Month: August 2014

Strolling around Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

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The famous lake in Ha Noi, Koan Kiem Lake. It’s a good walk around the lake, you see many locals hanging around the lake resting, chatting and some having some sort of small family gathering. One of my favorite photo was the one above. After struggling to find a nice angle to shoot the famous Turtle Tower that’s on the middle of the lake, i came across these two local Vietnamese taking a nap, quickly took this shot as fast and quiet as possible.

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The trees are very beautiful, how they bowed down toward the lake thus providing shade for us.

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There are some ancient structure there, it’s a tiny tower, not sure what it was meant for in the old days. Used the arch of the small tower for composition. 🙂

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The Bridge of the Raising Sun, linking us to the Temple of the Jade Mountain on an island near the northern shore of the lake.

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After walking around the lake we sat at the road side, resting. Then many cyclo driver approaches and asking whether we need a ride. This is a cyclo rider waiting for customer. I was behind some thrown out bed frame I think. haha 😛

 

 

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Day trip to Bai Dinh Temple and Trang An Eco-Tourism.

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From Hanoi we did a day trip to Bai Dinh Temple and Trang An. Bai Dinh Temple is the largest Buddhist complex in Vietnam. Once we reach the Bai Dinh Temple entrance, we need to pay a extra 60000 dong per person for a electric-car ride to the main building entrance.

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A never-ending pathway, with 500 huge Arhat statue along the side of it. The holes on the wall is a place you get to put a golden Buddha statue if you donate more then USD500 to the temple.

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This is one of the pagoda, once you get up there you can have a good 360 degree view of the Buddhist complex.

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This is one of the main temple, at the right is the tallest Buddhist Pagoda in the ASEAN.

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The interior of the temples is very impressive, the size of the statue makes us feel so small, the carving/ornamentation around the pillars are in such delicate detail. Was fast enough to set up my tripod and took this long exposure shot of the interior. This is the interior of one building, other building are also similar.

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As the place is so big, you can find many quite corner around the temple with staff minding their own business. 🙂

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Unoccupancy or unnecessary?

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The sun is so intense! Few second walking without shade will make you dripping. 😦 After a quick tour around the complex, we hopped on to our bus and headed for our lunch. Trying some new thing there, their local goat meat, it’s a very interesting taste but the meat is very tender and juicy. 🙂 wouldn’t mind to try it again. After our lunch at the small restourant, we headed to the Trang An Eco-Tourism tour.

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The Trang An eco-Tourism tour is basically a river cruise on a small boat/raft going through some very tight caves.

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As you can see here, the cave is not so much bigger then our boat.

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In the cave you can barely see, but you need to dodge all the rock and stalactites popping out of the cave’s roof. Minimal lighting in the caves, but it’s kinda exiting for the first few caves we go through.

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Using high ISO for in-cave shots, the boatman can basically push around the inert of the cave to maneuver around. 😛

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After getting board of going through cave after cave, everyone just helped to row the boat. The exhausted boatman uses his leg to row the boat and they are over taking us. 🙂 Then I got blamed as I am the heaviest on our boat. 😀 After a couple of hour going through narrow water cave and boat rowing under the bright afternoon sun, we ended our day trip and headed back to Hanoi.

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy evening in Hoi An

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On our second day there, the weather is not that good, it started to rain. I’m well prepared after all July is the start of their season in Vietnam. I brought my weather resistant kit lens (SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5 -5.6 AL WR) with me. The only reason why i bought the lens with my Pentax K-5iis is the WR benefit, although i had other lens that cover the same focal length as this lens, non of them are weather resistant. Since my Pentax K-5iis is a weather resistant camera body it would be a waste if I don’t have a WR lens to go with it when i need a weather resistant camera set up.

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Shooting other people trying to stay dry while I had nothing to worry. 🙂

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Famous Vietnamese lantern.

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Visited a Chinese temple on the old street, a very crowed place since it’s raining outside and everyone tries to take cover and also visit the temple, found a quite back alley in the temple, framing my shot just waiting for people to pass by. I was worry that a group of people will come but luckily this young gentleman came first.

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On the night market street, the vendors quickly set up some kind of tarpaulin for their customer making themselves wet.

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At the end of the night market street, is a dock. And the kids are playing around, jumping in and out of the water. After they see me photographing them, they stop doing it and starting to leave, luckily i got this shot before they stopped. 🙂

 

Hoi An at night.

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Walking around the old town of Hoi An at night, there was a performance going on, and a family sets up a small gathering across the river to enjoy the show. 🙂

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As I walked along the old street, there are many activity going on. Saw this two guys battling out on Chinese chess, I liked how the old man dresses.

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One of the best crowed-pleaser, 5000 dong for one hit, its like hitting pinata but you get to hit a small clay pot instead. First they adjust the pot to your height, then you will need to step back a few meters, before you put on your mask. Me and my friend both failed two time, its not easy at all, hitting such small target when all u see is pitch black. With the crowd cheering for you loudly, and you can’t see anything, your adrenaline starts to kick in and after you miss the target all you feel is embarrassment. 😛 Really had fun from this. 🙂

Long Son Pagoda, Nha Trang, Vietnam.

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We went to visit and pay our respect to the big Buddha in Nha Trang. It’s a bright sunny day, looking up towards the big buddha statue makes me feel so small, it’s as if he is in control of everything.

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Parts of the temple are under restoration. It’s so hot the worker even built himself a shade before starting the delicate work on the carvings.

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We met this very friendly monk in the temple, she invited us for lunch inside their hall. We didn’t join them for lunch as we just finished ours. But what I did was to ask her permission to take a photo of her, she said yes and after i took this photo i showed to her, and she smiled. 🙂

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When we are walking up the stairs to the big buddha statue, we saw many vendors, selling fan and some small souvenir.

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Took a picture of a little girl, she was begging me for money, i gave her some after she followed me for some time, and then i  took her photo. 🙂 It was a good experience visiting the Long Son temple, it’s a very spiritual and harmonious  place to visit.

 

 

Breakfast and coffee.

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After we reached Nha Trang on our third day on a sleepers bus, we went to have a coffee to start of our day. Even in the early morning, vendors are looking out for potential customers.

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So after coffee we went to have our breakfast, which is Pho. We saw a stall with many locals enjoying their Pho, so we decided to eat there.

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The Pho there is surprisingly delicious, one of the best Pho we had. The Pho there comes nice and juicy pork leg. 🙂 We really enjoyed that meal, highly recomend to everyone visiting Nha Trang, but do remember to be early, best before 9:30 am. We saw them closing up at around that time after we finish our meal. 🙂

 

 

 

We got scammed!

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Second day in Ho Chi Minh City. We decide to visit a few tourist attractions before we get on our sleepers bus in the evening.

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As we are walking towards our 1st destination, the Ben Than Market, we are approached by a cyclo rider. He offered us to bring us to where we wanted for 15dong, in Vietnam, people always speak money without the thousands , so normally 15 dong means 15000 dong. So we thought it was fair so I decided to hop on the cyclo. After reaching the market, the rider advised us to go to the other market since the market i was going was dangerous with pick pockets and the price of buying anything will be higher. So he offered to bring us to another market- the HongKong market, with the same price. We listened to him and got on his cyclo again.

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We went through chaotic traffic, saw many interesting road side vendors.

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Finally after around 30 minute, we reached the market he told us. We asked about the price after we got down the cyclo. Then he say 15 hundred thousand dong. That is 1.5 million dong(75 USD) per person. We are shocked and realized that we have been scammed. We argued with them at the road side, a lot of locals were looking at us as if they are knew why we are arguing. After long negotiation, we gave them 1 million for both of us and walked away. 😦

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Angry and thirsty after arguing with those cyclo rider, we went into the market looking for place to rest and to have a drink. 😦

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Luckily we found a cheap way to head back to the market we first wanted to go, motorbikes taxi. That cost us 50000 dong (2.5 usd) to get back. So 3 person on a bike, rushing through chaotic traffic, back to the Ben Than Market.

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Ben Than Market was much more tourist friendly, and offer much more variety compared to the HongKong market. I bought my favorite Vietnam flag shirt. 🙂 After some shopping we start to walk around the city, heading to nearest tourist attraction near the market.

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At last we visited Notre Dame Cathedral there. Many tourist were posing and taking photos around the cathedral, so I asked my friend to pose for me, 😉 I found a nice background and simply asked him to walked across it, and get this shot. its such a cliche. 😛

 

 

Just got back from Vietnam.

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Went there without any planning, best adventure ever! 🙂  This is my photo journey for my 1st day in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City.

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Venturing around thigh narrow alley around my hostel. Its interesting how they live around there, many of them sell stuff in front of their home. Although the narrow alley is packed with stalls, motorcycles still pass through them. We constantly need to give way for them.

 

 

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One of the best BBQ seafood i have tasted, the scallops and clamps are delicious.

 

 

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Had some beer before heading back to our hostel, the beer here is very cheap. This Tiger Crystal just cost us around 1 USD. 😛