From Phố Châu over Dân Lực back to Ninh Bình

2016-04-25 at 18:25

Had a good rest at the Ly Ha Hotel in Phố Châu. Since I had a kettle I could make some coffee in the morning. How nice if you do not have to leave the room and have a cup of coffee before you take your shower. After shower and Pack the Bag Game it was time to strap the bag on the bike.
Downstairs where two more guys with bikes on their way down to Saigon. And the son of the owner as well and he could speak English.
My bike did refuse to start and I had to kick-start it. It was not happy and after 5 minutes I was not happy as well. It was over 30 now and quite humid. So down with the bag and walk the bike to a shop – but give it one more try. There – it did start. Up with the bag again and the friend of the son did drive with me to the next Yamaha shop.
A big building next to the street outside the city. The nice thing in Asia is that no matter when you show up at a repair place they stop what they do and start working on your bike. I did explain what was wrong but they did not speak a lot of English.

Not enough battery water and an old spark plug
Not enough battery water and an old spark plug was the diagnose after opening the cover on one side and pulling out the battery. So they filled it up and put it on a charger. Than in with the spark plug and with the help of a spare battery it did start like new.
Another 15 minutes and a few test drives later they put the old battery back in the bike and fixed the plastic parts on the each side of the bike.

That is 4€ Sir!
That is 100.000 Dong Sir! 4€ if you are not familiar with the exchange rate. Not to bad if you consider that 3 guys where working on the bike and I now have a new spark plug! The clock: 61573 kilometres
The sky: Gray
The road: dry!

There was nothing interesting on the way to Dân Lực so I did not take a picture or I was too lazy?

My room in Dân Lực
My room in Dân Lực. Fan, TV, Hot shower and a bed. One of the simple rooms but it was only 5 US $ for the night and it was away from the street and quiet.
The clock: 61702 km: 129 kilometres today.

The next morning the bike did not like to start again but now I only needed 2 kicks to start. Off towards Ninh Bình. Looking forward to that blue sky and sun that the forecast predicted. Well the whole day was Gray again and in the afternoon I reached the Chez Beo Homestay.
The clock: 61893 km: 191 kilometres today. The sky: Gray the whole day!

Free welcome back beer
Free welcome back beer at the Chez Beo Homestay – thank you Viet! I am back after almost 4 weeks and the sky is still the same. But it is warm now.

The bed - different colour :-)
The bed – different colour 🙂

Table, chair, fridge and closet
Table, chair, fridge, hair dryer and closet

Dinner in the making
Dinner in the making – got 10.000 Dong more expensive but for 50.000 Dong it is still a steal! You can eat as much as you like and I never saw nobody leaving the table hungry.

A visit to the Bái Đính Temple

The next day a group of 4 Polish people left with Viet for a day trip. I did tag along. Our first stop was the Bái Đính Temple or Chùa Bái Đính as the Vietnamese call it. In the compound you find the original old temple and a newly created larger temple. Covering about 539 hectares it is the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam.
Over 1000 years ago Buddhism was the state religion in the Ninh Binh area. Many ancient temples date far back – and so does the old Bai Dinh Pagoda in the mountains of Chang’an.

Trip to  Temple
From parking you take an electric bus to the entrance. This is the entrance of the new complex.

Window detail
Window detail

One of the walkways
One of the walkways

One of the many statues in the temple
One of the many statues in the temple

There are 500 Arhat statues in the Temple grounds. They all have a height of 230 cm and were carved from Ninh Bin stone.
There are 500 Arhat statues in the Temple grounds. They all have a height of 230 cm and were carved from Ninh Bin stone.

If you touch them it will bring health or good luck. The belly for example wealth, good luck, and prosperity. The guys do carry alms to offer
If you touch them it will bring health or good luck. The belly for example wealth, good luck, and prosperity. They did not bring picnic in the plastic bags – they carry alms to offer

No clue why the animal needs to be touched too??
No clue why the animal needs to be touched too??

No clue why the animal needs to be touched too??

