Archive for the ‘Vietnam’ Tag

Night Photography of the Vietnamese River – Part 2   Leave a comment

Night Photography of the Vietnamese River – Part 2

There was a river beside the hotel where we were staying for the night in Vietnam during our Photographic Society of Penang’s Photo Expedition. The usual advice by the photographer-cum-tourguide was not to bring any camera outside the hotel especially at night for security reasons. However, the scenic view by the river-side was too irresistible not to capture the beautiful night scene. So a few courageous of the photographers, including the blogger, took their DSLR’s and tripods to capture a few shots but turned to more than 50 snap shots per photographer while the rest went to bed. No risks, no gain. Luckily, we came back safe and sound with great photographs.

SP Lim

The Vietnamese Bridge 2

Night Photography of the Vietnamese River – Part 2
There was a river beside the hotel where we were staying for the night in Vietnam during our Photographic Society of Penang’s Photo Expedition. This is the Second Bridge.

Night Photography of the Vietnamese River – Part 1   Leave a comment

Night Photography of the Vietnamese River – Part 1

There was a river beside the hotel where we were staying for the night in Vietnam during our Photographic Society of Penang’s Photo Expedition. The usual advice by the photographer-cum-tourguide was not to bring any camera outside the hotel especially at night for security reasons. However, the scenic view by the river-side was too irresistible not to capture the beautiful night scene. So a few courageous of the photographers, including the blogger, took their DSLR’s and tripods to capture a few shots but turned to more than 50 snap shots per photographer while the rest went to bed. No risks, no gain. Luckily, we came back safe and sound with great photographs.

SP Lim

The Vietnamese Bridge

Night Photography of the Vietnamese River – Part 1
There was a river beside the hotel where we were staying for the night in Vietnam during our Photographic Society of Penang’s Photo Expedition.

Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon by night   Leave a comment

Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon by night
I had taken a few photographs (maybe a few hundreds to be honest) of City of Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam, from the bus while travelling to and from our restaurant where we had our dinner. In general, food was good with practically every dinner served with bitter gourd soup. I had actually refrain myself from eating the raw vegetables served as it might upset my stomach. Better to be safe than sorry.

SP Lim

Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh); formerly named Saigon (Vietnamese: Sài Gòn; About this sound listen, French: Saïgon), is the largest city in Vietnam. It was once known as Prey Nokor, an important Khmer sea port prior to annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. Under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina and later of the independent republic of South Vietnam 1955–75. On 2 July 1976, Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia Định Province and was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City after Hồ Chí Minh (although the name Sài Gòn is still unofficially widely used).

The metropolitan area, which consists of the Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan area, Thủ Dầu Một, Dĩ An, Biên Hòa and surrounding towns, is populated by more than 9 million people, making it the most populous metropolitan area[3] in Vietnam. The city’s population is expected to grow to 13.9 million in 2025.

The Ho Chi Minh City Metropolitan Area, a metropolitan area covering most parts of the Southeast region plus Tiền Giang Province and Long An Province under planning, will have an area of 30,000 square kilometres (12,000 sq mi) with a population of 20 million inhabitants by 2020. According to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Economist Intelligence Unit and ECA International, Ho Chi Minh City is ranked 132 on the list of world’s most expensive cities for expatriate employees.

Inserted by SP Lim from Wikipedia

At the Dragon Fruit Farm in Vietnam   Leave a comment

At the Dragon Fruit Farm in Vietnam
We had finished our photo-shooting at the coastal Vietnamese area and was on our way back to the hotel. Our bus was getting warmer and warmer by the minute. As it was Labour Day ie May 1, 2015 – a public holiday, it was hoped our bus could be repaired as the fan-belt had busted. We finally grinded to a stop in the middle of a farming village. We took our camera bags and walked to the nearest refreshment centre while our bus driver took the bus to the nearest mechanic for replacement of the fan-belt. We ordered our coconuts for our refreshing drinks and had dragon fruits too. After seeing me, the blogger, taking so many photos with my camera, the kind lady boss asked us to go to back of the shop. Wondering why, we ventured onwards and saw that there were lady workers washing the fruits and packing dragon fruits into card-board carton boxes for export. We had a good time later in the dragon fruit farm and plantation, photo-shooting the extra session. A misfortune that actually turned out to be a great opportunity of photo-shooting. What great luck and many thanks to the kind “dragon” lady boss!

