UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations selected by the United Nations for their special cultural, historical or natural significance. These destinations are impressive, interesting and worth visiting and learning about. If you’re thinking about teaching in Asia and considering Vietnam, read on to find out a bit about this country’s eight beautiful UNESCO sites.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
This site will be of interest to those with a passion for history. The Citadel is located in the heart of Hanoi and houses many artefacts dating to 6th Century. Archaeological excavations are ongoing and various treasures such as old bronze coins and beautifully decorated ceramics have been found. Cultural performances, folk concerts and ceremonies take place at the Citadel throughout the year.
Citadel of the Ho Dynasty
The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty is a square stone structure dating to early 15th Century. It is located in the countryside about 150km south of Hanoi and built according to Feng Shui principles. Now it stands empty but back in the day it was part of a bustling imperial city.
Complex of Hué Monuments
The Imperial city of Hué was built in 1362 and became the capital of united Vietnam in 1802. It remained an important centre of culture and religion until 1945. When I visited, I took the very scenic train from Da Nang to Hué and then explored the Imperial city on a bicycle. The complex is vast and spread out and there is plenty to see.
Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An is an eclectic city combining French, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese architectural styles. The historic town is small enough to be easily manageable on foot or bicycle. At dusk the streets begin to be illuminated by many colourful lanterns, creating a magical atmosphere. I think that the many canals crossing Hoi An add even more to its charm. During the day there are many talks, tours and cultural performances available in different historic houses.
My Son Sanctuary
Those with interest in spirituality and history will find My Son Sanctuary fascinating. The sanctuary was developed for over ten centuries and was the sacred location of the Cham people. The Cham were followers of Hinduism and built temples dedicated to Vishnu, Krishna and Shiva. The buildings were constructed using sophisticated methods and were elaborately decorated. They are still impressive now, seven hundred years later.
Ha Long Bay
There are many ways to explore this stunning bay. David and I chose to rent kayaks and paddle between the small islands at a leisurely pace, stopping for a picnic at one of the deserted beaches. We also rented a scooter and drove around the big Cát Bà Island on which we were staying. In the evening we drove to the top of the island and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. I very much recommend a visit to Ha Long Bay. Although we sorted out our own trip there are organised all-inclusive tours setting out from Hanoi to take out the hassle.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
This national park in central Vietnam is famous for its complex and extensive cave system and underground rivers. Many of the caves can be accessed and explored on guided tours. The national park also boasts spectacular mountains and dense forests. If you’re interested in wildlife you’ll be pleased to find out that wild elephants, black bears, tigers and over 150 different kinds of mammals inhabit the national park.
Trang An Landscape Complex
This UNESCO site combines beautiful scenery with rich culture and history. Here you’ll find ancient temples hidden in the lush green vegetation and limestone mountains rising from emerald water. Many choose to explore the area by boat and visit the many caves in the vicinity. The complex is located about 100km from Hanoi and easily accessible by coach.
If you’d like to read more about Vietnam follow this link for our other blog post about this fascinating country. If you have any comments about the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam that you’d like to share with us visit our Facebook page.
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About the Author
Aleks Kaye completed a blended CELTA course, while working full-time in Student Support at a university in the UK. She is currently spending a year in Canada with her husband David. You can read about their adventures at daleksabroad.travel.blog