Filtering by Category: Vietnam

Photo Essay: Water puppets in Hanoi

The water puppet shows in Vietnam have a long, rich history dating back many centuries.  We went to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi.  The cynical part of me had low expectations and, wow, were those expectations exceeded.  I loved the show which lasts about an hour and a half. The theater is in the Old Quarter and very easy to find.  It's also only a short walk away from the Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple) which is on Hoàn Kiếm Lake.  This whole area of the city is very walkable  and nice to check out.

Here is the stage as we all eagerly waited for the show to start.

Finally the characters start to come out.  There are several stories played out with these characters.  We kept wondering where are the artists that are moving the puppets.

One of the main characters is just having a relaxing time fishing. Until...

A dragon shows up.

There are several old Vietnamese folklore stories which give you a good sense of the culture. Then the artists come out to take a bow and it's done.

This is a must see when in Hanoi!

Haircut in Hanoi

Outside the US you will find all kinds of small businesses run by the side of the road or on a city sidewalk. Here is an example. This guy will lower your ears right on the street.

Notice the second barber chair to the right of the first one. I am not sure if he is a waiting customer or a second barber taking a break. It's also a mystery where the electricity is coming from.

Wonder how long this would last in a more developed country?

Oh... and just in case you were wondering.  I'd just had a good trim myself or I may have been tempted to give him a shot!

Until next time...


Spend the night on Halong Bay if you can

Halong Bay, Vietnam was recently listed as one of the New7Wonders of Nature.  It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.  Having been there, I know why.  The place is simply amazing.  Rocks just seem to shoot out of the water and they are covered with beautiful greenery.  But there is more.  The people and the fishing village.  The people are hard-working and the houses they live in are modest.

I would not recommend doing this as a day trip from Hanoi though you could.  You'd be much better off to make it a two day trip and spend the night out on the bay.

We spent a night aboard a tourist boat.  It was a great time and I highly recommend sleeping out on the bay.  All of our meals were served on board.  The cabins were equipped with in-suite bathrooms.  The boat also had a top deck with lounge chairs for just relaxing and taking in the views.  If you were adventurous you could jump off the top deck and go for a swim or kayak trip.

One thing we did not expect were caves.  There are large caves carved into some of the rocks there.  They are set up for people to see them, of course.  So, our tourist boat can docked there and a guide took us up some steps and into the cave.   There was a walking loop around the cave to keep traffic flowing.  The cave was beautifully lit with different colors which give it a surreal feeling.  The lights also made for good pictures.

Whatever time you have in Halong Bay will be well spent.  This is such an incredible place.  The views are fantastic and it feels good to just sit in a lounge chair and relax while floating around.

Check out more of my photos from the trip in the Halong Bay gallery.

Anyone else have tips or suggestions for a trip here?  I'd love to hear about it in the comment section!