photos and the stories behind them from around the world
Land of Color and Grace: A Visual Journey through Vietnam
What can I say in a few paragraphs about a country as beautiful, complex and mysterious as Vietnam? While many people’s first association with Vietnam may be that of the US/Vietnam conflict and all the horrifying and iconic imagery that accompanied it, what we discovered on our recent three week exploration of the country couldn’t be further from that.
Vietnam these days is a bustling, colorful, dynamic and geographically diverse country with a beauty, mystique and gentle quality all of its own. From the first day we arrived in Hanoi’s “Old Quarter” and were immediately greeted with fresh mango juice by our hotel’s friendly owner to the last part of our trip during which we cooked catfish Pho with our hosts on the banks of the Mekong Delta, we found Vietnam’s people to be disarmingly friendly and open. We were also consistently struck by the beauty of many of the places we visited–Halong Bay with its hundreds of limestone islands and blue waters, the cathedral-like chambers of Phong Nha’s extensive caves, the French colonial architecture and colorful lanterns of old world Hoi An, the lush green rice paddies on the outskirts of many towns and the dramatic coastal vistas of the Côn Đảo Islands. We were also seduced over and over again by Vietnam’s absolutely delicious food. Ginger, garlic, lemon grass, fresh herbs, interesting textures and creative combinations made every meal an exciting adventure and possibly one of my favorite countries food-wise.
And if this isn’t all enough to convince one to start dreaming up a trip to Vietnam, the country is also remarkably inexpensive to travel in. While many hostels, homestay and low-end hotels can be found for under $15, even the plusher hotels rarely go much over $40. For us this meant we could enjoy our journey, eat like kings, explore the country on bicycles, paddle boards, motorcycles, boats and buses and embrace grand adventures we would perhaps not have been able to afford in a higher priced environment. The trip was beyond memorable and left us wanting to encourage others to replace their own associations of Vietnam with more positive and and current versions. On that note, I leave you with one of my favorite travel quotes and some of the images I created along the way:
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain