Indochinese love story
In the mood of a breakup, I left Hanoi exactly on the first day of Lunar New Year. At the airport, a girl was being seen off by her parents and boyfriend, meanwhile I, alone, was wearing a heavy backpack and ready for a trip with unknown friends.
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Text and photos by Lam Linh
Angkor Wat- Bring the souls closer
The weather in Cambodia is much hotter than that in Vietnam. For one day, I got to know all the members in the group; they are very easy-going. It took about 12 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap on a crowed and weary coach. We stayed in a very new hotel, only a ten-minute walk to reach a Foreign street. What a tiring day!
The bright sunshine illuminated Angkor Wat in the early morning. A few dozen of visitors were queuing up to take pictures of the spectacular sunrise. The Angkor Wat Temple area is divided into many sub-areas. It is so large that we could not discover all for 3 days. Angkor Wat is the biggest complex in the Angkor Wat Ruins. The temple is way south-1,400 meters lengthy north and east-west 800 meters with a mysterious long corridor. All the stone temples are carved gracefully and lively with the relief of Buddha, dancing girls, warriors, lotus images of Ramayana and Mahabharata epics. On the walls, millions of seductive Apsara (nymphs) are carved with different facial expressions, postures and body movements.
On the last day in Siem Reap, we visited Banteay Srei temple known as a precious gem of Hinduism. It has pride itself on the arts of carvings in laterites and red sandstone. I was quite lured by the elaborate decorative wall carvings. While I was wandering to take photos, I came across that girl. Today she was walking leisurely alone, not with a friend as usual. Despite in the same group, we had never talked to each other. However, this time, I struck up conversations with her, then we went sightseeing together around this stunning temple. It turns out that she and I shared many similarities, especially passion for travelling. Due to her language competency, she could find more information than I. She is younger, but she also has travelled more. During the past two days, she visited many attractions, some of which I missed. On that day, we went together and chatted many things, even the future plans. We became friends and joined in a 10-member group formed right after this trip under the name of Indochina.
Luang Prabang - Heartbeats in rhythm
Following the name of our group, we decided to leave for the North of Laos. The itinerary was Hanoi-Vientiane- Luangprabang-Xiang Khoang- Hanoi in 8 days. We looked sporty in brilliant red T-shirt and camouflage pants. Upon receiving the red seal, we excitedly set off to our neighbouring country.
What striked me first in Luang Prabang was its ancient beauty. Each pagoda we visited has its own glamour. Wat Phra Bat Nua is impressive with the gold-inlaid walls meanwhile What Mai has a huge Buddha statue in front of the main palace. Each pagoda has its own outstanding trait with the intricately carved designs. More noticeably, as the World Heritage Site constructed since 1560’s, Wat Xiangthong monastery is a must see. The penultimate reincarnation of Buddha is depicted on the walls in Mosaic art.
The small lanes are beautiful and clean with the porches full of flowers and bustling birdsongs. The sunbeams are scattered on the street, piercing through quivering leaves in the breeze. Hidden in many stratum of leaves and flowers is two-floor- small houses, facing a lane or a garden. The porch on the second floor is a preferred place because of flower fragrance and cool winds from a river.
We hired a bike, cycling around on the streets, far as the old bridge. A moonlight night. We took a walk to a night market by the tiny lanes and immersed in fragrant plumeria. Her small hand in my warm hand. We often talked very much, however, at this moment, we were silent, walking very quietly together under passionate moonlight.
Co To Island- Perfection to wedding photos
After the trip to Laos, we officially dated. She became my girlfriend and I picked her up to her office everyday. Three years passed by, we traveled together and shared many unforgettable memories. Our wedding photos were taken in an impressive way. The photographer is the person who knew us since the days we first met. The album is full of the pictures we have taken altogether during the past years. Particularly, the wedding photos taken in Co To island are the most beautiful.
The bride, the groom and all our friends got tired from a three -hour -floating trip to the island under rain and big waves. Co To remains beautiful as the first time we came 3 years ago. While the bride was busy with makeup, we discussed the places for shooting, from Hong Van secluded beach with translucent sea to the primitive forest deep inside the island or the rock field by the quay with white foam in waves. Each shot, each photos was our happy moment.
After wedding, my house is the place where my group often gathers. Although each member has a private life, we still try to meet and gather if possible. The passion for traveling still keeps intact in my and my wife’s heart. Now we will walk closely together more and more on many roads, especially on a special one named LOVE.
See more Southeast Asia travel guide at here.