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How to throw a Vietnamese spring roll party at home

A popular appetizer that can be found in most Vietnamese restaurants, a Vietnamese spring roll is a dish consisting of pork, prawn, vegetables, rice vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped in banh trang or rice paper.

It is served fresh at room temperature and not fried like Chinese spring rolls.

This dish also can be part of healthy diet for those who are looking for something with protein, lots of fresh vegetables and low in carbs.

But if you are looking for a fresh new idea to host a party at home, how about throwing a Vietnamese spring roll party for your guests?

It is a fun way to get your friends to gather round the table and DIY their own spring roll while catching up with each other.

Moreover, your guests who are watching out for their weight would not feel guilty feasting during the party.

With easy to prepare ingredients, here is how to throw a Vietnamese spring roll party at home:

Vietnamese spring roll
Image by Tonda Tran from Pixabay

1.First of all, you must have rice paper

Vietnamese rice papers are so easily available these days especially at supermarkets.

There are two types of rice paper that are commonly found in stores. The common one is the white rice paper made from white rice.

If you prefer brown rice over white, there is also brown rice paper for you to choose.

2.Prepare your protein

There are various meat fillings for Vietnamese spring roll. Typically, you can prepare pork slices and shrimp.

Other meats include fish, squid, beef, tofu and sausages.

If you are having a barbecue at home, laying down some extra ingredients for Vietnamese spring roll is definitely a good idea. Just toss some of those freshly grilled meat into your rolls.

3.Slice up your vegetables

Vietnamese spring rolls cannot go without fresh vegetables.

It is the freshness of these veggies that add different textures to your spring rolls.

Make use of your knife skill and slice up plenty of vegetables before your guests arrive.

You can chop up some carrots, cucumber, bell pepper or cabbage julienne-style.

On top of that, you can also prepare some herbs such as coriander, basil or mint to add extra flavour into the rolls.

4.Remember your rice noodles

Now, it is time to prepare some carbs. Boil ahead rice vermicelli according to the instructions.

Take note that different brands of rice noodles have different cooking time.

Watch out for the time so that you can cook your noodle to perfection.

5.Finally, spice them up with a variety of condiments

Vietnamese spring roll can be served with peanut sauce or other types of dipping sauces.

The simplest way to make the traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce is to add in some lime juice (or vinegar) into one part fish sauce, one part sugar and two parts water.

Other sauces that are perfect for these rolls are hoisin sauce and sweet Thai chilli sauce.

Recipes for these dipping sauces can be found online and the ingredients to make them are usually very simple.

How French colonisation of Vietnam led to the birth of banh mi

Sometimes when you eat a certain food, you are eating a piece of history.

Take banh mi, for instance. It is a type of Vietnamese sandwich made up of an airy baguette with a cirspy, thin crust filled with various ingredients like cilantro, pork sausage, pickled carrots along with chilli and mayonnaise.

While the Southern Vietnamese call it banh mi or wheat banh (bread), the Northern Vietnamese call it banh tay or western-style bread.

This sandwich would not have come into existence in the first place if Catholic evangelisation and eventually French colonisation did not take place in Vietnam.

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The arrival of Catholic missionaries in Vietnam

To know the origin story of banh mi, one must understand how Catholicism arrived in the country.

One of the first missionaries to arrive in Vietnam was the Jesuit priest Alexandre de Rhodes, who arrived there in 1624.

In 1650, he returned to Europe to advocate more bishops and priests to be sent to Vietnam as about that time there were already 100,000 converts.

At first, there was little to no resistance from the local government against Catholic missionaries.

Until in 1825, emperor Ming Mang of the Nguyen dynasty banned foreign missionaries from entering Vietnam.

The emperor subsequently banned Roman Catholicism. During this time, many French missionaries were persecuted, especially after the Le Van Khoi revolt (1833-1835).

The revolt had southern Vietnamese, Vietnamese Catholics, French Catholic Missionaries and Chinese settlers under the leadership of Le Van Khoi rising up to oppose the imperial rule of Emperor Minh Mang.

It took three years for Minh Mang to suppress the rebellion. Eventually, 1,831 people were executed and buried in a mass grave.

