Scenes from Vietnam

I returned to Hanoi and Halong Bay, both in the north of Vietnam. As you linger in Hanoi, you become one with it — the pulse of the street, the ebb and flow of traffic.

Bicycle Blur
Bicyclists and motorbikers. Conical hats (nón lá). Silk and souvenir shops. Food stalls.
Tourists transported in carts.
Temple Symmetry
Symmetry at the Temple of Literature. Graduating students taking photographs in the courtyard. A spot for meditation. The scent of incense. Rooftop dragons.
From City View Cafe
The view from City View Cafe. Light traffic on a leisurely Thursday afternoon.
Kayaks on Halong Bay
Double-person kayaks on Halong Bay. Exploring the waters before sunset. Swimming off a sandy secluded beach.
Floating House in Halong Bay
Floating houses between limestone karsts.
Street Chaos
Motorbike and foot traffic in Dong Xuan Market.
Tree (Temple of Literature) and Tran Quoc Pagoda (West Lake)
Tree at the Temple of Literature; a view of Tran Quoc Pagoda alongside West Lake.
Bánh bột lọc tôm thịt at Pineapple restaurant. Script on a brick wall at the Temple of Literature. A red bridge at Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

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Street Traffic
More motorbikers. All the time. Everywhere.
Another view of Tran Quoc Pagoda. A manicured bush at the Temple of Literature. Hang Hanh Street in the Old Quarter.
Woman on Street
Walking across the road. Invincible.
Scenes From Halong Bay
Scenes from Halong Bay. Karsts. Houseboats. The floating fishing village of Vung Vieng.
Vung Vieng Village Gate
Boat at the rocky gate of Vung Vieng.
Boat in Vung Vieng
Villager on a boat, taken from the pearl shop at Vung Vieng.

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Wooden Slats
The dock at the oyster farm and pearl factory at Vung Vieng fishing village.

scenes from hanoi and halong bay


Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Senior editor at Longreads / Automattic

54 thoughts on “Scenes from Vietnam

  1. The 4th pic is awesome. 🙂 Maybe one day I’ll get to go. (I’ve wanted to go there for many years now!) Still doing the undergrad thing- currently too poor! I enjoyed the vicarious backtpack trip though, thanks…heheh.

  2. Such beautiful pictures. I have just left Vietnam after 7 weeks and have serious regret about not taking anywhere near enough pictures and have made a promise to myself that it won’t happen again. I didn’t make it to Halong Bay because of the weather, but your pictures of Hanoi capture the city so perfectly. Thank you for sharing them.

  3. Such wonderful photos! I feel like booking an airplane ticket right away, Vietnam has always been on my wish list but I still haven’t manage to go there. Congrats for these stunning photos once again.

  4. Hey Cheri! How have you been? So you came to my part of the world huh (South East Asia)?

    My best memory of Hanoi must be the vehicles which horn non-stop crossing the streets, it is also the 1st thing you hear when you wake up in the morning. Hands down the most unique thing in Hanoi. lol

    PS: added you on FB!

  5. Enjoying your pics much more now that I’m “alive”. You really transport me with you in your travels!

  6. Beautifully brings back happy memories of traveling across the country with Thich Nhat Hanh and many friends. People there are so generous and kind.

  7. Wow, Cheri! I confess that the only things I know about Vietnam come from books, particularly The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I think I had only ever visualized mountains and interior, never city streets or coastal karsts. What spectacular new scenes you have shown us.

  8. Beautiful pics and thanks for making my day as I prepare for my Tet reunion with family back home. My 10th trip in over 35 years and never enough. Wish I can take pics like you of my southern Vietnam’s waters, rice fields and kind souls…

  9. These are so beautiful! I’ve been wanting to go to Vietnam for a while, but now – oh my goodness. I’m also really intrigued by the Temple of Literature 🙂

    1. I’d remembered the temple to be rather quiet the last time I’d visited, but this time around it was full of students taking photos. Given the name, we thought it was fitting to take a team picture there 🙂

    1. That’s awesome you’re moving there — looking forward to reading about it on your blog. (Also wanted to let you know I love the Duet theme you’re using — I contemplated switching to it for this blog. Looks really elegant and clean, and love the two-column layout.)

    1. I’d say if you’re up for a lively, interesting location, go for it. Not sure what your travel preferences are, though — the city can be overwhelming, but if you love street bustle/chaos and people watching, it certainly does the job. Travel away from the city, to Halong Bay or elsewhere (my friend enjoyed Hoi An, for example), and you’ll find calm and quiet, too.

  10. This made my heart ache to go back to SE Asia. Thanks for sharing. Also, great job on your photos from Halong Bay, it’s so hard to capture how awesome it is, but I feel like yours do the best job of any photos I’ve seen really.

    1. When I left SE Asia in 2004, I remember telling myself I was “done with it” and wouldn’t mind if I never returned. (I think I was tired and missed home at that point.) But coming back to Vietnam brought many happy memories and sensations back — the street bustle alone conjured a lot. Thanks for visiting — glad you enjoyed these images.

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