1. The greatest show on water

     What do you do when there’s a monsoon and your fields are flooded? Why, you put on a show of course. Farmers who spent their days in flooded rice fields discovered that water was an excellent medium for puppetry, it not only concealed the puppeteers’ rod and string mechanisms, but it also provided exciting effects like waves and splashes. And this is how water puppetry was created. Originated in the 10th century in the Red River Delta, the rural Vietnamese believed that spirits controlled all aspects of their life, from kitchen to the rice paddies. That is the reason why farmers in this region devised a form of entertainment and worship to satisfy these spirits. Today, the wood-carved puppets, which weigh up to 15 kilograms are accompanied by an orchestra of vocals, wooden bells, drums, gongs, horns, bamboo flutes, cymbals and monochord. Singers tell the stories through songs that are acted out by puppets.

    Join the evening tour "Saigon by night" to watch this greatest show on the water.


    2. War Remnants Museum

    If you are looking for the Vietnamese perspective on the American war, the War Remnants Museum is a must. There are dozens of photos depicting the negative effects of napalm, Agent Orange and phosphorus, as well as a whole wall concentrated on the most notorious event of the war including the M Lai massacre. There are also mock prisons and guillotines that were used by former administrations. But the most jarring pieces in this building are the preserved human fetuses which came from people exposed to deadly chemicals during the war. The exhibition is understandably graphic.

    Visit War Remnants Meseum together with other colonial buildings in the tour "Follow the quiet American"

    3. A hippy religion

    Here’s a little riddle of sorts: there are two to three million of them in Việt Nam . They are vegetarians. And they have a pope. Any guesses? They believe God was born in a big bang and they symbolise God in the Divine Eye. Still no idea? Here’s one more hint: They first arose in the city of Tây Ninh during a séance in 1926. The answer: Caodaists. Cao Đài, the “Great Religion of the Third Period of Revalation and Salvation”, is a universal faith with the principal that all religions have one same divine being whether it is God, Allah, Yahweh or Tao. A single truth exists in all religions, according to Cao Đài, the truth being the existence of a Creator of all the universe and living beings, and the existence of a Supreme Being in everyone’s heart. By loving all people as brother and sister you can find God in your heart. Love and justice is all you need. Who says the hippy movement started in San Francisco in the 1960s? The Caodaists were hip to peace and love in a small Vietnamese town years before The Beatles and flower power ever came about.

    If you would like to experience this native religion, you should book a full day trip “Củ Chi-Cao Đài”. The tour gives you a chance to join Caodaists in their large service at noon.

    4. Việt Nam Museum of ethnology

    This museum allows visitors to see how Vietnam has evolved and enter the gardens for a glimpse of life in ethnic minority housing from all over the country.



    Nathaniel Liedl, Sarah Johnson & Trung Phan. (2010, February). Uniquely Vietnam . The word Ho Chi Minh City, p 36-46.

    Published 18/01/2013 Viewed 2108 Category MUST SEE SIGHTS
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