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Enjoying the charm of Hà Nội via night tours



HÀ NỘI — Visitors to Hà Nội for the 31st  Southeast Asian Games also have the opportunity to explore the charming beauty of the city at night, thanks to night tours to local destinations.

The night tours, which include Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, Hỏa Lò Prison Relic and a double-decker bus night tour, aim to popularise images of the 1,000-year-old capital and Việt Nam to international guests.   

Night tour of Thăng Long Imperial Citadel

Visitors enjoy a dance on the glass covering the archaeological excavation area at the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel as part of the Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long tour. VNA/ Photo

The Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, which was placed on the UNESCO list in August 2010, was built in the 11th century during the Lý Dynasty, marking the independence of the Đại Việt (Great Việt). The Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains at the 18 Hoàng Diệu archaeological site reflect a unique Southeast Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Delta.

The tour, named Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long, was launched by the Thăng Long–Hà Nội Heritage Conservation Centre and the Hanoitourist travel company. It is available every weekend. 

Travellers begin the 1.5-hour tour at Đoan Môn (Main Gate), the entrance to Cấm Thành (Forbidden area) – the king’s residence, and learn about the site’s history, architecture, and functions there.

They can later enjoy an old dance right on the glass covering the archaeological excavation area and gain an insight into this dig, which contains vestiges of the Lý, Trần and Lê Dynasties, with the help of tour guides’ knowledge. They will also visit an exhibition hall of rare antiquities, some of which date back over 1,000 years.

The last destination of this trip is the archaeological site at 18 Hoàng Diệu Street, where visitors can experience a laser light show of outstanding antiquities of the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel. Tourists can take part in a game in which they have to identify typical objects of feudal dynasties in the past.

Night tour of Hỏa Lò Prison Relic

Night tour of Hỏa Lò Prison Relic will enable visitors to witness the harshness of the colonial prison during the wars in Việt Nam. Photo

Hỏa Lò Prison, which was dubbed “Hell on Earth”, is a historical site located at 1 Hỏa Lò Street. The prison was built by the French in 1896 to detain thousands of Vietnamese revolutionary soldiers and activists.

In the 80-minute journey backwards in time, visitors will witness the harshness of the colonial prison during the wars in Việt Nam, the noble sacrifice of the national heroes and see the special spiritual space dedicated to the gratitude for the predecessors.

The space within the relic at night will utilise both light and sound effects to awaken visitors’ emotions and senses.

Tours exploring Hỏa Lò Prison at night will be conducted from 7 pm every Friday and Saturday. However, visitors need to book tickets about 3-4 days in advance to not miss this one-of-a-kind experience. 

Double-decker bus night tour

The double-decker buses have 13 stops going through over 30 famous attractions in Hà Nội. Photo

Running at 6:15 pm and 7:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday, the double-decker bus night tour is an unforgettable experience for every tourist when visiting the capital city. The roofless 80-seat double-decker buses have 13 stops at over 30 famous attractions, such as the Hanoi Opera House, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Hà Nội Flag Tower, allowing travellers to explore the city without the need for tour guides.

The bus is accessible to the elderly, children, and the handicapped. It is equipped with voice-over and multi-language auto-translation systems capable of introducing the landmarks, which tourists can use to decide whether to get off the bus for sightseeing or leave that stop. Free wifi, USB charging, refrigerators, and camera screens are also available to tourists onboard.

Tickets can be purchased at Đông Kinh Nghĩa Thục Square at No. 7 Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street.



Closing ceremony to send farewell to remember



Lê Hương

Artists are in a rush to prepare for a magnificent art show to end the SEA Games 31 at Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đình Indoor Athletics Palace to send a warm farewell to regional friends, according to organisers.

Nguyễn Tuyết Hoa, Marketing Manager of the Việt Nam Opera & Ballet Theatre, said the art show at the closing ceremony on May 23 would be completely different from that in the opening ceremony.

“We will make the closing as a music gala with a long-lasting echo, feelings and inspiration, and send the warm greetings of the hosts Việt Nam to neighbouring friends,” she said.

Stage ready for the closing ceremony. Photo Cccourtesy of organisers

The stage will be built with modern equipment such as an led screen and the most up-to-date technology system. The closing ceremony will take place at 8pm for 90 minutes and will be broadcast on VTV channels.

The theme of the show will be “Converge and Shine”.

“During the two-year pandemic, most sport and art activities were stopped,” Hoa said.

“The SEA Games 31 in Việt Nam is a big convergence, where regional athletes flock. They have competed and shined during the past two weeks. The closing ceremony will be the moment to praise and spread their spirit.”

With that theme running through, the art show will open with a dance with traditional conical hats by Dance Group 218, which expresses technology combined with traditional Vietnamese features.

Images of the capital Hà Nội will be represented at the show to say goodbye to athletes: a Thăng Long – Hà Nội holy land with talented people symbolising the strength of the country; a sparkling city with romantic and peaceful moments; beautiful girls wearing áo dài (traditional long dress); and flower sellers in the streets.

“We will review the most moving moments of the sports teams, volunteers and organising members, and the sweat, tears, injuries and smiles of the victories,” Hoa said.

