Winter 17/18 – From Pom Coong over Hanoi to Bangkok

Sorry – no pictures from the last stretch of the trip. The sky was gray again and I took pictures at most parts of the route before. After I reached the road I never went before I only wanted to get back to Ninh Bin and was too lazy. But before you reach Ninh Bin on the QL12B you will have lots of nice landscape and there are still lots of nice spots left in the mountains on the DT523. Guess I have to go back there again if the sky will be blue next time.

Today’s drive:
I drove 182 kilometers in 5 hours, 10 minutes with gas and food stops.

Back in Ninh Binh

Hotel Room
Got the nice big room again! Thanks Brothers!

Only a few days left before the flight to Bangkok. Had to get back to Ninh Binh to see my friends and park the bike for the next 9 months.
I got the best room in the hotel – great!!

Plastic Flowers
And fresh plastic flowers!
Dinner
Dinner at the hotel
Lunch
Lunch at the hotel
Mirror
You can not imagine how heavy this wood funiture is
Dinner
And dinner again

Hanoi for two nights

Hotel Room in Hanoi
The bathroom in the back

I went to the North Hostel N2 again. They renamed it from North Hotel to North Hostel. Not sure why but whatever. Anyhow I like the place. It is in a small street with not much motorbike traffic and no car traffic. So it is pretty quiet. I have a picture of the view from my room at the North Hotel here.
It is from the 2016 trip but still looks the same. Nice old temple and a bit of green.

Hotel Room
Double Bed, TV, AC, Fan, Fridge, Table and a chair.
Fire Escape Mask
Look what I found on the closet. A Fire Escape Mask. I never saw this in any hotel – looks quite good to get down the stairs at last.
Breakfast
Breakfast!!!
Bia Hoi
Bia Hoi o’ clock
St. Joseph's Cathedral Hanoi
St. Joseph’s Cathedral or Nhà Thờ Lớn Hà Nội as the locals say

Back to Bangkok

Hanoi Airport
At the VietJet counter in Hanoi

I like the airline – do not get me wrong. But not the staff at the check in counter. I had this now a few times on the way to Bangkok. They are fully manned and talk to each other about half an hour or longer before they open the counters. If you are there and have nothing else to do why not open the counter? And I never get a nice exit row seat – unless I pay for it. No problem for AirAsia for example. Still a big difference how you treat your customers.

VietJet Plane
My VietJet plane to Bangkok

My Room at the 4J Lodge in Bangkok

J Lodge Room
My room at the J Lodge in Bangkok

It is the same every time when I fly home – it is super hot in Bangkok and I am super happy to have air condition. Coming home and let the room cool down before you sleep and switch it off again. I get a cold if I let these suckers run the whole night but you get the picture.
The 4J Lodge was brand new and they had a super opening special price. I could not say no!
It is right at the canal when you walk from Samsen towards the boat that takes you to Pratunam. There is no car traffic so it is quite. Lots of green in the yard and the woman downstairs at the counter was superfriendly.

J Lodge Room
Double bed, AC, Fan, TV, Bathroom, Desk & Chair
J Lodge Room
I do not use the TV so I do not mind but why here?
J Lodge Bathoom
The bathoom
Outside the Hotel
Outside the hotel
Democracy Monument อนุสาวรีย์ประชาธิปไตย
The Democracy Monument or อนุสาวรีย์ประชาธิปไตย
Vegetarian Food
Went to Arawy close to the monument for some Vegetarian food
Dessert
Some dessert – it was ok
Federbräu
Federbräu – I am sure you only can get it in Thailand but the label is in German – funny! At last the malt is imported from Germany

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Winter 17/18 – Off to Vietnam

Two months in Thailand went to fast – as usual. The morning after my birthday party it was time to take a TukTuk to the airport in Chiang Mai

Tuk-Tuk to the airport
Tuk-Tuk to the airport

At NOK-Air they have Angels and Butterflies!!
At NOK-Air they have Angels and Butterflies!!

At Thai Lion Air they have Chinese tourists
At Thai Lion Air they have Chinese tourists. Hmm – but they are cheaper to fly still I should look into Nok next time!

The plane. Have a look at the smoke in the back!
The plane waiting for us to board. Have a look at the smoke in the back!

A lot of space in that one!
A lot of space in that one!

Looks quite ok
Looks quite ok

The nice staff of Thai Lion Air put me in the 1st row - 3 seats for me and more legroom. They changed the lights to blue for the flight
The nice staff of Thai Lion Air put me in the 1st row – 3 seats for me and more legroom. They changed the lights to blue for the flight

Chiang Mai on a normal day in the beginning of February. Can you see the smoke?
Chiang Mai on a normal day in the beginning of February. Can you see the smoke?

Hanoi – Vietnam

There was a time the fires in the North started at the end of March or April. But this time is long gone. If the Thais would not set fields and forest on fire in January I could stay a bit longer and avoid Tết in Vietnam. But this year (again) I arrived a few days before. Most of the shops are closed and everybody is on the move to see the family. After all, Tết or the Vietnamese New Year is the most important celebration in Vietnam. The plane got into Hanoi International in the evening. You never know how long you need at immigration so I usually have a hotel for the first night in Hanoi. On this trip I needed to change money as well so had to wait for the next morning anyhow to get the best rates for my trip.