SP Lim

From Wikipedia:-
A pitaya /pɨˈtaɪ.ə/ or pitahaya /ˌpɪtəˈhaɪ.ə/ is the fruit of several cactus species.
“Pitaya” usually refers to fruit of the genus Stenocereus, while “pitahaya” or “dragon fruit” always refers to fruit of the genus Hylocereus.

Vernacular names of Hylocereus
These fruits are commonly known in English as “dragon fruit”, reflecting its vernacular Asian names. These include the Indonesia buah naga (lit. dragon fruit), the Khmer sror kaa neak (dragon scale), the Thai kaeo mangkon (Thai: แก้วมังกร) (dragon crystal), the Lao maak manggohn (Lao: ຫມາກມັງກອນ), the Vietnamese thanh long (green dragon), and the Chinese huǒ lóng guǒ (fire dragon fruit) or lóng zhū guǒ (dragon pearl fruit). Other vernacular names are “strawberry pear” or “nanettika fruit”.

The name ‘pitahaya’ or ‘pitaya’ is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, derived from the Spanish rendition of the Haitian.


Dress for a folk dance called Flor de Pitahaya (Pitahaya Flower) from Baja California displayed at the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City.
Pitahaya-producing cacti of the genus Hylocereus are originally native to Mexico. They were transplanted to Central America and to other parts of the world.

They are cultivated in East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, and more recently Bangladesh. They are also found in Okinawa, Hawaii, Israel, northern Australia, southern China and in Cyprus.

The fruit was probably introduced by Europeans who brought it from the New World.[5] In the case of Taiwan, the fruit was brought in by the Dutch.

Hylocereus blooms only at night; the large white fragrant flowers of the typical cactus flower shape are among those called “moonflower” or “Queen of the Night.” Sweet pitahayas have a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma. It is also grown as an ornamental plant, used in gardens as a flowering vine and a house plant indoors.

Inserted by SP Lim from Wikipedia

A Fish-eyed View of the Fish Market in Vietnam   Leave a comment

A Fish-eyed View of the Fish Market in Vietnam
While reviewing these photographs this morning, I wish to share these before I keep them into my photo archives for memories. These photographs were taken during our photo expedition to Vietnam in May 2015. This fish market by the beach was very near to the place we shot the sand dunes’ photographs – about 1 km down a cemented path. I was trying an unusual angle with my 8-15 mm Canon lens to the subject of fish market.

SP Lim

At the Hill Tribe’s Village – Take 2   Leave a comment

At the Hill Tribe’s Village – Take 2
Owing to the number of photographs I had separated them into two albums. This is the second photo album.

The Degar, also known as the Montagnard, are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The term Montagnard means “mountain people” in French and is a carryover from the French colonial period in Vietnam. In Vietnamese, they are known by the term người Thượng (Highlanders)—this term now can also be applied to other minority ethnic groups in Vietnam or Người dân tộc thiểu số (literally, “minority people”). Earlier they were referred to pejoratively as the mọi.


In 1962, the population of the Degar people in the Central Highlands was estimated to number as many as one million. Today, the population is approximately four million, of whom about one million are Degars. The 30 or so Degar tribes in the Central Highlands comprise more than six different ethnic groups who speak languages drawn primarily from the Malayo-Polynesian, Tai, and Mon–Khmer language families. The main tribes, in order of population, are the Jarai, Rhade, Bahnar, Koho, Mnong, and Stieng.

Originally inhabitants of the coastal areas of the region, they were driven to the uninhabited mountainous areas by invading Vietnamese and Cambodians beginning prior to the 9th century.

Although French Roman Catholic missionaries converted some Degar in the nineteenth century, American missionaries made more of an impact in the 1930s, and many Degar are now Protestant. Of the approximately one million Degar, close to half are Protestant, while around 200,000 are Roman Catholic. This made Vietnam’s Communist Party suspicious of the Degar, particularly during the Vietnam War, since it was thought that they would be more inclined to help the predominantly Christian American forces.

