White sua flowers (Dalbergia tonkinensis), considered a symbol of March, are blooming in profusion on Hanoi’s streets after starting a bit early this year.
The city has more than 1,400 white sua trees, mainly on Phan Dinh Phung, Hoang Hoa Tham, Giang Vo, and Thanh Nien streets.
The flowers are associated with the change of seasons from winter. This year, they began to bloom in February, earlier than usual.
White sua trees along the iconic Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake in Hoan Kiem District, downtown Hanoi.
White sua trees in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the beginning of Ton That Dam Street in Ba Dinh District near the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
“Hanoi is beautiful at any time of the year, but I prefer when the white sua trees shed their leaves and start blooming white,” says Giang Trinh, one of the two authors of this series of photos.
White sua flowers grow in clusters of 7-9 mm and their fragrance can be felt by passers-by below. They only bloom once a year for around a week.
For poets and musicians, sua flowers honor the eternal love of couples and are a source of inspiration for their works.
Sua flowers add color to Bay Mau Lake in Thong Nhat Park in Hai Ba Trung District.
White sua flowers bloom against the yellow walls of Trung Tu apartment complex in Dong Da District.
A fruit vendor walks under a white sua tree at the Cau Go-Hang Dau crossroads in Hoan Kiem District.
For Hanoians, white sua flowers have become an enduring symbol of the capital and the coming of summer.
Their beauty provides plenty of inspiration for photographers.
Photos by Giang Trinh and Nguyen Hong Phuoc
Source: e.vnexpress.net (https://e.vnexpress.net/news/travel/places/hanoi-streets-dazzle-as-white-sua-flowers-bloom-4064425.html)
Ba Kieu Temple – a rare relic worshipping the Mother Goddess
Ba Kieu Temple, officially called Thien Tien (Heavenly Fairy) pavilion, is located on the east side of Sword Lake, facing Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi. This is the rare relic of Hanoi and Vietnam worshipping the Mother Goddess.
Based on the surviving ancient documents and epitaph from the Later Le Restoration dynasty, the temple belonged to Ta Vong Village, Tho Xuong District, then in the mid-nineteenth century, its jurisdiction was changed to Ha Thanh Village, Dong Cac Ward, Tho Xuong District, Hanoi province. The current location of the temple is in Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Ly Thai To Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi City.
The temple is dedicated to Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh and her two maidens named Quynh Hoa and Que Hoa princesses. Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh is one of the Four Immortals along with Tan Vien (the God of the Mountain), Saint Giong and Saint Chu Dong Tu in the pantheon of genii worshiped by the Vietnamese people.
|An ancient banyan tree next to Ba Kieu Temple.|
The temple was built in the Later Le Restoration and expanded in the mid Canh Tri reign in the 17th century. Being made of precious materials including wood from Xua jungle and rock from Nhue mountain from Chau Ai region in central Vietnam, through the hands of skillful craftsmen, Ba Kieu Temple became really a rare architectural masterpiece. The temple was built in the shape of the 工 (gong) of Chinese characters, which comprises Dai Bai (Chamber of Ceremonies), Phuong Dinh (Fang Pavilion) and the Hau Cung (Back Chamber).
Suffering the ups and downs of history, Ba Kieu Temple was damaged and has been restored many times, but still it retains the ancient features.
The special value of Ba Kieu Temple is created by the relics of the Le Tay Son, Nguyen dynasties it preserved until today. First and most precious among them is a large bronze bell (94cm in height, 45cm in mouth diameter) cast in the 8th year of the Canh Thinh reign (1800). The bell was offered by the marquis of Nhuan Trach Tran Duy Ung, a dignitary under the Tay Son Dynasty. There are also four stone shafts considered to be the important historical records:
– Hung Cong Bi (the stele of Hung Cong) erected in the 8th year of the Canh Thinh reign (1800) recording the donation of Tran Duy Ung – a mandarin under the Tay Son reign;
– Trung Tu Huyen Chan Tu Bi Ky recording the restoration of Huyen Chan temple which was built in the 19th year of the Tu Duc reign (1866);
– Thien Tien dien nguyen phung quan nhan the thu huong hoa Le toc to tien tong huong bi (the stele of second ancestral lineage of the Le family voluntarily receiving the hereditary care of Thien Tien pavilion and allowed by the villagers) established in the year of the Tu Duc reign (1874) records the 5 generations of the Le clan from the forefather Trong Le to the fifth Trong Tin;
– Le toc bi ky (The stele of the Le clan) found in the 8th year of Bao Dai reign (1933) records the Le Chat Ky and Le Van An both enjoyed the worship of the local people.
