Dec 7, 2018
Thich Nhat Hanh in Hue
Location: Tu Hieu Pagoda, Hue, Vietnam
Thich Nhat Hanh in Hue
I got word from Mark Ratcliff that Plum Village founder, Thich Nhat Hanh is now back in Vietnam after decades of absence from his homeland. I speculate that now being 92 years old and sick, the government allowed him back to Vietnam for his final days. I haven't met him yet, but he has always been on my spiritual horizon. I was the teacher at Plum Village in Pak Chong where I taught English to monastics whose reverence for him is exalted. I planned to make the trip to Hue to pay my respect. Hue is only 3 hours away from DaNang.
Unknown in his Homeland
It is interesting to note that the young Vietnamese people I asked have no knowledge whatsoever of Thich Nhat Hanh. Vietnam has an entire generation completely oblivious about their world-famous renegade Zen monk who was put in exile for being outspoken during his time against the war and against policies of the government at that time.
I hope that history puts him in his rightful place in the annals of Vietnam's struggles in forging a nation from a millennium of turmoil. According to another Vietnamese friend, Vietnam was at war with the Chinese for a thousand years, at war with the French for 100 years, at war with the Americans for 20 years and at war with itself (civil war) for 12 years. Finally, after all these unimaginable hardship, Vietnam is now at peace with itself and the rest of the world. By allowing Thich Nhat Hanh to come back after a long exile, the country comes full circle to be at peace with its past. May the resilient Vietnamese people continue to live in peace, harmony and prosperity.
...and may Thay (deferential name for a teacher) find solace in his final days.
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(Nov 8, 2018) You're in Danang? Thich Nhat Hanh is back living in Vietnam now, in Hue, not far from Danang.
(Nov 8, 2018) Mark, I could make a short trip to pay my respect. I didn't meet him when I was the English teacher at Plum Village, Pak Chong. Thanks for the heads-up (paging Tram Tran).
(Nov 8, 2018) I read 2 books of his. so good. go go go. visit him.
(Nov 8, 2018) Mikey, ah...you add fuel to the fire....I must go then
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Next stop: Pampered Living at Sea Sand Apartment and Hotel
Da Nang (city), Vietnam
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DA NANG BLOGS
- 30-Day Mini-life in Danang, Goodbye and Thank You Dec 8, 2018
- The Universe Provides Dec 8, 2018
- Pampered Living at Sea Sand Apartment and Hotel Nov 14-Dec 8, 2018
- Thich Nhat Hanh in Hue, Vietnam Dec 7, 2018
- Goodbye Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Dec 8, 2018
- Beer, Burgers and Friends at CohibaR DaNang Nov 25 - Dec 6, 2018
- Friendship, Beer and Sausages at the German Deli Nov 20 - Dec 1, 2018
- Beach Yoga in DaNang, Vietnam Nov 17, 2018
- Danang Wall Art Nov 8 - Dec 8, 2018
- The Wonderful People I met in Danang, Vietnam Nov 8 - Dec 8, 2018
- Revisiting DaNang, Vietnam Nov 8, 2018
- Backpacking Da Nang, Vietnam Jan 12-16, 2015
Da Nang International Airport (DAD) to Downtown Da Nang
- the airport is practically on the edge of the city center about $3 by cab. Taxis from the airport taking you to the city will try to charge you VND 10,000 "airport fee" in addition to your fare. Don't pay it. The passenger coming in to the airport already paid for this. But drivers don't pay this when going out. We were victimized by a Mai Linh taxi in this manner.