Bái Đính Temple view
Hmmm blue sky would be nice to have a few good outside pictures of the Bái Đính Temple!

Hmmm blue sky would be nice!

That is a really big bell - The 36-ton bronze bell in the Bell Tower
That is a really big bell – The 36-ton bronze bell in the Bell Tower. Underneath is a big drum

This statue is made out of one really big tree
This statue is made of one really big tree

That is the lower part of the tree
That is the lower part of the tree

Detail of a lamp
Detail of a lamp

Statue
The thousand-armed Avalokiteśvara. Quite an interesting story: Avalokiteśvara vowed not to rest until he had freed all sentient beings from Saṃsāra (The repeating cycle of birth, life and death. And the consequences and actions in the past, present and future after rebirth)
He gave all he could but he realized after a while that there are to many unhappy beings out there and he is to slow to help them all. As a result of that struggle his head did split into 11 pieces. Amitābha (The Buddha or A-di-đà Phật in Vietnamese) saw that and gave him 11 heads. This way he could hear the cries of the suffering.
He did hear all those cries and wanted to reach out but as he tried he saw his arms shattered into pieces as well. So Amitābha did help again and gave him thousand arms to help the suffering.

Avalokiteśvara
Avalokiteśvara

Statue

Another building
Another building

Another statue
A lot of gold

More gold

Another statue with two guardians
Another statue with two guardians

Devotes pray
Devotes pray

The many small buddhas you see in the back here  and in the walkways are bought by people. If you have enough cash to spend you can get your own. But you must hurry - soon they are sold out - unless they build another hall
The many small buddhas you see in the back here and in the walkways are bought by people. If you have enough cash to spend you can get your own. But you must hurry – soon they are sold out – unless they build another hall

Upps - nobody told me!
Upps – nobody told me!

From Phong Nha to Phố Châu

2016-04-20 at 11:17

When I got up at the Thien Phu Hostel it did still drip a bit outside but the clouds where light and more white than Gray.
Went down for the free breakfast and then the same old same same: pack the bag and strap it on the bike. Adios Phong Nha!
The clock: 61390 kilometres
The sky: Gray but no rain
The road: wet

Off to the mountains again
Off to the mountains again

Green green and more green - if only there would be a blue sky with that green
Green green and more green – if only there would be a blue sky with that green

Almost no traffic again as the road curves through the valley
Almost no traffic again as the road curves through the valley

All those nice little hills
All those nice little hills

The rain travels before me in the same direction. A whole day without dust!
The rain travels before me in the same direction. A whole day without dust!

In the next valley the houses did change. I never saw houses like that
In the next valley the houses did change. I never saw houses like that. They have no walls inside – only one big room inside.

Different house
Wood is expensive now so it is constructed from metal. Can you imagine how hot it gets when the sun blasts on it?

Older ones
These two are a bit older and still made from wood

Different house
This one has only one room – like the green one.

Different house
I saw that many times. Instead of walls they use curtains in the house to separate living and sleeping room. Sometimes they only have the “sleeping room” fitted with curtains.

And new ones still under construction
And new ones still under construction

Where the rivers meet
Where the rivers meet

Since there is not a lot of traffic the cows took over the road and hang out here
Since there is not a lot of traffic the cows took over the road and hang out here

In the afternoon the street leads into tea fields again.  A few kilometres later a mix of tea fields and some rubber tree plantations
In the afternoon the street leads into tea fields again. A few kilometres later a mix of tea fields and some rubber tree plantation

There are not many of those left but from time to time you still see them roaming the streets
There are not many of those left but from time to time you still see them roaming the streets

Another monument. They all involve stairs up a mountain somehow
Another monument. They all involve stairs up a mountain somehow

My room at the Ly Ha Hotel in Phố Châu
My room at the Ly Ha Hotel in Phố Châu. 8€ with fridge, AC, fan, closet, table, chairs, kettle and private bathroom with hot shower. The room is not to big but for one night perfect.

