One place you must visit on your backpacking adventure in Vietnam is the imperial citadel of “Thang Long” in Hanoi meaning flying dragon and known in Vietnamese as *Hoàng thành Thăng Long* and was named after a UNESCO world heritage site. This site was for about 13 centuries, the political centre of the country and for eight centuries served as the capital. The central sector of this citadel is the archaeological site of the old Vietnam capital that was originated in 1010. Thus it is one of the most ancient centres of power in the world which has been used uninterrupted. This site is made up of two sections. 18 Hoang Dieu archaeological site and the citadel which includes the flag tower, the dragon steps, Bac Mon gate, Doan Mon gate, Hau Lau palace, and Kinh Tien palace. The imperial citadel was also the residence of Vietnamese kings. The following are five important things to know when visiting the citadel in Vietnam.
1. BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS
It is advisable to be very cautious as tourists are easy targets due to their un-acquaintance with cultures and traditions. Avoid carrying large amounts of money or costly jewellery when leaving your lodging. This is because theft and pilfering is very common in crowded areas. There are curfews, different regions with their different times. Hanoi and Saigon seem to sleep around 11pm. It is important to note the curfew of wherever you lodge.
2. RESPECT THEIR CUSTOMS
The Vietnamese are very culturally conscious and aware. Certain lifestyles are against their customs and traditions. As the saying goes “when in Rome, behave like the Romans”. Try to adopt their lifestyle when you are in their
country. Do not dress in shorts or t shirts with graphics when visiting religious areas, temples etcetera. Avoid taking pictures of military relics or cars, because such acts are considered to be a breach of national security. Avoid public display of affection.
3. PROTECT YOUR PASSPORT
In case you fall victim of theft, it is advised that you email copies of your every means of identification you possess, including your passport to yourself, as the tendency of falling a victim is very high. However you can avoid taking your passport out of your lodging and make a copy of the front page and entry stamp. This could serve as a valid pass to local police men.
The cost of tickets is about 30,000 VND per person, but is free for children below the age of 15. The city is available for touring every day of the week except on Mondays.it operates from 8:30am -11:30am in the morning and from 2:00 pm -5:00pm in the afternoon.
5. BEWARE OF FAKE AGENTS
As can be experienced in any other country, there are many fakes in Vietnam ranging from fake airline shops to tourist agencies… beware of them. It is advised to shop research very well before making a visit to avoid getting scammed. The imperial citadel is a place tied with the political history of Vietnam. Research is very important in order to be pre-informed of what awaits. It is advised you probably research on that aspect of Vietnam’s history.