Laura will soon be gallivanting all over Vietnam and I thought it would be fun to give her some tough challenges to pursue while she’s getting her pho on.While in Vietnam, try and get underneath the skin of typical tourism sights and truly experience the culture in all its shapes and forms.Top 5 Challenges for Laura The Explorer in Vietnam

·         Dodge scooters zipping you by as you cross the busy city 6+ lane road

·         Haggle with the cyclo driver about the price of your journey and get a discount

·         Count the number of locals packed onto a motorbike in the countryside – you’d be surprised how many men, women, child and goat can be packed onto these!

·         Meditate briefly at a Vietnamese temple and light some incense

·         Shoot an AK-47 at the Cu Chi tunnel firing range…be careful…

Vietnamese Insight: Giac Vien Pagoda

The Giac Vien Pagoda was founded by Hai Tinh Giac in the 17th century and has been used for worship by monks and Emperors. The Pagoda is in a relatively poor part of Saigon and is quite tricky to find, hidden behind a warren of winding streets.

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Photos © marielle_vandermeer, Flickr
Today, 10 monks live here and dedicate their lives to worship in this marvellously preserved Pagoda. The structure sports some 100+ extravagant carvings of many deities. Bring a camera and snap some great images…like this!
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Photos © marielle_vandermeer, Flickr
Ornate tombs of monks decorate the entrance to the pagoda, along with a bright white statue of Quan The Am Bo Tat, a shining lotus blossom a symbol of purity.The Giac Vien Pagoda is open during the day, but go before sundown as the electricity is often not working during the evenings. Prayers are held daily at 4am, 5am, 8am to 10am, 2pm to 3pm, 4pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm. That’s sure a lot of prayers!
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Photos © marielle_vandermeer, Flickr
This post was written by Sevy who writes about Asian travel on her blog http://www.vietnamtravelnotes.com/