The bathroom at the Ly Ha Hotel in Phố Châu
The bathroom. Small but everything I need

The clock: 61572 kilometres: 182 kilometres today. Went to get some diner and had an early night.

 
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From Đồng Hới to Phong Nha

2016-04-19 at 15:37

After opening the doors at the dorm of the Ocean View Homestay in Đồng Hới it was clear – another hazy day in Vietnam. Had breakfast with the little ones for the last time. Got everything on the bike and drove back up the mountain to the Ho Chi Minh Road and on towards Phong Nha.
The clock: 61263 km.

Another day with blue sky at the beach
Another day with blue sky at the beach – here comes the morning flight.

Cutting down more trees
Cutting down more trees – not sure if they make way for agriculture or just sell the wood. Today I did pass a lot of big old cut down trees.

This way please
This way please

More and more agriculture cuts into the forest
More and more agriculture cuts into the forest

Another clear stream somewhere down the mountain
Another clear stream somewhere down the mountain

Green as far as you can see
Green as far as you can see

Not too much traffic - in fact - no traffic at all
Not too much traffic – in fact – no traffic at all

From here on it is downhill
Driving this road was like a dream again. Left – right – left – right again. You do look for obstacles on the road. Go slow most of the times and look over the forest. Uphill and downhill. Apart from a few locals on their bikes and 2 wood trucks with a few workers the road was empty the whole day. And great views even with the haze – can you imagine how it would be with blue sky? Jungle as far as one can see. That can only mean one thing – I have to do the whole road again – with blue sky!
From this point of the road on it is all downhill to Phong Nha

Haze over the river
Haze over the river. Took this picture from the last bridge before you turn right down the last few kilometres to Phong Nha

And haze over the rice fields down in the valley
And haze over the rice fields down in the valley

And it was hot and sticky
And it was hot and stick

Interesting way of reuse the cans
Interesting way of reuse the cans

Heavy rain for a few hours just minutes after I got to the hostel
Heavy rain for a few hours just minutes after I got to the hostel

My bunk bed at Thien Phu Hostel
My bunk bed at Thien Phu Hostel. Another night for 5 US $ and for a night it is quite OK. 6 bunk beds do share one bathroom and it comes with a simple breakfast. Took this picture in the morning. The sky was the usual gray but at last – no rain!
The clock: 61390: 127 kilometres yesterday.

 
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A lazy day in Đồng Hới

2016-04-17 at 06:00

According to the forecast it will be a sunny day with blue sky. I am so happy to stay at the beach. Until I open the doors to the terrace – it is Gray and misty – AGAIN.
There is more blue sky and sun back home in winter than the last few weeks here in Vietnam!

Good Morning Vietnam
Good Morning Vietnam and thank you for the coffee

Breakfast with friends
Breakfast with friends at the Ocean View Homestay – better than breakfast with Facebook that is.

Today I have a free day to explore the city – and the gas is almost empty so I have to fill up.

Nice day on the beach
Nice day on the beach – did not bring a towel – to bad! Looks like another day than.

That is all there is left
That is all there is left – and it looks like they did not want to restore it. So they left it as a monument.

Not sure who decided to use that font but he is an idiot!
Not sure who decided to use that font but he is an idiot!

Different kind of fisherman
Different kind of fisherman – and a lot of work for a few shells

A very small home
A very small home – but the commute to work is extremely short

And another one
And another one

A lot of work today!
Waiting for customers

American bomber
American bomber that looks small on the picture. It is a single-seater but really big.

American bomber

Air sucker
Air sucker

Russian jet from the North Vietnamese AF
Russian jet from the North Vietnamese AF. Compared to the bomber it looks like a toy.

Dog show room
Dog show room

Sandwiched between 2 Karaoke buildings
Sandwiched between 2 Karaoke buildings

How can one do another blog post like that?
How can one do another blog post like that?

At last the dog stays away from the keyboard
At last the dog stays away from the keyboard

2 times a day there is some action in the airspace
2 times a day there is some action in the airspace

 
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