Vietnam Travel Diary

by Hieu Doan


Although I have spent all my life in a Vietnamese family, Vietnam still remains somewhat of a mystery to me even to this very day. Living in a Vietnamese household has not only taught me about my country of birth and origin, but It has shaped me into the individual that I am. However, my vision of Vietnam, and its people remains eluded, made up of stories at dinner tables, photographs from travel books and western media, who’s reflection on Vietnam is often only at a glance. Being raised in Australia, has allowed me to achieve an education, a career, a better opportunity than ever possible back in Vietnam, however it has left me disconnected to the place that was once home.

The trip back to Vietnam has been long in waiting, 22 years in fact. As a individual and as a photographer, there is no other place that I wish to visit more so than Vietnam . So it makes good sense that my first overseas trip since making Australia home, be to the place of birth and origin. Although I, for several years have wanted to travel back to Vietnam , only now is the opportunity to do so possible. In speaking to other Vietnamese Australians who have been back to Vietnam , the feelings have been mixed. Some have enjoyed their experience and wish to travel back every year, while there are others who have not had quite an enjoyable experience. However the general consensus is that the trip back to Vietnam has to be done. How it will affect me, I do not know. Perhaps this is the best this way.

Discovering one’s origin is of vital importance. Although much can be learnt about Vietnam from the creature comforts of home in Australia , I believe you can never be complete unless you visit the places, experience the culture, discover the history and meet the relatives that you have never met as well as the millions of fellow countrypeople who seem so far away.

The beauty of photography is that it allows me to show others my vision of Vietnam and it’s people, and in writing and imagery I hope to share my travel experiences with others.

I plan to document my travel experiences back to Vietnam . This page will be constantly updated during the month of December 2003 for the duration of my trip and provides a means by which I can share my travel experiences with others via an online diary.

The photos as seen in my diary, will be from my digital Fuji S2. For my serious photography work, I will be using entirely film based cameras. Unfortunately, the images from my film based cameras will only be processed after I return to Australia , however they will eventually make an appearance on this website at a later date.