The airport bus to downtown Hanoi. Free WiFi and only 1,15€ at the time of travelling
The airport bus to downtown Hanoi. Free WiFi and only 1,15€ at the time of travelling

The Golden Wings Hotel in Hanoi
The Golden Wings Hotel in Hanoi. Should read the description better next time. Comes without private bathroom. Well no problem for one night but the bathroom was way to small to even take a picture of it. If you stay here take any room but this one.

2 Beds, Tv, Ac a table and chair
2 Beds, Tv, Ac a table and chair – everything super clean and the bed – a dream!!

Comes with a shared bathroom - that is super small
Comes with a shared bathroom – that is super small – so the toothbrush packaging makes a lot of sense 🙂

Local beer check - € 0,40 and up. Good!
Local beer check – € 0,40 and up. Good!

The import beer starts at € 0,70 up to 2,11€ for 500 ml. Super cheap compared to Thailand!
The import beer starts at € 0,70 up to 2,11€ for 500 ml. Super cheap compared to Thailand!

Watering the flowers
Watering the flowers in the morning. You see – you do not see! Traffic that is. Almost none in Hanoi!

On the way to the money changers - OMG!
On the way to the money changers – OMG!

This is my favourite place if you ever in need of a money changer in Hanoi
This is my favourite place if you ever in need of a money changer in Hanoi

And just a few more steps you can get the best French Croissants
And just a few more steps you can get the best French Croissants I ever had in the city.

With the local bus to the bus station and from there to Ninh Binh
With the local bus to the bus station and from there to Ninh Binh. 70.000 Dong – about 2,60€

At my friend's place outside of Ninh Binh
At the place of my friends outside of Ninh Binh

Lots of work waiting to clean the construction side
They just got the house and build the new part between the two old houses. The green roof that is. Lots of work waiting to clean the construction side and start the garden in front of the house and at the orange spot on the upper left corner

There is a small mountain behind the house
There is a small mountain behind the house

Lots of construction along the streets
Lots of construction along the streets

Outside of Ninh Binh
You can imagine how it looks with blue sky!

The older part of the area - there was a time when building next to the road was not that important
The older part of the area – there was a time when building your house next to the road was not that important

Rice planting season
This time of the year: Rice planting season

You can see all the footprints
You can see all the footprints

Lots of work
Lots of work

Work work work...
Work work work…

And more work
And more work – people in the northern part of Vietnam decorate their house with peach blossoms (hoa đào). We gave this one a nice pot and lots of that red earth from behind the house.

Dinner at the house
Dinner at the house

The Tet fire
The Tet fire! You would not believe it – the government speaker was blaring Happy New Year from ABBA!!!

You go to the house of relatives and relatives come to your house
You go to the house of relatives and relatives come to your house – basic 101 Tet holiday season. And food – a lot of food! And moonshine – even more moonshine!

A very happy Viet!
A very happy Viet!

And his father is happy as well
And his father is happy as well

Lots of vegetarian options
Lots of vegetarian options for me. What a nice afternoon. And beer – they had beer as well. This evening I went to bed early.

Old and young come together for a few days
Old and young come together for a few days

They eat and drink and talk a lot too
They eat and drink and talk a lot too

The old guys trad stories from the good old times
The old guys trad stories from the good old times

The only thing that I understand is when I have to drink another moonshine with them
The only thing that I understand is when I have to drink another moonshine with them – basically every few minutes.

Of course, Tết Nguyên Đán is way more – not only food and moonshine and visiting relatives. If you are interested Wikipedia has an excellent article about the Vietnamese New Year celebration.

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Hanoi – Bangkok – Udon Thani – Kut Chap

The last few days in Asia for this trip. Hanoi International or Noi Bai Airport as they call it here. I have a VietJet flight to Bangkok. And a bus ticket a few days later to Kut Chap to see Nong and the girls.

My plane to Bangkok
My plane to Bangkok

VietJet from the inside
VietJet from the inside. I had enough space and was quite happy with VietJet. Booked my 2 flights in 2018 already with them.

Adios Hanoi
Adios Hanoi

Over the clouds - over Laos
Over the clouds – over Laos

Bangkok

Two nights in BKK – visited Melanie and Scott – that was all.

Bangkok Architecture
Bangkok Architecture

Bird of Pray? Not really
Bird of Pray? Not really

Coffee
Coffee

Off to Udon Thani

My VIP bus to Udon Thani
My TCK Rungroj VIP bus to Udon Thani. Left Bangkok at 21:00 for 454 Bath. Quite a good deal. There are snacks and food vouchers included.

Enough space for the night
Enough space for the night

The usual 2-1 seating arrangement
The usual 2-1 seating arrangement

Gave my food to the lady next to me
Gave my food to the lady next to me

Breakfast in Udon
Breakfast in Udon. Had to wait for Nong to pick me up and give me a lift to Kut Chap

Kut Chap

Good to be back but it was bloody hot there. Nong arranged a room at her neighbors place. They build a small house to rent apartments. Mine was not really finished but the bathroom worked and there was WiFi – what more do you need??

My room
My room

At the coffee shop
At the coffee shop

What you do?
What you do?

Evening with the girls
The best part of the day – the evenings with the girls

Evening with the girls

The fish market
The fish market part of the market. The market is behind the bar and there is a public toilet. Way more space to take a leak. I never tried the toilet in the small restaurant.

Breakfast
Breakfast – Nong cooked for me in the morning – great when you wake up and find some fresh food on your doorstep! Thank you Nong!!

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