Browsing Category

Vietnam

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Ninh Binh, Tam Coc, Northern Vietnam Post 4 “Round & About Ninh Binh”

Picture post from Tam Coc, Ninh Binh Province Vietnam taken  January 2015

UNESCO World heritage site Tam Coc, Limestone outcrops proper name Karst  description,  Karst: a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite and gypsum. Characterised by sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems.

The last in this 4 part post this one is a series focusing on Landscapes people as they go about their daily lives in and around around Tam Coc in the Ninh Binh  province of northern Vietnam. Often described as Ha-long Bay on land, in fact most of the limestone karsts rise up out crystal clear waters of the small local lakes and a meandering  2 kilometer stretch of the Ngo Dong river. I have spent 3 nights on a Halong Bay tour in 2013 and this was a very different experience but both worthwhile for different reasons. At the time of year we visited the the air hangs in a misty eerie adding to its magical ambiance. The town of Ninh Binh itself is of no great interest with little to see ort do so recommend you do as we did and stay in a shack by the side of one of the limestone karsts overlooking a small lake, magical. Nguyen Shack run by a Canadian and his Vietnamese wife its a wonderful place to stay, click this link for their homepage  Nguyen Shack

People & Landscape Ninh Binh 

Pictuure post Ninh Binh Vietnam by David Keegan 2015 (31)

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (1)

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (4)

Continue Reading

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Ninh Binh, Tam Coc, Northern Vietnam Post 3 “The Tofu Maker”

Picture post from Tam Coc, Ninh Binh Province Vietnam taken  January 2015

Post  1 to3 in this series from Ninh Binh province in  Vietnam features the lives and work of some of the local people from the small garment factory, to the cottage industry tofu maker, to the block maker and the couple building a house from this local block. Unfortunately any of the limestone outcrop not listed as part of the UNESCO world heritage site is slowly being blown up, pulled down, ground to a powder and finally turned into bricks with a lifespan of only 15 years.  The Tofu maker is one of my favorite picture posts as it offers a glimpse into the process from ground bean to finished block of Tofu. This is hard and hot work carried out a t a relentless pace but offers nonetheless a good living for the family All offering a unique glimpse of some of the local industry and people behind it. Meanwhile in the garment factory conditions here are better than most and better than sweatshops around Asia but long days, sometimes 7 in a row when busy with order deadlines, are spent to earn a living.

The Tofu Maker

The Tofu maker Ninh Binh Vietnam a photgrapic essay by David Keegan 2015 (2)

The Tofu maker Ninh Binh Vietnam a photgrapic essay by David Keegan 2015 (15)

The Tofu maker Ninh Binh Vietnam a photgrapic essay by David Keegan 2015 (7)

Continue Reading

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Ninh Binh, Tam Coc, Northern Vietnam Post 2 “The Block Maker & House Builder”

Picture post from Tam Coc, Ninh Binh Province Vietnam taken  January 2015

 The second in a  4 part post, this one The Block Maker & The House Builder, in and around around Tam Coc in the Ninh Binh  province of northern Vietnam. Often described as Ha-long Bay on land, in fact most of the limestone karsts rise up out crystal clear waters of the small local lakes and a meandering  2 kilometer stretch of the Ngo Dong river. I have spent 3 nights on a Halong Bay tour in 2013 and this was a very different experience but both worthwhile for different reasons. At the time of year we visited the the air hangs in a misty eerie adding to its magical ambiance. The town of Ninh Binh itself is of no great interest with little to see or do so recommend you do as we did and stay in a shack by the side of one of the limestone karsts overlooking a small lake, magical. Nguyen Shack run by a Canadian and his Vietnamese wife its a wonderful place to stay.

click this link for their homepage  Nguyen Shack

 

The Block Maker

This is hard heavy and hot work and these women will put in 12 hours shifts starting early morning and working 6, sometimes seven days a week, but in comparison to other forms of work it is outdoors and being very well paid allows them to provide a good living for their families.

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (15)

One of the block makers pictured in front of the drying stack of previously molded block

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (14)  The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (16)

The pulverized block and soil mix create a monotone and surreal landscape.

