Chan May Port

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    • Day 21

      Da Nang

      April 29 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Heute habe ich einen kleinen Ausflug gemacht. Eine Panoramafahrt... Mit Stops am Strand, wo auch die typische "Nussschale" zu sehen war. Die runden Mini Bote nutzen die Fischer früh morgens um frischen Fisch zu holen. Der Drachenbrück, die am Wochenende Abends wohl auch Feuer und Wasser speiht. Zum Affenberg mit weißer "Lady Buddha" Figur und Linh Ung Pagode, die sind hier verbreiteter als Tempel. Einem Marmorcenter. Und dem Cham Museum.Read more

    • Day 132

      Chan May/Hoi An, Vietnam

      May 25, 2023 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 86 °F

      Few days before arrival in Chan May we had no idea what to do for the first day of our overnight stay in this port. The arrival time was 3:30pm. A little late for the tour. Especially, there is nothing in the port.
      Likely Younga has been here before and suggested to go to Hoi An. The UNESCO heritage city. The drive should take roughly 1.5 hours one way, but we don’t have to rush to come back. It’s an overnight port. Erin found a transportation and we decided to go.

      Below is the description of the city from internet:
      Hoi An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda.

      We took a little detour to reach Hoi An. The is a famous Dragon Bridge everybody wanted to see. Unfortunately, our driver did not speak English, so he took us over the Dragon Bridge, but crossing the bridge we saw only pieces of dragon. The picture of the bridge is from internet.
      We arrived to the city by 6:00pm. It was already getting dark. We told our driver to meet us at 10:00pm.
      The city was colourful, decorated with many lanterns, lotuses on the canal, canoes with people enjoying evening, music and lots of vendors selling all different stuff. It was very festive. Apparently, they celebrated Buddha Birthday.
      We stopped for a quick meal and continued walking. Lots of people and lots of fun. By 9:30 pm we were ready to go back on the ship.
      We came back by 11:00pm. Tomorrow we will have another hot busy day that will start very early.
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    • Day 132

      Chan May, Vietnam - CITADEL 1 of 3

      May 26, 2023 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 88 °F

      We arrived in Chan May and drove approximately 40 miles (1.5 hours) to Hue (pronounced Way), which was the capital of Vietnam from 1802-1945. The city served as the old Imperial City and administrative capital for the Nguyễn dynasty and emperors home. The Imperial City is a walled enclosure within the Citadel constructed from 1803-1833 with 147 works, finished under Emperor Gia Long but mostly served in a ceremonial function during the French Colonial Period, (1898-1954). After the “end of the 143 year monarchy” in 1945, the area suffered heavy damage as well as neglect during the Indochina Wars (1st French War in Vietnam, 2nd Vietnam War, 3rd with Cambodia and China through the 1980s.

      Citadel, most known for being a UNESCO-designated World Cultural Heritage site since 1993, is a development of the Imperial City of Hue Monuments, palaces, shrines, gardens, villas and the Purple Forbidden City.

      It is surrounded by a 1.2 mile wall on all sides and a moat that we had to cross by foot as we made our way around the entire grounds. The defense system is made of an outer ring, the gate, the lakes and moat, the bridge and the observatory. There are 4 entrances/exits. The main door (is Ngo Mon -South , the Hien Nhon gate- East, Chuong Duc gate - West, and Hoa Binh gate in the North. The bridges and lakes dug around the outside of the citadel are named Kim Thuy.

      We spent half of the day walking around and learning about the history of this complex which had damage during the Vietnam War but many buildings have been restored or are in the process of a long-term restoration project. There were many Vietnamese that were also there and they come all dressed up to honor the past.

      The Imperial Citadel and the entire inner palace system are arranged on a symmetrical axis, in which the central axis is covered with works only for the king. Although there are many large and small projects built in the Imperial Citadel area, all are placed in the middle of nature with large and small lakes, flower gardens, stone bridges, islands and shady perennial trees. Structures are of different sizes, but all made in the style of known as "snail coin" (see photos), which is a double-roof house on the top of a platform, placed on a high stone foundation, with Thanh stone pavement, “bat trang tiled” floor (photos), the roof is covered with a special type of glazed tubular tile called Thanh lapis lazuli (if blue) or Hoang lapis (yellow) tile. The columns are painted in the motif of dragon-cloud. The interior of the palace is often decorated in the style of one poem and one picture with lots of poetry in Chinese characters and wooden carvings.

