Hello Vietnam! Back again in Saigon and off to Long Hai

2017-06-01 at 20:11

8 weeks Thailand – most of it up North in Pai. Meeting old friends and making new ones. It was a very good time – I come back again 😉
The next few days should go down like that: Fly to Saigon, find a motorbike and get out of the city before Tet starts. The goal was to get to Long Hai with my new bike in 5 days from today – the day I left Bangkok. Sure enough that is more time than you need but I had a few friends coming in to Saigon as well and wanted to meet them. And I wanted a 135 cc bike which is a bit more complicated to find than your good old 125cc that you find in every street.
Boarding AirAsia BKK to SGN
Boarding AirAsia BKK to SGN

Quite busy at the old airport
Quite busy at the old airport

Enough space for me - they gave me an emergency exit row seat :-)
Enough space for me – they gave me an emergency exit row seat 🙂

Adios Bangkok
Adios Bangkok

The plane was not too high up so we had clouds above and under the plane for a long time. Nice to look at them – they change all the time – a dream land in the sky.

In the clouds over Vietnam
In the clouds over Vietnam

Over the delta in south Vietnam
Over the delta in south Vietnam

You can almost see the heat down there. And it does look quite humid as well.

Golf course close to Saigon
Golf course close to Saigon

Welcome to Saigon

The flight was smooth as silk – even on AirAsia 🙂 however immigration in Saigon was a big mess. I had my Visa on arrival papers from Vietnam Visa Pro (They are the BEST – use them!). Went to the counter and gave everything to the guys behind the glass. Waiting and waiting. From time to time an angry officer shouted at us: “Do not stand here – sit there” for no reason.
Most of my plane was gone with their passport stamped and my application still somewhere in there.
All the time some guys cut in-between with Fast Track Service. For 15 US$ you get the next slot. And for 30 US$ you get your papers worked on right away. That is worth looking into if you fly into Saigon. No need for it in Hanoi!!
One hour later – more planes arrived, more people waited. Only 3 guys from my plane left. At last I am not the only one. 90 minutes later an immigration office tried to call me with my name – but that was to complicated so he only yelled “Germany”. “I can not find your name!” We talk about 2 pieces of paper – printed only on one side each. With 18 names! And he could not find mine – I could without my glasses! A half hour or so later I got my passport. The 2 guys that had to wait as long as I had got a Uber into town and gave me a lift. The car did stop close to my hostel. So I walked over there and checked in. Time for some food and beer – what a welcoming country!

My 1st Bia Saigon for this trip
My 1st Bia Saigon for this trip

Bánh mì - Vegetarian
Bánh mì – Vegetarian

Day One in Saigon

There is a Vegetarian restaurant under the hostel. It turns into a sleeping room for the staff and parking hall for staff and guest motorbikes at night.
There is a Vegetarian restaurant under the hostel. It turns into a sleeping room for the staff and parking hall for staff and guest motorbikes at night

Morning market in front of the hostel
Morning market in front of the hostel

Distribution centre round the corner
Distribution centre round the corner

I walked to the gold shops at the side of Bến Thành Market. One of them had even a better rate for the € than the rate was for credit card cash!! And they are open the next few days before Tet. If you are in Saigon and want to change money try Dntn Vàng Hà Tâm next to the market! Here is a link to Google Maps.
Tet is the Vietnamese new year. If you ever travel to Vietnam make sure you do not have to move before or after Tet. The roads are full, many accidents, everything gets more expensive and most of the shops and restaurants close. So it might be a good idea to go to a tourist place along the coast. Over there at last the restaurants will be open. But I still had a few days to go. And the plan was to escape to the beach!

A 24/7 Vegan Restaurant! Next to the market!
A 24/7 Vegan Restaurant! Next to the market!

Only a few days to go before Tet. The park is a big flower market
Only a few days to go before Tet. The park is a big flower market

More flowers in the park
More flowers in the park

Waiting for tourists
Waiting for tourists

Ice Coffee
Vietnamese Ice Coffee – well deserved after my stroll to the money changers at the market.