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (17)

The block making is carried out by the 2 women pictured. Here the woman in foreground takes a filled block mold to the stack for drying

Continue Reading

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Ninh Binh, Tam Coc, Northern Vietnam Post 1 “The Factory”

 

Picture post from Tam Coc, Ninh Binh Province Vietnam taken  January 2015

 The first in a  4 part post, (this one The Factory) in and around around Tam Coc in the Ninh Binh  province of northern Vietnam. Often described as Ha-long Bay on land, in fact most of the limestone karsts rise up out crystal clear waters of the small local lakes and a meandering  2 kilometer stretch of the Ngo Dong river. I have spent 3 nights on a Halong Bay tour in 2013 and this was a very different experience but both worthwhile for different reasons. At the time of year we visited the the air hangs in a misty eerie adding to its magical ambiance. The town of Ninh Binh itself is of no great interest with little to see or do so recommend you do as we did and stay in a shack by the side of one of the limestone karsts overlooking a small lake, magical. Nguyen Shack run by a Canadian and his Vietnamese wife its a wonderful place to stay.

click this link for their homepage  Nguyen Shack

The Garment Factory

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (9)

Here the work is shared between your men and women working long hours, but conditions are considered good here although again the hours are long and often seven days in a row, it is still a far cry from many larger sweatshops seen throughout bigger town and cities in Asia

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (10)

The principle and overseer checks quality of  work on an order for work-wear. View beyond is of bike menders across the street.

The people of Ninh Binh Vietnam a photographic essay by David Keegan 2015 (11)

Creche for the working mums consists of a cardboard box. These kids will sit quietly and without fuss whilst their mothers work the machines. One can only wonder how many western kids in similar situation would be this well behaved?

Continue Reading

Asia Vietnam

Mai Chau, Vietnam

Set in an idyllic valley, the Mai Chau area is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi from where my journey started. It is not an easy place to reach, even by private car, a long and arduous bumpy 5 hour drive. Worth it though! The villagers are mostly White Thai, distantly related to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China. Below is my picture diary taken during a whistle stop bicycle tour of the area. In these pictures the focus is on the people as they go about their daily lives rather than the usual over-coloured travel photography. In so doing i hope this is a more honest portrait of a place and its people. Taken in January 2015 the focus at this time is very much the preparation of the fields for rice planting.


We stayed in the Mai Chau Valley View  click the link for his website and were hosted by Mr Duong and his family. Mr Duong was kind enough to take us on a guided tour of the area which resulted in the pictures below. he is a wonderful man with great local knowledge

People and Landscape Mai Chau Northern Vietnam by David Keegan 2015 (1)

People and Landscape Mai Chau Northern Vietnam by David Keegan 2015 (1a) (1)

People and Landscape Mai Chau Northern Vietnam by David Keegan 2015 (2)

People and Landscape Mai Chau Northern Vietnam by David Keegan 2015 (3)

Grandmother looks after grandson whilst mother and father work.

Continue Reading

Asia Vietnam

Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Northern Vietnam by David Keegan

Pu Luong Picture Diary 2015

What follows is a picture essay from Pu Luong nature reserve in Northern Vietnam. A difficult place to reach (thankfully), it is one of the most serenely beautiful i have ever had the privilege of visiting.  In all its probably about a 5 or 6 hour car journey from Hanoi, but as i traveled first to Mai Chau and on from there by car, its about another 5 hours. This trip is hard going along some pretty awful roads.

The nature reserve itself is without road and only accessible either on foot, bicycle, horse, or motorbike. The light is at times misty, at times sunny, tropical, dizzying, changeable, colorful, yet monotone, like nowhere else on earth.The pictures are set out in titled categories. Editing them brought a smile to my face and a sense of longing to return to my heart. We stayed at the Les Bains de Hieu Ecolodge, located in Village de Ban Hieu. I arranged all transfers and accommodation at the lodge with Tonkin Travel ( Tonkin Link) based in Hanoi. I found they offered the best service and price for the trip as we needed, transfers to and from 3 locations starting Mai Chau then Phu Luong and on to Ninh Binh and finally back to Hanoi. I paid a small deposit in advance by credit card and met a representative of Tonkin at my Hotel the night before when i paid the balance. All went without a hitch, although our first driver a man called Son is to be avoided as he is incredibly rude to visitor and local alike. I did all bookings with Tonkin Travel through a Quân (Mr) and found him to be very good to deal with. He always answered my emails promptly and all pick ups were always on time.

In Hanoi we stayed at the (Diamond Elegance Hotel, Hanoi Link) where Chu Van Binh (Mr.) looked after us. I hope to return and see all soon!!

Enjoy!

Portrait village elder Pu Luong by David Keegan 2015

Pictures Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Vietnam, By David Keegan 2015 (3)

Pictures Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Vietnam, By David Keegan 2015 (4)

Pictures Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Vietnam, By David Keegan 2015 (6)

Continue Reading