Vietnam

Vietnam, a coastal country in Southeast Asia, has a diverse landscape and vibrant cities.  Fresh seafood and tropical fruit is plentiful.  Hop on a motorbike and go on an adventure.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with a population of 3.5 million people.  There’s a vibrant tourist community and modern metropolitan features.  Crossing the street can be challenging at times.

Ho Chi Minh City

Antique Street” near the tourist area has a large collection of antique stores.  Whether or not they’re legitimate antiques is another story…

Ho Chi Minh City

Walking around the city can be challenging.  Sidewalks full of vendors and busy streets transform a leisurely walk into an obstacle course.

Hidden Streets

Some of the best restaurants are hidden on tiny side streets.

Antique Teapots

The Fito Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine & Pharmacy has a unique collection of antique ceramics, porcelain pottery and a lot of fascinating information about ancient medicinal techniques.  Teas are available in the gift shop.

Market in the Evening

When the sun goes down, the night market comes to life.

Crossing the Street

It’s best to keep walking and don’t stop.  The bikes and taxis will go around you, most of the time…

Early Morning

The streets are quiet at 4am.  City cleaners get ready to tackle the enormous amount of trash that accumulates each day.

City Park

There’s a lot of parks around the city, this one is part of a larger area of parks and tourists destinations.  Most parks in Vietnam have exercise equipment to encourage active and healthy lifestyles.

Afternoon in the Park

Handicrafts are a common site around Ho Chi Minh City.  Most people would prefer to close shop and take an early afternoon nap during the hottest part of the day.  Here is a nice place to relax.

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is a region in southwestern Vietnam.  The fertile soil supports large tropical fruit and coconut plantations.  Visitors to cities like Bến Tre and Cần Thơ can find unique coconut handicrafts and a diverse selection of local food.

Floating Market

Vendors cruise around the floating market in Can Tho, selling everything you’d find at a traditional market.

Floating Market

The rich soil around the Mekong Delta is perfect for growing a large variety of food.

Tugboat

Tugboats move large barges full of sand that’s been dredged from the river bottom.

Đạo Dừa Temple

The Coconut Monk was the founder of the Coconut Religion, which began here in the 1950’s.  The Coconut Monk lived on a diet of only coconuts.

Đạo Dừa Temple

The Coconut Religion became somewhat popular in the 1960’s, but was officially outlawed in 1975.  Today the temple is a local tourist attraction.

Coconut Grove

One of many coconut groves in the Mekong Delta region.  Ben Tre is famous for coconuts.

Coconut Coir

Every part of the coconut has a use.  The husks and coir are saved for agriculture.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau

Vung Tau is a coastal port city in Southern Vietnam’s Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu province.  A popular tourist destination, there are two main beaches, several smaller beaches and three mountain peaks.  Each mountain summit has a point of interest: A lighthouse, large statue of Jesus and amusement park.

Fresh seafood can be found in restaurants all around Vung Tau.  The nearby island of Long Son has floating seafood restaurants that visitors access by boat.

Mountains and City

The old part of the city lies between the large mountain in the distance and a smaller mountain in the foreground.

Vung Tau began as three small fishing villages until the French arrived and renamed it to Cap Saint-Jacques.  During the 1960’s, Vung Tau was the hub of the Australian military and a popular R&R spot for western troops.

Today, Vung Tau is a major port city and home of Vietnam’s oil industry.

Mountain Cave Altar

Unexpected discoveries found in mountain caves.  The figurines represent different deities that people give offerings to in exchange for guidance and protection.

Abandoned Fort Altar

People use this altar to gain insight into numbers, like the lottery, for example.  Numbers are written on the mirror and three eggs somehow correspond to those numbers.  They make offerings of food and drinks, and light incense and cigarettes on the altar.

Overgrown Fort

Abandoned French fortifications dot the mountain tops around Vung Tau.  Nature is reclaiming many of these locations with strangler figs consuming the structures.

Fishing

Everyone pitches in to get nets ready for the next fishing trip.

Catch of the Day

Fresh seafood is sold on the sidewalk next to the harbor.

Fishing Boat

This fishing boat is getting upgraded with a new cabin.

Temple of Doom

Like a fun house without the fun.

Front Beach Fishing Boats

Fishing is a big part of the local economy.

Overgrown Fort

Trees devouring another abandoned fort.

Bonsai Trees

Bonsai trees on display in the park.  They’re popular for new year celebrations.

Road to Vung Tau

The road to Vung Tau is long and straight with small fishing villages along the way.

Hòn Non Bộ

Similar to bonsai trees, they include mini nature scenes.

Buoy on the Beach

Sometimes they get away.

Vietnam Basket Boat

Fancy motorized version of the basket boat.  Most are woven like a basket and rowed with a single oar.

Seaside Motorbike

Behind an abandoned resort is a doorway to the sea.  The long staircase leads to a beach with strong ocean currents.

Front Beach

A popular place for people to relax, swim and exercise.  Each day, locals flock to Front Beach for leisure activities.

No Fishing

Even though the writing on the wall says “No Fishing” people were still fishing.

Vung Tau Fishing Boats

It’s believed that painting stylized eyes on the boats will help protect them from sea monsters and evil spirits.

