A Travellerspoint blog

February 2014

Ayutthaya, A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Take a trip back in time as you explore the impressive city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Thailand's ancient capital. Start off your journey with a scenic drive to the exquisite Bang PaIn Summer Palace of King Rama V, where European and Thai architecture come together to create dazzling structural masterpieces. Explore the two story Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun then continue to Ayutthaya, where you'll see some of Bangkok's most stunning ruins. Activity Type: Active Adventures, Destination Hightlights Activity Level: Moderate Duration: 10 hours 30 minutes

Take a trip back in time as you explore the impressive city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Thailand’s ancient capital. Start off your journey with a scenic drive to the exquisite Bang PaIn Summer Palace of King Rama V, where European and Thai architecture come together to create dazzling structural masterpieces. Explore the two story Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun then continue to Ayutthaya, where you’ll see some of Bangkok’s most stunning ruins.Highlights: • Explore Ayutthaya's ancient ruins including Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Mahathat. Take an exciting elephant ride through Ayutthaya's historic center. • Enjoy a delicious lunch at a nearby hotel during your excursion

Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Ho Chi Minh City, Formally Known as "Saigon"

Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam. It is located at the heart of the southern part of the country and is intertwined with natural forest, vast plains, a long coast and hundreds of rivers and canals. The Saigon River winds around the city and connects it to the East Sea.

Conquered by France in 1859, the city was influenced by the French during their colonial occupation of Vietnam. So great was the French influence, that Saigon was called "the Pearl of the Far East" or "Paris in the Orient" for its wide boulevards lined with stately trees and magnificent French villas. It was an important trade center for Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants.

At the conclusion of the Vietnam War, on April 30, 1975, the city came under the control of the Vietnamese People's Army. In the U.S. This event is commonly called the "Fall of Saigon" while the Socialist Republic of Vietnam refers to it as the "Liberation of Saigon"

In 1976, upon the establishment of the unified communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam, it's city of Saigon, the province of Gia Dinh and 2 suburban districts were combined to create Ho Chi Minh City in honor of the late communist leader of the same name. However the former name "Saigon" is still widely used by many Vietnamese. Reunification Hall was formerly the Presidential Palace and is the site where tanks of the North Vietnamese army crashed through the gates in April 1975 which ended the American involvement in Vietnam.

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Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Imperial Hue

Our ship is docked at Chan May Port and we want to go to Hue. The travel time to go there is approximately 2 hours each way. We will take a tour, Imperial Hue, and leave at 9:00 am. We are scheduled to be gone 8 hours.

Hue, ancient imperial city of Nguyen Kings, it served as the political capital, under 13 Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 - 1945, is located in the center of Vietnan, on the banks of the picturesque Perfume River. Traditionally, the city has been one of Vietnam's cultural, religious, and educational centers. although suffering extensive damage during the Vietnam War, in the Tet Offensive of 1968, the largest battle of the War.

Discover Hue’s rich imperial history and learn of its dynamic culture on a guided tour of notable landmarks situated . See Hue’s stately citadel, its forbidden city, tombs of the emperors, beloved temples and the city’s large pagoda. Delight in the Perfume River’s natural beauty, quaint villages and cultural significance while standing along its shores.<br style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: Arial, &#39;Helvetica Neue&#39;, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto;"><b style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 12px; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: Arial, &#39;Helvetica Neue&#39;, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 16px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto;"> Highlights: </b>&#8226; Hue: Join a knowledgeable guide for a tour of the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, which ruled from 1802-1945. <br style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: Arial, &#39;Helvetica Neue&#39;, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto;">&#8226; Imperial Landmarks: See the city’s stately citadel, its forbidden city, tombs of the emperors, century-old temples and Hue’s massive pagoda.<br style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: Arial, &#39;Helvetica Neue&#39;, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto;">&#8226; Perfume River: Learn of the river’s cultural significance, a waterway where many residents still today live on floating vessels.<br style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: Arial, &#39;Helvetica Neue&#39;, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto;">

1987 film <i style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: none; box-sizing: border-box;">Full Metal Jacket[/i] (based on Gustav Hasford's 1979 novel <i style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: none; box-sizing: border-box;">The Short-Timers[/i]), the main characters are sent from &#272;&agrave; N&#7861;ng to Hu&#7871; to cover the fighting, and the majority of the Vietnam scenes take place during the battle.

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Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Feb 19, 2014

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Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Beijing to Xian and Sightseeing

This morning we need to put our luggage outside of our room for collection at 5:00 am. Only our 2 big pieces, our hand luggage will stay with us. We stayed in our room until we knew our luggage was picked up, then we went down for breakfast.

At 5:30 am we checked out of our hotel, met with our guide and boarded the coach and we were on our way by 5:45 am to Beijing Airport. We are flying with China Eastern Airlines flight MU2102 to Xian Airport scheduled to leave at 8:00 am.

Arrived at Xian Airport at 10:00 am, 2 hour flight, 580 miles, with our guide, collected our luggage and boarded another coach for some sightseeing before we are taken to our hotel. Besides our regular guide from Beijing, we now have a local guide with us, and she will stay with us until we leave Xian. She lives here so has more knowledge about Xian.

Our first stop is The Yangling Museum, located at Zhangjiawan Village, and is only a 20 minute drive from the airport, much closer than if we had returned here from our hotel. The Museum opened in 1999 and features recent archeogical discoveries from Han dynasty tombs.(The dynasty after the Terracotta Warriors). They were relatively a peaceful bunch, but also wanted their army for the "afterlife". This small museum represents the culmination of nearby 10 years of excavation work on the area around the tomb of the Han emperor, Jindgi, died 141 A.D. The discoveries were found by accident when they were building the new Airport Expressway. The tomb is devided into two sections, the museum and the excavation site. In the museum, there are many terracotta figurines (over 50,000 were buried here) including servants, eunuchs, domesticated animals and even female cavalry on horseback. Outside on arrival is a gate complex which can be seen from the road and the burial mounds of the Emperor/Empress. Everything else to be seen is underground and at the entrance of the museum, we had to put covers over our shoes, because of the glass floors. We walked on the glass floors and looking down through them, we could see the partially excavated burial pits where the clay figurines can be seen, they are not life sized like the Terracotta Warriors, but more like small, children's toys. The have no arms on most of them because the movable arms were made out of wood so they have decayed over time. Also the silk clothes are gone, disintegrated. There are also animal figures about the same size. No flash photography allowed and the lighting is very dim to protect the artifacts.

We had lunch at a local restaurant.

Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)