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Thread: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

  1. #1
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    Default Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    I'm not sure where I can place this post so here goes.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I have squeezed dry every drop of what I have, and dug deep into every of my ang baos that I got after Cina New Year and realised I have enough!

    Enough to get tickets on a shady budget airline to Ho Chi Minh City during my holidays End- May. I thought whatever it takes, whether sleeping a hostel, a budget hotel and eating pho and "unknown floating objects" on the streets, I must do the following things:

    1. reach HCMC,

    2. roam the streets of HCMC, Cu Chi and Mekong

    3. and get a second hand film SLR camera at Nguyen Hue, develop and bring lots of pictures home, printed.

    I am doing all these of course with an extremely tight budget and lots of questions, for the good folks here at clubsnap who have survived HCMC, or who live there.

    1. Does Tiger Airways = Mad rush to check in, mad rush across the runway, and mad rush to seats?

    2. I would most probably be staying at An An Hotel, Bui Vien. Is that hotel really that shady? How about other hotels at Pham Ngu Lao? Any recommendations?

    3. If I can get a second hand FM2 for $200 in Singapore, how much can I get one there? And which of the shops at Nguyen Hue can give me a really good deal (for a decent working FM2). (Doesn't really have to be a shop).

    4. Where around District 1/ 3 can I tailor great clothes at affordable prices?

    5. Where else besides Mekong Delta, Cu Chi and Cao Dai Great Temple can I visit to get great shots?

    6. How to say "Where is the toilet?" in Vietnamese?

    Would really appreciate it if you can help a brother out. And I will see what I can come out for you guys to see using my second- hand DSLR after the trip in June.

    This will be fun.

    Cam On
    guys. (Is that how I use that word?)
    Last edited by benjaminteo; 13th March 2007 at 04:30 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    hello friend, is this is a solo trip and u sound like you want to make it as free as possible..then just go and see..no matter what answer you get, it won't be the same situation you will be..

    a solo trip is very easy..if you are ready. coz you don't have to plan and not one will blame you if something turns out not good ha..

  3. #3

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    do not walk around ho chi minh with ur camera slinged out. if u must...gaffer the camera brands & do not use big lenses unless u absolutely have to.
    i stayed @ anan & its a fine little hotel. the staff are very helpful & friendly so don't worry!
    if u are climbing into the cu chi tunnels, make sure ur camera is heavily protected from dust & scratches!
    toilet in vietnamese is danh từ. but most of the locals there understand some basic english due to heavy tourism.

  4. #4
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    Moderator's note:

    Please refrain from posting trip discussion in the photo gallery, as stated in the guidelines. Thank you.

    Thread moved from Land/Cityscape & Travel photo gallery to Gatherings & Outings discussion subforum.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    my best bet is dont buy cam there u are not Vnmese, the price wont be good and it wont be that much cheaper. One cam that u can buy cheap there is Canon Fd mount body and lens like canon ae-1 , ae-1 program , or some of that. Fd mount lens also cheap, nikon i'm not sure .

    Walk around then be careful, beggars may follow in some area. Always have the neck strap wrap around ur wrist ,dont hang around ur neck, wrap it around ur wrist. If not shooting, put it in ur bag. Usually if u use shoulder bag when walk around, put it in front,backpack than be more careful.

    For toilet , just say toilet, it is quite universal word everywhere i travel,that word can use.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    I have never been to Vietnam so I can't give any advice. However, you might want to look for the answers to your question on www.photo.vn (it's a Vietnamese photography community). If I'm not mistaken, participants from ClubSnap and Fotografer.net have met with some members of Photo.VN before when there was a group trip there last year.

  7. #7
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    check out lonely planet and read where u r going. the rest is up to chance and personal communication skills.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    you can try Kha'nh Long (next to Tax center) (the shop that has a canon 500 f4L IS is selling 3500 under the glass cupboard)
    but when you're a foreigner, well, i got no idea what price they'll give you.
    so better buy here then.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    Quote Originally Posted by bahibo View Post
    my best bet is dont buy cam there u are not Vnmese, the price wont be good and it wont be that much cheaper. One cam that u can buy cheap there is Canon Fd mount body and lens like canon ae-1 , ae-1 program , or some of that. Fd mount lens also cheap, nikon i'm not sure .

