Last Evening in Hanoi – Tạm biệt Vietnam

A last beer with dinner
A last beer with dinner down town Hanoi

Pack the bag game - I won!
The last “Pack the bag game” for this trip – I won!

Scored an exit row seat - I won again!
Scored a exit row seat – I won again!
I was way to early at the airport and my check in was not open. Still some Dong in the pocket and they have to stay here! So I got 2 cans of beer and choose a seat close to the check in. The plan was to drink the beer and run over to the counter as soon as there is movement.
That did not work out because a few locals decided to take some selfies and pictures with me or their kids on my shoulders or grandma next to me. That did eat up all the waiting time and when I saw that they did open the gate it was too late to be the first in line. But in this case it was good enough. Might be that the girl behind the counter did see me clowning round with the locals and decided I was worth the better seat. Thank you again Vietnam Airlines!!

Waiting for departure
Waiting for departure

Waiting for the floor to dry
Waiting for the floor to dry

Ok - what if you really need to use the handles to take a leak. And everybody down there watches you?
Ok – what if you really need to use the handles to take a leak. And everybody down there watches you?

Nice view
Nice view

The last cold one on Vietnamese soil
The last cold one on Vietnamese soil

Waiting to board the bird
Waiting to board the bird

Vietnam Airlines Flight 37 – Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Economy Class

For the next 8.746 kilometres or a bit more than 12 hours from Hanoi to Frankfurt this will be my temporary restaurant, living and sleeping room. Since I have the exit row seat everything should work out well. The plane looked brand new. They had the latest and greatest in-flight entertainment system. The biggest screen I ever had in a plane. And the crew was super friendly. I love it! On the way to Asia it was great as well. FRA-HAN-BKK and everything went well. There is free WiFi at the airport and lots of places that sell cold beer for a really good price compared to all the other airports I had used in SEA.

My seat on the right
My seat on the right

Nice new plane
Nice new plane

Leg roooooom!
Leg roooooom!

A magazine for rich people with advertisement for million dollar mansions in New York and London
A magazine for rich people with advertisement for million dollar mansions in New York and London. I am a bit confused about that layout now. Hmmm advertising….

Or this?
Or this?

Big screen with a lot of movies
Big screen with a lot of movies

Drinks
Drinks

Food
Food

My vegetarian dinner
My vegetarian dinner

That did work till the flight attendant walked to the back
That did work till the flight attendant walked to the back

At last at the beginning of the flight everything looked nice here
At last at the beginning of the flight everything looked nice here. Even in the morning the rest rooms where still clean and tidy

Lots of spares
Lots of spares behind the mirror

Lots of spares

Kolkata from above
Kolkata from above – now it was time to sleep.

Vegetarian Breakfast
A member of the crew did wake me with the breakfast – great way to start the day 🙂 Vegetarian Breakfast

Good morning FRA
Good morning FRA

Second breakfast while waiting for the ICE to Stuttgart
Second breakfast while waiting for the ICE to Stuttgart

Conclusion: Vietnam – I come back again!

The first day in Hanoi
The first day in Hanoi: Blue sky, Flip Flops’ and shorts. After that the sky turned gray for most of my trip. But the people and the landscape did make up for it big time!
I di meet so many friendly people on that trip. Never had one single bad experience apart from one expensive hotel but I did book that myself. I think that was my 8th or 9th time in Vietnam – It will not be the last 🙂

 
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Back in Hanoi or Hà Nội if you like

Wanted to stay at my favourite place in the Old Quarter of Hanoi – the North Hotel No 2 at 5B Ngo Tam Thuong Street. But they where complete full – good for them – bad for me! More information about the hotel here!
So I did need a new option. The Hanoi Blue Star Hostel it was. In a very small alley next to everything in the Old Quarter as well. If you book here – make sure you book the Superior Double or Twin Room – since the Standard does not have a window. Usually the price with my link above is the same.
The master plan was to walk to the places I was years ago and see how they do look today. But it was hot and Gray all the time so I did skip that and walked only a bit round the hotel.
That has to wait till next time 🙂

Flower Seller
Flower Seller

Mulberry Seller
Mulberry Seller

Plastic Household Goods Seller
Plastic Household Goods Seller

Meat Seller
Meat Seller

Vegetables Seller
Vegetables Seller

Preparing the shrine
Preparing the shrine for a good day of selling in the shop

The local butcher at work
The local butcher at work

Bia Hoi Delivery Truck
Bia Hoi Delivery Truck

Headstone Shop
Headstone Shop

An Evening at the Hanoi Backpacker District

Hanoi’s backpacker district is located just north of Hoan Kiem Lake in the city center. Of course there is a lot to do in the evening. But I was only here for 3 nights and to lazy to wander far. So I walked a bit in the area that has a lot to offer. Live music in bars and on the street. Performances of all sorts as well as lots of open air Bia Hoi bars that sell cheap but really drinkable beer. You can sit here all night and do the people watching thing. But most of the times you end up with a table full of people from all over the world and talk about everything and nothing for the rest of the evening. And from a quick snack while walking, a street food stall with chairs and table, simple Vietnamese restaurant or more expensive international places – you will find food you like!
If you visit Hanoi – make sure to roam the streets one evening. Forget about the market that goes up all the way from the traffic circle at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hàng Đào street. Full of people so you only have to dodge them all the time and almost only cheap Chinese shit. Better roam the streets left and right and make your way up towards the north!

