Posted on March 17, 2018
I haven’t posted anything in a while – very sorry. Has been a very busy end to 2017 and a busy start in 2018. I have also changed jobs in that time which was a little intense. The good news, and also a cause to the lack of posts is that Vanessa and I had a good long trip to Vietnam (again). So there should be plenty of new material coming up. As we are also on the brink of spring, I hope to grab some nice spring shots too soon.
So I have decided to break down our trip is sections, and this part is about Con Dao. These are remote islands about an hours flight south of Saigon. The islands are known for their prisons during the Vietnam War, which is a bit depressing. However, they are also home to Vietnam’s best beaches, nice wilderness, and six senses resort.
We took a flight from Saigon with Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO). It was a windy landing and one to remember, but the airline is fine and ATRs are always bumpy. We stayed at a Vietnamese 3 start resort just out of town. Con Dao Resort is walking distance from the main town. But the best way to get around is by motorbike. We rented a bike for a couple of days.
The islands are pretty quiet, and the people are surprisingly laid back for the Vietnamese. There are not that many roads, and not that much to see, but the place is very relaxing. We checked out the local temples, beaches and the main town the first day.
The second day we looked at a lot of the prisons from the war period. Some were built by the French for political prisoners, and some were later built by the Americans. All offer horrific conditions. It was hard to understand why such measures were needed, but good to see them.
The next day we rode up to the start of the national park. You need a special permit to enter the park, but it’s easy to get at the park office. We then took a hike to the other side of the island. On the way we traveled through dense jungle, and encountered a bit of wild life including monkeys. Finally we made it to a very remote little beach. It was quite rocky, but very nice in general. There are coral reefs just off shore.
The rest of the time, we just hang around town. There are some nice cafes and restaurants. I would recommend Con Dao to anyone visiting Vietnam. It’s a welcome change from the usual rush. I think it has Vietnam’s best beaches, and easy access to nature. There is still not too many tourists there, and the remote parts are very authentic.
Posted on November 11, 2017
Plitvice Lakes National Park was one of the biggest highlights on my recent trip to Croatia. It is simply the most amazing aquatic ecosystem I have ever seen. The scale of the place, and the way that you can traverse this park leaves visitors with a memorable experience.
The park is some 295 square kilometers, and comprises some 16 lakes, all chained together by incredible terraces. There are countless waterfalls, limestone caves, and endless walking tracks. The lakes are all in pristine condition, and the blue green water is amazing.
The park is located a little inland in northern Croatia, near the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina. It is easy to get to, and there is a lot of parking for all types of vehicles. A day ticket at the park costs 55 – 180 Kuna depending on the season.
When we were there, it was hard rain. In fact we thought about cancelling our visit, but decided to brave the elements. The rain meant that I had to abandon my 5D Mark III. Luckily I have a waterproof case form my smaller camera, a Canon G7X. It turned out to be a blessing, I could not have taken the images I did if I hadn’t had the waterproof case. The waterfalls were full due to the rain, and also the crowds were light.
We followed one of the standard routes around the park, which included board walks, hiking tracks through forests, a boat ride and finally a bus back to where we started. All in all it took us most of the day. We did stop of lunch at one of the café locations in the park.
Here are my keepers from the day. Due to the conditions, I had to improvise a little, and use a point and shoot camera. All images taken with a Canon G7X and Canon waterproof housing.