Vung Tau Fishing Boats

On the tip of the peninsula is a fishing village, the main hub of the local seafood market.

Front Beach

Fishing boats are common around Front Beach.  A good place to find the freshest catch of the day.

Vung Tau Seaside

Local tourists, mostly from Ho Chi Minh City, flood Vung Tau on weekends.

Front Beach at Night

Many people from Ho Chi Minh City visit this area of Vung Tau each weekend.  In the mornings it’s common to find fresh fish being sold by local fishermen along the Front Beach promenade.

Hidden Cove at Night

It’s not so hidden, just a bit off the beaten path.  A nice place to chill at night.

Back Beach at Night

Even at night the beach is busy with people having impromptu karaoke parties.

Mountain at Night

A night view of the large mountain with an amusement park on the summit.

Back Beach Promenade

The promenade runs the length of Back Beach.  Palm trees in parks along the walkway give visitors a shady place to rest.  Lots of food and gift vendors in this area.

Mountain Temple

The Chon Khong Monastery has a great view from the side of a mountain.

Vung Tau Dragon

There were two dragons, one on each side of the street.  They must have been deteriorating because the city removed the dragon parts.  Only the trees that made up the dragon’s body remain.

Nightly Fishing

The ocean around Vung Tau is busy with local fisherman using many methods to catch fresh seafood.  It’s amazing that local boats avoid all these obstacles.

Hedge Dragon

These dragons got a fresh coat of paint and lighting upgrade in 2012 to celebrate the Year of the Dragon.  Now they’re gone.

Illuminated Jesus

Vung Tau is home to a large statue of Jesus, which is illuminated each night.  The path leading up to the statue is only open during designated times.

Vung Tau at Night

The City of Vung Tau at night.

Night Ships

Vung Tau gets many passing ships all throughout the night.

Quiet Street

After midnight, Vung Tau is virtually a ghost town.

Quiet Alley

The alley is quiet until sunrise when chickens welcome the day.

Da Lat

Da Lat is located in the South Central Highlands of Vietnam.  The city’s elevation gives it a unique climate, much cooler and wetter than cities near the sea.  The French developed a tea plantation and many buildings in the early 1900’s that still remain today.

Pongour Waterfall

A long foot path through the forest leads to the falls.  Concessions and gifts are for sale along the way.

Pongour Waterfall

Water levels change during the wet/dry seasons.  During the dry season with low water levels, visitors can walk around the rocks at the base of the falls.

Pongour Waterfall Park

The park that surrounds the waterfall has a lot of interesting natural features.  Without going too far off the path, visitors can see elaborate tree root structures.

Top of the Crazy House in Da Lat

The Crazy House, or Hằng Nga Guesthouse, is a uniquely designed hotel with architecture based on fairy tale themes. Visitors not staying at the hotel can purchase tickets for a walking tour through the hotel, and on pathways across the roof.

Crazy House Dining Room

The dining room for the original owner and creator of the Crazy House.  This property opened to the public in 1990.

Creative Design

Creative improvements are being made on portions of the building.  Some areas are under construction.

Crazy House Hotel

The guest rooms are as unique as the exterior.  Guests probably have to endure the constant flow of tourists.

Cau Dat Farm

The Cau Dat Farm (Đồi chè Cầu Đất Farm) is a large tea plantation near Da Lat.  This plantation has been in operation for nearly 100 years, and in addition to signature teas, they also have coffee and other local produce.

Da Lat Greenhouses

The area surrounding Da Lat is good for growing produce that’s not sustainable at lower elevations with hotter and more humid weather.  Greenhouses are embedded into the community.

Roots

Trees in Southeast Asia have large flowing roots.

Banana Flower

This banana flower has been cultivated to be unusually large.

Champa Temple

Champa Temples are on the way to Da Lat and worth exploring.

Nature & Agriculture

Much of Vietnam remains rural with farmlands and plantations all over the country.  Rice fields, seafood farms, coconut groves, rubber tree plantations and tropical fruit plantations are only a handful of agricultural experiences.

Traveling by motorbike is the best way to get out into nature and experience a side of Vietnam most visitors aren’t aware of.

Da Lat Farmlands

Travelers to Da Lat can enjoy food and drinks not usually available in cities at lower elevations.  Strawberries and hot artichoke tea are common in this area.

Salt Flats

Seawater is drawn into these shallow pools and left to evaporate.  Once all the water has dried, salt can be collected.

Coffee Tree

Coffee is popular in Vietnam and coffee trees grow well in the rich red soil.  Most Vietnam coffee is the robusta variety.

Fresh Seafood

The bridge from Vung Tau to Long Son is a nice place to view the seafood farms.  These farms produce quality seafood for the region.

Seafood Farm

Tidal waters around Vung Tau are the perfect environment for seafood farms.  Natural flow of the tides keeps the water fresh.

Rubber Trees

These trees smell like rubber.  Not far outside of Ba Ria are rubber tree plantations.

Symmetry

Miles upon miles of symmetrical rows of rubber trees.  Old and unproductive groves are cut down and replanted with young trees.

Latex Collection Bowls

The tree bark is peeled away in strips to allow latex sap to run into the collection bowls.  The latex is processed in another facility.

Location

The general area of these photos