Photography by Tom Lane

Vietnam & Cambodia

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Although I’d visited both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh a number of times when I was working, I was very keen to see more of Vietnam and particularly Cambodia, with its vast number of temples. I’d seen many fabulous images taken in and around Siem Reap and wanted to go and try to take some myself. With this in mind, we flew out of Heathrow on the 31st January, to Hanoi via Singapore, to start a seventeen day tour, beginning in Hanoi and ending in Bangkok, Thailand.

For the technically inclined I took two camera bodies; a Leica M10 and a Leica M10-r with the following lenses, 18mm (bought specially for the trip), 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and a 90mm. Might sound a bit of an overkill but I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, as I have had camera bodies fail before now and also the Leica M system is so small it’s no hardship to carry.

Above: A couple of images taken on the journey between Hanoi and Bai Chay harbour, where we were to board the boat for Ha Long Bay.

Above: Sailing out of Bai Chey and heading for Ha Long Bay where we were to spend the night aboard.

Above: Views of the spectacular bay, including a couple of monks enjoying the scenery, the small boat used to ferry us around the islands and the caves. 

Above: Back in Hanoi, where we had the afternoon free before catching an overnight train to Hue. Train Street is a place I always wanted to visit and it certainly didn’t disappoint, with some of the chairs and tables having to be moved back to allow the train to pass. Later that evening we were to travel the same route, but this time actually on the train.

Above: All taken in Hue, once the imperial capital of Vietnam and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Images of the Tien Mu Pagoda and the Imperial Citadel with the Forbidden Purple City (modelled on China’s Forbidden City) which was once home to the imperial family and was significantly damaged during the Vietnam War.

Above: Couple of pictures during a ‘rest stop’ on the journey between Hue and Hoi An.

Above: The Dragon Bridge; five images ‘stitched’ together to make one panorama.

Above: Hoi An, a fabulous city with lots going on, situated on the Thu Bon river.

Above: The Cu Chi tunnel system used in the Vietnam War which allowed the Viet Cong to live and move undetected.

Above: The Lion Dance which is sometimes used to bring luck to a new business, although as it was the Lunar New Year festival during our visit, it could have been for that.

Above: Taken on a trip to the Mekong Delta. (I had actually visited once before when I had a free Sunday in Ho Chi Minh, whilst working in Vietnam.)

Above: Some random images taken after our arrival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Above: Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21 Prison), the notorious Khmer Rouge prison where thousands of Cambodians died. The two gentlemen are actual survivors and they regularly attend the site to meet visitors.

Above: Choeung Ek, the site of the infamous Killing Fields in which stands a powerful memorial filled with victims’ skulls.

Above: A stop along the journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap where all sorts of delicacies are sold, including these fried tyrannical spyders. 

Above: Pub Street in Siem Reap, where beer is as cheap as $0.75 during Happy Hour. Food was also very good and inexpensive.

Above: Traditional Cambodian dance, where we had great seats on the front row. Only trouble was, being so near the stage it was impossible to include the dancer’s feet in the photo’s.

Above: Some of the wonderful temples, including a sunrise at the famous Angkor Wat complex.

Above: Tonle Sap floating village. We were there at the time of the dry season, however during the wet season the village is underwater, hence the reason for the houses being elevated. From a photography point of view this was probably the highlight of the entire trip and I’m sure it will be the subject of one, or two of my Black & White prints.

Above: More temples around Angkor Wat.

Above: A couple of images taken whilst on a Quad Bike tour, showing some Water Buffalo and our last sunset before heading off to Bangkok and the end of a great tour.

We don’t usually go on organised tours, having only done two previously, one to China and the other to Peru and Galapagos. However, we felt the best way to see this part of South East Asia was to go with someone who specialised in the area and we couldn’t have been more right.

We booked the trip through Trialfinders who evidently use G Adventures for this part of the world and we couldn’t praise them enough for the organisation, hotels and transport throughout the entire holiday.

Our CEO (that’s what G Adventures call the tour leader ‘Chief Experience Officer’) Jack Ho couldn’t have been more helpful and nothing was too much trouble for him. 

He was cheerful, enthusiastic and his knowledge was without question, making our total experience a joy.

We would certainly be happy to go with G Adventures again and have already started to look at other destinations they cover.