Saigon Throwback

Photography

Back in 2009 – I make a trip to Saigon to jalan jalan. Saigon is really a nice place as in its quite modern then. I’ve been to this city a few times in the past couple of years and what I noticed is that the development in Saigon or Ho Chin Minh has been very fast. In fact – if you look at the growth of economy, Vietnam has been moving quite fast especially during this era of trade war.

Reading thru various articles, the biggest beneficiary of the trade war between US and China – Vietnam has been singled out as the biggest beneficiary. Making the growth of the economy to be further accelerated.

My last trip to Saigon or Ho Chin Minh was in 2018 – which is about 10 years after my trip in 2009. The trip was for work thus I didn’t have time to go around the city. But what I noticed is the rapid growth.

Streets
Streets
Traffic
Traffic

Maybe I should make a trip again to Saigon sometime this year. It’ll be fun.

Morning walkabout – Klang

Photography

It has been quite a while since I went out for a walkabout. I’ve been doing workout for the past two weeks and decided that today will be my rest day. As such – I didn’t want to go to the gym nor go for a run as I need to rest my body before the next week start. Therefore I decided to bring out the camera, and shoot.

Inspiration is rather very thin nowadays, perhaps due to my addiction to television and too many hobbies. Whilst surfing for inspiration then I saw a friend of my posted some photos on Klang. He is a new-ish red dot fellow addict (lol).

This morning I woke up at 6am, and immediately did a quick research on where to park, where to shoot etc etc. After getting my ass over to Klang about 8am, then I saw few other photographers from PSPJ. Quick stalk on facebook showed that they went for a sunrise shoot. Perhaps this will go into my to do list. Need to bring another set of gear for this.

Anyway – following are my photos from this morning. Quick process and be gone!

Trappist Monastery

Photography, Travel

It has been quite a long while since I last posted on this blog. It has been quite a roller coaster as I was very busy with work (aka finding the dough to fund my ridiculous trips!).

Trappist Monastery is one of the attraction in Hakodate. I was expecting to see a lot more but I realised that I could only see it from the outside. In fact, this is up and running monastery – thus there are no visitors that are able to have access into it. I was imagining different types of photos from the movies, but I guess I have to make do with what’s out there!

Day 2 – Full Day at Lake Toya

Photography

This is day 2 of a 14 day trip to Hokkaido. Going thru the west side of Hokkaido island starting from Chitose where I landed, and then headed over to Lake Toya for a quick over night before I head over to Hakodate.

In Lake Toya – it is a quick lay over on the way to Hakodate.

Ukimido Park

The photo above is Ukimido Park – which is a shrine at the end of the “small cape”. Initially – I wanted to take the photo much earlier during the day, but I was scared away from a goose, or maybe a swan. Memories of being chased by a goose when I was young still fresh in my mind!

Silo Observation Deck

After visiting the park, I then headed over to Silo Observation Deck. Its somewhere about 5 mins away by car. Ample parking space and it has a nice shopping area for those who wants to buy souvenirs. Note that there are a lot of tourist.

Because the weather is shit, there’s nothing much to see. I just took a picture and went to the cafe nearby.

Cafe Bahler
Cafe Bahler
Pulling out the soft serve.
Pulling out the soft serve.

At the viewing platform, there’s a cafe named Cafe Balher. Serving coffee and soft serve. I didn’t try any.

Mount Usu Memorial Park

As I was driving out of Silo Observation point, I remember a park that I came across while going for dinner the day before. It’s Mount Usu Memorial Park. It has some of the fun art sculptures . One of it is the picture of the face.

Surfing Beach

Distance between Hakodate and Lake Toya is not very far but I decided to take the long way round thru the coastal road because… I can. The coastal side of Hokkaido island is very pretty, it’s facing the northern Pacific Ocean. Well – right across is California (not swimmable of course).

I was trying hard to find a place to stop, despite having to have pinpoint place to stop, I couldn’t find the entry(perhaps driving too fast) but of course the entrance was very small. And I can’t stop from enjoying the beautiful view of the coastal lines. Weather was cloudy making it more dramatic than ever.

The photo below is the picturesque view of the coastal lines. As you can see the rocks on the left is wave barriers.

Cape Esan Light House

Just before I reached Mount Esan, I could not help but noticed a light house. Probably won’t be seen by the roadside thus you would need to map it out. It looks pretty abandon as the offices are not opened. There’s a small road that leads to the lighthouse and there you would see the lighthouse. It’s pretty serene indeed. If I am not in a rush, I wouldn’t mind having a picnic here, rolling on the grass with the daisies.

View of the lighthouse
View of the lighthouse
Rolling daisies
Rolling daisies
The lighthouse sign
The lighthouse sign

Mount Esan

Mount Esan is an active stratovolcano of the Kameda peninsula. It is located in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. Mount E is part of Esan Prefectural Natural Park.

Driving to Mount Esan was not difficult at all. Just need to be a bit careful as the road up is pretty narrow and have sharp corners. Would have been great if I am on the bike! Driving a Prius is not the best, but I for cost purposes, this is the best option.

View from the observatory
View from the observatory
Site view of the observatory
Site view of the observatory
Selfie
Selfie
That’s Mount Esan
That’s Mount Esan
Some shrine. Scary indeed
Some shrine. Scary indeed
Mountain vegetation
Mountain vegetation
More mountain vegetation
More mountain vegetation

Uni Murakami

After checking in to the hotel, I went to have Uni don at Uni Murakami. Supposedly the place for Uni. The Uni itself is good but the rice is normal rice. Perhaps it’s the normal Hakodate style. It was really expensive. JPY4860.

That’s it for day 2!

Day 1 : Noboribetsu Jigokudani and Lake Toya

Photography

Noboribetsu Jigokudani or the hell valley is the first stop that I went to after getting out of the plane.

Thank god that I managed to get a good sleep in the plane, the drive was not so bad. Though I was slightly grumpy at the airport because the wait for the car rental took so long. Initially the person mentioned that it’ll be 15 mins, but actually it took 30 mins. I realised that the rental place is really far!

Similar to Owakudani, coming over here smells the same. Rotten egg all over. Strange enough, they don’t have the black eggs in Jigokudani.

This place is living truly to the hell valley where they somewhat use the “hell” icon pretty much everywhere. As per the photo above, can see the “satan” logo as the indicator on the toilet!

After Jigokudani, I drove up slightly higher and rich Omuya Pond. Its a pond with a large pool of hot water!

The colour of the water is somewhat turqoise-ish! Perhaps a bit exaggerated from my processing of the photos!

After finishing at Omuya Pond, I continued driving upwards towards the Lake Kuttara lookout point.

The view is ok, wish there were no trees blocking it!

Clearly – there are not a lot of people coming to this part of the world as it was only my car at the parking lot.

After checked in to my hotel, had dinner in town – Aigawa Sushi. It was pretty decent.

Aigawa Sushi – http://www8.plala.or.jp/aikawa_toya/