WiFi was not working at my hostel so I did spend quite some time at the $nob Coffee
WiFi was not working at my hostel so I did spend quite some time at the $nob Coffee

And did try a few of their cakes as well
And did try a few of their cakes as well

Friends in Town!

Scott doing another visa run
Scott doing another visa run

Misha at the beginning of his Vietnam trip and Konstantin at the end of his visa run.
Misha at the beginning of his Vietnam trip and Konstantin at the end of his visa run.

Scott at the soup place
Scott at the soup place

My new Ride

My new ride - a Exciter 135 with a 5 speed manual gear box
My new ride – a Exciter 135 with a 5 speed manual gear box

14599 km on the clock
14599 km on the clock

Buying the bike was faster than expected. Took only 5 minutes – most of the time we did count money – 33 Million Dong. Some paperwork later the guy was happy and I only needed some elastic strings to get my bag fixed. Yes – it is the same bag I had last year.

Finally on the Road

There are not to many roads out of the city with the motorbike. You are not allowed on the fast highway so I opted for the ferry from Cat Lai Port to the other side and continue on the DT769 and the HL13 towards the QL51. Looks like the fastest way out of the city to me.
Once on the QL51 I only had to drive down to Long Hai. Since I had no clue how long it would take to get the bike and move from Saigon I booked a room in Long Hai for a night.

This is where rich people will move in soon
Somewhere in suburbia Saigon where rich people will move in soon

Waiting for the ferry
Waiting for the ferry in Cat Lai Port

Crossing the river
Crossing the river

We had about 34 degrees - but the Vietnamese do not want to work on their tan.
We had about 34 degrees – but the Vietnamese do not want to work on their tan

Time to check the phone
Time to check the phone and do all the little things before the race is on again on the other side

New church in Xã Tân Phước
New church in Xã Tân Phước. After all the years before Vietnam did open up again after the war they do construct the churches the same way as they did before the war. In the years after the North won the war the new churches looked nothing like that.

A bit further down the road - a church from the good old communist times
A bit further down the road – a church from the good old communist times

Maria
Maria with her baby boy

And her son
And only a few years later he was a man! Friendly with a big heart and a huge smile he waves at me.

Another minute down the road
Another minute down the road

Further down the QL 51 in Xã Tân Hải
Further down the QL 51 in Xã Tân Hải. The tower is not always on the right!

Happy to have visitors
Happy to have visitors

Giáo Xứ Long Hương Catholic church in Bà Rịa
Giáo Xứ Long Hương Catholic church in Bà Rịa

Salt production close to An Ngãi
Salt production close to An Ngãi

Salt production close to An Ngãi

Cathedral Parish Hailin Nhà thờ Giáo xứ Hải Lâm
Cathedral Parish Hailin Nhà thờ Giáo xứ Hải Lâm

Hello water - close to Ap Bung Rieng
Hello water – clost to Ap Bung Rieng

My ride Yamaha Exciter 135
New and clean – lets take some pictures – just in case…

Yamaha Exciter 135

Looook!

Vung Tau in the back
Time to get to my hotel – coast road with Vung Tau in the back

Hoa Sua Motel in Long Hai

The Hoa Sua Motel in Long Hai was the stop for tonight. It is on the smaller street so not to noisy in the night. Check in was absolutely no sweat. The owner took the passport – showed me the room and a minute later I was in the shower. Great! The room was super clean, the shower as well. WiFi fast and stable, nice table with a chair. A good place. Left the window open at night with a nice breeze coming in from the ocean.
The room was 10 US $ for a night – check it out on booking.com.

The Hoa Sua Motel in Long Hai
Bed, chair, table and a closet – which I never use

The Hoa Sua Motel in Long Hai

The Hoa Sua Motel in Long Hai

The Hoa Sua Motel in Long Hai

Todays Drive

111 km in a bit more than 4 hours with all the picture stops and some gas station time for the bike

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Last Days in Pai – Winter 2016/17

2017-03-31 at 10:05

It does not matter if you stay 6 weeks in Pai or 4 months. If feels to short but with the fires on the way I get out even before February now. Here are a few more pictures from Pailand in Thailand.