      As you can see, it was quite a “city” to experience and along with the history it made you feel as if you could picture being there during that time period.
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    • Day 132

      Chan May, Vietnam-Palace & Pagoda 2 of 3

      May 26, 2023 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 88 °F

      We then visited the seven story Thien Mu Pagoda dated to the early 1600s. The name of the pagoda comes from a legend that an old woman appeared on the hill where the pagoda stands today, telling local people that a Lord would come and build a Buddhist pagoda for the country’s prosperity. Lord Nguyen Hoang therefore ordered the construction of the pagoda the “Heaven Fairy Lady” or Thiên Mụ in Vietnamese. Several kings of the Nguyen Dynasty such as Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri and Thanh Thai, all had the pagoda restored. The initial temple was in a very simple form of construction, but as time went by, it has been redeveloped and expanded with more intricate features.

      The key feature of the pagoda, the Phuoc Duyen tower was built in 1884 by King Thieu Tri and has become the unofficial symbol of Hue and most importantly, its Imperial times. This octagonal tower has seven stories, which is dedicated to a Buddha who appeared in human form. It is the highest stupa in Vietnam, and is the subject of folk rhymes.

      To the left of the tower is a pavilion sheltering an enormous bronze casted bell, Dai Hong Chung, cast in 1710 by Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu. It is famous for the great size, which is 8’ high and 7242 pounds. weigh. To the right of the tower is a pavillion containing a monument dated from 1715 on the back of a massive marble turtle, a symbol of longevity, and is 8.5’ high.

      During the summer of 1963, Thien Mu Pagoda, like many in South Vietnam, became a key place for anti-government protests (in particular after 9 protesters died there). South Vietnam’s Buddhist majority had long been discontented with the rule of President Ngo Dinh Diem since 1955. Diem had was against Buddhists in the army, public service and distribution of government aid. Today, the pagoda is surrounded by flowers and ornamental plants. At the far end of the garden stretches a calm and romantic pine-tree forest.

      As an aside, here is some interesting information on the dress of the people (mostly women).

      AO DAI are the long dresses dated to the 1700s are influenced by Chinese and worn as part of the many traditional Vietnamese costumes with long flowing gowns, and with slits up both sides to the waist. They are often made of cotton, but formal dress is silk. More modern versions have silk pants underneath and are much more form fitting on the top (so I am told). The designs are mostly simple if at all and at times are floral or simple checkerboard. Some versions these days (created by designers) are shapelier and are made of see thru fabrics making them attractive to younger people.
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    • Day 132

      Chan May, Vietnam-Incense,Hat,Tomb 3of 3

      May 26, 2023 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 88 °F

      We had a beautiful lunch across the Perfume River (yes, it does smell from perfume) and it was accompanied by calm interesting local music (see video).

      Our next stop was a town where their primary business was making straw conical (the triangular ones) hats and incense. It was very interesting to watch them make these hats with intricate designs and some that could only be seen when light reflected through them. Of course, their skill, dexterity, and speed in making them was amazing. Conical hats have been made and worn by Vietnamese people for some 3,000 years and are now considered a symbol of Vietnamese culture. These hats can protect wearers from the sun and rain and are also fashionable. Not easy to make: first, material leaves are sun-dried and then soaked in water for about three hours and hung out overnight until they become soft and turn into beautiful ivory color. Then, material leaves are ironed at warm temperature to have a new look, and become smoother and nicer. To turn material leaves into a conical hat, the hat maker whittles thin round bamboo slats and bends them around a frame holder of 16 hems of different diameters. A hat is usually made from two layers of leaves sown together with thin plastic thread. When sewing, the hat maker also adds two fringe hangings on the underside of the hat for wearers to tie a colorful silk ribbon for use as a chin trap. When the sewing is complete, the hat maker adds the finishing touch on the hat, applying a thin coat of varnish made of turpentine mixed with alcohol to increase its gloss, durability and waterproofing.

      A “poem conical hat” is made from two layers of leaves with a translucent paper inscribed with poems and drawings inserted between them. The poems and images will appear when the hat is exposed to direct sunlight, giving it the name of “poem conical hat”. Unlike other hats, a horse conical hat is made of 10 layers of carefully dried palm leaves and embroidered with flowers of four seasons, beautiful landscapes or different patterns which used to reflect the ranks of wearers. This is JUST the basics.

      Vietnamese people burn incense as a beautiful custom, in death anniversaries and Tet holidays. Vietnamese incense is like a sacred bridge connecting the alive and the spiritual realm. The custom of burning incense was started in Egypt about 3.500 years ago, then passed through China 2,000 years ago and followed the step of Chinese migrants to other Asian countries. Vietnam is one of which has absorbed that special culture.