    Walk around then be careful, beggars may follow in some area. Always have the neck strap wrap around ur wrist ,dont hang around ur neck, wrap it around ur wrist. If not shooting, put it in ur bag. Usually if u use shoulder bag when walk around, put it in front,backpack than be more careful.

    For toilet , just say toilet, it is quite universal word everywhere i travel,that word can use.
    Good advice! I went to HCMC in 2005, stayed in a 3-star hotel and travelled on my own, I just walked around the "old town", and along the river, sometimes I walked late at night also, my opinion HCMC is a relatively safe city, perhaps due to the fact that there are always many motorcycles and many people anytime anywhere...

  10. #10

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    Quote Originally Posted by Astin View Post
    Good advice! I went to HCMC in 2005, stayed in a 3-star hotel and travelled on my own, I just walked around the "old town", and along the river, sometimes I walked late at night also, my opinion HCMC is a relatively safe city, perhaps due to the fact that there are always many motorcycles and many people anytime anywhere...
    Cause i'm Vnmese These few months dont know why my friends at vnphoto.net said that thief start to try stealing Dslr on the street, one got attack near Duc Ba church, another one dont know where, so be careful. When u sit down, wrap the bag strap around ur legs, cam dont use put in the bag, wrap the strap around ur wrist . And dont be too scare ,usually it wont happen ,so just enjoy.

    For manual, i highly not reccomend Khanh Long, The seller very rude last time i ask he dont even want to answer, it's like his manual cam is for display only.

    Best bet is u go near Nguyen Hue fahasa bookstore , the when u walk out the bookstore , turn right, there is small street, turn right. U will see one or 2 camera shop, the first one sell filter, Cokin system if i'm correct, the next one the seller is an old man, try him , his price good and quite honest, old photographer. Last time bought the canon fd 50mm 1.2 for around 40sgd from him.

    But remember to bargain. Try the technique : When price not agree, try pretend that u dont want to buy, walk out , most of the time they will stop u and ask how much u want, dont name the price, let them name the price , most the time it work,but dont bargain too low,u know the value of the lens.

    For walk around,try walk around Duc Ba church,not bad. I dont know many locations,lazy to go around......

  11. #11

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    Forget to mention, try this website www.photo.com.vn ,they have English forum i think, u can post there to ask them. Vnphoto.net also can visit but i'm not sure they have English forum or not.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    I still remember these "must-see" places in HCMC:
    - the french-style church (forgot the name)
    - the old post office
    - the big food market cum plaza
    - the American War museum (some call Vietnamese War)
    - the main shopping street leading to the river (forgot the name also, it has 5 star hotels, cafes, starbuck etc)
    - along the Mekong river (walk is ok, the river cruise is not very interesting in my opinion)
    - Cu Chi tunnel

  13. #13

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    I still remember these "must-see" places in HCMC:
    - the french-style church (forgot the name) --> Duc Ba church

    - the old post office --> on the left of Duc Ba church, very near, can walk there

    - the big food market cum plaza --> Ben Thanh market ,where u should buy material and bring to the shop to make shirt, cheaper

    - the American War museum (some call Vietnamese War)

    - the main shopping street leading to the river (forgot the name also, it has 5 star hotels, cafes, starbuck etc) --> I think Nguyen Hue or around that , walk along that street u find a lot of camera shop.

    - along the Mekong river (walk is ok, the river cruise is not very interesting in my opinion)

    - Cu Chi tunnel --> Watch for dust , u can pay around 5-10sgd to play the shooting game with ak47 there, shoot the barrels ,fun but shoulder very pain and the ears later hard to hear anything Wonder they still got that, last time i got 2 hit in bull eyes, try aim for the furthest target.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    1. Flying TG? Suggest you take the earliest flight, or the latest.

    2. Question is - how many days are you spending in HCMC/South Vn? You want to cover so many places and if you only have 4-5 days, forget it. We did 13 days and still I think it wasn't enough... but there may be others who disagree....

    3. Why ever would you want to go there to buy 2nd-hand gear? You may find it cheaper elsewhere, unless you have a local friend who is very au fait with the shops.