 “The Farewell” will highlight distinctive Vietnamese culture performed by 100 Quan họ (love duet) folk singers, who will sing ancient songs of Bắc Ninh,

According to director Hoàng Công Cường, the whole team of 90 artists include various noted names such as Văn Mai Hương, Uyên Linh, Đông Hùng, Khánh Linh, Dương Hoàng Yến, Bảo Trâm, Phạm Anh Duy and Hà Nhi.

Director Hoàng Công Cường in a rehearsal for the show. Photo courtesy of the director

The host flag will be handed over to Cambodian representatives. After that, artists from Cambodia will have a performance of “Cambodia Welcoming and Blessing” to introduce their country, people and culture.

The performance will include the Rose Dance, White Pigeon contemporary dance, and the song “Cambodia Welcoming and Blessing.”

Artist Thanh Hiền, producing manager of the opening and closing ceremony, said Cambodian artists would transmit a message of regional integration, connecting international friends and looking forward to the next SEA Games.

The palace has a stage of 800sq.m and an led screen of 580sq.m. Some 200 tonnes of equipment will be prepared to serve the show.

“The whole team of 400 people will spare no effort to offer a high-quality show with the best sound and light effects,” Cường said.


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Hà Nội Cuisine Festival opens



Lê Hương

HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội Cuisine and Handicraft Villages Tourism Festival has opened to visitors in Lê Quang Đạo Street in Nam Từ Liêm District (opposite the F1 track) to entertain SEA Games visitors.

The event gathers hundreds of handicraft villages, artisans and food suppliers in the city and throughout the country.

The festival introduces the top dishes of the city and some neighbouring localities, typical handicraft villages, which offer tourism services, and demonstrations of traditional handicrafts.

The event introduces the best dishes of the capital. — Photo Hoàng Lân

Bamboo booths host cuisine spaces offering popular dishes such as rice pancakes, shrimp cakes, coffee, young rice cake, and tea scented with lotus from the West Lake.

Handicraft shops introduce notable villages like Vạn Phúc Silk Village, Bát Tràng Ceramic Village and Sơn Đồng Wood Craft Village, where visitors can listen to guides explaining the village production processes.

“This festival aims to advertise the images and destinations of Hà Nội’s tourism and introduce local cuisine to both domestic and foreign visitors,” said Nguyễn Thị Mai Anh, deputy director of Hà Nội Investment, Trade and Tourism Centre, at the opening ceremony on Friday night.

The event highlights the importance of cuisine and handicraft villages as tourism products to contribute to the local economy and preserve intangible heritage, she said.

Hà Nội has been considered a hub of delicious dishes, which represent the creativity and talent of local residents.

She said that the city had been voted as a city with alluring cuisine by various international travel magazines.

Hà Nội hosts more than 1,350 handicraft villages, many of which are popular destinations for tourists.

The festival will last until May 23, and is part of a series of activities to advertise the capital as a safe, friendly and attractive destination. —


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Pink Silk collection accentuates northern highland folk traditions




Designer Thuỷ Nguyễn’s new collection, ‘Tơ Hồng’ (Pink Silk), comprises 30 designs that are themed on ethnic women who live in remote northern highland areas. Photo courtesy of Thuỷ Design House

HCM CITY— Northern highland women and their lifestyle is the premise of a new collection called Tơ Hồng (Pink Silk) by designer Thuỷ Nguyễn. 

The collection comprises 30 designs for women in cotton, silk and satin in vivid colours like blue, red and pink that the designer has created after visiting northern mountainous areas and interacting with the ethnic minority women who live there. 

She said she was inspired by both the remote areas and how the women lived their lives there.


The new collection by designer Thuỷ Nguyễn, ‘Tơ Hồng’ (Pink Silk), reflects the nation’s folk traditions in vivid colours. Photo courtesy of Thuỷ Design House

 Each design in the collection is linked to stories and dreams that the women living in remote mountainous areas nurture, she added. 

Designer Thuỷ Nguyễn (centre) and fashion models from HCM City. Photo courtesy of Thuỷ Design House

 “I want to highlight Vietnamese folk culture and lifestyle through my designs,” said 41-year-old Thuỷ, founder of the Thuỷ Design House fashion brand. 

A Hà Nội native, she studied painting at a university in Ukraine in 2003 and went on to become a self-taught fashion designer. She opened her first store in HCM City in 2011. 

In 2016, she was invited to be a costume designer for Cô Ba Sài Gòn (The Tailor), an award-winning romantic comedy produced by movie star and producer Ngô Thanh Vân.

The film features Vietnamese women living in Sài Gòn (now HCM City) in the 1960s. Its leading character, actress Ninh Dương Lan Ngọc of HCM City, was named the Face of Asia at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival in South Korea in 2017. 

For Cô Ba Sài Gòn, Thủy created many áo dài (traditional Vietnamese dress) for the actors to wearShe said she loves working with Vietnamese satin, silk and velvet. 

Thuỷ is still involved in painting and the arts. She is a founder of The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, an institution in HCM City that encourages young artists in different fields.   


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