Kites over Nha Trang

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Colorful skies
 

A Vietnam holiday would not be complete without colorful kites dancing overhead. Kite flying is a popular activity throughout the country with young and old alike. Kites are believed to have originated in China nearly 3,000 years ago. The earliest designs were flat and rectangular using silk and lightweight bamboo for construction. Ancient and Medieval Chinese used them not only as outdoor pastimes but for military purposes; checking the wind, signaling, measuring distances, communications during battles, and even lifting men. They were often hand-painted  with mythological images or legendary figures. Fighter kites evolved to cut down opponents, others fitted with whistles and strings to make musical sounds as they flew. Designs evolved to all shapes and sizes. Some of the construction materials may have changed but the tradition of kite flying continues to soar.

Enter the Dragon

 

I spotted the dragon kite snaking at least two hundred feet across the plaza. A dozen men and boys were holding it overhead, inching back toward Tran Phu. The boldly painted head appeared to be shaped with a light wood frame and covered in model airplane paper. Its deer horns symbolized longevity and good luck; tiger eyes, might and strength; catfish whiskers, material wealth; and human's beard, talent and intelligence - the longer, the wiser. The long body represented a snake and all of the kite's lift was created by its countless disc-like segments. Horizontal sticks held feathered tufts for stability and to give width to the dragon's scaly spine.

 

I watched several launch attempts as they ran the dragon in wide arcs across the plaza, each a slightly different path and each a little longer. The head of the beast was beyond the plaza - at the water's edge - when the tail finally fluttered upward. One by one, the handlers released their lengthy segments and the red serpent whipped and wiggled into blue sky. It was a remarkable sight. The dragon's head was slowly reeled out until it hovered there fifty feet above the plaza.

Lord_Mike says:
Awesome!
Posted on: Feb 13, 2009
Biedjee says:
that must have been a really cool sight
Posted on: Feb 02, 2009
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Colorful skies
Colorful skies
Enter the Dragon
Enter the Dragon
Dragon
Dragon
Launching the dragon
Launching the dragon
Preparing to launch
Preparing to launch
Flight of the dragon
Flight of the dragon
The spine
The spine
Kite rentals
Kite rentals
Moving back
Moving back
Running launch
Running launch
Launch
Launch
Up and away
Up and away
Kite enthusiasts
Kite enthusiasts
Squid launch
Squid launch
Green bird launching
Green bird launching
Green bird
Green bird
Reaching for the sun
Reaching for the sun
Helping hands
Helping hands
Out of runway
Out of runway
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85