Photo Essay: CET Vietnam

Photos by Tina Chiem, (Clark University) Student Correspondent CET Vietnam, Spring 2019

[Chưa Ngọc Hoàng] I was exploring! This was taken out on the second floor of the pagoda. I’ve always thought it was interesting seeing such stark contrasts between development and old representations of Vietnamese culture. There’s images like this all over the city, and sometimes I wonder if anyone else thinks about the contrasts and what it means as often as I do.

[Bánh Canh Cua] First food pic?? Fine, I promise more later. This is the bánh canh cua from the place close to the CET Guesthouse. Best bánh canh cua hands down – thick soup, chewy and fat noodles, and spice for dayssss. This has become a go to for me, what with it being so good and close to our place.

[Hồ Con Rùa] The famous Turtle Lake in Hà Nội. Our first night in Hà Nội, and the exciting beginning of our second travelling seminar! This was captured during a stroll taken around the bustling lake, lying at the heart of the city’s old quarter. While the area is indeed very touristy, the area is also filled with locals who want to enjoy a breezy night out with partners, friends, or family.

[Chùa Bái Đính] This place is HUGE. This isn’t your regular pagoda – it only began construction in 2001, but already has attracted masses of tourists and religious worshipers with its immense size and architecture layered in gold. There are statues of monks and Buddha, turtle and crane, among other deities that I cannot name. Our group spent a little over 3 hours walking the complex, stopping at times to admire or take pictures, but even so, we weren’t able to cover the whole complex. Incredible place.

Known as the Ha Long Bay on land! Our group took a rowing tour around the area, where we were able to see the beautiful hills (?) mountains (?) that span the area. We went around mini islands, were rowed through caves, and stopped to visit temples and Kong: Skull Island’s movie site. The tour lasted around 2 hours, and by the end our rower told us that we’d gone 10 miles! The man has incredible strength and endurance.

[Kinh thành Huế] Huế’s Imperial City. The area in middle Vietnam where kings of the Nguyễn dynasty resided. Lanee is posing for the picture as we take a tour around the fortress, learning about French colonial rule, concubines, and the culture within the city.

[Next to Cầu Trường Tiền] Chè!!! Hands down, Huế has some of the best chè I’ve ever had. The spread of items offered to add into our portion is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and Anh Vu says this spread was equivalent to those served to kings way back when!!

[Lăng Cô] Alright, we were only here for a restroom stop on the way to Hội An, but I fell in love instantly. There wasn’t anything I’d seen in VN so far that was more gorgeous than this area. The clouds laid low, rolling over evergreen hills that sat on top of a shallow, lazy lagoon where local people fished and caught sea creatures during the day. Absolutely gorgeous — I’ll never get over it!!

[Peaceful Bamboo Family] We learned about this cool org’s sustainable practices and strategies the people are using to protect the island the organization is located on from effects of climate change! They’re doing incredibly cool work and are just some of the few people in Vietnam working to protect and stand with indigenous communities. CET’s introduced us to innovative and wonderful organizations as well as historic, awe-inspiring sites during this trip!

[Vietnam Airlines] End of the second traveling seminar. Flight back to TP.HCM from Da Nang Airport. Look at the extensive river system!! Representative of South Vietnam and the power of the Mekong River.

[Saigon Food Tour] Informal food tour. One of our roommates took us on a food tour she usually leads for tourists that book with her company, so tonight we ate looots of good food. Bánh Canh Cua, Nước mía, Mì Quảng, Bánh bèo, and Bingsu!! I tried so hard to take a photo with all of us on our motorbikes, and this is what happened! Here’s the whole gang 🙂