Beautiful temples. Historic treasures. Iridescent rice fields. Those are not the only scenes we’ll remember from our recent trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Some less-expected images will also stick in our minds, such as the dozen shown below:
This monk in Vientiane, Laos, is holding a string attached to a car. Why? Because he’s blessing the car for its new owners, the family in front of him.
Wait, are those bongs? Yes indeed, along with other paraphernalia featured at the Opium Museum near Chiang Rai, Thailand. It’s in the Golden Triangle, where opium has been cultivated for centuries.
If you need a ride or want to order food in this part of the world, you’ll probably use Grab, a Singapore-based smartphone app similar to Uber. The drivers, like these in Hanoi, wear green jackets.
Do this tree and temple look familiar? Angelina Jolie filmed scenes from Tomb Raider here in Cambodia. We watched the movie after we returned home and, sure enough, it’s the same spot.
This modest Hanoi restaurant serves bun cha, a traditional Vietnamese pork dish. President Obama dined here with Anthony Bourdain in 2016, as shown in the photo above the table. We tried it, too. Delicious.
Maison Centrale was the gatehouse to the “Hanoi Hilton” prison where John McCain and other Americans were held for years. It’s now a museum.
This statue at the National Museum of Cambodia made me think of Vlad the Impaler, whose home we visited in Romania. Probably not what they had in mind.
We were finishing a quiet dinner at an outdoor restaurant in Hue when these diners began singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend. They asked us to join them. We did and they ordered us a round of drinks.
These are two of five photos posted above the urinals in a men’s bathroom at a riverside restaurant in Vietnam. They all amused me.
These farming implements had an evil purpose. The Khmer Rouge used them to beat and hack people to death in the killing fields, which we visited near Phnom Penh.
This drag show in Chiang Mai was advertised across the street from a boxing match, offering a range of evening entertainment options.
Finally, a photo of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It’s not “unexpected,” but the site was too spectacular to leave out. We felt privileged to visit it.
Coming next: A post on the region’s food.