Minh Mang’s successor Thieu Tri also upheld the anti-Catholic policy, although his approach was not as aggressive as Minh Mang.

It is believed that the Vietnamese sandwich had already existed by that time since the word ‘banh mi’ was found in Jean-Louis Taberd’ 1830s dictionary Dictionarium Latino-Annamiticum.

With the news of the deaths of their citizens reached France, the French Foreign Minister Francois Guizot sent a fleet to Southeast Asia in 1843.

The aim was to support British efforts in China and at the same time fight the persecution of French missionaries in Vietnam.

Since then, the French conquest begun until they finally took complete control of Vietnam in 1887 with the formation of La Federation Indochinnoise.

Banh mi during French-colonised Vietnam

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Banh mi and beer. Image by

The French colonists brought along their language and food such as coffee, baguette and pate chaud during the colonisation of Vietnam.

At first, the locals could not enjoy French cuisine as they were too expensive.

French baguette in particular was a luxury due to the imported wheat at that time.

However during this period, the local Chinese were hired as chefs and cooked for the French.

They learned the skills to make French cuisine including the art of making bread.

Eventually, the Vietnamese twerked the recipe a bit by putting more yeast and water to make it lighter.

When the wheat import was interrupted during World War I, the local bakers started to be creative.

They began mixing cheap rice flour when making the bread.

Unexpectedly, the move made the bread fluffier, allowing the locals to afford to buy bread.

While the French loved to eat their baguettes with chicken liver or goose liver pate, the Vietnamese were not a big fan of these combos.

Thus, they started to make their own fillings.

The banh mi that we now know of today was founded some time in the 1950s.

With pickled carrot, radish, cucumber and cilantro as well as source of protein such as ham, pork, chicken or fried egg, it is now a whole new dish, different from its French origin.

Today, different eateries and stalls have their own version of banh mi.

Customers can even customise their own by requesting which ingredients they preferred to put into their bread.

It is definitely a must-try food when visiting The Land of Blue Dragon.

As author Mina Holland stated in her book The Edible Atlas: Around the World In Thirty-Nine Cuisines, “Banh mi are something of an edible reminder of Vietnam’s imperial past, fusing the bread of coloniser and fillings of the colonised. A banh mi sandwich is a fantastic route into Vietnamese food. It is both an introduction to the crisp acid flavours and a morsel of edible history.”

What to know about Asian fox spirits; huli jing, kumiho and kitsune

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Asian fox spirit is often depicted as having nine tails. Credits: Pixabay

Different cultures have their own versions of almost the same mythical creature, which is almost always inspired by the same animal. Take the fox, for example. Although there are some variations in their depictions, the fox often appears in the folklore of many cultures.

Typically, they are known as symbols of cunning and trickery, especially in Western and Persian folklore. Perhaps this reputation derived from fox’s ability to evade hunters.

Similarly in Asian folklore, they appear as fox spirits with the ability to disguise themselves as beautiful women. The widely known Asian fox spirits are huli jing, kumiho and kitsune which comes from Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures respectively.

Here are some interesting facts and stories about these three Asian fox spirits:

1. Chinese fox spirit, Huli jing

Overall in Chinese mythology, all things are capable of acquiring human forms, magical powers and immortality.

The ideas of species being able to transform, especially from non-human to human, started during the Han Dynasty.

Since then, the idea of the fox being able to form itself into human started to take shape.

The Huli jing walks on its four legs but has nine tails, which is why it is also known as the nine-tailed fox. As for how they are able to transform into a human? A fox needs to find a skull that fits on its head to be able to transform into a human being.

Chinese fox spirits often appear as young, beautiful but dangerous women.

There are several early accounts depicting the physical appearance and capability of huli jing.

Chinese historian Guo Pu wrote in Records from Within the Recondite, “When a fox is fifty years old, it can transform itself into a woman. When it is one hundred, it becomes a beautiful woman or a shaman; some become men and have sex with women. They can know events from more than a thousand li (miles) away and good at witchcraft, beguiling people and making them lose their senses. When they are a thousand years old, they can commune with the heavens and become heavenly foxes.”

