Kinh

These are people I met when my friend brought me to a place called Tinh Bien in the far southwest corner of Vietnam.  They are relatives of my friend’s wife.  The boys are 12 I think, a good age to be.  The woman is pressing sugar cane to make and sell a sweet iced beverage.

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Mountain Biking on Fansipan

We did a mountain bike trek from Tram Ton (Heaven’s Gate) Pass on Mt. Fansipan to Binh Lu, through myriad villages in the area. Coasting down winding mountain roads it was the easiest 40 km I’ve done on a bike, since it was – thankfully – mostly downhill, and fun as hell.

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Sapa

A town perched in the far northern mountains of Vietnam, where terraced rice paddies drape the feet of steep jungle-clad peaks. Hill tribes like the Hmong were late arrivers in the area, and had to bring under cultivation the rugged terrain they were confined to.

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Halong Bay

Despite the hordes of tourists and the boats that shuttle them crowding the polluted waters of the bay, the limestone karst scenery makes this a visually striking corner of the planet.

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Inner sanctum

My friend brought me to his wife’s village, Tinh Bien, in remote southwestern Vietnam, in An Giang province near the Cambodian border. There is a large Khmer population there. A man let us into a Khmer Bhuddist temple that featured dazzlingly colourful religious murals on every square inch of wall and ceiling.

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Saigon sunrise

Saigon wakes up early: the streets are bustling by 6 am. A large downtown park sees many people out for morning walks and calisthenics. It gets so hot here that early morning is a comfortable time to be out and about.

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Trashed

This website is called The Selfcleaning World, but it’s going to take the world a long time to clean Vietnam. I don’t see much evidence of organized garbage collection, a lot of it ending up in ditches, fields and waterways. It gets worse in rural areas. Seems slightly apocalyptic.

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