FYI / Tips
- Da Nang doesn't seem to have a backpacker area like Bangkok's Khaosan Road. The establishments are spread out within the city but most of them are lined up along the river between Han River Bridge and the Dragon Bridge
- XeOm or moto taxis are cheap and not aggressive
Hanoi to Da Nang
- plane - Jetstar takes you there in 1 hour, 15 mins. Da Nang Airport is just on the outskirt of the city center...about $3 by cab
- bus - a bus may take 15-16 hours from Hanoi's Giap Bat station
- train - the Reunification Express makes a stop in Da Nang
How to Get around Da Nang
- there are no tuks-tuks in Vietnam but you can rent a motorcycle, take a cab or hire a XeOm single motorcycle
- most of the places within the city center can be reached by foot - recommended as you see more of the city on foot than on a motorbike
- still, the best way to see Da Nang is on a bicycle. VND 50,000, it is not as cheap as Cambodia ($1), but it's still not bad. Or, you can check-in at a hotel that offers it for free - like Sanouva Hotel
Things to do, Places to go in Da Nang
- Lady Buddha - a 67m white marble statue on the slope of Monkey Mountain, similar to Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer
- Linh Ung Pagoda - same location as the Lady Buddha. Built in the 18th century and rebuilt by Minh Mang, the second ruler of Vietnam's Nguyen Dynasty
- Cham Museum - world's largest collection of Cham artefacts from the 7th to 15th century
- Danang Museum - free admission. Depicts life in Central Vietnam from 14th century
- Marble Mountains - see marble making at its finest together with an assortment of fine marble handicrafts. You can also explore the area for its many tunnels, caves and grottos
- Monkey Mountain - at 693MASL, it offers a stunning vista of Da Nang. You'll pass by the Lady Buddha on the way to the top
- My Khe Beach - fine white sand beach that stretches all the way along the eastern coast of Da Nang going to Hoi An
- Man Thai Fishing Village - a fishing village still using traditional methods
Da Nang Cost Index
- VND 12,000 1.5 liter drinking water
- VND 300,000 one hour body massage
- VND 10,000 banh mi (baguette sandwich)
- VND 25,000 noodle soup with meat
- VND 10-12,000 coffee
- VND 50,000 bicycle rental, 1 day (not readily available)
- VND 30,000/kilo laundry
- VND 380,000 sleeper bus to Da Nang from Hanoi (as of 2012)
- VND 100,000 dorm bed
- VND 200,000 double bed in a fan room, shared toilet
- VND 3,000 internet cafe
- VND 80,000 taxi from airport to city center by the river
- VND 460,000 Jetstar flight from Hanoi to Da Nang (no baggage)
- VND 150,000 seafood pasta in a decent restaurant
Vietnam FYI / Tips / Dos and Don'ts
- Hanoi Grapevine HCMC Update - for the latest events in Vietnam
- Vietnam establishments will not accept US dollars, unlike Cambodia. You have to use Vietnam Dong (US$1 = Vietnam Dong VND 23,255 = Php 53.20 as of Aug 1, 2016)
- Vietnamese smokers will smoke in air-conditioned establishments, air-conditioned buses packed with people including women, children and babies. They also smoke inside hospitals with no smoking signs.
- Vietnam ranks almost the same as Thailand and Cambodia for cheap price. Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia cost more
- internet speed is generally fast and reliable but during important events like Tet holiday, election, etc., it slows down
- Vietnamese generally do not speak or understand much English. It will be a challenge.
- best to dress appropriately, not revealing too much skin (Saigon is an exception - the ladies there set the trend in very short shorts)
- remove your shoes when entering a home or place of worship
- ask first before taking someone's picture. If they say no, don't persist or offer money
- best to carry your hotel's business card with you when going out. You can just show it to the cab driver or XeOm driver if they don't understand English
- leave your valuables, passport, travel tickets, etc. with the hotel's safety deposit box
- when lying down, don't point your feet or the soles of your shoes to anyone or to a family altar
- carry only enough cash for your needs that day
- don't lose your temper in public - Vietnamese people are warm, generous and polite. They look down on people who lose their composure
- don't take pictures of military installations - you can go to jail
- refrain from taking videos of minority people until permitted to do so
Lesser-Known Vietnam Destinations
- Phu Yen Province - by the beach
- Hoa Binh Lake - locals' alternative to Halong Bay
- Ninh Binh - Trang An Grottoes, Tam Coc, Mua Caves, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Van Long Nature Reserve
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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