156 Lê Thánh Tông, Hồng Gai, Tp. Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 203 3621 838

3. Paradise Suites Hotel
Address: Paradise Town, Tuan Chau Island, Halong Bay, Ha Long, Quảng Ninh 200000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 203 3815 088

 

13. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, North-Central Vietnam

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. This is due to the fact that it has the oldest karst mountains in Asia, which is a 400 million-year-old formation. The mountains are lined with hundreds of caverns, some of which are of breathtaking scale and length with the floor laced with underground rivers. In other words, Phong Nha is another hidden treasure for adventure-seekers.

Due to tourism, the Phong Nha region is rapidly developing. The primary village in the region is Son Trach with a population of 3,000. Although small, Son Trach has working ATMs, a spectrum of accommodation and eateries not to mention transportion links with other parts of central Vietnam. It is beyond a doubt that the caves are the region’s main attraction but there are other attractions like the forest trekking, the area’s historical war sites and rural mountain biking to occupy a visitor’s interest.

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How to get there

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park is a protected area in north-central Vietnam bordering the Hin Namno Reserve in Laos. The area is only accessible via Oxalis Adventure Tours.

Address: Phong Nha Commune, Son Trach Village, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Hours: 7:30 – 12:00 & 13:30 – 17:30 (Monday – Saturday)
Phone: +84 232 3677 678
Email: contact@oxalis.com.vn

 

Accommodation

1. Thien Thanh Hotel
Address: ĐT20, Phong NHA, Sơn Trạch, Bố Trạch, Quảng Bình, Vietnam
Phone: +84 232 3677 069

2. Jungle Boss Homestay
Address: ĐT20, Phong NHA, Sơn Trạch, Bố Trạch, Quảng Bình, Vietnam
Phone: +84 943 7480 41

3. Thanh Tam Restaurant and Hotel
Address: Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Sơn Trạch Town, Bố Trạch, Quảng Bình, Vietnam
Phone: +84 973 5516 81

 

14. Tan Ky House, Hoi An

Tan Ky House

Tan Ky House

This house was built over 200 years ago by a Vietnamese family and was subsequently passed down through 7 generations. The architecture reflects Japanese and Chinese influences with the Japanese element principally seen in the ceiling beams of the living area. The ceiling progressively cascades from taller into shorter beams, one on top of another. Beneath the ceiling are carvings of a pair of crossed sabres tied with a silk ribbon representing flexibility and force.

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The darkened-wood panels of the interior are illuminated by lamps with Chinese poems carved on the pillars and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The Chinese characters on these 150-year-old darkened panels consist of birds in various positions of midflight. The courtyard in the middle of the house allow sunlight to filter in and at the same time, ventilate the house and allows some greenery such as potted plants, into the house. It is also an area for the collection and drainage of rainwater as well. The wooden balcony surrounding the courtyard is strewn with grape leaves, an European import that attest to the melting pot of cultures that Hoi An is.

The rear end of the house faces the river and it used to be rented out to foreign merchants. There are marks on the wall that register the extent of flooding, like the 1964 flood that had a water level reaching almost the entire first floor. Two pulleys can be seen on the beam in the loft. They were used to move goods into storage and to raise furniture to protect them from the flood water. Essentially, the roof consists of ceramic tiles and the ceiling is constructed of wood panels and beams. This allow the house to kept cool during summer and warm during winter.

Wonderfulvietnam-57

 

How to get there

It is near the famous Japanese Bridge of Hoi An, stroll down Bach Dang Street into Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.

Address: 101 Nguyễn Thái Học, Minh An, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 974 9989 68

 

Accommodation

1. Thanh Van 1 Hotel
Address: 78 Trần Hưng Đạo, Cẩm Phô, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3916 916

Green Heaven Hoi An Resort & Spa
Address: 21 La Hối, An Hội, Cẩm Phô, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3962 966

Vinh Hung Riverside Resort & Spa
Address: 111 Ngo Quyen, Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3910 393

 

15. Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An

Japanese Covered Bridge

Japanese Covered Bridge

This ornate little bridge has become the symbol of Hoi An. In 1590, the Japanese community built this bridge in order to link with the Chinese quarters. Over the centuries further adornment of the bridge has remained relatively faithful to the Japanese origins. The French flattened out the roadway for cars, but the original arched shape was restored in 1986. The bridge is due for a complete removal for repair purposes, so it is wise to check the status of the bridge prior to visiting.

The structure is very solidly constructed to withstand earthquakes and the entrances to the bridge are guarded by weathered statues: a pair of monkeys on one side, a pair of dogs on the other. According to one story, many of Japan’s emperors were born in the years of the Dog and Monkey. Another tale says that construction of the bridge started in the year of the Monkey and was finished in the year of the Dog. A stelae stands bearing the names of all Vietnamese and Chinese contributors to a subsequent restoration of the bridge, written in chu nho (Chinese characters) – the nom script had not yet become popular. While access to the Japanese Bridge is free, you have to surrender a ticket to see a small, unimpressive temple built into the bridge’s northern side. If you are challenged for simply crossing the bridge, politely explain that you are not there for the temple.

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How to get there

The bridge is located at the west end of Tran Phu Street in Hoi An and is easily reached from the town centre.

 

Accommodation

1. Thanh Van 1 Hotel
Address: 78 Trần Hưng Đạo, Cẩm Phô, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3916 916

2. Green Heaven Hoi An Resort & Spa
Address: 21 La Hối, An Hội, Cẩm Phô, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3962 966

3. Vinh Hung Riverside Resort & Spa
Address: 111 Ngo Quyen, Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3910 393

 

16. Hang Nga Crazy House, Dalat

Hang Nga Crazy House

Hang Nga Crazy House

Hang Nga Crazy House is a private residence that is architecturally designed to be surreal. It has strange rooms connected by thin bridges that overlook vegetation. The rooms itself are of strange shapes and outlandish colors with spider web-shaped windows along with many organic elements such as handrails that are similar to jungle vines.

The architecture of this Crazy House is the product of Mrs. Dang Viet Nga’s imagination and has been a work in progress since 1990. Hang Nga has a PhD in architecture from Moscow and has since designed many other buildings around the Dalat area. Her earlier masterpiece that was dubbed ‘House with 100 Roofs’ was unfortunately demolished as a fire hazard and because the architecture was deemed antisocialist.

