Vietnam Fine Arts Museum – An Historian’s Feast

Situated across the street from the Temple of Literature, the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts showcases exhibits from every historical period in Vietnam. It is the second-largest museum in the country and is dedicated to the arts. Located at No.66 Nguyen Thái Học Street, the building too is of immense historical significance and value. It was an abandoned Catholic girl’s boarding house that was built in 1937, and now houses a truly astounding collection of artefacts that pay tribute to the country’s past. The Fine Arts Museum is one that is held of utmost prominence in the society since it promotes and retains cultural value for the people who both remember living through certain chapters of Vietnam’s history and for those who want to know more about this unique land.

In the museum, one will discover a vast collection of artefacts that provides a deep understanding of the historical and culture import of most ethnic groups that call the nation home. It has on display various lacquers, ceramics and paintings that were created by post-war artists, and the museum even hosts items that date back to pre-historic and feudal times. The interior of the museum is an amazing sight to behold, as there are entire rooms devoted to the Vietnamese style of silk paintings, woodblock and folk art. Most of the arts capture the essences of war impacting the assorted tiers of society such as the army brotherhood, peasants and the working class.

Check out the top floors, as they are dedicated to the prehistoric artefacts and Buddhist sculptures. A main attraction is the 11th century goddess of mercy, Quan Yin, so be sure not to miss out on this fascinating piece that awes all who behold it. Among these are many other pieces of interest that should be explored, as even the smallest artefact sometimes holds a large piece of history, so be prepared to spend a few hours browsing through these fascinating national treasures. What is unique about this location, the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, is that if you see something you like, be sure to inquire, because some of these items, especially the paintings are up for sale and who knows, you may be in luck.

When staying in Vietnam, finding a great place to stay is no doubt of importance. Look into a fully serviced apartment Hanoi has to offer its discerning visitors, such as those featured at the Somerset Hoa Binh Hanoi, These Hanoi Apartments near Daeha Business Center are fully furnished and are located strategically close to all places of interest.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday. Google+

Phuong Mai Art Gallery – Showcasing Vietnamese talent

For a fascinating glimpse into some of Vietnam’s most talented artists as well as discovering some emerging talent in the field, visit the Phuong Mai Art Gallery when your travels bring you to Ho Chi Minh City. If you’re seeing quality accommodation in the area, consider a fine serviced residence in Ho Chi Minh City such as those featured at the Somerset Ho Chi Minh city. Offering international visitors some of the finest serviced apartments in Ho Chi Minh City this elegantly appointed property is an ideal home away from home. The Phuong Mai Art Gallery is a veritable treasure trove of Vietnamese artistic talent freely available for appreciation and expert critique. The genre of contemporary painting in the country found its genesis via two of the country’s most renowned fine arts academies: Gia Dinh Fine Arts and Dong Duong Fine Arts, which were established by French expatriates in the early part of the twentieth century. Some of the most famous names in contemporary Vietnamese art found their start here, such as Le Pho, Bui Xuan Phai, To Ngoc Van, Vu Cao Dam and Nguyen Gia Tri, to name a few. These French institutions provided the jumpstart needed for Vietnamese appreciation of the arts, and the country now boasts seven fine arts institutions located across three of the major cities, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Hue. International avenues for celebrating Vietnamese art have burgeoned in the past few decades, and the Phuong Mai Art Gallery is one such hub of arts appreciation. Featuring a steady stream of intriguing exhibitions that highlight the pinnacle of the Vietnamese arts scene, it is the perfect place to discover emerging talent or simply appreciate the works of some of the renowned greats.

 

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.