Some sort of temple theatre
Some sort of temple theatre

Close your eyes now!
Close your eyes now!

Did work for her
Did work for her

Where is my date??
Where is my date??

Waiting for customers
Waiting for customers

Hanoi Backpacker District
Hanoi Backpacker District

Quite full and most of it are bars
This street was full every evening – on the left and right almost only bars and restaurants

You find live music on a few different corners
You find live music on a few different corners

Most of the people are still Vietnamese
Most of the people are still Vietnamese which makes it very different from KS road in Bangkok.

Not sure what that is - but I am a Vegetarian anyhow :-)
Not sure what that is – but I am a Vegetarian anyhow 🙂

One of to many coffee and tea shops
One of to many coffee and tea shops

The restaurant next to the house
You see half the kitchen and the open air part of the restaurant. Wonder how they do it in rainy season?

Roasted corn cobs
Roasted corn cobs

Another band
Another band

Shoes
Shoes

 
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From Cát Bà Island back to Hanoi

Only a few more days to go. Time to drive back to Hanoi. The sky was the same Gray as usually – another good day to drive since it did not rain and it was not hot. It was only Gray and humid. And it was absolutely no sky for nice pictures – again….
The clock: 62373 kilometres

Getting to the slow ferry back to the mainland
After coffee and a snack I did the pack the bag game and got everything on the bike. Next: cross the island and drive to Cai Vieng – that is about 26 km from Cát Bà to get the ferry to Cát Hải. That is a small island in between Cát Bà island and the ferry terminal in Đình Vũ close to Hai Phong.

Pay the ferry here - get ticket
Pay the ferry here – get ticket

Waiting for the slow ferry  to the  Cát Hải
Waiting for the slow ferry to get to Cát Hải

On the slow ferry back to the mainland
On the slow ferry to Cát Hải

On the slow ferry back to the mainland
Adios Cát Bà! The trip was 20.000 Dong for me and the bike.

Not too much to see
Not too much to see – a few rusty boats here and there. And a few fisherman at work. Since I did stop eating fish a long time ago I do not have to think if I would like to eat the fish they catch here…

The big slow ferry
The big slow ferry

On the other side of the island more waiting
On the other side of the island more waiting for the next ferry. You can see the bridge construction is going well. Looks like they want to ship a lot of people to the island. No clue if they want to build a few hundred more hotels there or why else would they build such a highway to that small island???

Even with the bridge coming soon they still renovate the old ferry
Even with the bridge coming soon they still renovate the old ferry. Guess this island will not be connected to the road – and if so they do not expect it to be ready in a short time. This boat looks like the next ferry to the main land. 30.000 Dong later I was in Đình Vũ.

7 km till the shop and I have another flat
From there it was a fast and dusty ride towards Hanoi. The sun did try to break the Gray – so it got really hot. I did only want to arrive and there is not really something to see so I drove faster than usually. Only 7 km to go and I had another flat!

7 km till the shop and I have another flat
Did turn out that the heat from fast driving killed some of the other repairs on the tube. When I tried to pull one of the old patches from the tube I had a big piece of tube in my hand. So they had to change the tube. And with a bike like that you have to take the rear apart. Not really service friendly.
The good part of such a story is to stop at a repair shop. They where both busy with another bike but the woman came out right away. Then she got the tire down and after we saw that the tube had to be replaced she called the guy and boom – they are working at the bike. 15 minutes later I had to pay 100.000 Dong – that was about 3.80€ plus 20.000 tip and I was on the road again. If I do that here back home – well – we do not have to count minutes – lets count hours…

Round the corner - a few more meters
Did book a hotel in some of the small streets. In this maze the Google Girl had a hard time to steer me. Had to figure it out with my other map. But finally there it is – my hotel – only a few more meters

Round the corner
After check in I went back to the shop and returned the bike. Got back my deposit and walked back to the hotel. This street is round the corner of the hotel

To the right on the way to the main street
To the right from the hotel alley on the way to the main street

A hairdresser
A hairdresser

Every day they did put the bird up here so he had some fresh air and light
Every day they did put the bird up here so he had some fresh air and light

The clock: 62531 = 158 km today. That was a total of 3576 kilometres zig zack in Vietnam! I had 2 flats, needed a new spark plug or not – hard to say. At the beginning of the trip I had to put new bearings in the front wheel. So all in all that worked quite well. I have the feeling I will do this trip again – and I hope for a blue sky and not for that gray gray all the time!

 
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