      In the subconscious of every Vietnamese always exists a belief that somewhere in the infinity, there are powers, invisible “people” who are following them, standing by them to listen to their sincere wishes sent with the smoke of incense once it is burnt. A stick of incense in Vietnam plays the role of a sacred connection between the land of the living and the afterworld. Therefore, Vietnamese incense sticks burning is considered a traditional rite indispensable on every occasion. No matter urban or rural, lowland or highland, whenever New Year comes, all houses light sticks of incense and stick them on the ancestral altar to show respect to the former generations, pray for peace and happiness to everyone and let the atmosphere be more warm and joyful.

      The incense must be lit in odd numbers 1,3,5,7,9 since in Oriental culture, odd numbers represent positive energy and good luck while even numbers like 2,4,6,8 represent negativeness, carrying heavy miasma (heavy bad odor). Incense in Vietnam is burnt in different number with different purpose: Burn 1 incense stick to pray for peace, fortune and happiness, Burn 3 incense sticks to remind themselves of being calm and kind, Burn 5 incense sticks before big events, needing the observation of sky and earth so that everything can go on in a smooth way and Burn 9 incense sticks in an emergency, in a dilemma when you don’t know what to do.

      On the way to Tu Duc tomb and Vong Canh hill, we visited Thuy Xuan to learn about incense making with its distinctive fragrance and high quality. The first step to make incense is collecting 5 materials: cinnamon, cardamom, clove, anise and eucalyptus. They are well mixed with water. Then, the incense “dough” is coated around thin bamboo sticks mostly made in the Nam Dong district (that’s an entirely other complicated process). Then, incenses are dried under the sun. Incenses come in various scents such as cinnamon, lemongrass essential oils, etc. Bamboo sticks used to be only painted brown or red. Now they come in a variety of colors such as purple and yellow. To watch this procedure and how they cover the fanned out (to dry) sticks is amazing.

      Now onto the tomb - Lang Tu Ducs tomb (one of the longest reigning monarchs) has unique architecture and perfect harmony with the natural landscape. Tu Duc Royal Tomb was built in the Nguyen Dynasty, started its construction in 1864 with fifty thousand soldiers participating. At this time, the tomb was named Van Nien Co. In order to build the tomb to stay on track in 6 years, hundreds of thousands of people worked on it around the clock. In 1873, the tomb was completed and Tu Duc Emperor still lived for more than 10 years in this place before passing away. Tu Duc Emperor wanted to have a large space to compensate for his difficult life, so he put his heart into his own tomb. The result is Tu Duc Tomb Total Square is about 30 acres.

      The layout of the tomb includes nearly 50 large and small buildings scattered in clusters on the land. All the buildings in this overall architecture are accompanied by the word “Khiem” (ironically meaning “modest”).

      When you enter and walk the long walkway, the first temple you reach is the former resting place for the emperor. The first building is Chi Khiem Chamber, which worships the wives of the emperor. Then the Khiem Cung Gate, a two-story building with Luu Khiem Lake at the front. This lake is considered a mini park thanks to Tinh Khiem island located right in the middle. On this island, the emperor planted flowers and raised rare animals.

      When going inside Khiem Cung Gate, you can reach the king’s resting place named Hoa Khiem Palace. It is located in a central location where the king took care of the country business, but now it is the place to worship the tablets of the king and queen. The king gave Luong Khiem Temple to worship his spirit mother, Mrs. Tu Du.

      In the tomb, the king built a royal theater named Minh Khiem Chamber (Minh Khiem Duong) to serve his interests on the opera plays, which is considered one of the oldest theaters of Vietnam. There is a corridor from On Khiem Palace which is the living place of the king’s concubines.

      The first tomb area is located behind the worshipping area and named Bai Dinh with two rows of statues of officials to serve the king when he goes across the world. After Bai Dinh is Stele Pavilion (Bi Dinh), which has a 20-ton Thanh Hoa stone steel with the inscription “Khiem Cung Ky” written by the king himself. Khiem Cung Ky has 4,935 words, tells about the life, career, success, failure of the king. Behind the steel are two pillars symbolizing the king’s authority and virtue. Tieu Khiem Lake is shaped like a moon that contains rainwater to wash the soul king before his transcendence!

      On the hill across the Tieu Khiem Tri Lake, you can see Buu Thanh built of bricks and in the middle is the mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc built on 3 floors of stones, but no one knows exactly if the king’s body is really here.

      The entire area is laid out in circles and has a certain peaceful harmony and stillness that makes it less of a tomb and more of a park like setting.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Chan May Port

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