Sam's Travels to Exotic Vietnam
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia. It borders China, Laos, Cambodia, and the Gulf of Tonkin. It has a population of 81 million and a land mass of 329,560 kmē Vietnam is a poor, densely populated country that has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally planned economy.
We visited North Vietnam in January 2004 on a 5 day tour to Hanoi and Halong Bay, with a brief stop in Hai Phong. Most of Hanoi's few high-rise buildings were hotels (tallest was 26 floors), most housing are narrow but up to six stories tall (each floor is generally occupied by different families) and there is no zoning as old run down buildings can be found next to new buildings in all parts of town. The principal mode of transportation is mopeds and small motorcycles, except for the many tour buses. While the streets were dusty, they were normally free of litter. It appears that most residents eat at small sidewalk "restaurants" where the limited food is cooked and dishes washed on the sidewalk. At the time of our visit, they had reported 4 deaths from bird flu, however it was still common to see live chickens for sale in the various markets. Vietnam has no major highway system, even in and around Hanoi, so bus travel was slow which allowed us to view the city streets, village neighborhoods and countryside much better.
People were poor but friendly and some of my best photos were of the people we met. It was a very enjoyable trip, even though the only day we even saw clouds was the day in Halong Bay and even then the weather was disappointing photography wise -- but when your on a trip, you have to take what is available, and since I didn't have quality, I made up for it in quantity.
Photos are arranged by the cities we visited:
Also check out my pictures of the Vietnamese Countryside. There were taken from the bus as we passed through small towns and farmlands and from the farmland next to Hanoi's Airport. Nowhere did we see any tractors or mechanized farm equipment, just cows and water buffalos pulling plows.
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