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Chaoyang Park (Sun Park) – When culture meets the outdoors meets beach volleyball

When business or leisure calls you to Beijing, make sure you make some time to visit Chaoyang Park (Sun Park), which opens up a stunning 289 acres for some ample relaxation time for the entire family. It is the perfect complement to a stay at one of the many fine serviced apartments Beijing has to offer its visitors, such as the Somerset Grand Fortune Garden Beijing which presents a quality option for a luxury apartment in Beijing. Take a break from the city’s shopping and entertainment venues with a sojourn into serenity at the Chaoyang Park, which features more than 20 panoramic areas for viewing pleasure, so remember to bring your camera to capture these exquisite nature scenes for posterity. The Ecological Valley is situated in the northern corner of the park, boasting a tranquil water area and a large expanse of green. Binshui Island, which rises majestically from the calm waters of Lotus Lake is a haven for wild ducks and offers some prime areas to bring you closer to nature in the form of wood platforms, pavilions and meadows. Situated near the west gate is the intriguing Art Square, which features a beautiful array of sculptures capturing the majestic landscapes of Vienna. For some fun in the beach and surf, head over to Bathing Beach, which attracts almost 3,000 visitors daily and it also hosted the beach volleyball games during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And if you really crave some retail therapy in the midst of the serenity, venture down to the Blue Harbor, which combines shopping, recreation, entertainment and conference exhibitions under a unique experiential space.

 

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.

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Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium – Meet citizens from the worldwide wilderness in the desert

Encounter some unique citizens of the wilderness at the Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium, located in the unique township of Al Ain not far from the capital, which features some quality accommodation Abu Dhabi has to offer its visitors. An excellent option for a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi comes in the form of the Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi which features elegant room options and a convenient location that makes it the perfect choice for business and leisure visitors. Take a break when your schedule permits to check out the fascinating sights in the Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium, located in the scenic foothills of the Jebel Hafeet Mountains. The zoo mainly features species native to the Arabian landscape, such as the oryx, gazelle, antelope and lechwe, which all enjoy excellent breeding conditions within special tree-shaded enclosures. The zoo is also home to the spectacular White Lion, which is considerably rare as only about 200 remain in special breeding programmes around the world. One of the zoo’s main areas is the large feline area, which hosts the popular jaguar, black and spotted leopards, pumas, and lions. An intriguing reptile house, monkey compound, aquarium and aviary are also well worth visiting. For bird enthusiasts, the zoo features an interesting predatory bird show, which lasts for half an hour, commencing at 7pm. Visitors wanting to walk around the zoo will find that the trek takes around 2 hours inclusive of photo opportunities, or they can ride a special train, but does not cover the “yellow” area that hosts the big cats, crocodiles and chimpanzees. So for a fun day out with the whole family, explore the Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.

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Abu Dhabi Heritage Village – Go back in time


To truly acquire the essence of a nation, one must peer into the hallowed depths of its past. Of course, what is read in books can only be imagined in our minds, and this is where Abu Dhabi takes a step further and offers an intriguing insight into the rich past of the United Arab Emirates, through its Heritage Village. If you want a hands-on approach to history this would be the perfect location to experience it firsthand – Arabian style. The village is built according to historical descriptions of a desert village and contains the authentic structures in place: an irrigation system, an old traditional mosque, handicraft stations, and tents.

The irrigation system in ancient Abu Dhabi, before the boom of the oil industry is quite an eye opener, as the scientific methods used before modern technological innovations are extremely intriguing. Of course this is not surprising at all, since the most prominent mathematicians, philosophers and other intellectuals hailed from the Arabian world, well before the dawn of the ancient Greek intellectual history, often mistaken as the “birthplace of civilization”. The museum within the village presents a quaint insight into the different aspects of desert life, so that one is transported into a genuine Bedouin camp.

What’s fascinating about this intriguing place is the demonstration of handicraft making conducted by local craftspersons. On one side, you will encounter the village pottery where people mold clay to form intricate earthenware. Venture a bit beyond that and there will be an amazing exhibition of glass-making unfolding right before your very eyes. The production of brassware is also a unique sight since there is so much of effort that goes into this highly skilled traditional craft. If you like, you will be invited by the craftsmen and women to try your hand at the various activities. Women sit weaving and spinning, and people who are watching can come and join in.

If you are looking for an authentic gift to give to someone back at home, do check out the shops that sell handmade soaps and dried herbs. Visitors will surely be walking out of the Heritage Village laden with bags of intriguing jewelry, handicrafts, spices and garments that present a true taste of Arabian culture. When it comes to accommodation, it is important to find an Abu Dhabi resort that is close to the Heritage Village and other quality entertainment sites. Out of the range of excellent Abu Dhabi beach hotels in the emirate, check out the Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara for a welcome dose of 5-star hospitality and elegantly appointed accommodation.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday. Google+

Salamanca Arts Centre – Where the arts come alive

The historic waterfront district has gained fame as Hobart’s hub of culture and the arts in the vibrant capital city of Tasmania. It is best enjoyed from any of the luxury serviced apartments Hobart offers its international visitors, and choice options can be explored further at the Somerset on the Pier Hobart. With fine interiors, chic amenities and 5-star service, these apartments are an excellent choice of Hobart accommodation. The waterfront occupies an important part in Hobart’s history, as it was the first point of entry for British immigrants in the nineteenth century. This iconic neighbourhood now boasts an intriguing variety of arts and culture that is worth delving into when you’re into the city. Every Saturday until 3pm, you’ll get to enjoy the finest offerings of locally sourced products and services at the vibrant Salamanca Market. From jewellery and artwork to food and handicrafts, you’ll be transported to the very heart of Tasmanian creativity here. Another must-visit locus that showcases some of the finest Tasmanian talent is the Salamanca Arts Centre, which finds its home over a spread of the historic Georgetown warehouses that line the waterfront.  Here, you will discover an intriguing collection of art galleries, theatres and arts administrative offices that is a one-stop shop of Tasmanian ingenuity. The complex also boasts some fabulous performance arts spaces at which there is always something going on, from cultural exhibitions and Shakespearean productions to abstract art showings; your inner creative demon will be unleashed with a vengeance in the midst of all this inspiration. You’ll also get to witness some spectacular music concerts, dance performances, literary readings and intriguing festivals of all kinds at this bustling hub of arts and culture, so venture on down and request a schedule of events to make the most of your time in Hobart.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.

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Soul of Asia Gallery – Delve into creative splendour

Phuket is one of the most vibrant islands off Thailand’s mainland and one of the lesser-known yet intriguing locales to check out is the ambitious Soul of Asia Gallery. Savour the unique offering of history and art featured in this gallery when you check into a quality Phuket resort such as the luxury oasis of the Millennium Resort Patong Phuket. Featuring elegant interiors sprinkled with warm island hospitality, this select choice of all the Patong resorts will pamper its guests each time. One of the most iconic fixtures in the Plaza Surin is the Soul of Asia Gallery, the beloved brainchild of Dutch import Eric Smulder, which treats all visitors to an impressive 200 square metres dedicated to showcasing some of the finest and most prestigious names in art. Witness some excellent paintings from Asia, as well as an exquisite range of Asian and Chinese antiques and antique furniture. The gallery’s highlight is a collection of intriguing lithographs from some renowned names as Chagall, Warhol, Dali and Picasso. Hailing from an old Dutch industrial background which boasted dedicated patronage of the arts, Smulder is credited with creating a “Master Paintings” gallery in Hong Kong, which has drawn much acclaim as the largest art gallery that features western art in Asia. 2002 saw him merge his love for the arts with his personal hobbies of golf, fishing and diving and you are invited to witness this intriguing blend of creativity at the Soul of Asia Gallery.

 

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.

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Starhill Gallery – Calling all luxury shopaholics

The next time you’re in the vibrant metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, head over to the Starhill Gallery if you’ve got plastic to flash and an unlimited bank roll, because here is a luxury shopper’s mecca that will have you coming back for more. Consider checking into an elegant Kuala Lumpur service apartment to get the most of your stay, especially at the Marc Service Suites Kuala Lumpur. Boasting a central location and five-star features, this is one hotel apartment Kuala Lumpur has to offer its visitors that will pamper you throughout your stay. The Starhill Gallery is your one-stop shop for a select array of luxury retail items to make any vacation truly memorable. Fashionistas can browse through fashions and accessories afforded by Dior, Valentino’s and Alexander McQueen and pick up some stylish footwear from Sergio Rossi to complement that little black dress you just picked up. Snag a stylish timepiece from Chopard or Hublot, or pick up a bejewelled necklace or dazzling set of earrings from Ceres or Boucheron. Starhill Gallery also features a designer array of select international cuisine to choose from, with Japanese, Indian, Chinese and Malaysian cuisine presented with extensive and creative menus catering to the most fussy of palates. Or relax and unwind with a delicious cocktail at the Village Bar, the perfect evening treat to toast a successful round of shopping. 