In 1950, the French government established the Central Highlands as the Pays Montagnard du Sud (PMS) under the authority of Vietnamese Emperor Bảo Đại, whom the French had installed as nominal chief of state in 1949 as an alternative to Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnam. In the mid-1950s, the once-isolated Degar began experiencing more contact with outsiders after the Vietnamese government launched efforts to gain better control of the Central Highlands and, following the 1954 Geneva Accord, new ethnic minorities from North Vietnam moved into the area. As a result of these changes, Degar communities felt a need to strengthen some of their own social structures and to develop a more formal shared identity. When the French withdrew from Vietnam and recognized a Vietnamese government, Degar political independence was drastically diminished.

The Degar have a long history of tensions with the Vietnamese majority. While the Vietnamese are themselves heterogeneous, they generally share a common language and culture and have developed and maintained the dominant social institutions of Vietnam. The Degar do not share that heritage. There have been conflicts between the two groups over many issues, including land ownership, language and cultural preservation, access to education and resources, and political representation.

In 1958, the Degar launched a movement known as BAJARAKA (the name is made up of the first letters of prominent tribes; similar to the later Nicaraguan Misurasata) to unite the tribes against the Vietnamese. There was a related, well-organized political and (occasionally) military force within the Degar communities known by the French acronym, FULRO, or United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races. FULRO’s objectives were autonomy for the Degar tribes.

As the Vietnam War began to loom on the horizon, both South Vietnamese and American policy makers sought to begin training troops from minority groups in the Vietnamese populace. The U.S. Mission to Saigon sponsored the training of the Degar in unconventional warfare by American Special Forces. These newly trained Degar were seen as a potential ally in the Central Highlands area to stop Viet Cong activity in the region and a means of preventing further spread of Viet Cong sympathy. Later, their participation would become much more important as the Ho Chi Minh trail, the North Vietnamese supply line for Viet Cong forces in the south, grew. The U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, developed base camps in the area and recruited the Degar. Because of their quiet resolve and skills in tracking, roughly 40,000 fought alongside American soldiers and became a major part of the U.S. military effort in the Highlands and I Corps, the northernmost region of South Vietnam.

In 1967, the Viet Cong slaughtered 252 Degar in the village of Dak Son, home to 2000 Highlanders, known as the Dak Son Massacre, in revenge for the Degar’s support and allegiance with the Republic of Vietnam. In 1975 thousands of Degar fled to Cambodia after the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army, fearing that the new government would launch reprisals against them because they had aided the U.S. Army. The U.S. military resettled some Degar in the United States, primarily in North Carolina, but these evacuees numbered less than two thousand. In addition, the Vietnamese government has steadily displaced thousands of villagers from Vietnam’s central highlands, to use the fertile land for coffee plantations.

Outside of southeast Asia, the largest community of Montagnards in the world is located in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.

Inserted by SP Lim from Wikipedia

At the City’s Square of Buon Ma Thuot   Leave a comment

At the City’s Square of Buon Ma Thuot
We arrived in Vietnam in the midst of their festivities of the takeover of the South Vietnamese Government 40 years ago by the Communist North Vietnam. Thus, the City Square was decorated with flowers and bill-boards and was located across the road from our hotel. It was early morning and we decided to take a walk around the City Square where we could see groups of female senior citizen of my age range – dancing cultural dances, singing and enjoying snacks, while the male counterparts were exercising by the water fountain in the early morning sun. The male senior citizen were a friendly lot and were kind enough to pose with me for a photograph for rememberance. In peaceful time, everybody can enjoy and appreciate their lives. The unified Vietnam has progressed far to the present time from the warring times of the past. The super-powera were not always right in demanding democracy in every country. Vietnam is a good example to follow. Thank you for the kindness shown by the people here. Make peace and NOT war like now in the Middle East!

SP Lim
From Wikipedia:-
Buôn Ma Thuột (formerly Lac Giao) or sometimes Buon Ma Thuot or Ban Mê Thuột, is the capital city of Đắk Lắk Province, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Its population is approximately 300,000. The city is the largest in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region, and is famous as the regional “capital of coffee”.

Buôn Ma Thuột is served by Buon Ma Thuot Airport.

The city locates at 12.6667° N, 108.0500° E, right at the heart of the central highland of Viet Nam, 1300 km from Ha Noi, 500 km from Da Nang, and 350 km from Ho Chi Minh City. Lying on a fairly flat highland, at an average height of 536m (1608 ft) above the sea, Buon Ma Thuot has a vital role in Viet Nam’s national security and defense system. Buon Ma Thuot is the capital of Dak Lak Province and also the biggest city in Central Highlands (Tay Nguyen).