Jumping visitors from HongKong
Jumping visitors from HongKong

Twin Hut Family BBQ
Twin Hut Family BBQ

Twin Hut Family BBQ

The little emporer
The little emporer

Twin Hut Family BBQ

The Drummer
The Drummer

Time to bring them to the fire-place
Time to bring them to the fire place

Birthday party at Sapha Muang - The Boys are hungry
Birthday party at Sapha Muang – The Boys are hungry

Birthday party at Sapha Muang

One of the last sunset in Pai for this winter
One of the last sunset in Pai for this winter

Breakfast Papayas in front of my bungalow
Breakfast Papayas in front of my bungalow

Surprise surprise - Strawberries today
Surprise surprise – Strawberries today

A wolf in a sheep skin?
A wolf in a sheep skin?

High 5
High 5

Clouds over the Pai
Clouds over the Pai

Mountains with a hat
Mountains with a hat

View from the bungalow

View from the bungalow

Mark doing his morning routine
Mark doing his morning routine

Full moon and a beer
Full moon and a beer

Walking street Pai in January - never saw it so empty the last 8 years
Walking street Pai in January – never saw it so empty the last 8 years

Miaooo
Miaooo

Another visitor from Stuttgart
Another visitor from Stuttgart

The Dalton's - finally together!
The Dalton’s – finally together in Pai!

Lazy cats
Lazy cats

Cat Hat
Cat Hat

See you next year!
See you next year!

Every time I leave from the bus station in CNX I have dinner here
Every time I leave from the bus station in CNX I have dinner here. Sadly it did not really improve over time.

Compared to my Swiss flight this is a lot of space
Compared to my Swiss flight this is a lot of space

Even has a bigger screen and massage seats
Even has a bigger screen and massage seats

What a mess
What a mess

Tired driver
Tired driver

At Melanies place
At Melanies place

Last night in BKK with the gang
Last night in BKK with the gang

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Days in Pai-Radise

2017-03-27 at 09:30

Only a few more lazy days till 2017. Wow that year was another fast one. Here are a few more pictures from the Pai-Paradise:

Who are you - the latest addition to Twin Hut
Who are you? Meet the latest addition to Twin Hut. When I came to Pai the first time Dream was a child and now she has a baby.

Yellow-Green-Blue
Yellow-Green-Blue

Another sundowner
Another sundowner

Dinner with Konstantin
Dinner with Konstantin

Another Khao Soi
Another Khao Soi

Happy cat - happy me
Happy cat – happy me

Looks like they have a new owner. I did like the old place better. More green - now it looks like same same but different!
Looks like they have a new owner. I did like the old place better. More green – now it looks like same same but different!

Sleeeeeeep cat sleeeeep
Sleeeeeeep cat sleeeeep

She was there every day to back up photos and snatch a coconut
She was visiting every day to back up photos and snatch a coconut

The cat is not impressed
The cat is not impressed

Sometimes everybody is gone - I have the place for myself - win!
Sometimes everybody is gone – I have the whole place for myself – win!

Lazy afternoon at #8Lazy afternoon at Twin-Hut bungalow #8

Another new place downtown Pai. From your room right into the pool.
Another new place downtown Pai. From your room right into the pool.

Who could imagine that 15 years ago?
Who could imagine that 15 years ago?

Sunset from bungalow #7
Sunset from bungalow #7

Lunch at Hellas
Lunch at Hellas

Today she fixed my shirt - thank you!
Today she fixed my shirt – thank you!

And some happy new year dinner
And some happy new year dinner

31st of December at Irie Bar

31of December at Irie Bar

31of December at Irie Bar

31of December at Irie Bar

There are a few live videos at my facebook page

For example the last 2 songs for 2016 and the countdown to 2017

Peng - thank you!!!
Peng – thank you!!! Once a year she does cook a Khao Soi for me 🙂

Hmmm special Khao Soi lunch

Hello again!
Hello again!