Wonderfulvietnam-62

The Crazy House project was started by Hang Nga to bring people back to nature despite the fact that the new amendments to the house are increasingly more bizarre every year. But this time around, her illustrious father, the late Truong Chinh was the successor to Ho Chi Minh and became Vietnam’s second president from 1981 until his death in 1988. There’s a memorial shrine to her father in the lounge area of the ground floor. The strange architecture is unfortunately not child safe and parents would have to keep a vigilant eye on their children while visiting the house.

Wonderfulvietnam-63

 

How to get there

The Hang Nga Crazy House is in Dalat city and can be accessed via taxis and buses. The house is also a guesthouse that one can book with a variety of rooms that features its quirky architecture.

Address: 03 Huynh Thuc Khang Street,Ward 4, Dalat City 67000,Lam Dong, Trần Phú, Phường 4, Tp. Đà Lạt, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam
Phone: +84 263 3822 070
Hours: 08:30 –19:00 Daily
Website: http://www.crazyhouse.vn/

 

17. My Son, Central Vietnam

Wonderfulvietnam-64

My Son is Vietnam’s most extensive remains of an ancient city that was built by the Cham people. The backdrop of My Son is set in a lush jungle valley, with Hon Quap or Cat’s Tooth Mountain overlooking it. Unfortunately, the temple ruins are in poor shape with only 20 structures still standing today. In the past there were at least 68 that stood their spot there. Nevertheless, the beautiful setting of this ancient site, surrounded by streams is still enchanting.

In ancient times, My Son was the intellectual, cultural and religious center of the Champa Kingdom and parts of it may have served as tombs of the Cham monarchs. The French rediscovered this site and restored parts of the complex in the late 19th century but American bombing during the war devastated the temples. Today, it is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Wonderfulvietnam-65

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How to get there

Most travellers to My Son go on tours. The ruins are relatively small and therefore, visitors can overrun the park.

  • VM Travel

Address: 228A Nguyen Duy Hieu, Cam Chau, Hoi An city
Phone: +84 023 4393 1747

  • Simply Vietnam Travel

Address: 287 Nguyen Duy Hieu St Hoi An, Vietnam
Phone: +84 121 3553 385

 

Accommodation

1. Thanh Van 1 Hotel
Address: 78 Trần Hưng Đạo, Cẩm Phô, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3916 916

2. Green Heaven Hoi An Resort & Spa
Address: 21 La Hối, An Hội, Cẩm Phô, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3962 966

3. Vinh Hung Riverside Resort & Spa
Address: 111 Ngo Quyen, Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam
Phone: +84 235 3910 393

 

18. Sapa, Northwestern Vietnam

Sapa

Sapa

Sapa was originally established as a hill station during the French occupation of Vietnam. However, Sapa today is one of the most popular tourist destinations in northwest Vietnam.

The location where Sapa sits makes the most out of the spectacular views on a clear sunny day. The town overlooks a deep valley with mountains towering high from all sides. Stunning views like this are often masked by thick mist from the peaks. To add to its beauty, the local hill-tribe people fill the town with lots of color. Unfortunately, modern development has mushroomed all over and thus, city-like skyline now threatens to overtake the natural landscape. Nonetheless, most tourists are not here to hang out in town.

This is the main trekking base for northern Vietnam and where trekkers start their adventure before going out into the surrounding countryside. Sapa features cascading green rice terraces and quaint hill-tribe villages and its real charm lies among these lush fields.

Wonderfulvietnam-68

Wonderfulvietnam-69

 

How to get there

Sapa is up in the mountains with no airport, which makes it accessible by road with buses and taxis. The most popular way to get to Sapa from Hanoi is via overnight train.

 

Accommodation

1. Sapa Panorama Hotel
Address: 10 Hoang Dieu street, Sapa, Lào Cai, Vietnam
Phone: +84 214 3771 535

2. Sapa Eden Hotel
Address: 64 Phanxipang Road, tt. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Sa Pả, Vietnam
Phone: +84 214 3873 663

3. Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa
Address: Xuân Viên, tt. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, Vietnam
Phone: +84 214 3871 522

 

19. Nha Trang, Southern Vietnam

Nha Trang

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a high-energy beach resort with a stunning setting. This city is circled by a string of hills and a sweeping crescent-shaped beach. The turquoise bay is sprinkled with lush tropical islands.

The city’s shoreline has seen massive transformation in recent years. It is now lined with sculptured gardens and quiet parks along the impressive promenade. In contrast, along the city streets unfold a large array of boutiques and a broad range of dining options. After hours, nightlife begins in central Nha Trang where most of the clubs are. Much of the clubs cater to the many Russian and Chinese tourists. Another option is the traditional spa treatment with a visit to a mudbath.

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Wonderfulvietnam-72

 

How to get there

Nha Trang is a high-energy beach resort with a stunning setting. There are flights to Nha Trang from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi as well. Alternatively, one can take the bus or train from Ho Chi Minh

 

Accommodation

1. Novotel Nha Trang
Address: 50 Tran Phu Street, Tp. Nha Trang, 652076, Vietnam
Phone: +84 258 6256 900

2. Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel & Spa
Address: 12 14 Trần Phú Str., City,, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa, Vietnam
Phone: +84 583 8209 99

3. Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa
Address: 26-28 Tran Phu Street, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam
Phone: +84 258 3880 000

 

20. Po Nagar Towers, Southern Vietnam

Po Nagar Towers

Po Nagar Towers

These four towers were built during the period between the 7th to the 12th centuries CE. Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists are still actively worshipping at these four Cham Towers. The complex originally had seven or eight towers, but only four towers still stand. The largest, a 28m-high North Tower that’s known by the name Thap Chinh, dates back to 817 CE with its magnificent terraced pyramidal roof, vaulted ceiling and vestibule. These towers stand on a granite hill 2km north of central Nha Trang on the banks of the Cai River.