Apparently, it is not pleasant to bump into one of these huli jing especially if you are a woman.

Qian Xiyan in the book The Garden of Cleverness (1613) said: “Foxes hide all day and run around all night. Foxes love women’s chambers, and when women in the capital have their period, they throw their dirty rags in the gutter, and the foxes come and lick up all the menstrual blood. No one sees them. This is probably the reasons they turn into monsters.”

2.Korean fox spirit, Kumiho

As all nine-tailed foxes come from China, the Korean counterpart of huli jing is a kumiho. If you are a huge Korean drama fan, you might be familiar with this fox spirit.

In 2010 My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Shin Min-ah plays the role of a kumiho. In that version of kumiho, she has superhuman strength, is exceptionally fast and can identify people and objects from far.

On the downside, she has a fear of water. This is due to her fox bead, which stores her life energy, and is made from goblin fire.

Meanwhile in Tale of the Nine-Tailed (2020), Lee Dong-wook is a kumiho named Lee Yeon who abdicated his position as the mountain spirit of Baekdudaegan to search the reincarnation of his mortal love. He follows her soul into the afterlife to give her the fox bead as her mark when she is reborn again.

Unlike other Asian fox spirits, kumiho is known to have a fox bead or yeowoo guseul.

According to Korean mythology, the fox bead provides power and intelligence to kumiho as well as absorb a human’s energy with it.

Furthermore, kumiho is often depicted as evil entities, compared to other fox spirits who have at least some moral compass and can therfore be either good or bad.

Just like the kumiho in Tale of the Nine Tailed, they are known for their capability to change their appearances. In most tales, they change into a beautiful woman who aims to seduce men in order to eat their livers or hearts.

In other versions of the folklore, if a kumiho abstains from killing and eating humans for a thousand days, it can be a true human and lose its evil character.

3.Japanese fox spirit, Kitsune

Just like kumiho, Japanese fox legends had their origins in Chinese huli jing. Similar to other fox spirits, kitsune is known to have shape-shifting ability.

However, they have to live a life of a normal fox for a hundred years before it can transform into a human. They can be male or female at any age but like other Asian fox spirits, kitsune’s preference is to be a young beautiful woman.

It was believed that any woman encountered alone, at dusk or night, could be kitsune. Kitsune’s other powers include fire breathing, being able to create lightning like Thor and enter people’s dreams as they please.

As for kitsune’s tails, it can have from one to nine of them. The only way to kill a kitsune is to cut off all of its tails. While only one of the tails is believed to be the source of its power, it is better to cut them all since you might not which tail is the main one.

Kitsune can be good or bad. The zenko kitsune is a follower of Inari, the Shinto deity of agriculture, harvest and fertility. Meeting a zenko kitsune is definitely a good sign.

On the contrary, the yako kitsune is not only mischievous but evil too.

According to Japanese mythology, a fox can possess a human and the victim is always a young woman.

The method of possession? The fox may enter beneath her fingernails or through her breasts. In order to get rid the fox spirit, an exorcism should be performed on that person, preferably at an Inari shrine.

Once the victim is freed from possession, he or she would never be able to eat food favoured by kitsune such as tofu or adzuki beans.

Special mentions: Ho Tinh

The least famous among these Asian fox spirits is the Vietnamese ho tinh.

Legend has it that ho tinh is a huge nine-tailed fox that inhabited a deep cave in Long Bien.

In a typical Asian fox spirits’ move, ho tinh would disguise itself as a beautiful woman. Then she would trick its victims into following it back to the mountains.

Somewhere in the mountains is ho tinh’s cave where it would trap and feed on them.

3 reasons to visit picturesque Ba Ho Waterfalls, Nha Trang

If you are for a change of scenery from the coastal city of Nha Trang, head to Ba Ho Waterfalls.

This nature attraction comprises three natural waterfalls.

Located about 20 kilometers north of Nha Trang, the waterfalls are a favorite spot for hikers and trekkers.

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Relax and enjoy what nature has to offer.
Here are three reasons you need to visit Ba Ho Waterfalls:


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Pick a cliff for to jump down from.

It takes a 30-minute walk from the entrance to the first waterfall. After that, the climb becomes challenging that you need to have proper shoe attires to walk through them.

