The diverse landscapes, exceptional beaches, vibrant culture and friendly locals make Vietnam an enchanting destination. Everything in this country gives off an incredible charm, embracing every kind of traveler.
In fact, Da Nang was named the top trending destination for 2020, outshining Tokyo, Seoul and Sao Paulo, according to Google. With its sandy beaches, a stunning golden bridge and gleaming new modernist architecture, Da Nang was on everyone’s bucket list in 2020, but COVID-19 happened.
The pandemic and the restrictions it brought propelled Google Arts & Culture to initiate virtual tours that take travel-hungry people to the most iconic places.
“The project is an important part of Google’s overall support of the local tourism industry, which has been badly affected by pandemic-related travel restrictions,” reads the ‘Wonders of Vietnam’ blog published by Google on Thursday.
The project, which will feature 35 stories and over 1,300 sumptuous photos of picturesque sites, historical heritage, nature, cuisine and culture, is aimed at showcasing destinations worth exploring when travel resumes.
Here are some of the special features you can find on “Wonders of Vietnam”:
A “hole” new world
The labyrinth world of underground Vietnamese caves presents an eerie but exciting atmosphere for the adventurers at heart. So exploring Son Doong Caves, the largest cave on earth, is a journey no traveler should miss. The cave took millions of years to develop and has its own tropical forest, a river so deep you can dive in and a whole new ecosystem of floras and faunas that will leave you in awe. Since its public opening in 2013, only a little more than 6000 people have finished the expedition, which takes at least four days. Imagine the grin and pride of those coming out of Son Doong after an adventure like no other!
3D experience of Emperor Tu Duc tomb
The Complex of Huế Monuments is located within the Thua Thien-Hue Province in the geographical center of Vietnam. Established as the capital of unified Vietnam in 1802, Huế was not only the political but also the cultural and religious center under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Huế Monuments Complex has suffered from the effects of wars, as well as modern development and expanding human settlements. The Tu Duc Tomb is the final resting place of Emperor Tu Duc who reigned from 1848 until his death in 1883. Tu Duc faced encroaching colonialism from the west as well as turmoil within Vietnam, particularly related to the construction of his tomb.
To make the 3D experience possible, CyArk digitally documented the ancient Vietnamese city of Hue in 2018, capturing the essence of structures built to honor Emperor Tu Duc. CyArk created a high resolution model by combining the LiDAR data with drone photographs and pictures take from the ground.
Unique bridges in Vietnam
Da Nang’s golden bridge caught the world’s attention when it opened in 2018. The pedestrian bridge makes way around a mountainside, sitting 1,400 meters above sea level. It has become a landmark, an icon, an Instagram-perfect site of its own amidst the lush green landscape around it.
Then there’s the historical Chua Cau Bridge in Hoi An, the oldest surviving bridge throughout Vietnam. Built in 1595 in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bridge has stories to tell, being a witness to the country’s eventful history and changes.
Step into the past
More than 500 years ago, in 1470, General Hoang Minh Hung, after winning the battle, returned and reclaimed the land on the bank of O Lau river. He then returned to his hometown in Cam Quyet, Quynh Luu and Nghe An and recruited countrymen to build the village. They were all ordained by the king the ancestor, village reclamation, or “thập nhị tôn phái” which means as the 12 families of village’s reclamation in which General Hoang Minh Hung was named the founder to this land. To remember that great merit, local people set up a temple to worship him. During the development process, the village has changed its name three times. The name Cam Quyet under Lord Nguyen was changed to Phuoc Giang, and in the time of Tay Son it was changed to Hoang Giang village. Until the beginning of the Gia Long Dynasty it was changed to Phuoc Tich and that name existed to date.
The royal treatment
The Nguyen Dynasty throne was located in Thai Hoa Palace, where council meetings hosted by the emperor happened twice a month. This was also the place where important court ceremonies were held for both internal and external affairs. Only the Top Four Officers and the royalties were allowed to enter Thai Hoa Palace. During meetings, the emperor sat solemnly on a golden throne, which is 101cm high, 72cm wide and 87cm long. Above it is the gold plated canopy, carved with a sophisticated dragon figure. The Nguyen Dynasty’s golden throne was recognized as National Treasure in 2015.