Vietnam is one of the most fascinating countries in South East Asia and it contains a large number of cultural treasures as well as much remarkable scenery. Due to its exceptional buildings of both past and present, as well as its magnificent natural scenery, Vietnam surprises everyone that travels to this region of Asia. Vietnam’s former capital of Thang Long, that means ‘Rising Dragon’, is now known as Hanoi. Like all cities in South East Asia, Hanoi has an increasing traffic problem but to compensate for this it also contains several parks. Early in the morning a number of Tai Chi enthusiasts are to be found within a park that surrounds the Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of the city. The picturesque lake and park are the green lungs of Hanoi and are a relaxing contrast to the lively atmosphere of the city and its three million inhabitants. According to ancient records the imperial area of Hue once consisted of one hundred and thirty six buildings. The rapid rise of what had once been a rather unimportant town to a new and magnificent imperial city has always been indelibly associated with Vietnam’s Nguyen royal family who were to influence the country for several centuries. Both architecturally and culturally Hoi An has been influenced by two countries, China and Japan. The influence of the Chinese is clearly visible even today and they bequeathed a large number of magnificent buildings such as temples and meeting halls. On the western shores of the Saigon River is Ho Chi Minh City, the former capital of Saigon. This, the largest and most populated city in Vietnam, has around six million inhabitants a fact well substantiated by the exceptionally busy streets of this southern metropolis. Vietnam’s people are both amicable and extremely hospitable and now it is surely time that they deserve to see their Land Of The Rising Dragon enjoy a further epoch of peace and prosperity.
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