    4. Since you are already considering backpackers' alley, you can consider almost any of the little places there, off-peak, you'd probably get a good rate of S$18-23/night. Lonely Planet does give a very good list of places, but there are always newer ones with cableTV AND internet.

    5. I didn't go there to tailor clothes, so can't answer you directly. Though I used to get a friend's brother-in-law to tailor my shirts (many years ago), away in Binh Duong (then Song Be) province.

    6. Answer to your question, look here ----> http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=249192.
    Though most of the places are not in the southern reaches of the country, it gives you an idea.

    7. Toilet = Toilet


    Additional info :-

    Cu Chi Tunnels, HCMC - there are TWO Cu Chi Tunnels in the outskirts of HCMC. Please go to the original one, the one with a shooting range. The other is a re-construction, too "fake" IMO.

    Markets in HCMC - Don't bother to buy stuff from Ben Thanh, expensive and a tourist trap. You can PM me for the other market (cheaper, IMO) or guess from my thread list above.

    Notre Dame Catherdral, HCMC - please take note that the place closes its doors to visitors/tourists at 4.00pm.

    War Remnant Museum, HCMC - short visit, if you want to see the horrors of war, otherwise, it is rather touristy.

    Mekong Delta - if you are seriously going there, get a hotel near to the waterfront. And pre-arrange for the boatman to fetch you at 6.00am or earlier. Otherwise, you'd see nothing (probably like most people didn't get to see much) 6.00am-8.30am are the best hours to catch the river life. Afterwards it's just a scenic cruise, little more.

    CaoDaism - please respect their practices and values. And refrain from commenting on their deities, regardless of your own beliefs.

    Shopping in HCMC - nothing really much, unless you are keen on paying for their lacquerware, though the Minh Long porcelain is great! The latter is best purchased from their sole distributor/reseller in Saigon Centre (yes a very Singaporean place). There is also the cinnamon gum, the cashews, the snacks, but nothing too esoteric now.

    Food-wise --> pho is best taken off the streets, IMO, don't bother with the pricey coffee-houses. Of course if you have a weaker stomach or are pampered by squeaky-clean foods, then you won't have that option. Local submarine sandwiches are superb at 20% the price in Sg, Trang Bang Bun Bo is a must on your way to Mekong Delta, amongst others.

    Enjoy!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    Quote Originally Posted by benjaminteo View Post

    1. Does Tiger Airways = Mad rush to check in, mad rush across the runway, and mad rush to seats?

    No rush, the queue start quite orderly 30mins before take off

    2. I would most probably be staying at An An Hotel, Bui Vien. Is that hotel really that shady? How about other hotels at Pham Ngu Lao? Any recommendations?

    Bui Vien is a better choice, room rates start at USD10 for hotel 81 standard. Pham Ngu Lao is very noisy as it is located at the main road

    3. If I can get a second hand FM2 for $200 in Singapore, how much can I get one there? And which of the shops at Nguyen Hue can give me a really good deal (for a decent working FM2). (Doesn't really have to be a shop).

    Forget about getting a cam there. The BNS here is much cheaper. But the 4R print is cheaper there, $0.15 per print.

    4. Where around District 1/ 3 can I tailor great clothes at affordable prices?

    Other than district 1 should be cheaper.

    5. Where else besides Mekong Delta, Cu Chi and Cao Dai Great Temple can I visit to get great shots?

    What do you wanna shoot?

    6. How to say "Where is the toilet?" in Vietnamese?

    Nha ve sinh o dau?

    Cam On
    guys. (Is that how I use that word?) Yes
    Have a great trip!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Amatuer travel photography in Ho Chi Minh City

    Quote Originally Posted by renegade150 View Post
    do not walk around ho chi minh with ur camera slinged out. if u must...gaffer the camera brands & do not use big lenses unless u absolutely have to.
    i stayed @ anan & its a fine little hotel. the staff are very helpful & friendly so don't worry!
    if u are climbing into the cu chi tunnels, make sure ur camera is heavily protected from dust & scratches!
    toilet in vietnamese is danh từ. but most of the locals there understand some basic english due to heavy tourism.
    U are stay ANAN 1 or 2?
    Me looking at Anan 1 as look fine and review not bad on the net
    Many recommend stay higher the better for city view,any comment?

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