A busy, but wonderful day… sand, sun, beach, temples, views, amazing culinary treats… all climaxing to the New Years Eve parties on the beaches of Pattaya, Thailand!
Drove the motorbike to Jomtien Beach, on the opposite side of Pratumnak Hill for the better part of the day. Then meandered back to Pattaya Bay via the top of the hill where the Big Buddha calls home at Kao Phra Yai Wat temple. Then a lookout point and back to the beach… only this time in the center of crazy Pattaya.
Outside Hoi An, on the outskirts of Da Nang there is a set of 5 curiously tall rock formations… known as the Marble Mountains, each named after an element (metal, water, wood, fire, earth). Tucked away in/on them is an array of caves, Buddhist temples, pagodas and religious sanctuaries, which allow for spectacular views of nearby Da Nang city, as well as down the entire coastline. Which, much to my dismay, will soon be littered by hotel resorts crammed right next to each other. We drove the 30min via motorbike down the coast to Hoi An, and passed several brand-spanking-new resorts, with mapped out lots in between… all in the process of being built on. One can soon expect a Vietnamese version of horrible horrible Cancun (*barf*).
The streets that surround the mountains are filled with countless workshops and showrooms that house piles and piles of statues carved out of limestone… which is apparently shipped in from China.
Shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.
Well, just like in Saigon, we did a temple patrol in Hoi An, hitting up all the religious sites in one go (and this time I brought my camera). Then we took a drive down the only road on Cam Nam island to the very end, where we found a boat… and a crazy plant that instantly retracts its leaves when touched. I have a video somewhere…
Seems only fitting that my final images from Saigon, are of the vespertine variety…..
Right after this shoot, had some amazing dinner at “3T”, on a rooftop restaurant… DIY BBQ! Then took a final hour-long motorbike tour around the city… managed to get it close to 100km/h (with someone on the back!) before chickening out. I need to get me one of them!
I mixed some pleasure with business and hit up Wuxi last week, a “town” (population 4.5 million) a 2hr drive north-west from Shanghai (map here).
Visited the Ling Shan Buddhist Scenic Spot, which includes Nanchan Temple, “5 Signet’s” Temple, the 88m Grand Buddha (8th tallest in the world), and the impressive [¥ 2billion] Brahma Palace, which you may only enter if you wear shoe covers.
For Tanley’s day-off we visited Jing’an Temple by day and then took the Line 2 subway (sorry for the bad pic, but someone was really asking what they looked like) over to Pudong and hit up Century Park by night…