Archaeologists say that this site was used for worship as early as the 2nd century CE. In 774 CE, the invading Javanese destroyed the original wooden structure. A brick and stone temple was subsequently built over the site, the first of its kind in 784 CE. The towers enshrine Yang Ino Po Nagar, the patron goddess of the Dua (Liu) clan, which ruled over the southern part of the Cham kingdom. There are numerous inscribed stone slabs scattered throughout the temple complex, which describes history, religion offering glimpses into the spiritual life and social hierarchy of the ancient Cham people.

Po Nagar Towers

Po Nagar Towers

All four of the towers face the eastern direction, as did the original entrance to the complex, which is on the right side as you ascend the hill. In ancient times, devotees would have to shuffle through the pillared meditation hall and today, the remains of 10 pillars can still be seen before ascending up the steep staircase that leads up to the towers. In 918 CE, King Indravarman III installed a gold mukha-linga image, which is a carved phallus with a painted face in the North Tower but Khmer raiders stole it. A repetition of stolen or destroyed statues followed by their replacement continued until 965 CE, when King Jaya Indravarman IV replaced the missing mukha-linga with the stone figure of the goddess Uma (Shakti, or female consort of Shiva), which remains to this day.

Above the entrance to the Northern Tower is a carving of a dancing four-armed Shiva accompanied by two celestial musicians on each side with one dancing upon the head of the bull, Nandin. The sandstone doorpost and the walls inside the vestibule are covered with inscriptions. An old gong and drum is placed under the pyramid-like ceiling of the vestibule. In the main hall of the tower enshrines a stone statue of the goddess Uma with 10 arms, two of which are hidden beneath her vest as she sits and leans against a fearsome beast.

Yang Ino Po Nagar, the patron goddess of the Dua (Liu) clan

Yang Ino Po Nagar, the patron goddess of the Dua (Liu) clan

The Central Tower or Thap Nam was constructed in the 12th century partly with bricks taken from an earlier structure dating from the 7th century. It is less refined when compared with the other towers and the structure has less decoration. Even the pyramidal roof is not terraced but the simple exterior hides an interior where the altars were once layered with silver. A linga is enshrined within the main hall.

The South Tower or Mieu Dong Nam is dedicated to Sandhaka or Shiva and it still enshrines a linga, while the richly ornamented Northwest Tower or Thap Tay Bac was originally dedicated to Ganesh. A museum with a small collection of Cham stonework is at the rear end of the temple. In order to get to Po Nagar Towers from central Nha Trang, take Ð Quang Trung (which becomes Ð 2 Thang 4) north across the Ha Ra and Xom Bong Bridges. Po Nagar Towers is also accessible via the Tran Phu Bridge along the beachfront road. The towers continue to be worshipped and so you would have to remove your shoes before entering.

 

How to get there

In order to get to the temple from central Nha Trang, take a taxi towards Ð Quang Trung road (which becomes Ð 2 Thang 4) north across the Ha Ra and Xom Bong Bridges. Po Nagar can also be reached via the Tran Phu Bridge along the beachfront road.

Address: 2 Tháng 4, Vĩnh Phước, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa 650000, Vietnam
Hours: 07:00 –19:00 daily
Entrance Fee: VND 12,000

 

Accommodation

1. Novotel Nha Trang
Address: 50 Tran Phu Street, Tp. Nha Trang, 652076, Vietnam
Phone: +84 258 6256 900

2. Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel & Spa
Address: 12 14 Trần Phú Str., City,, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa, Vietnam
Phone: +84 583 8209 99

3. Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa
Address: 26-28 Tran Phu Street, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam
Phone: +84 258 3880 000

 

Travel Books on Vietnam

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Lonely Planet Vietnam. Click to enlarge. Lonely Planet Vietnam has the most updated and suitable travel advice on what to see along with tips to experience Vietnam off the beaten track. Immerse yourself in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, kayak your way along Halong Bay’s glistening limestone peaks or stroll down charming Hoi An with your amazing Lonely Planet companion. Vietnam awaits you!
Wonderfulvietnam-77

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam and Angkor Wat. Click to enlarge. This is the Winner of the Top Guidebook Series in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2017. The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam & Angkor Wat delivers you straight to the best place and best things to do in Vietnam and Angkor. It could exploring the famous Halong Bay, ancient cities of Hue, bustling Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Vietnam’s great islands and beaches. This accessible DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam & Angkor Wat provides the most relevant information on all the major attractions at these places to make the best of your trip.
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David is a lay Buddhist pastor of Kechara and a longtime student of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Initially a reluctant writer, he now finds himself writing for a living and has published four books including his autobiography, There's No Way But Up and Conversations in Love.

David is a lover of Buddhist art and whenever he can, he shares his knowledge of the Dharma with everyone, giving frequent teachings and writing on his blog www.davidlai.me.
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  1. Wan Wai Meng on Jul 24, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Vietnam had such a troubled past, being conquered and overtaken by many external forces. Yet they must be proud they have come so far and now is a developing nation with a strong vibrant economy. Vietnam forces put a stop the the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, this is something I think the Cambodians should be grateful for.

    The map Vietnam looks like a dragon or like sea horse in a way. There is a lot of more vietnamese food shops in KL than before and the food is good, in Puchong they even have vegetarian Vietnamese good, nice and not expensive.

  2. Anne Ong on Jul 21, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for this wonderful article on Wonderful Vietnam. Didn’t know Vietnam is so beautiful. And the food looks delicious. I have eaten Bhan Mi before sometime ago bought in Ipoh from my girlfriend and her kind parents. It’s very tasty. Love the beautiful pictures and places of Vietnam. Thank you very much Rinpoche,Pastor David and blog team for all the great articles and knowledge being shared on this blog! Great job everyone!!! _/\_

  3. Lin Mun on Jul 20, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for this informative article about Vietnam. I have been to Vietnam 3 times and it is indeed a beautiful country. Love the food there which have so much influence from both Chinese and French. Ho Chi Minh is a place full of history. Learned some during my trip there last year. The War Remmants Museum is a must visit place to learn about the history and effect of the Vietnam war. Vietnamese has definitely went through a lot during the war period.

    The pictures of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is beautiful. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to visit this park.