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.

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Bastille Day in Pondicherry – Watch Two Cultures Collide in Celebration

Bastille Day is the French National Day, marking the anniversary of the storming of Bastille, a prison, in 1789. The fall of the prison symbolised the rise of modern France, the end of monarchy and the start of a republic. Bastille Day was first celebrated in France on the fourteenth of July, 1790, exactly one year after the prison fell and has been an annual event ever since. The Bastille Day celebrations are grandiose in nature and include parades, parties and fireworks. After all, it is a day of immense significance for the French, so one might find it a little odd to see that the Indian city of Pondicherry also commemorates Bastille Day with a similar pomp and grandeur. Visitors may also be perplexed by the architecture of the older city areas, which bear a strong French influence, that is until one realises that Pondicherry (now called Puducherry) though small in area was once the largest French colony in India. It is still home to a significant French expat community.

Although essentially Indian in nature, French culture is still strong in this southern city, even decades after independence. This unique blend of Indian and French cultures makes Pondicherry a highly interesting place to visit. Tourists who happen to be visiting the city in mid-July will be able to witness first-hand the delightful outcome when two seemingly disparate cultures collide in unity. Bastille Day is a major event on the city’s calendar and the yearly festivities are taken quite seriously by the locals. The day is generally marked with a parade usually conducted by retired soldiers. The parade honours French soldiers who have fallen in battle. Amidst all the festivities, the locals also manage to show their national pride with the Indian national anthem being sung along with the French one and Indian flags being displayed alongside French flags.

Tourists in town for the celebrations and looking for quality Pondicherry accommodation can try the Hotel Atithi. This impressive example of a Pondicherry hotel occupies a central location and offers guests easy access to the city’s commercial and leisure areas. With its convenient location, top-notch services and tastefully decorated rooms, it is the ideal accommodation option for both leisure and business tourists.

Gyeongbok Palace – The crowning glory of the Joseon Dynasty

The lively city of Seoul, capital city of South Korea, boasts an impressive cultural and historical legacy ripe for closer exploration, whether your travels to Seoul are for business or pleasure. When seeking accommodation in the city, consider an exclusive Seoul apartment such as those featured at the Somerset Palace Seoul. With luxury interiors and close proximity to many of Seoul’s entertainment and dining options, this is the ideal choice of Seoul serviced apartments for any corporate or vacation trip. Close by is the beautiful Gyeongbok Palace, which has seen a tumultuous history and it is a Seoul landmark worthy of exploration. Built in the fourteenth century under the patronage of the Joseon Dynasty, it suffered a complete razing courtesy of a fire in the sixteenth century and then later destruction by the Japanese empire in the early twentieth century. However, in the past fifty years, the South Korean government has undertaken a massive reconstruction project to restore the Gyeongbok Palace to its former glory, and as of 2010, almost 40% of the restoration work had been completed. The palace was built three years after the establishment of the Joseon Dynasty, and it served as its primary palace. It was situated in the very epicenter of then Korea’s capital city, blanked by the magnificent Mount Bugaksan as a backdrop. After the palace was razed to the ground in a fire and abandoned for almost three centuries, it witnessed reconstruction on a grand scale in 1867 at the order of Prince Regent Heungseon Daewongun. He oversaw an elaborate construction of 330 structures organised in a complex labyrinthine design, which unfortunately was completely destroyed by the Japanese empire during its occupation of the country. Despite the travails the palace has suffered, it is now en route to assuming the mantle of the prominent palace it held during the height of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.

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