Thursday, 14/03/2024 09:12

New night tour offers an escape to history

Lê Hương

Seeing Hà Nội at night is proving really popular for tourists visiting the capital.

Now even more evening entertainment has been added to Hà Nội’s sight-seeing itinerary.

Ngọc Sơn Temple on Hoàn Kiếm Lake has been lit up to tell about its historic past.

Modern lights and sound effects are mixed with contemporary and folk singing and dancing to create a unique realistic theatrical show.

The legend of Lê Lợi King (1428-1433) returning the magic sword to the holy turtle is the highlight of the night time show.

According to the legend, the golden turtle loaned a magic sword to the king to fight against the Ming invaders. After ascending to the throne in 1428, the king returned the magic sword to the turtle on Lục Thủy Lake.

Then the lake was renamed as Hoàn Kiếm Lake (Returned Sword Lake) to record the incident.

Theatrical director Lê Qúy Dương said he wanted to bring a lively soul to the hidden corner so that visitors to Ngọc Sơn Temple not only take photographs on Thê Húc Bridge or burn incense at the temple to pray for good luck.

“Inside the old stones and roots of the old trees here, there are stories to tell about history,” he told Việt Nam News. “It’s a mysterious world.”  

Realistic theatrical performance, installation art, and 3D lighting tech have made Ngọc Sơn Temple a stunning place to see at night, which is quite different from it in the daytime.

The audience attend a worship ceremony at the beginning of the show. — VNS Photo Lê Hương

The show has attracted hundreds of people each night and most of them have been blown away by what they saw.

As a researcher on culture and relic sites, Nguyễn Văn Hiệu often visits ancient places including Ngọc Sơn Temple.

“This is the first time I have experienced Ngọc Sơn Temple during a night tour with interesting visual and audio effects affecting directly my feelings, which is not easy to forget in my life,” he admitted.

“At night, visitors stepping in here seem to step in another space – a space of experience, of history blending with technology. It’s like a holy place under a new angle of vision.”

Not only locals but foreigners also wowed at the show. They’ve never seen anything quite like it.

The legend of Lê Lợi King (1428-1433) returning a magic sword to the golden turtle is the highlight of the night time show. — VNS Photo Lê Hương

“I was interested in the temple,” said Natia Bueno from the US.

“We came to the temple. We saw there was a show in the evening and I love anything that's cultural and represents the city. I know the temple is the symbol the city so I want to come to check out the show and see how it looks.”

Jennifer Bulla, also from the US, knew very little about Việt Nam before her trip.

“Cultural wise, this is all brand new to me and then we just like travelling to new places and getting to know the culture just to learn something new,” she said.

“We don’t know anything about Hà Nội or anything about Việt Nam. So this is a new learning experience for us and it’s very fun.”

Dancing performance on Thê Húc Pagoda impressed the audience the most. — VNS Photo Nhật Hồng

Max Sharpe, from the UK, was impressed by the songs, lights and sounds.

“The music is interesting and gets you involved in it, especially seeing inside how respectful everyone is, it’s interesting,” he said.

Visitors can see replicas of the gold turtles at an exhibition.

Though the show has not been translated or summarised in any leaflets, audience still understand it.

“I don’t speak the language here but I love it,” said Natia. “It’s so easy to follow and it was beautiful. I loved when she came down the bridge and danced. I loved the boat. I loved that you can see the story as you walk around and get to the end when they explain a little more about everything that was going on.”

A folk dancing performance at the show. — VNS Photo Lê Hương

Max believed if he may have enjoyed the show more, he could understand it better.

He said: “If I could know what was being spoken, it would give me a lot more on history. So that would be more interesting. It’s more fascinating than just watching and seeing everything going on,” he admitted.

In the future, organisers intend to offer foreign-language audio interpretations as an upgrade to this trial version.

Then it will be a popular addition for all wanting to enjoy a night in Hà Nội.

There are fixed shows at Ngọc Sơn Temple, Hoàn Kiếm Lake, every Wednesday and Thursday with three shows each night at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. Shows on other nights can be ordered in advance. The ticket is sold at VNĐ260,000 per adult (US$10.9) and VNĐ218,000 per children below 15 of age. Tickets can be purchased at the site.

Hotline for booking: +84 938 353 239 and the Facebook page: Đền Ngọc Sơn và khu vực Hồ Hoàn Kiếm. — VNS

Other highly recommended night activities in Hà Nội for your concern:

The Quintessence of Tonkin live show, Sài Sơn Village, Quốc Oai District, 7.30pm-8.45pm, Saturdays and Sundays.

Hỏa Lò Prison Tour, Hỏa Lò Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, from 7pm.

Pedestrian zones, from 6pm, Friday-Sunday: in Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hoàn Kiêm District; in Trịnh Công Sơn Street, Tây Hồ District.

Sơn Tây Ancient Citadel, Sơn Tây Town; Cuisine Street in Đảo Ngọc - Ngũ Xã, Ba Đình District and Trần Nhân Tông Street, Hai Bà Trưng District.

Water Puppetry Show at Thăng Long Water Puppetry Theatre, Hoàn Kiếm District.

Royal Citadel Night Tour, Thăng Long Citadel Complex, Ba Đình District.

Night tour at Việt Nam Literature Museum, 275 Âu Cơ Street, Tây Hồ District.

Cuisine tour in Tống Duy Tân - Tạ Hiện - Đồng Xuân Night Market, Hoàn Kiếm District.

City tour on the double-decker bus around downtown.

Đồng Xuân Tram Car tour, Hoàn Kiếm District.

Cyclo tour, Hoàn Kiếm District.

Flag lowering ceremony, 9pm, Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum.

Hà Nội Book Street.

Live show The Legend of Youth, 8pm-9pm, final Saturday and Sunday of each month, Việt Nam Women’s Museum, 36 Lý Thường Kiệt Street, Hoàn Kiếm District.

Thăng Long - Hà Nội bicycle tour, 7.30pm daily.

Temple of Literature light show, from 7.30pm, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

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