    • Pastor David Lai on Jul 20, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      Ooh… you have been to Vietnam. I had never ever wanted to go to Vietnam but that’s because I never realize how beautiful Vietnam is. Since I researched and wrote this article, Vietnam has officially entered my so called bucket list of places that I would like to visit one day. Personally, I really like the historical places like Hue, Myson and the Nha Trang Po Nagar temple.

  4. CindyH on Jul 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    It says a lot about the resiliency of Vietnam when one looks at how it managed to recover from decades of war as well as its economic transition from a socialist economy to one of the fastest growing market economies in South East Asia. From the look of things, everything from its architecture to its food embodies different foreign influences yet they are all undeniably still distinctively Vietnamese in flavour, a strong testament of how Vietnam has managed to emerge from its complicated past with its own sense of identity. Thus, a visit to Vietnam is not only limited to the splendors of exploring its diverse impressive sceneries but also the pleasure of experiencing the uniqueness of Vietnamese culture and lifestyle. Thank you for such a comprehensive write-up which is very helpful for charting out one’s visit to Vietnam.

  5. Samfoonheei on Jul 19, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Vietnam always reminds me of the Vietnam 1954–1975 war.(Killing Fields),but i did not realised its such a beautiful country too.
    Vietnam has been scarred OF wartime experiences , exposuring to different cultures has left indelible marks on the country.There is so many place of interest to offer with a stunning and diverse landscape, mix architecture, beautiful beaches to name a few.What i like most is the beauty of Halong Bay which known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Hope i can visit this beautiful place some day and to see those ancient architecture buildings.Po Nagar Towers which built centuries ago with magnificent terraced pyramidal roof and vaulted ceiling that caught my eyes which i like to visit.
    Thank you Pastor David Lai for sharing this informative ,beautiful post.

  6. Stella Cheang on Jul 18, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Vietnam is a wonderful country with a rich history and a post-war culture that is unique to the rest of us. The brutal war had done a lot of damage to the beautiful land. It had also empowered the people in a way. They are profit oriented and stand firm on their foot. I noticed this in almost people from all work of life across Vietnam. Except in Saigon, where people are ascustomed to retail business, hence friendlier in many ways. Having said that, Vietnam’s natural beauty is mesmirizing to say the least. I particularly like Nha Thrang, a beach haven with beautiful people and lovely food. Thank you, Pastor David, for this sharing.

  7. Datuk May on Jul 18, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Vietnam is one of the 3 countries that suffered a division of their countries due to wars and in particular World War II. The other 2 are Korea which division still exists today as North and South Korea. The other was Germany into East and West but thank goodness that since then are united.

    Wars divide and in the case of Vietnam, it was united in 1975 with the defeat of the mistaken American participation in their civil war of North and South.

    With such a violent history, many decades of wars both civil and with the French and Americans being part of the wars, it is inspiring to notice the resilience of the Vietnamese people today, tough and holding onto their traditions and culture.

    As mentioned in Pastor David’s article, it is great fun to visit Vietnam as the food is diverse and interesting and a lifestyle that bridges the east and west.

    The sceneries of many parts of Vietnam’s long coastline and mountain ranges are fascinating and some are very serene, like Halong bay.

    If you have not visited Vietnam, read this and you will experience Vietnam as though you have been there. And when you visit, your trip will be well guided by this article.

  8. May Ong on Jul 18, 2017 at 11:47 am

    It is best to visit Hanoi and Sapa towards year end like December or January where the weather in the highlands of Sapa is foggy, cool and perhaps snow on the highest peaks. Hanoi would have similar weather and temperature like Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand. There is also a beautiful huge cave to visit if you go on a cruise on Halong Bay. Inside this cave, you may find a stone shaped tortoise and other delightful stone formations like animals and even Buddhist deity. Vietnam is an interesting country to visit. However, please be careful of the type of shops you go to for your meals as some sells dog meat. That is the downside.

  9. Joey Tan on Jul 17, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    A nice article. I get to know a lot of wonderful places in Vietnam. Thanks for the wonderful information which not only provide the name of places, somehow the details information of the contact number as well as the address.

  10. Fong on Jul 17, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Despite her violent past, Vietnamese people have managed to maintain their tradition, culture and gentleness of spirit as well as their resilience. They maintain their believes and faith in the face of adversity as they rebuild their country.

    there is still so much beauty in Vietnam. A very interesting and lovely introduction to vietnam.

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  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 10:58 PM
    Danny Bowman’s case is extreme, more of a mental problem instead of a vanity issue. However, many people around us are addicted to taking selfie. Even though it might be just showing off their beauty to gain attention, it should not be dismissed lightly. Because of their excessive love for themselves, they lack the empathy for others. This is the real issue. When someone place all the attention on themselves and expect others to do the same, it is against the practice of Bodhicitta. And if it not corrected at early stage, it will become a habituation and strong imprint that will also affect them in their next life.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/selfie-addiction-is-no-laughing-matter-psychiatrists-say.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 05:59 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this sharing on Dr. Joona Repo’s work. In his book “Phabongka Dechen Nyingpo: His Collected Works and the Guru-Deity-Protector Triad,” Dr. Joona Repo’s impartial recollections of Pabongka Rinpoche serves to debunk certain perception people have towards this erudite master, who was brought into question because of his emphasis on Dorje Shugden and what was deemed as sectarianism practices.

    Through presenting the vastness and diversity of the works by Pabongka Rinpoche and records of his teaching against sectarianism, this book empirically presents a balanced view of Pabongka Rinpoche against those baseless allegations. The fact that Pabongka Rinpoche wrote extensively about Vajrayogini and had visions of Heruka proved that he is no ordinary Lama.

