As an engineer, Mazlan had the opportunity to travel and work abroad. He has traveled to over 30 countries.
Street Scenes - Photos of Hue and Hoi An Vietnam
In this Street Photo Blog, I will be sharing some of the street scenes and candid photos that I took when I was in Hue and Hoi An, Vietnam. I photographed them at random to capture the colorful people, their struggle to earn an honest living, and the scenic beauty of these places.
What is Street Photography?
It is observing and capturing street scenes with your digital camera during your travel as it is one of the better ways to understand the people, their culture, and their lifestyle. It is the people's everyday life in public places, captured as candid shots.
It gives you and others who see this street photo, a simple candid shot of their everyday life that you may not be so familiar with. As one photographer used to say 'it allows us to freeze those moments and study the actions and dramas that were taking place'.
So, the next time you are out traveling, shoot the things that catch your eyes. Snap as many street images as you can and capture the life and culture of the place.
Be careful though, in some places, you need permission before taking photos of them. In some countries, it is against the law to take street photos without permission, thus difficult to capture a candid photograph.
So, before you start your travel, search for the local laws regarding street photography.
In Vietnam, cyclo (pronounced see-clo) used to be a common mode of public transportation and can be seen everywhere. It is now used mostly by tourists, which are the biggest customers for the cyclo drivers although the locals do use them occasionally.
A typical cyclo can only accommodate one passenger except in Hanoi as it is wider and can take two adults.
Unique Street Scenes
As cyclo takes up road space, it can be a traffic hazard. In fact, in some cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, cyclo will be phased out from the busy streets to reduce traffic congestion. When this happens, gone will be these unique street scenes and the old charms of Vietnam will be lost.
When the country was occupied by the French, they introduced cyclo, which is French for a bicycle rickshaw, in 1885 as a means of public transportation.
Before you hire a cyclo, ask for the fare to your destination. Since you are a foreigner and a tourist, he will give a high quote. Negotiate for a lower fare. Ask for a third of what was quoted and remained firm with your price, unless you are in a generous mood.
These drivers are now a dying breed. The money they earn in a day, sometimes is not enough, unless they stumble upon a generous tourist who pays the fare as quoted and gave a good tip as well. If you feel they deserved it then help make their day!
Street Portraiture - Vietnam Street Food
When you travel to most parts of Asia, you see people selling food on the streets. These are very common street scenes in Vietnam too. Seating on a low stool and enjoying the delicacies are part of their way of life. It gives you the impression that they eat out a lot.
Street Food Vendors
It does not cost much to eat at these street vendor outlets. If you give it a go, go slow and observe how your stomach reacts to this new adventure. Be careful with your menu selection though, as dog meat is a common ingredient in some of the dishes!
If you decide to try it you will make these street vendors happy and they won't mind you taking candid photos of them.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. When I saw them sold by the street food vendors in Hoi An and Hue, I was tempted to buy.
They say a street photograph has to be a real, unposed moment and I think I captured that in this candid photo.
Street Scenes at Dong Ba Market, Hue
Dong Ba market is the largest market in Hue and is now another tourist attraction. You can buy almost anything here and once you are in, it may not be easy to get out! This is one of the best places to capture local street scenes and a gem for street photography.
The place is huge and it is like a big maze. If you lose your bearing it will take you a while to find your way out.
You can be carried away with the many souvenirs and thousands of other things that you can buy and do at Dong Ba market and this can be another reason why it is not easy to get out of Dong Ba market. You may even forget to take candid photos of the happenings in the market.
Vietnamese Gold - Common Street Scenes
The Vietnamese buy gold on a regular basis partly because gold is an accepted medium of exchange. In Vietnam, you can buy a house with Vietnamese currency, or use gold for the transaction. Hence, house price is quoted in both dong and gold!
The women folk use this as an excuse to buy gold jewelry. The street scenes below were taken at Dong Ba market in Hue. Scenes of women buying and bargaining for a good gold price were common at this Dong Ba market.
Street Scenes at Places of Interests
At all places of interest all over the world, they will be shops and stalls selling souvenirs, foods, and drinks. These are also common street scenes in Hue and Hoi An, Vietnam.
This woman was selling bananas and simple souvenirs and competing with the other stalls near Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue.
Instead of waiting for customers to buy the bananas, this candid shot shows the vendor lugging the bamboo contraption around the Imperial Citadel compound, hoping to get people to buy.
The scenery along the Perfume River was beautiful and the above photo was taken at the footsteps to the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue.
The motorbike has now replaced cyclo as a common means of transportation for most Vietnamese. You will see them all over town. Within the Imperial Citadel compound in Hue, cars, and buses are not allowed. Hence, you will see many motorbike taxis here, great for some street photography ideas.