Still preserved in Ba Kieu Temple are the 27 papers conferring titles on Mother Goddess Lieu Hanh and her two fairy maidens Quynh Hoa and Que Hoa. The papers are the precious and rare artifacts, especially for the Mother Goddess worshipping. Among the 27 conferring papers, three issued in 1783 or the 44th year of Canh Hung reign and other three in 1787 under the Le dynasty, three by Quang Trung under the Tay Son dynasty (1792), and other three under the reign of Canh Thinh (1793). Over the reigns of Kings Minh Menh, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Đong Khanh, and Duy Tan of the Nguyen dynasty, the Mother Goddess was conferred fine names and ranked among Supreme Mother Goddess.
With outstanding values, Ba Kieu Temple together with the relic complex of Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake area have been the pride not only of Hanoians but also of all Vietnamese forever. Hanoitimes
Must-go places on Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang is a popular tourist destination throughout the year due to its blue sea, long sandy beaches, wild beauty, and delicious seafood.
Here are some of the best places for visitors to enjoy when heading to Phu Quoc:
|Located on the Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand marine economic corridor, Phu Quoc has been dubbed the “pearl” island.|
|The island enjoys a monsoon tropical climate with two seasons, the dry season that runs from November to April, along with the rainy season from May to October. The average temperature is 28 degrees Celsius, therefore allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty island’s at any time during the year.|
|Situated 46km from the mainland, the island can be reached by air from Ho Chi Minh City within one hour, with the journey taking two hours from Hanoi.|
|Ham Ninh fishing village is located in the eastern region of Phu Quoc Island. The village represents a new tourist destination and is famous for activities such as scuba diving, exploring corals, relaxing in the crystal-clear water, and fishing. Visitors are able to experience a bustling atmosphere early in the morning when fishing boats dock at the local port and sell various items, with crab being a local marine specialty.|
|Bai Sao, also known as Star Beach, is famous for boasting seven km of smooth white sands and blue water. Indeed, CNN Traveler selected Bai Sao as one of the 10 wildest and most peaceful beaches worldwide.|
|Enjoying the exquisite beauty of the country’s southernmost island at sunset is worth trying once in a lifetime. As the sun sets, it turns the sea into a majestic gold, making Phu Quoc’s sunset a priceless treasure. Visitors should therefore head to Sunset Sanato or Dinh Cau in order to enjoy the moment.|
|As the country’s largest wild animal conservation area, Vietnam Vinpearl Safari features 2,000 species of animals and 1,200 species of plants. Guests are able to enter at a cost of VND600,000 per person.|
|An Thoi Archipelago consists of dozens of islands. Here, tourists are able to find many coral reefs between two to four metres under the water, with the local marine life becoming more diverse at greater depths. Three popular services in the area are snorkeling, scuba diving, and sea walking. The package prices are also different, ranging from VND280,000 to VND350,000 for snorkeling, whilst scuba diving costs VND900,000 to VND1 million, and sea walking services are VND950,000 per person. Indeed, this allows guests to go to the very bottom of the ocean and get even closer to the spectacular corals and fish.|
|Phu Quoc night market is crowded with various stalls selling a wide variety of different commodities. Visitors to the night market can enjoy its peacefulness as well as the closeness, sincerity, and simplicity of local people on this beautiful island. (Photo: Internet)|
Hai Phong’s favorite baguette stall that offers only 2 options
A 42-year-old eatery in Hai Phong sells baguettes with only two filling options, but is packed every night.
When it first opened in 1978 it was in the northern city’s Hang Ga Alley, but later moved to 244 Hai Ba Trung Street, where the owners, a couple named Thang and Hieu, live.
Its only fillings are pate and butter but it is among the first places locals are likely to suggest to visitors with midnight cravings.
Pate stuffed bread on smoldering coals. Photo courtesy of Hoa Co Dai.
The bread is often mistaken for the typical Hai Phong breadstick since it is much smaller than the usual Vietnamese banh mi.
Hieu explained: “The size is just about enough for guests to crave for more; not too big but not too small either. It is good as a late-night snack.”
Furthermore, a typical Hai Phong breadstick is eaten with chili sauce while here meat floss and some melted lard are added instead.
Quoc Tung, 27, who lives on Van Cao Street, a few kilometers away from the place, stops by four times a week. The bread is addictive and the pate is flavorful and fatty, and much tastier than at other places, he said.
“Pate baguette is a popular dish that can be found anywhere, but it is really difficult to turn it into an addictive bite like this.”
Thang used to be a chef at a French hotel and so knows his way around European style pate and butter.
At first, the eatery did not have a name. As it gradually gained popularity many people started calling it “Old Couple banh mi“. The owners then made it its official name. They have now let their daughter handle the business.
The eatery sells 1,200 baguettes and 80 kg of pate a night, according to the owner. It is open from 6:30 p.m to 11:30 p.m daily.
A pate baguette costs VND12,000 ($0.5) and a butter baguette, VND15,000.
Hieu (top right), the 72-year-old owner, no longer sits in the front but remains inside to make pate and bread. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Nghia.
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