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 at the hotel
Lunch at the hotel
You can not imagine how heavy this wood funiture is
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.
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
Some dessert – it was ok
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 – From Thái Nguyên to Pom Coong

Spend two nights in Thái Nguyên to relax a bit after the loooong drive down from the mountains. Sorry but there was nothing interesting to share. As far as I saw the town when shopping that is. The only interesting thing to report: There was a girl from Brasil I think on her scooter so I went with her to have pizza. No clue why she craved it and sure enough the pizza was as bad as I expected it. That interesting it was. Might be because I was too lazy to go and see the city. Apart from that, I have nothing to report from Thái Nguyên.

Nam My Van Homestay
Nam My Van Homestay

The Nam My Van Homestay and

Nam My Van Homestay is in a small lane down from the main street. No way you would wander down that lane and find that homestay by yourself. They have a 9.1 rating by now on booking. Usually, they are really good booked and very happy to have this biz on the side.
Mitsos told me the other day in Surat Thani how bad booking and such sites are for the small people. But here I sit and this guy was so happy. He could not have a biz at all without. Who would find him??
Also, last winter when I was in Indonesia I stayed a few days with a family that converted the family house into a hotel. He told me that before booking only rich people could afford to open a hotel. Or you had to be lucky and your hotel was in the street that became the main tourist area to have enough customers. Like Khao San Road in Bangkok a long time ago. But now he said I can open my own place here and people come and it is far from the city center.
I asked a few more of the small place owner and they all said the same. We have no idea how to find customers if we would not be on these big booking sites. I guess every medal has two sides and sometimes it is good to see the other one as well. Of course, Mitsos does not really agree with me here. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Entrance to the homestay
Entrance to the homestay
Little Brown Dog
They had two dogs a German Shepard and this little brown one.

On the Road again

DaiViet Pilsner
Brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 they claim. Interesting!!
Quite modern place on the other side of the lake
Quite modern place on the other side of the lake
Sunset over the mountains
Sunset over the mountains
Village in a Valley
Nice view down the valley
Mountain in Ricefields
That looks sooo great!

Today’s drive:
I drove 214 kilometers in 6 hours and 31 minutes with gas and food stops.

Pom Coong

Went back to my old Guesthouse No 24. Boy, this place changed a lot. The upper part of the village where the guesthouse is looks still like 3 years ago.
But if you walk down to the other guesthouses. They ship (mainly) Vietnamese tourist by busses so you better stay clear. And the quiet fields further down in the valley? New expensive hotels and small villa resorts all over the place. Guess I do not have to come back here again. Sad – I really liked it here and they have super good food in the guesthouse as well.

More information on Pom Coong and Guesthouse No 24 in this blog post from last year.

Sunset over Pom Coong
Sunset over Pom Coong
Homestay in traditional Longhouse in Pom Coong
Usually, I have my place all the way down in the Longhouse. This time I got the one at the door. Why not? Most of the time I am the only guest so it does not matter to much. And yes – there is a mosquito net here as well.
Breakfast at the guesthouse. Strange mix but since I do not eat meat she got creative every morning 🙂
Rice field in Pom Coong
Walked a bit into the valley
Rice field in Pom Coong
I love that green!
Lunch in Pom Coong
Birthday celebration
This couple came here with the whole birthday set. You get a cake and a bag with the hat, candles, plates and forks as well as a knife. You eat the cake and take some pix and everything goes into the trash. Hmmmm
Birthday couple
They made some pictures till coffee was ready
I got some cake as well. It was good!!
Sunset and Hanoi Beer
Beer o’ clock!!
My Dinner

Dinner on the other side of the Street

Burning the pigs hair
Burning the pigs hair
Small dog prepared for Dinner
Small dog prepared for Dinner
Dog and Pig prepared for dinner
Not sure why they eat such a small dog but ppl eat super small pigs as well. Meateater – who can understand them??
Dog and dead dog
Wonder what big dog is thinking
One is a pet and one is food… Dogfood
Woman and kids looking out of a window
Waiting for dinner

The Lao Loop

Wanted to do the Lao Loop the last two years but it was gray sky for most of the time so I skipped it. Which was a mistake.
This year I went and I left the Canon in the bag and took only 3 pictures with the iPhone.
There was nothing interesting left to share 🙁

Old IFA truck
If you want to see them old IFA trucks from East Germany still working – you have to come to Vietnam. Not to many left on the streets but in the nNorth you still find them every other day
Door Sticker
I do not get this sticker. It is so wrong – every word apart from Angeren is spelled wrong. Who makes this and why??
Water Wheels
Water Wheels

Today’s drive:
I drove 237 kilometers in 8 hours, 7 minutes with gas and food stops.

If you are in the area do a loop on the QL15 C and swing on the DT432A. Should be much nicer.

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Winter 17/18 – From Phía Tháp to Thái Nguyên

Time to move down South again. Packed the bike and said Adios to the Kim family. I had a super time here in the North and the dinner was excellent – every time! Thank you!!
Today I wanted to see the Mountain with the Hole that is not too far from Kim’s Homestay. When I was close I could not find it and gave up – and I was so close. Stupid me but I also hat many kilometers to go.
I detoured a second time to go to Tân Lập since I was almost out of petrol and there was no gas station the last few hours. It is always a lot of fun – you see that you are getting really low – in this case, the needle was in the red for a few minutes already. I stopped and consulted the map. There is a small hamlet up the hill that looks big enough for a gas station. And sure enough, they had one. So I had a beer and some snaks as well. Anyhow got into Thái Nguyên late and was happy to take a hot shower.

Vietnamese Graveyard
Still some festivities at the graveyard
Fields and Karst Mountains
Fields and Karst mountains
Corn Field and Karst Mountain
Corn fields
Green Karst Mountains
These Karst mountains might stay green since you can not farm there
Farm house in the mountains
What a nice spot for a farm house
Green mountains
Still some green mountains
Fields and Mountains
But you can see how agriculture takes over more and more.
Mountains and Farm Land
More cuts in the mountains
Farm in the Valley
Some farmers houses in the valley
Fresh planted fruit trees
Coming round the next bend and you see this for an hour or so. Makes you really sad
The only good thing about it is that they will be green in the future if you look at this hills
Burnt Land
More forrest gone
Clear cut forrest
And more and more and more…
Mountains and more mountains
Local House
Another old school local house
Small village in a valley
Small village in a valley
Mountains at sunset
The gate to paradiese
Small road
Small road in the valley
Sunset in the mountains
Sunset in the mountains

Today’s drive:
I drove 275 kilometers in 9 hours and 4 minutes with gas and food stops.

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Book your room here please. No difference for you but I get a little bit of Coffee money 🙂 Thank you!