In 1904 Đắk Lắk Province was established by the French and Buôn Ma Thuột was selected as the provincial administrative centre, rather than the trading center of Đôn on the Srepok River. Buôn Ma Thuột was originally settled by the Ê Đê, but due to the incoming Việt settlement after the Vietnam War and the active acculturation policy, less than 15% (around 40,000) are still Montagnards. An important battle took place there at the end of the second Vietnam war.

Buôn Ma Thuột is the site of Tay Nguyen University.

Inserted by SP Lim

Drying the noodles   Leave a comment

Drying the noodles
Vietnamese Noodles
Noodles by ingredients
From Wikipedia:-
Vietnamese noodles are available in either fresh (tươi) or dried (khô) form. Vietnamese noodles are a popular choice. There are many variations, which include soups and dishes. Spicy beef and noodles is a very popular combination for weddings.

Bánh canh – thick noodles made from a mixture of rice flour and tapioca flour or wheat flour; similar in appearance, but not in substance, to udon
Bánh hủ tiếu
Bánh phở – flat rice noodles; these are available in a wide variety of widths and may be used for either phở soup or stir-fried dishes
Bún – thin rice vermicelli noodles
Bún sợi to
Bún lá- used in Bún lá cá dầm Ninh Hoà
Bún rối
Bún nắm
Cellophane noodles (called miến, bún tàu, or bún tào) – thin glass noodle made from dzong (canna) starch
Mì – wheat flour noodles, which may be either white or yellow
Lá mì
Bánh đa đỏ- red noodles used in Bánh đa cua Hải Phòng – red noodles with crab, a specialty of Hải Phòng
Bánh đa – rice cracker
Banh pho gao lut – brown rice noodles that are like pho noodles but made from wholegrain rice and can be used in a variety of noodle dishes
Noodle dishes[edit]
Hot noodle soups
Bánh canh – a soup made with bánh canh noodles
Bánh canh cá Nha Trang
Bún bò Huế – signature noodle soup from Huế, consisting of rice vermicelli in a beef broth with beef, lemon grass, and other ingredients
Bún bung – soup made with tomato, Alocasia odora, green papaya, tamarind, green onions and pork.[1]
Bún mắm – vermicelli noodle soup with a heavy shrimp paste broth
Bún ốc – tomato and snail based noodle soup topped with scallions[2]
Bún riêu – rice vermicelli soup with meat, tofu, tomatoes, and congealed boiled pig blood.
Bún riêu cua – with crab
Bún riêu cá – with fish
Bún riêu ốc – with snails
Bún lá cá dầm Ninh Hoà
Bún sứa – noodles with jellyfish
Bún thang – soup made with shredded chicken meat, shredded fried egg, shredded steam pork cake, and various vegetables[1]
Cao lầu – signature noodle dish from Hội An consisting of yellow wheat flour noodles in a small amount of broth, with various meats and herbs.
Hủ tiếu – a soup made with bánh hủ tiếu and egg noodles. This dish was brought over by the Teochew immigrants (Hoa people).
Mì Quảng – signature noodle dish from Quảng Nam, yellow wheat flour noodles in a small amount of broth, with various meats and herbs.
Phở – bánh phở in a broth made from beef and spices

From Wikipedia:-
Dry noodle dishes
Bánh hỏi – extremely thin rice vermicelli woven into intricate bundles and often topped with chopped scallions and meat
Bún đậu mắm tôm – Pressed vermicelli noodles with fried tofu served with shrimp paste[3]
Bún thịt nướng – a cold noodle dish consisting of bún with grilled pork
Bún xào – stir-fried bún
Hủ tiếu khô – stir-fried bánh hủ tiếu with sauce
Hủ tiếu xào – stir-fried bánh hủ tiếu
Mì khô (also spelled mỳ khô) – stir-fried egg noodles with sauce
Phở xào – stir-fried bánh phở
Hot noodle rolls
Bánh cuốn – steamed rice noodle roll, stuffed with minced pork and wood ear[disambiguation needed] mushroom, somewhat similar to a Cantonese dim sum called rice noodle roll, but the rice sheet in bánh cuốn is much thinner and more delicate than the rice noodle used for the dim sum.
Cold rice paper rolls[edit]
Gỏi cuốn – translated as either “summer roll” or “salad roll”; a cold dish consisting of various ingredients (including bún) rolled in moist rice paper
Hot noodle sheets
Bánh ướt – rice noodle sheets, eaten with nước chấm, fried shallots and a side of chả lụa (Vietnamese pork sausage).