Tourists were coming to Vietnam in large groups but sadly now, due to the pandemic, the numbers have dropped.
One of Vietnam's major attractions is its historical sites but many were either completely or partially destroyed during the war. But they are still great images for your street photography ideas.
Street Scenes of Hue Vietnam and Hoi An, Vietnam
I hope you enjoyed this short journey via my Street Photo Blog and will one day make a trip to Hue or Hoi An in Vietnam. Read my travel review on Hue for more information on what is available in the city, the weather, visa requirements, currency exchange, shopping, and bargaining tips.
Below is a YouTube video by Uyen on street foods in Hue for you to enjoy.
Street Foods in Hue
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Mazlan A
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on October 27, 2015:
Hi LonelyVietnamese. Hue is rich in history and is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. It is also a great place to try out new Vietnamese dishes!
Hoi An is also another World Heritage site. It's a well preserved old town with old Chinese and colorful French architecture. The town cuts through the main river and it is a great place to relax.
In comparison, HCMC is boring!! You must go up and visit these two beautiful Vietnamese towns :-)
Kenneth from Ho Chi Minh City on October 22, 2015:
Thanks for the article. I lived in HCMC now but have yet to travel to Hue and Hoi An. Your articles makes me want to go there now :)
Halle57 on January 02, 2015:
I am going to return to Vietnam in the next February, and at this time, my preference is a Vietnamese cuisine tour. However, when searching a list of travel company, I found that they usually guide and serve Culinary Tours in restaurants. However, some previous travelers recommended eating food street to preserve traditional taste. May I ask for your advise
in those tour package and their food's quality? Have you ever tried?
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on May 15, 2013:
kashmir56, Thank you. I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment! Thanks also for the votes and Share.
Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on May 14, 2013:
Great informative and interesting article, enjoyed the photo adventure of Vietnam from your beautiful photos. Well done !
Vote up and more !!! Sharing !
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on April 11, 2013:
Thanks for the votes and praise Sheila. I'm glad you had a chance to travel to Vietnam with this hub! Thanks for dropping by and take care.
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on April 10, 2013:
I love seeing how people really live in other countries. I will probably never get to travel to Vietnam, but with your hub I feel as though I have taken a little trip there. I found this very interesting and your pictures are wonderful! Voted this up and interesting. Great job! :)
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on March 04, 2013:
@Iammattdoran, wow you must be an adventurous traveler to try Vietnamese street food! To be honest, the street food is tastier than those in the fancy restaurants and hotels and a lot cheaper too. Thanks for dropping by.
Robert Clarke from UK on March 03, 2013:
Vietnam Street Food: one of my most favourite things ever. Nice photos greatstuff. I thought Hoi An was really beautiful
Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on December 12, 2012:
Pavlo: I did not realize this until you pointed out that there are no security. You are right. The business is done along the market passage way and it must be safe and okay for it to continue as such. Vietnam just came out of not just one big war, but several wars. Maybe now they want peace and your observation, and conclusion could be right.
rfmoran: As mentioned earlier, Vietnam is tired of war and wants peace and I think they work hard to achieve this and it seems to work.
Glimmer Twin Fan : Thanks. Your armchair travel is more fun and a lot cheaper!
teaches12345: They say that food from street vendors taste nicer than at fancy restaurants. In most cases this can be true as I do know of several highly recommended places to eat, here in my country, that are from small stalls, from food court centres and street vendors. In most Asian countries, these street vendors are part of the country's unique lifestyle and I missed them when the city, in moving towards 'progress', removed them from the street scene. It is important to maintain a proper city planning but not at the expense of losing the delicate fabric of these lifestyle. I know some of you may not agree with me.
Dianna Mendez on December 02, 2012:
I enjoyed the cultural lesson and tour, greatstuff. I actually would love to visit and to try some of the street vendor food selections. Of course, as you say, taking it slowly to gauge a reaction. This is nicely written article and very interesting.
Claudia Porter on December 02, 2012:
Really beautiful hub. I enjoyed taking a trip to Vietnam with the great photos.
Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on November 30, 2012:
Having served in the military during Vietnam, although not in Vietnam, I love seeing your beautiful pictures of places that were once a scene of hell. Great job.
Pavlo Badovskyi from Kyiv, Ukraine on November 29, 2012:
Dear Greatstuff, your wrote the great stuff! I sell airline tickets but very seldom have pasengers to/from Vietnam. Too expensive to fly, too long and somehow tourists do not want to spend much $ there. Alas. I see it can be very interesting. Information about gold sold on a market like any other goods is unbelivable. Just have a look at the picture. NO SECURITY guys! Either they were not robbed or they do not have crimes!