    Pabongka Rinpoche was, in fact, the reincarnation of a well-known scholar Changkya Rolpay Dorje who was the Royal Tutor to the Chinese Emperors. Because of this sensitivity, Pabongka RInpoche was not recognized his lineage by the power of the day. This in itself is a hint that there are more than meet the eyes.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/the-collected-works-of-h-h-pabongka-rinpoche.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:24 PM
    Very inspiring and powerful quotes for us to have a deep thought of it. Which we will need to remember at all times in our spiritual journey.
    I do loves these quotes…
    Remember, if we wish to make an offering to our teacher, no offering is greater than that of our own dharma practice..~Geshe Tsutrim Gyeltsen

    Never abandon your spiritual teacher no matter how many inner obstacles you need to overcome……~Tsem Rinpoche

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing all these powerful quotes which will change our lives and should not be ignored.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/quotes-that-should-not-be-ignored.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:23 PM
    Wow beautiful and meaningful this precious poem wrote by Rinpoche.And the lyrics of the song made from the poem below by Gavin Gooi is fabulous. Could not beliveve it from a poem to a lovely songs. Nice to hear and i love listerning each and every words said….very touching poem from sadness to happiness expressed .Rinpoche’s Guru Devotion and the love for His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/a-poem-to-my-teacher.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:22 PM
    Its a interesting post with 2 giants countries discussing over movie market. Hollywood producers who are increasingly looking to tap the country’s fast-growing box office into China market.However there is restriction .They hopes China will increase the quota and the share of revenues more in line with international markets. And even has openly criticized China on trade.China is likely to raise the quota of imported films as part of recent trade talks.
    China are trying to protect its growing domestic film industry from Hollywood domination. The most best measure is the strict quota limiting the number.
    Brad Pitt was back in China nearly 20 years after being baned over a film about Tibet .Time has changed China policy on celebrities entering China.
    Thank you Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/china-raises-movie-quota-hollywood-on-best-behavior.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 10:05 AM
    You won’t believe what this former Citibank vice president has to say. One of the most powerful and inspiring speeches you will ever hear in your life! Plse take a few moments to listen to this. It is worth it.-
    https://www.facebook.com/mercyforanimals/videos/10152917764269475/?hc_ref=ARTTZV6szVgZXaepZJFJ_-wCZ1U-SiyFA3jzC20EoNgCNwsOyTV_ELImvK3Lq_IgBBQ
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 09:48 PM


    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these precious pictures. It shows so much about Guru Devotion and a very close Guru and student relationship. The love and care of a Guru to his students are unlimited.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/gurus-love-their-students.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 07:53 PM
    This article reminds me of how, in general, people understand the need to have a strong and fit psychic body but rarely willing to take action to go through the training. Let alone Dharma training of the mind which is much more tougher. Because our habituation has conditioned us to perceive and think a certain way, and the need to unlearn and relearn is not part of our program.

    To me, understanding the need to be trained and having the courage to go through the training is a process in itself. The mind has to be conditioned to understand the need of the training which is to eliminate the “i” and the importance of the training which is to speed up the journey of crossing the ocean of samsara.

    Most importantly, we must recognize it is very rare for us to be in a perfect human condition, meet the dharma and the perfect Guru, therefore, we must not imagine that we have time by thinking there will always be tomorrow. Actually this is the conversation in my mind sometimes… lol.

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/training-shouldnt-be-optional.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 10:54 AM
    A beautiful true story shared, I have seen patients suffered under cancer treatment ,at times I felt sad for them and lost of words at times. Most practitioners I have come across thinks of their profit but did not take a real effort to understand their patients pain. When we care for our patients, encourage them really makes a big difference in their life. In my line of duty I have seen many patients suffered in pain, fear, anxiety and very emotional. When we are in the patients shoe,, we can understand and feels the pain as well. As a health provider its only my duty to provide words of encouragement, help and care for them.
    Dr.Richard Teo spoke the very truth ,to inspire the younger generations of furture doctors when embark on their journey to be in health professioner ,to think of others too. Do agree with Dr.Richard Teo in private practice doctors made lots of money but at the end of the day they are not happy in life. We go through life attaching to things, wanting them to last forever. But they don’t last anyway. .Over time, we just came to accept that all good things in life must end. Nothing is impermanent
    Since we all know death is inevitable. To Live a meaningful life till to the fullness to learn and practice Dharma ,to transform ourselves, lighten up and makes us a better person.If you want happiness for a lifetime, helping, caring for others can change our life. We should always appreciate people when they are alive.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these inspiring post and hope more people will be inspired . Saluting Dr Richard Teo, who have touched the lives of thousands on views of life at the end of his lives.At the time of writing he has passed away since in 2012.May he have a swift rebirth.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/this-will-change-your-life.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 10:53 AM
    Amazing worth travelling there to see for myself such a holy place. Being there will be a tremendous blessing as it is one of the places where Manjushri the Buddha of Wisdom’s energy abides.Wow ….As a natural reserve it is the home of China’s three holy mountains, which are Jampelyang, Chenresig and Chana Dorje.Looks very beautiful and the scenic views were just amazing to be there.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing ,i would like to travel there someday to enjoy the beauty of these Holy mountains.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/excellent-travelogue-of-holy-places-in-tibet.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 10:52 AM
    The former N.B.A. player Stephon Marbury has become a beloved celebrity since playing for professional basketball in China. Marbury was able to change China’s basketball culture.From NBA to CBA …he lead the team to national victory, winning three Chinese Basketball Association.
    A 300-square foot museum dedicated to Stephon Marbury’s career was opened in China, where the former NBA star has flourished since deciding to play there.He was given a Green card for his outstanding contributions.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this inspiring…Never give up even though he failed with the NBA but he found success after playing for CBA.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/stephon-marbury-embraces-china.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Aug 20. 2017 03:09 PM
    Beautiful ,meaningful songs if you listern and reading the lyrics.
    In the stillness of remembering What you had,And what you lost…,And what you had…and what you lost …..well said i love this part.
    Fleetwood Mac was not my favourite singer though yet i enjoyed this oldies songs.
    Since now i have Dharma in me i do like to listern to Buddhist songs example of Tsongkhapa’s blessings songs and Tibetan music.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this meaningful song for relaxing after a stressful day.
  • jason
    Sunday, Aug 20. 2017 02:56 AM
    Past few years, my grandmother,Aunty, Uncle passed away. I feel sad but this also create awareness to me that death is the final destination of everyone in samsara. Practicing of Dharma really help me in knowing that we must achieve final liberation and no more rebirth.
    Besides that, we must appreciate the moment we gather with anyone and share Dharma to them.
    Thanks Datuk May to remind me that to spend more time with the love one. I really grateful to my family and friends.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/a-generation-gone.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Sunday, Aug 20. 2017 01:03 AM
    For steven d –

    Dear Steven, Thank you for your question. I appreciate your wish to become better, improve your health and to continue your journey.

