From Pom Coong to Cành Nàng

November 15, 2017 at 14:41

Not to long before I have my flight home. It was about time to start moving again. Wanted to explore the Pù Luông Nature Reserve and do the Lao Loop. Waited for blue sky for a few days with no luck so one morning I packed everything and drove towards Cành Nàng.
The new road – a bit higher above the old QL15 is almost finished. It follows the river in the Mã River Valley. There are lots of chopstick factories next to the river. I took some pictures for you.

Getting more supplies
Getting more supplies with his trusted truck

Can you hear the noise?
Can you hear the noise?

Bamboo chopsticks production
Bamboo chopsticks production

Bamboo chopsticks production

Bamboo chopsticks production
Most of the factories are very small. Some have dedicated work space and others have the tools underneath their house.

Bamboo chopsticks production

Chopsticks
The finished product – ready for shipping. Strange that they do not pack in squares – they could get way more into the trucks.

US truck in front of an old IFA truck from East Germany
US truck in front of an old IFA truck from East Germany

Bamboo chopsticks production

The old road
The old road – not too much fun when it is wet. They constructed the last few kilometers so I had to drive on the old road again. Very happy that it was dry the last few days.

Working Woman
Working Woman

Traditional house
Traditional house which is to expensive to build now. A lot of the new ones are concrete like the one on the right.

Hard work but they are still happy
Hard work but they are still happy

Hello Hello
Hello Hello

The old truck is still in use
The old truck is still in use

Cành Nàng

Got to Cành Nàng round noon. Found a guest house and dropped the bag. Drove up the QL15C towards the Pù Luông Nature Reserve but it was too misty up there so I gave up after one hour and decided to try again at the next trip in spring 2018.

Different way to build a road to the village
Different way to build a road to the village

I had to turn back here - my road tires did not like the mud.
I had to turn back here – my road tires did not like the mud.

Rice - in the valley and along the mountains as well
Rice – in the valley and along the mountains as well

Peace full but to misty to explore
Peace full but to misty to explore

I hope I have more luck with the sky next winter
I hope I have more luck with the sky next winter

Imagine this with a blue sky
Imagine this with a blue sky

Nice construction to get the water into the rice fields
Nice construction to get the water into the rice fields

Not sure if he ever wanted to go to the Olympics
Not sure if he ever wanted to go to the Olympics

Food place in Cành Nàng
Food place in Cành Nàng. They have a food shop in front of the place. So I did my thing again with the phone and the “No Meat – No Animal” and they gestured me to the balcony in the back. Beer is never a problem and when the sun went down they started to cook. I love this small places.

Bamboo construction on a big pond
Bamboo construction on a big pond

You sip your beer and watch the locals fish under your feet
You sip your beer and watch the locals fish under your feet

Later the owner cooked my Dinner
Later the owner cooked my Dinner

Enough for tonight - and it was good!
Enough for tonight – and it was good!

The next day before my trip to Ninh Binh
The next day before my trip to Ninh Binh. Some people complain about my big bag. Here is a picture of the bag – if you compare it with the helmet it is not so big. Mind you I have cold and hot weather gear inside. It does look big because of the orange bag I use to protect the brown one form water and dirt.

 
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From Phố Châu to Pom Coong Village

November 10, 2017 at 18:00

Gitte and Gieter had their flight out of Hanoi. Still a few days to kill so I invited them to drive with me to Pom Coong Village and leave the bike later at my friends Hotel in Ninh Binh. They wanted to give their bike to a friend but he was not in Vietnam for a few more days. That way he can pick it up in Ninh Binh. No need for them to drive into Hanoi with the bike – taking the bus instead and no need to find save parking for the bike till their friend get to Hanoi.
Their bike was fine for the whole trip only the rack was not good. Two heavy big backpacks and a small one was way to much. In the morning they when to a welding place to get if fixed again but the way it was done I gave it only 30-40 km before it would break again. We said Adios to Trần from the Ly Ha Hotel and drove towards Mai Chau.

Gitte and Gieter with a broken rack
Sure enough the rack broke after a few kilometres

Gitte did the usual thing. Down from the bike on the wrong side = burn your leg
Gitte did the rookie mistake. Down from the bike on the wrong side = you will burn your leg

Fresh Meat
Fresh Meat on the way to the butcher

The kid never listen so we had to stop at the middle of nowhere to get the rack fixed proper
The kids never listen so we had to stop at a small town in the middle of nowhere to get the rack fixed. Proper this time! I explained everything to the guy from the motorbike repair place. It is nice to talk to them when they do not speak English. We need this brrrrrrrr and this brrrrrrrr after that we need two pipes about thaaaaat long and you bzzzzzzz it here and here. He nods and hops on the bike to get a cutting tool and some pipe. A few beers later the bike was ready for new adventures.

And that is what the guys tried
Get down to business: Brrrrrrrrr

Why use welding glasses when you have a fake Ray Ban?
Why use welding glasses when you have a fake Ray Ban? Bzzzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzbzzzbzz

Ready to go
Ready to go

Local house
Traditional Long House

Fighting the hills
Fighting the hills

Dinner in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa
Dinner in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa. Gitte is Vegetarian too so we drove round town to look for a place to eat. I have “Vegetarian Food. No meat no fish” on a note on my phone so we showed it at a few places till a grandmother nodded and we followed her into the restaurant. The husband went shopping for some greens and I checked the kitchen for more food. The beer was cold and we had a nice table full of food.

Lots of Vegetarian food

At the beer run
We drove a few kilometers back out-of-town to a Nhà Nghỉ we spotted on the way in. The place was brand new and the rooms OK. Had to do a beer run since they did not sell beer. This lady wanted a picture with me so I put her on the laundry detergent bucket. Big fun for the rest of the restaurant.

