• Main entrance to the Museum of Ethnology Hanoi
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Museum of Ethnology

    The country’s biggest ethnic group may be the Viets – around 86% of the population. To understand more about the rest of the ethnic group, you would need to visit the furthest corners of Vietnam. Or, you could simply head to the Museum of Ethnology. Example of Hmong House An introduction A proposal to set up the museum was first approved on the 14th of December 1987. Constructed continued for a little under eight years, when on the 12th of November 1997, it opened its doors to the public. Sitting on a 10-acre property, about 8 km outside Hanoi, the exhibition building, in the shape of a Dong Son drum,…

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum with a guard of honour
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex

    Ho Chi Minh is revered in Vietnam. He was both prime minister and president of North Vietnam and played a key role in the early stages of the Vietnam War. And what better way to honour a beloved leader than to embalm his body and have it on permanent display at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ba Dinh Square with Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum in the background However, that is not what Uncle Ho, as he was popularly known as, wanted. Just before his death in 1969, he had left strict instructions that his ashes should be buried in the hills throughout both North and South Vietnam. However, his colleagues…

  • Reunfication Express train on its way to Danang which you can see in the background
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    The Reunification Express

    First things first. There is no Reunification Express. At least not officially. It is called the North–South Railway. Covering 1,726 kms, it is the main railway line that connects the political capital of Hanoi with the commercial capital of Saigon. View of the South China sea A bit of history first Construction of the line linking these two cities began during the French rule in 1899.  It took nearly 40 years for its completion, finally connecting the cities in 1936. However, the line was continuously sabotaged and bombarded during the Vietnamese fight with the French, and later during the Vietnam War. It wasn’t after the war finally ended, in 1975,…

  • Blog,  Resources,  Vietnam,  Visas

    Vietnam introduces e-visa

    I was in Vietnam in the last week of December, 2018. This was my second trip to the country, having visited, again exactly 11 years earlier, the last week of December, 2007. At that time, as a resident of Dubai, I had applied for my visa at the consulate. Once my Excel sheet itinerary had been scrutinised, and tickets checked, I was issued with a single-entry visa valid for one month. This time though, I opted for an e-visa. For those not in the know, this is something that Vietnam has just introduced for tourists from a list of 46 countries. If you are among the lucky ones, then opt…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Give me my bowl of pho

    If there’s one dish I can have for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Vietnam, then pho it is for me.  After all that walking around the Old Quarter in Hanoi, dodging motorists on their mopeds and bikes, and generally making sure you’ve crossed these chaotic roads safely, why not stop by and indulge with a portion of pho. Pronounced as fe (like in fern), it is a hearty, flavorful soup with broth, noodles, herbs and chunks of meat. Comfort food at its best. Walk around and you’re sure to find a vendor on any street corner or along the pavement, with the kitchen in a small hole. Of course, there…