    In regards to your question, there are many dimensions that need to be addressed in order to ‘assign’ a specific Buddha’s practice for a person. Some of the factors are:

    1. Temperament
    2. Malady
    3. karmic affinity
    4. Immediate pressing needs
    5. Long term needs
    6. If the person has been in dharma and understand dharma well
    7. How much time a person has daily or in general for practice/what other practices they have
    8. Living conditions (has space and quiet or with busy family)
    9. If the person is willing to take vows as there are ‘higher’ and more in-depth practices if vows can be taken
    10. How many or what other sadhanas/practices is already being done. Sometimes we can intensify one of the practices the person is already doing.

    These are a few of the factors I would examine before I suggest a practice for someone.


    Remember to always go for a qualified medical treatment in your country or place of residence and then with this treatment you can apply various spiritual practices in addition to the medical treatment.

    Spiritual practices can help heal as they purify the karma fueling the problem but medical treatment takes care of the problem that is karmically already opened. So important to do both. By doing practice you can ‘lessen’ the problem either by intensity or duration. and sometime get well. If you ask me to give a general sweeping answer for the general crowd or for a person I don’t know much about, I would suggest these practices:

    1. Black Manjushri http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=70674
    2. Avolokitesvara (Chenresig) (four armed, thousand armed, etc)
    3. Loma Gyonma http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=64691
    4. Medicine Buddha http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=44277

    Any of the the above four practices is helpful in general and overall. You don’t have to do all but just one would suffice and according to your tradition of Buddhism. You do not need initiation or take on vow commitment but you can do these practices daily and or in full retreat. Would be good to be vegetarian with good motivation as less harm done to other sentient beings directly and indirectly will help the healing process. Read up on the practices well before starting. Much information on the internet.

    It is good to learn up on the 9 round breath meditation daily also. Take 20 minutes daily to do this breath meditation. You can do the breath meditation first and then any of the four practices you choose or just breath meditation alone. (Theravadin Buddhist can just do the 9 round breath meditations daily and be consistent with this practice and you will see your mind release, open up and become calmer. You can do this breath meditation no matter who you are and if you are ill or healthy. This meditation has many benefits you can research and learn up. No ill effects with this meditation even if done ‘wrongly’.) Breath meditation is highly recommended by me for all persons both spiritual or not, young or elderly, Buddhist or otherwise as using the breath powerful and can be done anywhere and anytime. Breath is fundamental and we must breathe, so this is using meditation to manipulate the breath to heal our bodies and bring some peace to our minds. Done daily is highly beneficial.

    I hope this sincerely helps you. I send you my good wishes and for your healing. We all need healing. May you be happy, well and achieve your goals, Tsem Rinpoche
  • steven d
    Saturday, Aug 19. 2017 10:28 PM
    Namaste,

    Thank you for sharing all this beautiful buddha images, prayers and information for so many to learn from and be guided.

    Question for Rinpoche:

    What practice, prayer or deity (‘s mantra) would you advise for the uninitiated in regards to healing the causes of trauma, ptsd, dissociation and grounding into your physical body?

    I got diagnosed with PTSD 6 yrs ago, at age 29, right after my spiritual awakening after which all the past rauma revisited me in the course of 2 weeks.

    I wasn’t under the guidance of a lama or teacher at that time and still am not.

    Are there any practices you would advise? As there are so many people with trauma and PTSD (10% of the population in Western countries) , there would be so many to benefit from your wise words.

    I have read that certain deities have more affinity for certain diseases/imbalances. Are there any deities that are specifically related to releasing trauma or the above-mentioned afflictions/asymptoms.

    In love

    Steven


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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
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I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha\'s omniscience.  Tsem Rinpoche)
2 days ago
I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha's omniscience. Tsem Rinpoche)
One of the nicest Taras I\'ve seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it\'s very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
2 days ago
One of the nicest Taras I've seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it's very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende\'s collection. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende's collection. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I\'ve never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it\'s the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it\'s beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I've never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it's the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it's beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I\'ve had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I've had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche\'s room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
3 weeks ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche's room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
3 weeks ago
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
3 weeks ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
3 weeks ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche\'s cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
3 weeks ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche's cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov\'s brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov's brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
Think about this...
3 weeks ago
Think about this...
Our frustrations have meaning when it\'s for others and a greater cause.
3 weeks ago
Our frustrations have meaning when it's for others and a greater cause.
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
3 weeks ago
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
Contemplate this please...
3 weeks ago
Contemplate this please...
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
3 weeks ago
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it\'s most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
4 weeks ago
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it's most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. 

Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. 

