From Saigon over Bao Loc to Da Lat

Since my bike was now in Saigon it was time to move North! First stop Bao Loc
The clock: 59582 KM – start in the morning towards Bao Loc
I did get up early and had breakfast early. Put the stuff on the bike before 9:00 and it was hot!
Later the temperatures went up to 38 in the shade. Could somebody switch of the hair dryer please?

I am a wanderer
Funny – last time I was in Vietnam they did not have these street signs. Somebody was in Germany and did like them I guess. We use them at parking places from where you start to hike. The guys represent hikers but here they put them in front of each pedestrian crossing

Rest stop
The Vietnamese rest stops – they might be the best in the world! All along the smaller streets here in the South of Vietnam you can find these kind of rest stops. Hammocks! Very comfortable to give your ass some rest when you travel on a bike. And great for a nap when you are tired. The usual suspects come with it. Fresh coconuts, coffee – hot or with ice and fresh sugar cane juice is the standard. Of course you can get also soda, beer and water. Most of them have not even snacks but some serve hot and cold food as well.

Rest stop

Rest stop
I had my black coffee and a coconut. They empty the coconut in a jar and put some ice and sugar into it. I dig the ice but sugar? Next time I have to watch and intercept

Fish farms
Fish farms as far as you can see up and down the stream

Farming on the hills
Cutting into the forests

Minh Nhung Hotel in Bao Loc

For the first night I decided to stay at the Minh Nhung Hotel in Bao Loc. A double room was 6€ for one night with air condition, fridge with mini bar, private bathroom, table and closet. The hotel is really close to the city centre and only 2 minutes to walk to the hospital where you find plenty of street food in the evening. Do not get confused there is a Minh Nhung Hotel 1 and Hotel 2 – they both have their own entrance but it is only one hotel.

The clock: 59768 = 186 km today

Parking in the lobby
The lobby and entrance of Minh Nhung Hotel II – yes if you bring a car you park in the lobby!

Bike parking in the lobby of Minh Nhung Hotel II
This way to the entrance of Minh Nhung Hotel I. If you bring a bike you park here!

Car in the house
They like to park inside the house in Vietnam

From Bao Loc to Da Lat

The girl at the reception was a bit confused. She wanted 150.000 Dong for the room. When I put the stuff on the bike she came over and wanted 50.000 more for the room. After the bike was ready for the road I checked the booking.com app – 6€ – should be 150.000. So I went back to her and she looked at the app – her screen and the app and “Oh sorry sorry – gave me back the 50.000” Thank you lady – that is 5 cans of beer 🙂
Time to move – 10:00 in the morning and 29 degrees – another hot day on the road ahead.

On the road again
On the road again

Coffee break
Coffee break! Had my coconut first and then coffee. But did not look so the old woman did put sweet condensed milk in the glass first. But she was so happy when she served it so I did drink it with the milk. If you do not stir it – it is still drinkable 🙂

Thao Tri Giao Hotel in Da Lat

Did book at the Thao Tri Giao Hotel for my night in Da Lat.
6 € for a room with two Queen size beds, air-condition, closet, table with chair, private bathroom with hot water and a balcony. It is the corner room on top of the hotel with side window. Close to the lake and plenty of food options in 5 minute walking distance.
The clock: 59893 = 125 km today

Dalat Hotel
In the afternoon I did arrive at the hotel in Dalat – happy to find a Vegetarian place next to it. Turns out – they do sell meet and the food was not really good – 40.000 for a mixed plate.

Thao Tri Giao Hotel room
Thao Tri Giao Hotel room

Dalat Hotel room

Dalat Hotel room
They expect 6 Japanese without tooth brushes

Tower in Dalat
Does that tower remind you of something? A tower in France?? Hmmmm! Funny thing: they have loads of towers like that here in Vietnam – only smaller than this one.

