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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Last Days in Ninh Binh

Only a few more days to go before the flight home. Drove back to Ninh Binh to my friend’s place. Will park the bike there to use it next year again. The last few days the sky was nice and we even had a few blue days here. With lots of haze of course – so again – no clear sky for nice landscape pictures.

Boats waiting for tourists in Tam Coc
Boats waiting for tourists in Tam Coc

Boats waiting for tourists in Tam Coc

The river in Tam Coc
The river in Tam Coc

Rice field with Hang Múa in the back
Rice field with Hang Múa in the back

Baby Ducks
Baby Ducks

Wild Horses - why here??
Wild Horses – why here??

450 steps to the top
450 steps to the top

View from the top toward Ninh Binh
View from the top toward Ninh Binh

Much better sky this way
Much better sky this way

The peak on the left (from the top) about half way. You can see workers constructing new stairs
The other peak – you can see workers constructing new stairs

The other peak
The other peak

More haze this way
More haze this way

You can see the city on the far right
You can see the city on the far right

Back at the hotel - cleaning
Back at the hotel – cleaning

Only one kind of meat here
Only one kind of meat here

With Gaelle
With Gaelle for a beer – or two…

The gang in front of the place. With Jordi Huysmans, Saci Kovách, Việt Tây and Andrew Pycroft.
The gang in front of the place. With Jordi Huysmans, Saci Kovách, Việt Tây and Andrew Pycroft.

One is working and one is sleeping
One is working and one is sleeping

View from my room
View from my room

Ready to go to Hanoi
Ready to go to Hanoi

 
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From Ninh Binh to the Ocean View Homestay in Đồng Hới

Good morning Vietnam!
Another Gray and cold day? I did not really expect it to be nice!
Last breakfast, pack the bag game and everything on the bike. See you in a few weeks friends! Adios.
And I was on the way. Had no real plan where to end up today but further down south was the plan. The day was still young and there is a lot of road to drive all the way to the water down south if one must. I wanted to get towards blue sky and nicer temperatures quick so I stayed on the big roads most of the time. Trucks, Diesel and dust! Some crazy drivers and a few near hits with them later something in my brain told me – why not hit it and drive to Ocean View Homestay? At last it is quiet and clean there! And so I was driving a bit faster than usually and took way less pictures. But on a day like this – most of the pictures would not made it to the Blog anyhow.

Planting rice
Rice planting in action close to Ninh Binh

Monument in Thành phố Vinh
Monument in Thành phố Vinh. Look at the sky. It was like that the whole day 🙁

Church close to Kỳ Nam
Church close to Kỳ Nam

Another Church close to Kỳ Nam
Another Church close to Kỳ Nam

Lots of today’s drive was not really pleasant. Not only the same Gray sky that was so Gray you could not even guess where the sun was! There was even some drizzle from time to time. I was really happy when I reached the Ocean View Homestay in Đồng Hới. My favourite down there. Relaxing garden with restaurant and quite. Big clean rooms and friendly staff. And only a few metres from the ocean and from the backpacker place at the beach for sundowners.

Today’s Drive

410 Kilometres in 9 hours and 11 minutes with coffee and gas stops

The next Day

Had my Vietnamese slow drip coffee and walked to the beach for a look.

Old bunker
An old bunker on the beach. Once there where no trees so you had a clear line of sight.
Look at all the Gray!

Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat

Well looks like I stay in today and do nothing!

The next Day

It was actually quite nice. Blue sky with a hazy overcast but sunny. Great for a bicycle trip down town. They have free bicycles at the Ocean View Homestay.

Getting better slowly
Getting better slowly

It is blue up there
It is blue up there

Advertising for a hotel in Đồng Hới
Advertising for a hotel in Đồng Hới – nice Old School 🙂

A fisherman paddles back to his hut
A fisherman paddles back to his hut

Fishing boat in Đồng Hới
Fishing boat in Đồng Hới

Put the net into the water
Put the net into the water

Loading ice on the boat
Loading ice on the boat

Loading ice on the boat
Zoooooom – now you see it too!

Fishing Boats

Fishing Boats

Monument
Another one of those monuments. But that makes a fine place to sample some brew and look over the ocean!

Saigon Special

Huda Beer

Until the cows come home
Until the cows come home. Well lets go home as well!

The next Day

The next day I was lazy at the garden for most of the day. In the afternoon I drove up to Phong Nha to help Trang bring down a dog, cat and some stuff. She is the owner of the Ocean View Homestay and has a Bar, Beauty Saloon and Supermarket in Phong Nha now.

The next Day

Trang with Peppy
Trang with Peppy. She had to go back to Phong Nha. But she left the dog and a cat as well. I went to the beach again and biked a bit.

Beach in Thành phố Đồng Hới

Not too much going on at the hotel
Not too much going on at this hotel Looks like a Vietnamese-Laotian joint venture? The other places looked like this one. Abandoned!

 
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