Đức Tại Guesthouse in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa
The Guesthouse: Đức Tại in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa

Đức Tại Guesthouse in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa

Đức Tại Guesthouse in Tỉnh Thanh Hóa

Pom Coong

Took them to my favorite Guesthouse in Pom Coong – No. 24. Still the best place in town. Far away from the big tourist center so you still can enjoy a cold brew with dinner in the evening without all the souvenir selling places next to you. The food is still amazing and the place is still cheap. More information on Pom Coong and Guesthouse No 24 in this blog post from last year.
Walking the fields behind the town we saw a few new resort style places and lots of new souvenir stands. If No. 24 would not be there – I would not stop! But since it is very convenient on the way you will find me next year again there for a few days.

The rice fields of Pom Coong
The rice fields of Pom Coong

Traditional House in Pom Coong
Traditional House in Pom Coong

Traditional House in Pom Coong

The rice fields of Pom Coong

The rice fields of Pom Coong

Farmer on the way home

Gitte and Gieter on the way to Ninh Binh
Gitte and Gieter posing for the final photo before they move on towards Ninh Binh – see you again guys!

Traditional Dance

One evening a group of British bikers stopped for dinner at Guesthouse No 24. The guesthouse organized a Dancing Show for them in the cord yard. Took a few snaps from the balcony. I have better pictures and a video at the post from last year.

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

 
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From Hanoi to Pom Coong Village

March 8, 2016 at 16:35

Good morning Vietnam! Did check out of the North No 2 Hotel and walked to the motorbike place. On the way I had the usual breakfast: Coffee and a Baguette with juice.

Last coffee in Hanoi before the trip
Last coffee in Hanoi before the trip

The new Motorbike

Then: surprise surprise – my bike was gone. Did not really understand why but there was a Nouvo 3 that looked a lot better than the one from last evening. And the breaks where better too. So far so good. Next question: “Do you only ride in the city?” I told him yesterday and why would I need a rack and stuff if I only ride in the city? Now they wanted 500.000 more so the total was 2.000.000 Dong for 45 days. Still less than 2 US $ a day but a bit more from what it was last evening. What to do? Waste another day to look at backpacker bikes? Or take that one that looks and drives ok? Fuck it – I take it!

The ride
The new ride

Elephant monument with bats
Strange monument somewhere next to the road. Bats and an elephant. Why not?

My ride on the street
My ride on the street – did get one of the big bags (80.000 Dong) to keep dirt and dust from my bag. It does function as a security feature as well. Bright orange you can see – at last that was my idea.

It is sugar cane harvest season
It is sugar cane harvest season

Home-stay in Pom Coong Village

The Home-stay Nr. 24
The Home-stay Nr. 24 in Pom Coong Village. The village is close to Mai Chau and about 140 km from Hanoi. The population is mostly White and Black Thai as well as 5 more Ethnic Minority groups. They main income is rice and tourism. The tourism part grows fast – about 99,5% of them where Vietnamese when I was there.
Did walk a bit in Pom Coong and found Home-stay Number 24. Somehow almost all of them are called after the house number.
The next day I found out that Number 15 – the one I wanted to go is inside a cluster with other places and it is a full-blown souvenir sales operation down in the village. Up where my home-stay is it was quite in the day and not many tourist did walk there. Good for me.

At the home-stay in Pom Coong - Dinner
Dinner at the home-stay

Surroundings
Walking down to the village “supermarket” – looking to the right

Happy on the Honda
Happy on the Honda

Dinner at the home-stay
Dinner at the home-stay.
The first night there where 3 other guys at the place. The room is the whole first floor. You get a mattress on the floor, pillow, blanket, towel and a mosquito net. Which I did not use. There is enough space between the beds. The second night I was alone and the last night there where a guy from Ha Noi across the room. One night with Dinner and Breakfast is 200.000 Dong, Lunch is 70.000 and one big Beer Ha Noi is 25.000. That is less than 10€ for a night with 3 times food. Quite a good deal and the shower was hot as well. Free WiFi from the Sun Set Bar next door! Great!

Breakfast
Breakfast

New friends
They had two puppies at the place – new friends 🙂

Vietnamese coffee
Vietnamese coffee

Lunch at the home-stay
Lunch at the home-stay

Down in the village - tourist overload
Down in the village – tourist overload. This was taken quite early – on the way back the street was full of people. And I had to stop a few times for people to take their picture with me. I am so popular 😉

Dancing
Friday evening – dancing show across the street

More dancin

Cool Bike
Cool Bike

Harvest Dance
Harvest Dance

Even the Dog likes the dancing
Even the Dog likes the dancing

Typical house
Typical house of the local people

Rice in the field
Rice in the field

New friend for a walk
New friend for a walk

Typical local house
Further away the houses get smaller

Bamboo cutter for sticky rice
Bamboo cutter for sticky rice. Than he waved me in. Come on. He is 61 and his one eye is not good any more. Strong green tea is served and we have one Lao Khao – the local rice whiskey. And something red that is good for the back. Than he offers me some smoke out of his big water pipe bamboo. But I do not smoke. More rice whiskey – sorry – to early. After a few more teas and some talk I walk back to my place.

Small village
Small village in the fields

Volleyball
Saturday Volleyball match

Village feast
Than they put lights up and plastic on the floor. From every house food is coming and then everybody sits and they have dinner together

More dancing
Across my place more dancing

More dancing

Big Party with Show
The village dinner turns into a big party later. Man in women cloths contest and disco dancing till 22:00 – than it is quite again across the valley.

Here is a video so you have some sound as well:

 
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