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica of Vietnam   Leave a comment

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica of Vietnam

From Wikipedia:-
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (Vietnamese: Vương cung thánh đường Đức Bà Sài Gòn or Nhà thờ Đức Bà Sài Gòn, French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon), officially Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception (Vietnamese: Vương cung thánh đường Chính tòa Đức Mẹ Vô nhiễm Nguyên tội) is a cathedral located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters (190 feet).

Status as a basilica
In 1960, Pope John XXIII erected Roman Catholic dioceses in Vietnam and assigned archbishops to Hanoi, Huế and Saigon. The cathedral was titled Saigon Chief Cathedral. In 1962, Pope John XXIII anointed the Saigon Chief Cathedral, and conferred it the status of a basilica. From this time, this cathedral was called Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Following the French conquest of Cochinchina and Saigon, the Roman Catholic Church established a community and religious services for French colonialists. The first church was built on today’s Ngo Duc Ke Street. There had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church.

The last church was too small. Thus, in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to build a wooden church on the bank of Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Lefevre put the first stone for construction of the church on 28 March 1863. The construction was completed two years later and was called “Saigon Church”. When the wooden church was damaged by termites, all church services were held in the guest-chamber of the French Governor’s Palace. This palace would later be turned into a seminary until the Notre-Dame Cathedral was completed.

After the design competition, bids were accepted for construction. Again, J. Bourard was the successful bidder and became supervisor of constructions.

Originally, there were three proposed sites for construction:

On the site of the former test school (today, this is at the corner of Le Duan Boulevard and Hai Ba Trung Street).
At Kinh Lon (today it is Nguyễn Huệ Boulevard)
At the present site where the cathedral is situated.
All building materials were imported from France. The outside wall of the cathedral was built with bricks from Marseille. Although the contractor did not use coated concrete, these bricks have retained their bright red color until today.

On 7 October 1877, Bishop Isidore Colombert laid the first stone in an inaugural ceremony. The construction of the cathedral took three years. On Easter Day, 11 April 1880, a blessing ceremony and ceremony of completion were solemnly organized in presence of the Governor of Cochinchina Charles Le Myre de Vilers. One can see the granite plate inside the main entry gate commemorating the start and completion dates and designer. The total cost was 2,500,000 French francs (at that time price). At the beginning, the cathedral was called State Cathedral due to the source of the construction funds.

In 1895, two bell towers were added to the cathedral, each 57.6 m high with six bronze bells with the total weight of 28.85 metric tonnes. The crosses were installed on the top of each tower of 3.5 m high, 2 m wide, 600 kg in weight. The total height of the cathedral to the top of the Cross is 60.5 m.

In the flower garden in front of the cathedral, there was a bronze statue of Pigneau de Behaine (also called Bishop of Adran) leading Prince Cảnh, the son of Emperor Gia Long by his right hand. The statue was made in France. In 1945, the statue was removed, but the foundation remains.

In 1959, Bishop Joseph Pham Van Thien, whose jurisdiction included Saigon parish, attended the Marian Congress held in Vatican and ordered a statue of Our Lady of Peace made with granite in Rome. When the statue arrived in Saigon on 16 February 1959, Bishop Pham Van Thien held a ceremony to install the statue on the empty base and presented the title of “Regina Pacis”. It was the same bishop who wrote the prayers “Notre-Dame bless the peace to Vietnam”. The next day, Cardinal Aganianian came from Rome to chair the closing ceremony of the Marian Congress and solemnly chaired the ceremony for the statue, thus the cathedral was then-on called Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The statue’s tears
During October 2005, the statue was reported to have shed tears, attracting thousands of people and forcing authorities to stop traffic around the Cathedral. However, the top clergy of the Catholic Church in Vietnam couldn’t confirm that the Virgin Mary statue in front of a cathedral had shed tears, which nevertheless failed to disperse the crowd flocking to the statue days after the incident. The reported ‘tear’ flowed down the right cheek of the face of the statue.

Inserted by SP Lim

At the Hill Tribe’s Village – Take 1   1 comment

At the Hill Tribe’s Village Take 1
These are the photographs taken at at a tourist village in Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam before we leave for Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon.

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