Places to visit in Dong Hoi, Vietnam
Places to visit in Dong Hoi, Vietnam
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1. Nhat Le Beach - The sun-drenched beach in Dong Hoi
Nhat Le Beach lies on the mouth of Nhat Le River emptying itself into the East Sea. Mother Nature favors Nhat Le Beach with pure white sand, glimmering blue sea and many a layers of waves as suds flowers.
The name “Nhat Le” meaning “sparkle tear of the Sun” came from an ancient legend in early 17th century. Back in those years, Vietnam is under the leadership of because of the The Trinh Kingdom and the Nguyen Kingdom at the same time. Because of the unresolvable conflict between two regimes, people used Gianh River as a border dividing the country into two parts. The immigrants in the south always look to their homeland in the Northern bank and feel nostalgic. Their tears fell down, mingled with the river water and flowed into the beach. Since then, the beach is called Nhat Le.
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Nhat Le Beach is not only beautiful but full of interesting activities. When arriving, don’t hesitate to take a walk along the charming Nhat Le River. Let’s yourself unwind amongst the fresh air and the leisurely listen to the ripple of river waves.
The early morning is the ideal time to enjoy the beauty of the beach. In this time when Nhat Le Beach is remarkably quiet, you may feel like there is only you and the beach existing in the world. When the sun rises, the sea shimmering in the sunlight looks like a mirror. Nhat Le Beach comes back to its untouched beauty and long-lasting tranquility.
In the summer noon, the sun is as hot as a fireball and the beach turned into “Sahara Desert of Vietnam”. It’s the chance for you to experience the hot in Quang Binh. When the darks comes, the sea water is sparkling once again but under the silvered moonlight. The glimmering lights of the fishing boats create a “night city” floating on the water surface.
In addition to its beauty, Nhat Le Beach is an ideal place for outdoor activities such as soccer, volleyball, badminton and so on. After dipping yourself into cool, blue water, you can go sand-skiing with your friends on the nearby sand caverns, enjoy fresh fruit juice under the coconut tree shadow in the green Bao Ninh peninsula full of coconut tree shadows. If you are a traveller hungry for extreme feelings, you can take a parachute jump on the sea. You also can sail a boat on the vast clear sea to understand more about the life of local fishermen.
What’s more, Nhat Le is well-known for its cultural value. After a series of interesting outdoor activities, you can visit Bao Ninh seaside village to enjoy the local the enchanting folk songs “Bông chèo cạn” performed by graceful local girls. Visiting the turtle raising farms in the west of the town is also interesting thing worth doing. At the end of the day, don’t forget to drop in a restaurant to enjoy amazingly fresh, tasty seafood.
2. Dong Hoi Citadel - The remnant of the Vietnamese War
The citadel is now located in the vicinity of Hung Vuong Street, 1500 meters away from Nhat Le beach. It is close to Nhat Le River on the east side and the forest on the west side. Dong Hoi citadel was initially constructed under the dynasty of the Nguyen. The first king of the Nguyen, Gia Long (1802–1819) started building in 1812 and his son, King Minh Mạng (1820–1840), rebuilt later. Then, Dong Hoi citadel was considered the high fences and towers forming a fortress that protected the kings and the capital of the Nguyen dynasty. In many period of the country’s history, Dong Hoi citadel held an important position. In 1885, when the French army attacked Quang Binh, the local and the soldiers of Dong Ha defended resiliently and won the battle, which made the French retreat
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During the Vietnam-France war from 1945 to 1954, the local unyieldingly carry out several attacks at the citadel. During Vietnam War, especially in the late 1960s, most parts of the citadels were seriously damaged by the bomb craters. There are only two parts left up to now are the unsympathetically restored Quang Binh Gate (located close to the new museum) and a original wall next to the Highway 1.Nowadays, there is no more war in Vietnam, but the citadel still stands vividly as powerful symbol Dong Hoi’s resilience and of the brave country.
3. Mother Suot Statue - The powerful symbol of Vietnamese women
Mother Nguyen Thi Suot (1906 – 1968) was a labor heroine in the Vietnam War. During many difficult years from 1964 to 1967, she risked her life to doggedly ferry Vietnamese soldiers in a small wooden boat to the other side of the bank of Nhat Le River. Mother Suot was born in 1906 in My Canh hamlet, Bao Ninh commune of Dong Hoi. Being born and grew up in poor fishing family, Mother Suot spent 18 years working for a landowner. She married a fisherman, with whom she had five children.
Before the war escalated in the north, she burdensomely boat people across the river in the 1960s. All she earned was only a little rice and sometimes a small quantity of yam or cassava. When the bomb rained down on the city and surrounding areas, almost ferryman ran away. Only Mother Suot stayed and bravely helped the soldiers across the river. The American army dropped a massive rain bomb in hope of eliminating the transportation artery; however, amongst the serious attacks, Mother Suot resiliently continued to cross.
In 1968, Mother Suot sacrificed in the attack of two steel-pellet bombs of the U.S jet. Her name became known throughout the country. She was officially considered the Vietnamese Heroic Mother and commemorated in the country’s Congress of Heroes and Congress of Emulative Soldiers in Hanoi. Despite passing away many decades ago, her name still imprints on the heart of many people and become an honorable symbol of the strength of Vietnamese women.
Nowadays, the Me Suot statue stays proudly on a small bar by the Nhat Le River, not far from the the newly-built Nhat Le Bridge. The statue is stone-crafted as a picture of the courageous Mother Suot as she was sailing across the river with soldiers on board.
4. Tam Toa Church - “Three towers” remains national pride
Tam Toa Church is an old Catholics church built during the late 19th century. The present building was constructed in Portuguese style with a typical large bell tower. Fr Claude Bonin chose a hill on the breathtaking shore of Nhat Le river to build the Tam Toa Church, because he thought it would be easier for the Catholic to reach the church by sailing boats.
The name “Tam Toa” means “Three towers”. After construction, this church was considered one of the most beautiful churches in the country. During the Vietnam War, Tam Toa Church was demolished dramatically by the rain bomb dropped by American army. On February 11, 1965 after a horrific bomb attack, only the façade and the big bell remained behind the iron gates. Tam Toa Church remains a national pride and is considered as the symbol of the enduring lives of Vietnam through wars. It’s also an appealing places to many tourists, especially those who are interested in war relics and want explore more in-depth stories of wars.
5. Dong Hoi Market - Where you can live like a local
Almost all cities in Vietnam have their own wet markets which feature a lot of things in common. However, the wet market in Dong Hoi is a really impressive. Not only was there a remarkable diversity of seafood being sold here, but the sheer volume of it was incredible. Threading your way through the market, you can see countless types of marine species and various fresh vegetable and fruit. You can also find easily all the traditional spices and ingredient essential to prepare a Vietnamese meal. Only in Vietnam market can you buy a bucket full of baby pigeon and couples of frog for less than 10 dollars.
After throwing yourself into the pavement and rolling around, you should head inside the central market building and climb to the second floor. Here standing a bridge that leads to another market building, you will find yourself inside a large, if dark and grimy, second-floor eating area.
The sellers are so friendly. Despite the hard work, they keep the bright smile on their mouth and often happily shout “Hello” to the foreign tourist. They may look a bit funny with the crash helmet on the head all day long. Visiting the market is one of the best ways to understand more about the difficult life of the local.In the end, don’t forget to drop in a local coffee shop to experience the Vietnamese tradition of having coffee while browsing around the city.