Lazy January - the girl is waiting for the data back up
Lazy January – the girl is waiting for the data back up

Another one of the spectacular ones
Another one of the spectacular ones

The Twin Hut gang
The Twin Hut gang

View from Bungalow #7
View from Bungalow #7

He likes my bed....
He likes my bed….

German visitors from China
German visitors from China

Vegan green papaya salad
Vegan green papaya salad

And two more videos from ->
The Band at Irie Bar: Pancakes in the Morning or Tennessee whiskey & a Harmonica

Pai-Land in Thailand – Winter 2016/2017

2017-03-19 at 10:28

The farmers in the north start to burn the fields and mountains every year a bit earlier. And I do not like to sit in the smoke all day and night. The particles are super small and go really deep into your lungs. And with plenty of places to choose it is easy to avoid. So I took a 2 months visa only – that leaves about 7 weeks for Pai.
Still I will bring a proper mask next year. It is also very useful in other places where it is dusty and smoky here in Asia and back home. Garlic after the rice
Like every year: garlic after the rice in front of the bungalow.

Bungalow # 7
Bungalow # 7

Terry was here for a quick visit
Terry was here for a quick visit

Fire in the night at Twin Hut
Fire in the night at Twin Hut. A strange winter this was. Most of the night I went out with the thin fleece jacket but only needed it 3 or 4 times. Most of the nights a T-shirt was enough. The last years it was more like a fleece jacket, a down jacket and the hard shell as well.

They get more expensive every day
They get more expensive every day! Last year it started with 190 for 10 and went up to 240 in the end. Now they did start with 220 and went up to 390. Thank you very much – but that is a bit too much!

Boon Ko Ku So Bridge

Another bamboo bridge – and it was built so the monks can short cut to the village in the morning to collect offers from the folks of the village. Hmmm to me it looks more like one more tourist stop on the way to fill the day tours. Some even say it is the longest bamboo bridge (mostly steel and concrete underneath!) and there are little huts to rest and a few restaurants on the village side. On the temple side you find one place for food and refreshments.
It is somehow a copy of the Su Tong Pae bamboo bridge in Mae Hong Son
It was a gray day – another new addition to the winters in Pai – we even had rain this winter!! – and I had only the iPhone to take pictures. I was not even aware that this place was build – the last time I passed it there where only rice fields. Hope they compensate the villagers for the lost crops.

The newest attraction in Pai - A bamboo walkway for the monks....
The newest attraction in Pai – A bamboo walkway for the monks…. so they say!

Bamboo walkway

Bamboo walkway

Left or right?

That took quite some space from the fields
That bridge took quite some space from the fields

Rice harvest here too
Rice harvest here too

Lunch break - nobody is working
Lunch break – nobody is working

At the other side of the bridge
“At the other side of the bridge

And the view towards the end of the bridge
And the view towards the end of the bridge

And from the end of the bridge
And from the end of the bridge

End of the line - the door is closed
End of the line – the door is closed

Modern house
Somebody put a modern house in the village.

Music at the Saturday Market
There is a new Saturday Market KAD BODHI (next to the Wednesday Market) every Saturday afternoon. Some food, second-hand and new stuff and music as well.

Nice Crema
Nice Crema

The keeper of the bridge
The keeper of the bridge

Breakfast at Twin Hut - Fruits with Müsli sprinkle and black organic Hill Tribe Coffee
Breakfast at Twin Hut – Fruits with Müsli sprinkle and black organic Hill Tribe Coffee

Cats awake
Cat awake

Cat sleeps
Cat sleeps

Flower Power at Twin Hut
Flower Power at Twin Hut

Aliens next to my bungalow
Aliens next to my bungalow

Isara Cafe
Isara Cafe

Homemade Ice Cream at Isara Cafe
Homemade Ice Cream at Isara Cafe

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