Halong Bay…that sounds like the vacation within the vacation that we–despite “only” two weeks on the road so far–believed we deserved already. In the pursuit of seeing as much as possible our schedules are sometimes a bit cramped and time for relaxation scarce. So we opted for a comparably highly priced version of this two-days-one-night trip to Halong Bay, that you can buy at any other street corner in Hanoi. The boat itself kept its promises. But unfortunately the service did not live up to the same standards. Continue reading Halong Bay
Hanoi still and by far is the more relaxing, and by the same time more lively city, compared to Saigon. I thought so two years ago, when it was the first city of Vietnam I saw. And I still think so this year, when it is actually the last. And so thinks Nina. Continue reading Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh, Shopping, Temple of Literature
It was mainly for convenience and time saving reasons that we treated ourselves to a private driver today, so that we could combine the 60+ kilometer distance from Ninh Binh to Hanoi with two sightseeing stops on the way. Hoa Lu was not that far away from the hotel. Could be done by bike, but was in the same direction. And the Perfume Pagoda is something I had left out two years ago as I was running out of time. It receives top reviews, but is a site far out of Hanoi (or any other major city, that is), so it is a day tour from anywhere anyway. Continue reading Hoa Lu & Something around Perfume Pagoda
21-AUG. Ninh Binh was new to me, but I was looking forward to it for it promising to present “Halong Bay on the Land”, ie. the same kind of limestone formations, just not surrounded by water, but by land. And LP recommended going by bicycle, another detail I liked. Probably a bit like YangShuo, I hoped. And so it was…just…well…we needed to get there. Continue reading Ninh Binh – Dry Halong Bay by Boat
The second day in Hue was dedicated to the royal tombs, again by an organized tour via boat on the Perfume River. That also included this time a visit to a nondescript house of a former mandarin, the always attractive Thien Mu Pagoda, and another temple down the river, which was small but interesting, though I forgot its name and can’t find it in LP. Continue reading Hue II – Tombs
Hue, the emporers’ capital for quite some time. Its citadel and tombs tell some of Vietnam’s glory history. The citadel reminds one of BeiJing’s Forbidden City. And the tombs, some 200 years old, are left pretty much in their original state, hence can convey an atmosphere of history. But, alas, also they are being more and more restaurated. Hopefully to the better (some finished parts of the palace look great!), but that touch of historic atmosphere might get lost as it often did in similar places we’ve seen in China. Continue reading Hue I – Citadel and Palace
HoiAn was a tranquil village when I was there 2 years ago. It has changed, though. As Nina put it: “I would still recommend visiting HoiAn, but it’s getting too much commercialized.” While I certainly remembered a lot of things and found some places I had been before, there had also a lot of cozy hang-out places gone and been replaced by the 36th incarnation of a souvenir shop/gallery/clothes shop. In general, the restaurants moved up by half a category, as did their prices. And the number of western-style dishes on the menu increased dramatically. Hurry up, if you still want to see a Vietnamese HoiAn! Continue reading Hoi An – Town, My Son, and Beach
Arrival in Saigon was largely uneventful. The cheap Air France flight turned out to be a flight from Paris with stop-over in Bangkok. The only little hassle was to find a taxi, which we could only get from the departure level of the airport: There was a taxi stand…not at the arrival level. The taxi driver had some issues finding our hotel, though it was one of the better places in town (on the first night we played safe). But in the end everything was no hassle. Except for the temperatures…even the locals sweat like waterfalls and complain. There’s little rain these days, despite the calendar saying it’s raining season. Continue reading Saigon – Other Part Of Town
There has been some time of quiet here in this blog…you probably forgot over time, that you have a subscription here at all 😉 Welcome back!
But before we get too enthusiastic: It’s for 3 weeks. “Only,” you might want to think. Swallow it…it’s vacation this time, not time off. We are on our flight to Bangkok for a well deserved 3-week-vacation to Vietnam and Laos. And, yes, “we” is not pluralis majestatis, but means two pax: Nina and me. Continue reading Long Time No See – And This Time I’m Not Alone
On my way south through Vietnam I had not found people who liked Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. I know now why: This city sucks. There’s nothing really worth seeing. It’s loud, noisy, dirty, traffic is mad, has way way way too many street hawkers (which makes sitting in a cafe a pain as you get interrupted every minute with newspapers, head-wagging plastic dogs, or piles of copied books) and motorbike offers (which makes walking along the streets a pain as there is a motorbike waiting every 10 meters). In the smaller cities I could bring up the effort to smile and say “No, thanks” and that usually ended it. But here I had to revert back to the rude way of entirely ignoring.
Walking had the additional pains of mad traffic and long ways, and my right big toe really hurting. The bruise from the diving fin there heals, but slowly. Continue reading Ho Chi Minh City (II) Walking