If you don’t have proper walking shoes for the waterfall, you can buy them at Nha Trang city. Our personal favourite sandals are the Vietnamese local brand, Vento Footwear. They are comfortable, durable and have a strong grip.

Once you reach the second and third waterfalls, watch out for signs indicating where you can jump from, face your fears and try out cliff-jumping. It is a little bit nerve-wracking but definitely worth the try.

If you are not a strong swimmer, make sure you wear the life jackets provided at every waterfall.

2.Enjoy other activities

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Pick a water activity,

If you are not able to hike to the waterfalls, enjoy some activities not far from the entrance of Ba Ho Waterfalls.

You can kayak, ride a water bike or tire yourself out on a hamster water wheel. There is even a swimming pool right next to the river for visitors to swim in. You can use them for no additional charge after showing your entrance tickets to the person-in-charge.

Food and drinks are available at Ba Ho Waterfalls for sale so bring extra money just in case you are famished after all that sweating.

3.Escape from the mainstream tourists

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Escape the crowd at the waterfall.

Since Ba Ho Waterfalls requires a little bit of physical stamina, it is not a popular place for the casual mainstream tourists.

It has relatively less crowd compared to Nha Trang’s other tourist attractions such as Po Nagar and Nha Trang Beach.

Here you can enjoy the solemnity of nature, relieving your stress before bracing yourself for the crowd and noise of Nha Trang city.

How to get to Ba Ho Waterfalls

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The view on the way to Ba Ho Waterfalls.

You can book a Grabcar or a taxi to take you to Ba Ho Waterfalls. If you are confident with your driving skills amidst Vietnamese traffic, you can rent a car or motorcycle to go there. Or you can book a half-day tour using travel platforms such as TripAdvisor and Klook.

The perks of having a tour guide to bring you is to have a local explaining to you about the place, how to enjoy it (e.g. where to jump), telling you where are the best spots to take your photos and of course, take a photo of your scrunching face as you jump from the cliff.

Speaking of photographs, the site offers plenty of photo op backgrounds to choose from such as wooden arches, swings near the river and many more.

Before you make your way there, make sure you are fit, wear proper shoes and bring a spare change of clothes.

The road to the waterfalls will take you along the picturesque coastline of Nha Trang, so enjoy your journey.

5 things you must do at Vinpearl Land Nha Trang, Vietnam

Vinpearl Land Nha Trang is the Vietnamese take on Disneyworld.

Located on the Hon Tre Island, the amusement park is one of the must-visit places of Nha Trang city.

It doesn’t matter if you are a solo traveler, travelling with your better halves or with your whole family, there is something for all ages at Vinpearl Land Nha Trang.

How to buy a Vinpearl Land Nha Trang ticket and how to get there
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Visitors lining up to get on the cable car.

For foreign travelers, there are several ways for you to purchase your entrance ticket to Vinpearl Land Nha Trang.

You can even buy your tickets online ahead of your arrival in Vietnam on travel platforms such as Klook. If you are staying in Nha Trang city, take a Grab ride or taxi from your hotel to Vinpearl Land Cable Car station and from there you can claim your physical ticket.

Secondly, you can purchase your Vinpearl Land Nha Trang ticket at your hotel reception desk. Check with your hotel if they are selling the entrance tickets.

Lastly you can go straight to Vinpearl Cable Car station and purchase your ticket. However, this last option might cause you to wait for a long queue especially during peak season (June to August).

If you are staying on the island, check at your hotel for the entry tickets.

A basic entrance ticket is for the entire day and it gives access to almost all rides and attractions.

Here is a tip: if your time or budget is limited, make your way to the park in the evening. Although you cannot visit some of the attractions such as the water park at night, the ticket is way cheaper.

Additionally, you can purchase entry for lunch buffet at the amusement park along with your entrance ticket.

If lunch buffet is not for you, there are several other eateries at the park so bring extra money for that. Food and drink are not allowed to be brought into the park.

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Try some of the local cuisine at its lunch buffet.

Vinpearl Cable Car

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The view as your cable car cabin approaches the amusement park.