Lake in Dalat
The lake in Dalat – note the Swans

Big C in Dalat
You will never guess what that is. I was thinking about a sport stadium of some sorts but no – it is the roof of Big C! A supermarket! Of course you can sit a few thousand people here – so it might be used for some functions as well.

 



Booking.com

30 hours on the Train from Hanoi to Saigon

The first night on the train was not really good. Had booked the lower bed in a 6 bed compartment and there where only 3 of us. But at every stop somebody gets out and new people come in. Some only for one stop and some for a few. And the guy next to me was snoring like a hog. Good that I had a few beer since I was not tired.
In Saigon I booked Zu Coffee – a little home-stay a bit away from the centre. Since my bike does not travel with me in this train I would spend a bit more time there as intended. Still have to finish “The China Study” and another book is waiting. From the pictures at booking.com I know that they have a big garden. Looking forward to sit outside with only a shirt again. Blue sky and upper 20 degrees only 30 hours away!
Finally I managed to sleep – interrupted to many times in the night.

Look out of the train window
The next morning – still Gray and cold outside. Taken at Phong Nha-ke Bang National Park

Look out of the train window
A few hours later – still the same view.

Blue Sky!
Finally – in the afternoon: Blue sky at Tỉnh Thừa Thiên Huế! And the sun is back!

The ocean outside of the train window
The ocean outside of the train window

The ocean outside of the train window
For quite some time the train follows the shore line

The ocean outside of the train window

Lots of green and the ocean outside of the train window

Private Beach
This looks like a perfect place for a Guest House with a “private beach”

Train station in Vietnam
Train station in Quảng Ngãi. I am quite sure Ga comes from the French Gare

Fields somewhere in Vietnam
Fields outside of Quảng Ngãi

Graveyard somewhere in Vietnam
Graveyard outside of Quảng Ngãi

Train station somewhere in Vietnam
Train station in Bình Định, Vietnam

Tiger Beer in the train in Vietnam
They only had Tiger Beer on the train – strange! 20.000 Dong for a can – 0,80 € and ice-cold. The second night was not better than the first.

Train station in Saigon
After 30 hours on the train we reached the train station in Saigon

Taxi to ZU Coffee
I had a fresh Banh Mi and a coffee since it was very early. Than I walked to the main street to get a cab to my hotel

Zu Coffee

Coffee at  ZU Coffee
Coffee at ZU Coffee

Garden at ZU Coffee
Did stay at Zu Coffee for 8,50 € a night. A room with double bed, table, chair, closet, Wi-Fi and air-con. Shared bathroom with hot shower. Since I was the only guest it was more like a private bathroom. The place is a few kilometre from the centre in a quite site street. Their coffee is only open in the morning. Later they close the gate so you have the whole garden for yourself. Nice to chill a bit and read or do nothing.
The family was really nice and helpful – a great place to stay if you do not want to go down town every day.

Original US Fork
Original US Fork

Food at the place next door
About five minutes from the hotel you find a good food place. Go to the main street and turn right – keep walking for a minute. Everything on the pictures was 1,40 €

Food at the place next door
This is the sign outside the restaurant

Finally the bike arrives
On the 16th in the morning I got a call from the train station. My bike is in Saigon and I can pick it up between 14.00 and 17.00. Cool! That nice gentleman took it out of the box and did cut the cardboard for me. Still enough gas inside to get to the next gas station to fill up.

Food at the place next door
Went again for dinner to the place – this was 0,60€ and really good again!

Back to Hanoi

The sky still Gray and temperatures not above 20 – not the best requirements for a trip up north. The forecast: more rain and temperatures from 5 – 15 degrees round Sapa. And I want to go further north than Sapa. Looks like I have to change the plan.
Scott was on the way up from Saigon to Hanoi so I decided to meet him in Hanoi. He was not sure if he comes with me on a bike or flies back to Bankok for some celebration with Tailek on Sunday.