This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
1 month ago
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
1 month ago
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
1 month ago
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
Real spirituality is kindness.
1 month ago
Real spirituality is kindness.
Our time on this earth in this lifetime is short. It\'s our choice what will look back on when we are in our final moments.
1 month ago
Our time on this earth in this lifetime is short. It's our choice what will look back on when we are in our final moments.
Materialism, desire and greed never result in happiness.
1 month ago
Materialism, desire and greed never result in happiness.
Never ever eat our friends. Go vegetarian.
1 month ago
Never ever eat our friends. Go vegetarian.
It is a privilege to serve the Dharma and to serve others. Real freedom comes in serving others.
1 month ago
It is a privilege to serve the Dharma and to serve others. Real freedom comes in serving others.
Compared to humans and all other sentient beings, animals have just as much right to happiness and freedom.
1 month ago
Compared to humans and all other sentient beings, animals have just as much right to happiness and freedom.
Dharma is not something I engage in as something separate from me. Dharma has been me since young.
1 month ago
Dharma is not something I engage in as something separate from me. Dharma has been me since young.
How much we are willing to suffer is how compassionate we are.
1 month ago
How much we are willing to suffer is how compassionate we are.
Dharma is the medicine of the mind prescribed by the Buddha.
1 month ago
Dharma is the medicine of the mind prescribed by the Buddha.
How much effort we are willing to put into our practice, is how much results we will get.
1 month ago
How much effort we are willing to put into our practice, is how much results we will get.
What do you worship on your altar, meat or compassion? One develops coldness and encourages lack of empathy, and one choice encourages attainments.
1 month ago
What do you worship on your altar, meat or compassion? One develops coldness and encourages lack of empathy, and one choice encourages attainments.
Where does patience come from? Think about it closely
1 month ago
Where does patience come from? Think about it closely
Indian sadhus and mendicants also very happy to receive Bhagwan Dorje Shugden
1 month ago
Indian sadhus and mendicants also very happy to receive Bhagwan Dorje Shugden
Tsem Rinpoche with the great Geshe Namgyal Wangchen of Drepung Loseling Monastery. Read more: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132495
2 months ago
Tsem Rinpoche with the great Geshe Namgyal Wangchen of Drepung Loseling Monastery. Read more: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132495
Some of my favorite people
(1st row) Alexandra David-Neel, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich, Anagarika Govinda
(2nd row) Walter Evans-Wentz, John Blofeld, Bill Porter (Red Pine), Ekai Kawaguchi
2 months ago
Some of my favorite people (1st row) Alexandra David-Neel, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich, Anagarika Govinda (2nd row) Walter Evans-Wentz, John Blofeld, Bill Porter (Red Pine), Ekai Kawaguchi
Do share this message and create more awareness. Thank you
2 months ago
Do share this message and create more awareness. Thank you
All that we want in samsara is just fleeting and illusionary and we are tired of chasing something that is so short lived, Lady Buddha Dakini Vajra Yogini, please embrace me as you did Naropa with great affection and lift me to your Kechara Paradise in my rainbow body. ~Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
All that we want in samsara is just fleeting and illusionary and we are tired of chasing something that is so short lived, Lady Buddha Dakini Vajra Yogini, please embrace me as you did Naropa with great affection and lift me to your Kechara Paradise in my rainbow body. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Lady Buddha Diamond Dakini Vajra Yogini, you appear in so many forms, guises and methods out of great compasion to bring me to your paradise of Kechara heaven. Bless me to waste no more time and engage in my spirituality thoroughly and may I see your coral visage soon. Bless me that I surrender all my games, attachments, projections and endless chasing of all that is futile in samsara now.... Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Lady Buddha Diamond Dakini Vajra Yogini, you appear in so many forms, guises and methods out of great compasion to bring me to your paradise of Kechara heaven. Bless me to waste no more time and engage in my spirituality thoroughly and may I see your coral visage soon. Bless me that I surrender all my games, attachments, projections and endless chasing of all that is futile in samsara now.... Tsem Rinpoche
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. There is so much to explore. I have compiled 20 MUST VISIT places for you to see in Sri Lanka. Enjoy the post and the great pictures! Enjoy: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=127234
3 months ago
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. There is so much to explore. I have compiled 20 MUST VISIT places for you to see in Sri Lanka. Enjoy the post and the great pictures! Enjoy: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=127234
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/chat-pictures/chat-8yzmaqog68754.jpg Sacred and holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini being escorted from the Vajra Yogini temple on the streets on festival day to bless the masses. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/chat-pictures/chat-8yzmaqog68754.jpg Sacred and holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini being escorted from the Vajra Yogini temple on the streets on festival day to bless the masses. Tsem Rinpoche
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    To hear the holy lama's voice, to be in his presence or even to see his form requires us to have the merits. To implement the teachings of the lama is not easy but not implementing the teachings only leads to more difficulties. I was fortunate to be in the presence of my lama and have kept my samaya clean all these years. To see, hear and remember your holy voice and teachings I feel grateful. I only hope by keeping my samaya clean with you now my lama, I may meet you in future lives again without distraction by samsara. I wish my stay in samsara to be shorter and it is possible by your teachings. May I practice and bring your teachings to many tirelessly as many need it desperately. May I not be disappointed by their unruly behaviour towards me and at times I lose strength, but I think of you. For in samsara everything has disappointed me and will continue to as everything in samsara is a forced illusion. I bow to the feet of my glorious Kyabje Zong Rinpoche! ~Tsem Rinpoche
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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • August 22, 2017 01:55
    jason asked: what is the significance of a solar eclipse in terms of sadhana practice besides multiplying merit
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Jason, Thank you for your question. It is good to see you here. As you have rightly pointed out, during solar eclipses the merit from engaging in virtuous actions are greatly multiplied. Therefore there are many prescribed practices one can do during these times to generate a lot of merit, such as engaging in prayers, making abundant offerings, animal liberation, taking precepts for the day, etc. In terms of sadhana practice, the main benefit here would be the multiplication of merits generated. However on a tantric level, since the movements of the planets are linked to the movement of energy within the universe, and therefore one’s body, there would be subtle changes in the psychic winds within the body as well. On the whole, the patterns of the universe are mirrored within the psychic winds in the body as well. The tantric system that deals with these movements in the most detail is the Kalachakra Tantra, which you can read more about here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/introduction-to-tibetan-astrology.html In the Kalachakra Tantra it is said that when a solar eclipse occurs, merit is either multiplied a thousand, ten-thousand times, or a hundred-thousand times. The sun and the moon are linked with the psychic winds, channels and drops with tantric practice. According to the Kalachakra Tantra everyone breathes 21,600 time every day and our minds are said to ride on the winds within our bodies. The majority of the winds within out body are karmic winds, in that they come about and are affected by karmic tendencies. During an eclipse however, more wisdom winds are said to prevail in the body. As these circulate in the body, doing Dharma