Getting to Vinpearl Land Nha Trang via the cable car is a memorable experience on its own.

The 15-minute ride (depending on wind condition) per trip is one of the longest over-water cable car rides in the world.

Carrying passengers in 48 cabins in an hour, the cable car connects Vinpearl Land and Nha Trang beach.

The best part of the ride is taking in the beauty of Nha Trang Bay, one of the most famous and popular bays in the world.

It uses seven towers to support the cable car system over the sea. At night, these cable towers turn into mini-Eiffel towers lining the bay.

If you have acrophobia, you can also take Vinpearl-owned ferry from Nha Trang Beach to the island.

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The view of the cable car system at night.

With so many things to do at Vinpearl Land, here are at least five activities you should put on your itinerary:

1.Go on all the amusement rides

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The calm before the storm.

The amusement rides at Vinpearl Land cater to all kinds of thrill seekers.

Do you like the feeling of flying in the air? Then ride the Pirate Ship and Swing Carousel where you can have the taste of cruising in the air.

If getting dizzy is your thing, then give the Thrilling Ferris a try. It is perfect for those who do not mind being spun around high up in the air.

Free falling is definitely not for everyone. Imagine getting carried to the top of the tower with a height of over 20m. Before you take your moment to enjoy the ocean view, you are then suddenly dropped like nobody’s business. That is what you get when riding the Sky Drop.

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Fly in the sky like a superman on this ride.

For those who have the need for speed, go on the Roller Coaster, Giant Sky Chaser and Adventures in the Mines.

Of all the rides, we highly suggest taking the Alpine Coaster. There are 50 sleds provided for this ride.

However, since it is one of the more famous rides in the park, it can take up to one hour of queuing before your turn.

The largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, Alpine Coaster Vinpearl Land features a total length of 1,760 meters. The height difference between two stations is up to 133 meter so it is quite a steep ride in the beginning.

At first, the Alpine Coaster ride will take visitors from the downhill station to the top hill station (at 140 meters above sea level) using the straight line pull system. Throughout this 540 meters long journey, visitors can enjoy the panoramic view of Nha Trang Bay.

Once the sled has reached the top hill station, the adrenaline rush begins. This is when visitors will experience the thrills sliding down a 1,220 meter winding road.

Even when you are battling with your fear while riding the Alpine Coaster, watch out for two cameras along your way. Remember to smile at the cameras and purchase your photos at the end of your ride.

For parents, there is a number of rides perfectly catered for young children.

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This is the time to scream your lungs out!

2.Splash away at the waterpark

After all the adrenaline rush, continue your thrilling adventure at Vinpearl Land’s water park.

At the Rafting Slide, there are four slides to choose from with different turns and curves, all towering at 12 meters high.

You can ride alone or a pair but make sure to go on all four of the slides. Each slide promises to bring you different experiences.

If you are coming in a group of four or six, there is Family Rafting Slide for you to enjoy together as a group.

Do not have enough people with you? This is the perfect time for you to make new friends and enjoy the ride together.

Vinpearl Land always has the young travelers in mind. There is a Kid’s Pool with colourful slides for them to enjoy.

If you are sick of the chlorinated water at the water park, then head to Vinpearl Splash Bay. This giant floating game is located right at the shoreline Vinpearl Land covering a total area of 4,200 square meters. It is equipped with slides, climbing cliff, balancing brides and giant balloons.

Make sure you wear your life jackets before you go on the float. But for safety, there are life guards always on standby.

3.Stroll through one of the most beautiful gardens

After all the fun and adventure, slow it down by strolling through the Rose Kingdom at The World Garden of Vinpearl Land.

There is a 5,000 square meter piece of land dedicated only for roses and you can just smell the fragrance of these flowers.

If roses are not your cup of tea, there are many other types of plants at The World Garden. Botany lovers will never get enough of this attraction.

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Smell the roses at Rose Garden.

4.Catch a glimpse of mermaids

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Walk through this tunnel and watch the fishes swim!

Apparently, Vinpearl Land has the most modern aquarium system in Vietnam. Thus, a visit to the park would not be complete without visiting the aquarium.

