Tag Archives: Vietnam

Halong Bay

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

Hoa Lu & Something around Perfume Pagoda

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

Ninh Binh – Dry Halong Bay by Boat

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

Hue I – Citadel and Palace

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

Hoi An – Town, My Son, and Beach

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

Saigon – Other Part Of Town

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

Long Time No See – And This Time I’m Not Alone

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

Shanghai (I) Closing the Loop

The loop is closed: I am back in Shanghai, sitting in a Starbucks Café and drinking one Cappucchino after the other. It is a good feeling…not because the Cappucchino is good (it is OK, but can by no means compete with a real Vietnamese coffee), but because it is so clean and relaxing an atmosphere: Just sitting without being bothered by any hawkers at all. Especially after fleeing Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, this 20-million-people city of Shanghai gave me an odd feeling of emptyness: Just walk on the clean and broad pavement in the direction wanted. Cross the streets with a surprising sense of safety at traffic lights. An odd statement after all my complaining about the mad Chinese traffic between the lines of many earlier articles. Forget it, in comparison China is a kindergarten’s traffic education site. It is a good feeling of safe, clean, straight-forward, and fast transportation when leaving Shanghai Pudong Int’l Airport with the first MagLev of the day at 300km/h (in early morning and late evening the trains run with reduced speed for noise reduction), switch to a surprisingly empty subway, which brings you into the heart of the city in a time you probably just managed to leave a Vietnamese Int’l airport. If, that is, your immigration runs as smooth as in China. These two contries are still worlds apart. Continue reading Shanghai (I) Closing the Loop