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Joshua | profile | all galleries >> Vietnam tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Vietnam

I always enjoy Vietnamese food and when the opportunity to visit this country came about, I jumped on it. My first impression was that I was somewhere in Southern China. The food was good but my first exposure to (although Americanized) Vietnamese food was in the good ol’ United States and that may have spoiled me.

Hanoi – The capital city of Vietnam is a bustling city of thousands and thousands of motorbikes, used as a mean of transportation. In this city, we saw a traditional water puppet performance, visited Uncle Ho’s memorial and museum, the temples at the Red River and of Literature.

Halong Bay - This scenic destination has been designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site and indeed it offers a spectacular view of the karst landscape off the coast in the northeastern portion of Vietnam. Although similar to Guilin in Southern China, where the Li River runs through the landscape, the towering limestone islands at Halong Bay, rise from the sea. There are caves on several of the larger islands and we visited two of them. Again, while the view is impressive, the hanging haze in the two days while we were there was not. The sunset leaves a lot to be desired. Too bad, the images from this awesome location do not represent much more than mere documentation.

Hue - It was the capital city of feudal Vietnam. Here we visited the Kai Dinh Royal tomb, which shows a combination of Chinese and Western styles of architecture. The inside of the tomb is lavishly decorated with a golder effigy of the emperor seated on his throne under a extravagantly decorated canopy. Definitely, the decoration is quite a contrast to the courtyard and façade of the tomb.

We also visited the Dong Ba market where locals shop. Everything is inexpensive, well, relatively speaking, of course.

Ho Chi Minh City - Formerly known as Saigon, this is a bustling city. The number of motorbikes is incredible and you can easily see 60-70 bikes at a traffic light and as soon as the light turns green, they "race" through the intersection. As the most used mean of transportation, seeing 3 to 4 people on a single bike is not uncommon there. We visited the Notre Dam Cathedral and the main Post Office, two of the main structures here with French style architecture.

Mekong Delta - We boarded motorboat in My Tho, the upper town of the Mekong Delta, and cruise to Orchard Island where we enjoyed a traditional music show, local food and visit a village there. We also took a small boat and navigated through narrow waterways.

Cu Chi Tunnels - Located some 70 km north of HCMC, Cu Chi is a network of tunnels that stretched for approximately 200 km. This tunnel system was operated effectively during the war time by Vietnamese guerillas and caused a lot grief to the American army and now, we know why. Not terribly photogenic but worth visiting nonetheless.

Photographic tidbits : Street scenery shooting can easily be done from the vehicle; just make sure you set the ISO/shutter speed high enough to minimize blur. Around crowded places, such as at a market, I took quite a bit of shots from the hip without raising the camera to an eye level. A zoom lens is highly recommended; this is a country where you don't want to get caught not having the proper focal length.

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Cute Hair Do
Cute Hair Do
Taking Wedding Shots
Taking Wedding Shots
Another Wedding Couple
Another Wedding Couple
Chanting and Praying
Chanting and Praying
Pagoda at Tran Quoc Temple
Pagoda at Tran Quoc Temple
Siesta Time!
Siesta Time!
Household Goods Vendor on Bike
Household Goods Vendor on Bike
A Cute Girl
A Cute Girl
Worshipper
Worshipper
Longevity Symbol
Longevity Symbol
Water Puppet Musical Performers
Water Puppet Musical Performers
Water Puppet
Water Puppet
Water Puppet 2
Water Puppet 2
Water Puppet Performers
Water Puppet Performers
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Official Palace
Official Palace
Guard at Ho Chi Minh Residence
Guard at Ho Chi Minh Residence
Ho Chi Minh Residence
Ho Chi Minh Residence
One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Holding Hand with Uncle Ho
Holding Hand with Uncle Ho
Farmer on Bike
Farmer on Bike
Rice Field
Rice Field
Boat Vendor
Boat Vendor
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