The entire aquarium is a two-storey building block built in an artificial rock mountain. There are more than 300 marine species up for display.

The highlight of the aquarium is its ‘mermaid’ performances. At selected time of the day, ‘mermaids’ will swim around in front of live audience telling a story about the consequences of marine pollution.

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Go early for the Mermaid Show so that you can have the front row seats.

5.Ride the Vinpearl Sky Wheel

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The Vinpearl Sky Wheel.

Officially opened on Aug 30, 2017, the Vinpearl Sky Wheel is the country’s largest wheel in Vietnam.

At an impressive height of 120m, it is also recognised as one of Top 10 wheels in the world.

It can accommodate up to 480 passengers for every turn. What makes Vinpearl Sky Wheel is not just the humongous size, but also the view it offers. Overlooking the beautiful of Nha Trang Bay, the view from the wheel is simply breathtaking.

The best time is to plan when you want to ride the sky wheel. Let say that you want to catch the sunset from the ride, go early just in case there is a long queue waiting for you.

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Enjoy the scenery of Nha Trang Bay from the top of Vinpearl Sky Wheel.

With so many things to do and so little time in a day, make sure you plan what you want to do.

Some of the ticketing officers at the counter do not speak English fluently so there might be some language barrier.

Nonetheless, make sure to grab an English information pamphlet at the counter. The pamphlets offer visitors information on activities, show times for performances as well as a map of the park. It is informative enough for you to plan your activities for a fun day out at Vinpearl Land Nha Trang.

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Welcome to Vinpearl Land Nha Trang.

5 things to know about Nha Trang Cathedral, Vietnam

Regardless of your religious views, an architecturally beautiful place of worship must be on a travel itinerary when visiting a new city.

So if you are visiting the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang, then you must visit its cathedral.

Here are five things you should know about the beautiful Nha Trang Cathedral:
1.It is known by many different names.

While many call it Nha Trang Cathedral, its official name is the Christ the King Cathedral. It is the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Nha Trang in central Vietnam.

The daily masses are held at 5am and 6.30pm.

Beside the Nha Trang Cathedral, the building is also known as the Stone Church or the Mountain Church by the locals.

2.The history of Nha Trang Cathedral

The Nha Trang parish was founded in 1886 by French missionaries. On Sept 3, 1928, the construction of the church began on a small hill named Hon Mot.

The French actually used 500 mines to level the ground, hence the hill on which the cathedral is currently located was higher than it is now.

It was built entirely of stone in the French Gothic style and featured beautiful stained glass windows by Priest Louis Vallet (1869 – 1945).

After Vallet died, he was buried at the foothills of the church.

The church was was consecrated under the title of ‘Christ the King’ on Easter day, 1930.

When the Diocese of Nha Trang was created in 1960, this church was chosen as its cathedral.

3.The features of Nha Trang Cathedral

With the capacity for 600 people, the building is one of the few French architectural remnants in the city.

One of the most interesting features of the cathedral is its three bells. Cast in France in 1789, the bells are still working to this day.

The inside of the cathedral is adorned with neon lights behind its crucifix, tabernacle and statue of Mother Mary.

Meanwhile, the outside of the church has statues of French saints such as St Joan of Arc and St John Vianney.

It also has statues depicting all the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross.

4.Foreign tourists can visit the Nha Trang Cathedral for a minimal entrance fee.

Before, tourists who wanted to visit the Nha Trang Cathedral needed to register one day or at least one hour before the church opened at 8am.

However, many foreign tourists failed to do so and were refused entry.

Now, foreign tourists can conveniently enter the church compound at VND10,000 per entry.

The money collected as entrance fees are used for funding the church’s preservation and conservation efforts.

Visitors can use public transportation such as taxi or book a ride on Grab to go there.

It is a perfect place in Nha Trang to admire French architecture as well as the view of the city.

Since the cathedral is a place of worship, always remember to explore the church with respect.

5.It is a popular spot for wedding photography.

Do not be surprised if you see couples posing for cameras in the church compound.

The cathedral is a famous spot for both foreign and local couples to take their wedding photography.

With its Gothic-style stone building and its high bell tower, it makes beautiful background to commemorate your union in a wedding photo.

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