The road to Hanoi
The road to Hanoi – for the first 50 km traffic was like that. As soon as you hit the A1 it gets crazy

Back in Hanoi

With Scott in Hanoi
Scott had a double room and we did meet round the corner of my old place. The North Hotel was full 🙁
Did circle the lake, had some “we want to improve our English” conversation, watched an action flick in the cinema and tried to find a place that serves Egg Coffee since Scott never had one.

My train ticket to Saigon
Scott decided to fly to Bangkok so I was alone and had to decide – stay in the north of Vietnam? Drive down south? Or take the train all the way down and see some friends on the way up?? The train down it was!

Buddha's hand
Buddha’s hand – guess I was never in season for it over here? Or did I forget them? Strange!

Egg Coffee
Got up early and went to the bakery. Scott does sleep long but finally we could go and we did find that Egg Coffee! Quite expensive and way to sweet but one time you have to try it!

Golden Ducati
How ugly is that?

Ugly Range Rover
And look what the guy did to his Range Rover 🙁 Must be the owner of the King Massage

Streets of Hanoi
Random street shoots

Streets of Hanoi

Banh Mi 25
The famous Banh Mi 25. I had better but they give you free tea and bananas! Cool. And we did come late so the bread was not really fresh anymore – should try that in the morning again.

Sugar cane juice seller
Sugar cane juice seller with her BBQ friend

Shop on wheels
Shop on wheels

Bike in the Hotel
In most of the Hotels in the cities they do park your bike inside at night. Even inside the breakfast room!

Ice cream in the Dessert Street
Ice cream in the Dessert Street – that was Scotts ice – I do not dig the sweets that much. But I did try and it was good!

Expensive coffee
Expensive coffee – nice done but in the end it was cold 🙁 Every time Scott does treat me to coffee it is cold?

My picture with the shop owner in Hanoi
Did get that picture – Scott did the hard bargain part and in the end I gave him 1000 Thai Bath for it. Will pick it up at the end of the trip.

Bike at the train station in Hanoi
The girl who sold me the train ticket told me it would be no problem to take the bike on the train. So we went 2 hours before departure to the station. Well well – I was on the Express! No the bike can not go on that train. We ship it with the next train – tomorrow. WTF! Did book a place about 12 km outside of the centre – that will be not nice without the bike. This picture was taken in the place where you go and arrange the transport at the train station in Hanoi. And that is a nice story all together: You arrive at the station – of course on the wrong side. So one guy runs and starts to take out the gasoline since the bike has to be empty. Not a lot left so he was too to. Than he did send me to the gate and Scott did stay with the bag. I find a woman who told me I am at the wrong station. Than she phones somebody and tells me to come with her. Did get Scott and the bag and we moved over all the tracks to the other side of the station and to the place you see at the picture above. You have to fill out 2 forms, they tell me the bike is very old so I have to put that on the form. Scratches here and there – put on the form. Very dirty your bike – put that on the form as well. Quite funny. Than you go to the “office” next door and pay at the counter. While Scott and the guy that works there compare their weight on a big scale. And their height and age. Somehow they do count different here – as far as we understood they get born and are 1-year-old since there is nothing like 0 years. Does make sense somehow…
Finally everything was done – more forms to fill and the money was handed over. Time to go and get some water and beer for the night.

Bike transport boxes at the train station in Hanoi
Bike transport boxes at the train station in Hanoi – No clue why you need such a stupid box round the bike but it is Vietnam and what can you do? Handling, box building and transportation: 25€ for the bike

Last beer with Scott at the train station in Hanoi
Turns out that all the doors were shut so we could see the passengers in the waiting room but we could not get out to look for a shop. There was a little shop open on our side of the station and we did take a seat over there. She wanted way to much for the beer so I had to talk her down. To celebrate even Scott had a beer with me. Than more bargaining for the nights bottles and the water.

My bed for the next 30 hours
My bed for the next 30 hours and my seat as well. Boy – I do not really look forward for this trip!