practice, especially tantric practices in which you use these winds, one can achieve spiritual attainments at a speed that would not normally be possible. In traditional mythology, there is a celestial body known as Rahu. This isn’t actually a physical planet, but a node on the orbit of the moon. When Rahu appears, he is said to swallow the sun for some time, this is the ancient explanation of a solar eclipse. Rahu is also known as the “dragon’s head”. Within the Kalachakra Tantra, practitioners use Rahu to bring the sun and the moon under control. As the sun is associated with psychic channels on the right side of the body, and the moon with psychic channels on the left side of the body, what this means is that the practitioner controls these energies and brings them into the central psychic channel instead. Thereby the solar eclipse is said to mirror a tantric yogi’s ability to bring the psychic energies of the left and right side into the central channel. Once in the central channel the yogi can engage in the higher psychic energy meditations in order to gain spiritual attainments and even enlightenment. For an everyday practitioner therefore, the main benefit of practicing during a solar eclipse is the multiplication of merit. For a tantric practitioner however, it is a time that they can make use of the energies of nature to boost their practices. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 18, 2017 01:27
    Todd asked: Does Rinpoche have any information on the deity Rakta Yamari, who is believed to be an emanation of Manjushri?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Todd, Thank you for your interesting question. Rakta Yamari is indeed a wrathful emanation of Manjushri, in the form of a yidam or meditational deity belonging to the Anuttarayoga, or highest tantra, class of deities. The practice has been incorporated into all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism: the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug. Generally speaking some of the wrathful forms of Manjushri can be classified into three groupings, the Rakta (blood-red), Krishna (blue-black), and Vajrabhairava (adamantine terrifying). Since Rakta Yamari is therefore a classification of deities, it would be hard to give information here on all of them. The specific forms of Rakta Yamari differ in how the main figure appears and the number of other deities in the mandala. Of particular note, is that each of these forms and their practices has their own lineage of practice as well. Whilst there are forms of all three classifications within the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, certain lineages place more emphasis on a particular form than others. For example, within the Gelug lineage emphasis is placed on Vajrabhairava Yamantaka, of which there are two forms in particular that are practiced: 13-deity Yamantaka, and Solitary Hero Yamantaka. In fact Vajrabhairava Yamantaka is one of the three main Anuttarayoga Tantra deities practiced in the Gelug lineage, which we follow, alongside the Akshobhyavajra variant of Guhyasamaja and Chakrasamvara. There are two important lineages of Rakta Yamari practice: the 13-deity Rakta Yamari, and the 5-deity Rakta Yamari practice. Both of these practices can be traced back to an important lineage holder, the Indian Mahasiddha Virupa. In the case of the 5-deity Rakta Yamari lineage, he was taught the practice by a wisdom dakini. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 17, 2017 19:26
    Aldric Wilson DuXing asked: How can the alleged "DiSanShr" "Dorje Chang Fo" Yi Yun Gao be the actual incarnation of Buddha Dipankara Buddha?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Aldric Wilson DuXing, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I do not know much about Yi Yun Gao to be able to comment on this. However, within Buddhism we do believe that the Buddhas, out of their compassion appear in human form to help sentient beings in whatever way they can. Within Tibetan Buddhism there is a long history of recognising great masters as the physical body emanations (also known as tulkus) of the Buddhas. The logic behind this is that the Buddhas are all compassionate and so help sentient beings in any and all means that they can. This would obviously include taking the physical form of a human. To say that the Buddhas cannot or do not do this, would be limiting the abilities of the enlightened beings, which goes against the scriptures. In fact, in the scriptures it states that Buddhas can emanate out in countless different forms at the same time. This includes animate beings, such as humans, animals, etc., and also inanimate objects such as bridges, or other things. These emanations, or incarnations if in human form, can be recognised by those who have the ability to perceive the enlightened beings, such as highly attained masters or other emanations themselves. That is why you see only the highest masters within the Tibetan Buddhist traditions recognise others as incarnations of the Buddhas. Other methods of confirming this can include checking with an enlightened Dharma protector, such as Dorje Shugden, when in trance of a qualified oracle. Those who really are emanations of the enlightened beings do not actually need to be recognised as such, as they will always help others no matter if they are recognised or not. However the recognition of such beings is more for us, as practitioners to gain merit by helping them achieve their goal of helping other sentient beings. But as I mentioned earlier, these beings do not self-proclaim themselves but are recognised as such by other highly attained masters who are trustworthy and really work for the cause of helping others by upholding and practicing the holy teachings of Lord Buddha. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 16, 2017 00:47
    Anonymous asked: Sorry about the link not working. They can be found at dharmawheel.net and then looked under Tibetan Buddhism and then under topics which are under all the other lineage topics. Since this is recent, the title "Crazy Scandal somewhat related to Gelug hitting Taiwan" should come up. But anyway, here are the sources in that case: https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/mary-jin-gebis/ https://maisonneuve.org/article/2013/06/18/when-monks-come-town/ https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/bw-dorje-shugden/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad355FqDQuo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzvPhv_eldk http://www.blisswisdom.org/statement/1854-1006 https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/dalai-lama-speaks-to-chinese-devotees-about-bliss-and-wisdom/
    No reply yet
  • August 15, 2017 01:43
    Anonymous asked: Hi, although this is not a question, I would like to bring awareness towards a particular cult in China and Taiwan that has been having scandals with their leader, Mary Jin. The cult has been defaming the Dalai Lama and has begun supporting Shugden here even though that's not really bad. However, I would like to bring attention so they may not begin corrupting the Buddhists here. Even though I used a dharmawheel website, it has links to its sources: https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40
    pastor answered: Dear Anonymous, Thank you for bringing this to our attention, however the link you provided does not work. I do not know anything about this particular person or their organisation, so I really can’t say much. However, there are some people out there who use religion for their personal gain, and twist the teachings to suit their greed. These sorts of people are often embroiled in scandals and the like and often have views that go against common sense. That is why it is very important to check that a teacher is qualified, is practicing, and is teaching the Dharma as it should be according to the scriptures. All students are encouraged do to so and this in mentioned clearly in the scriptures themselves. The actions of a teacher should be in line with actions laid out in the scriptures and their views should match the logic laid out in the scriptures as well. Once we see a teacher’s qualities, and we have made sure that what they practice is real and genuine, we can devote ourselves to that person fully. We at Kechara, following the teachings of His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, think very highly of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as he is the emanation of the Buddha of compassion, Chenrezig. Similarly, we also believe that Dorje Shugden is the emanation of the Buddha of wisdom, Manjushri. For us, both are enlightened beings, and many practitioners all around world follow this belief as well. We are saddened to see or hear when others talk badly about either, since both are enlightened beings capable of benefiting the world tremendously. Thank you.
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