Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Posts from the ‘mekong trip 2013’ category

Downriver

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My photobook, Downriver, is still available through blurb.co.uk.

In the summer of 2013, I spent four months following the Mekong river through south-east Asia. From the Xishuangbanna region in China’s Yunnan province, I travelled into northern Laos, crossed the river for a brief visit to Thailand, then continued down through the southern tail of Laos and into eastern Cambodia, before finishing my journey in the Mekong delta region in southern Vietnam. The book is a collection of my photographs and thoughts from the trip.

The 136 page book is available as an 8×10 in softcover book or as a PDF download. Click here to order or to see a limited preview.

downriver

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New photobook: Downriver

downriver

Five countries, four months, one river.

In the summer of 2013, I spent four months following the Mekong river through south-east Asia. From the Xishuangbanna region in China’s Yunnan province, I travelled into northern Laos (making my apologies to Burma), crossed the river for a brief visit to Thailand, then continued down through the southern tail of Laos and into eastern Cambodia, before finishing my journey in the Mekong delta region in southern Vietnam. This book is a collection of my photographs and thoughts from the trip.

The 136 page book is available as an 8×10 in softcover book or as a PDF download. Click here to order or to see a limited preview.

Streets of Chau Doc (part 3)

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My five day stay in Chau Doc in early August was one of the most rewarding periods I’ve had with my camera – everywhere I looked there seemed to be a picture waiting to be taken.  Everything seemed so easy – the weather was perfect, the people were friendly and my mood was good.  Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t stay there longer.

This is my final set of pictures from my summer Mekong trip: three and a half months of travelling from Yunnan province in China, through Laos, a tiny bit of Thailand, and eastern Cambodia, and then into the Mekong delta in Vietnam.  I came back from the trip with some great memories, ruined sandals, the nearest thing I’ll ever get to a tan, and – I think – some of the best pictures I’ve taken.  Just as I enjoyed the journey, which came to an end at the beginning of September, I’ve also enjoyed the process of going back through my photo catalog over the last few weeks and posting the pictures that didn’t make it onto the blog while I was travelling.  At the same time, I’m glad that process is now finished, so that I can give more time and energy to taking pictures in Hanoi, where I’m living now.  So this post is my way of drawing a line under the Mekong trip – for now at least – and moving on.

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Net

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I wrote before about how Chau Doc has an interesting mixture of Vietnamese, Khmer and Cham Muslim people. These pictures were taken in a Cham fishing village on the Bassac river, just outside of Chau Doc in the Mekong delta in southern Vietnam, in August this year.  There are many villages like this one in the delta, as well as in the Kompong Cham area of Cambodia, and it’s one of my few regrets from my summer travels that I didn’t spend more time in these communities.

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Summer in Cambodia, autumn in Hanoi

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This is a slightly random collection of pictures from Cambodia, taken in July this year, as I followed the Mekong river through Kratie and Kompong Cham and on to Phnom Penh.  Much of my time in the first two of these towns was spent sheltering from torrential rain – entirely my own fault for choosing to travel through south-east Asia during the wet season – but I was still able to spend a decent amount of time wandering through markets, visiting temples and cycling through the countryside.

Although I’ve been posting pictures from Laos and Cambodia recently, I’m actually settling back in to life in Hanoi at the moment.  Once again, this blog is lagging a little behind real life.  I’ve found myself a job and a place to live, and I’m very happy to be here, but I still feel a little wistful when I look back through the pictures from my summer travels.  Mostly though, I’ve been enjoying the Hanoi autumn, catching up with old friends and reacquainting myself with the city that was my home for most of 2008-10.  I’m looking forward to the future and savouring the simple pleasures of having my own space again.  After months of living in hotels – not just while I was travelling, but also for my first few weeks here in Hanoi – it’s oddly satisfying just making my own breakfast and having my own front door key.  I’ve not taken a huge number of pictures since I’ve been here, but I’m slowly building up a small collection of pictures of Hanoi, which I’ll start posting here once I’ve got the last of the photographs from the Mekong trip out of my system.

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24 hours in Stung Treng

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Stung Treng was my first stop in Cambodia, after six weeks of travelling down the length of Laos.  I only stayed in the town for one night, as I was keen to carry on down the river to Kratie, but I had time for a quick late afternoon wander around the market.

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Border hopping

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For several hundred miles, the Mekong river acts as the border between Laos and Thailand. For most of this part of my Mekong trip, I stayed on the Lao side of the border, but for a few days at the end of June I crossed over to Thailand, partly to get a new Lao visa, and partly just to see the other side of the river.  Although there is a ferry service connecting the two sides, this now seems to be reserved for Lao and Thai nationals only. Everyone else has to travel by road, across one of the impressive new Friendship Bridges spanning the river.  From Tha Khaek in southern Laos, I took the bus (along with a boisterous extended Vietnamese family) to Nakhon Phanom in Thailand, where I stayed for a few days before travelling downriver to Mukdahan for a night, from where I crossed back into Laos via a different bridge, travelling on to Savannakhet.  I’ve written before about how countries along the Mekong gradually merge into one another in border regions, and these riverside towns were another example of that,  although the Thai side was noticeably busier and more prosperous.  These pictures were all taken in Tha Khaek, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan.

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