China, Vietnam · 20 Days · 22 Moments · February 2019

Friede und Felix durch Vietnam

16 March 2019

Last day in Vietnam As we still had the bikes this was the last day to get rid of them. Somehow, it was more difficult to sell them then expected. Probably due to the worn look they already have and what was the reason we got them so cheap. But it seems as if no other Backpackers trust the bikes as we did. So, although we had some more meetings planned with other Backpackers for selling, we sold it to a mechanican Friede got to know randomly at our motorbike parking lot. I would have definitely not sold if he hadn't offered such a good price so that Friede and I only lost something between 10 and 30$. So we were finally free and did not have to think about other marketing strategies and how to contact as many people as possible within a day. 😜 It was kind of a celebration when we went up on a Cafe(cheaper than on the viewing platformπŸ˜‰) on the 52 floor to enjoy the view from the top of saigon, that end is still impossible to see from there.

15 March 2019

Ho chi minh (saigon) We wanted to explore the city, so we joined a free walking tour that morning. We walked by all the sights that look very French due to the French influence until the Vietnam War. After the tour we went into the war museum that had some really shocking pictures of the war and the results from agent orange, the gas, the Americans used in the war. They are still many disabled Vietnamese people due to that gas. That day we drank a lot of fruit smoothies..probably the best we have ever had... So we ended up drinking smoothies and eating sunflower seeds on the road surrounded by Vietnamnese doing the same. It was kind of relaxing despite of the noise from the road and the rat that ran over my naked footπŸ€πŸ˜­
Mui ne - Ho chi minh 210km We were not sure whether to stay one more night in the iHome or to leave that day towards saigon as we wanted to have enough time there to sell the bikes. And Karl also wanted to see more of the north of Vietnam, so we decided to leave mui ne at midday and brought him to the train station from where he went up to nha Trang. However, Friede and I thought from earlier drives that it usually takes 4h for 200km. But not this day, as we had to drive into saigon, a city with 5mio Motorbikes and 8mio citizens. The city seemed to start 100km before arrival as the traffic was really bad all the way. We needed for the last 4km more than 25min although we were one of the fastest in the unbelievable crowd of scooter that went with us from one traffic light to the next one. We wished we had had a gopro to film the chaos we were intoπŸ˜…πŸŽ₯ as we have no pictures of that day. Finally in saigon we went into the food halls and enjoyed the evening of our last ride.

13 March 2019

The night before Karl, friedes brother arrived. We stayed together with him in the iHome, a hostel directly at the beach with little houses and palmes. That day we wanted to explore mui ne. So we drove with Karl on the backseat of friedes motorbike to a fairy Stream and walked through the water next to sand dunes. As it was a little too boring for us we decided to climb up a dune and had a nice view on the ocean and the villages around. It seems like a desert next to an ocean. After that we drove to a surfer Hotspot in mui ne, but unfortunately the waves were really low that day, so that not even the Russian guy from the surf shop was able to stand even one πŸ˜…πŸ™„ In the evening we drove to other sand dunes to enjoy them at sunset but the sun was behind the clouds most of the time. However, Karl wanted to go out that night, to a Russian party at the beach. But Friede and I were really tired, so that he slept on a sofa while Karl was dancing with the RussiansπŸŽΆπŸ’ƒπŸ˜‚

12 March 2019

Nha Trang - mui ne 220km drive Again a nice drive along the coastal line. When getting out of nha Trang, the Russian city, we passed a new airport and a 20km long new road, where new hotels, restaurants and resorts got build in between coast and desert. Foreign investors like MΓΆvenpick are investing incredible amounts of money into nha Trang.. For the Russians who seem to pay good as nha Trang was not as cheap as the rest of Vietnam. Shortly before mui ne we got pulled out by a police officer. He told us that we went too fast although there were no speed regulations on a big road in the middle of a desert. So we wanted to have a proof before we pay him some slush money. So we had to follow him in his police station that looked like a sherif office in a western movie. As we still wanted to see a proof because we knew that this definitely was scam and he only wanted money from us he got annoyed and let us go. Probably to have some more time to pull out some more European.

11 March 2019

Quy nhon - nha Trang. 220km drive Really beautiful drive along the coast and some ready to harvest rice fields that got harvested with a little header and two Vietnamese men sitting on it collecting the rice corns. After swimming in nha Trangs ocean coast with some Russians, as nha Trang is a Russian holiday Hotspot we went back to our hostel where used the free beer Flatrate to get to know some French and British guys. So we went partying πŸ˜‚πŸ˜… We quickly lost our group as I talked to a Vietnamese man sitting alone in his vip lounge who invited me and Friede into his lounge. So we got free beer, Shisha and fruits all night πŸ˜‚πŸ˜œ. The only thing we had to say was, that we also like Manchester united via Google Übersetzer as he could not speak English. However, at sometime he left us alone in the lounge and we enjoyed it for us alone.

10 March 2019

Hoi an - qui nhon 280km drive The drive was somehow unspectacular as we both don't really remember so much of it. But that's probably because we get used to the scenery and everything else in Vietnam. Qui nhon seems to be a domestic holiday spot as many Vietnamese people spend their holidays here. So we became the attraction 😎 and had to take selfies with Vietnamese girls. At night I was walking on my own through the city as friede was still suffering from a bad stomach and crossed a nightmarket where I tasted some really good fruits and had to take several more selfies with Asian girls πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰

8 March 2019

Hoi an Relaxing day at hoi an beach. As we both had a little bad stomach we enjoyed our real first beach with warm temperatures. So we directly got sunburned πŸ™„πŸ˜³ However, we somehow needed that day. For us and for friedes motorbike that got properly fixed At night we visited the nightmarket where we tried some typical Vietnamese Street food and enjoyed hoi an with its beautiful lights at night.
Going south: dong hoi - hoi an Today was a 300km drive, but definitely more enjoyable than the day before. For the first time we have been on a real beach here in Vietnam.. Even with our bikes 😁 The landscape was also much more enjoyable. The highlight was the mountain pass that divides Vietnam into North and South and in earlier times into communism and capitalism. It was a bit rainy before we passed it, so we were directly in the fog and the clouds. While going up those steep serpentines I got a little concerned about my bike as I had to shift into the first and second gear pretty often.πŸ™„ But that was probably due to the humidity. After we reached the top it was completely different weather. It was warm 😍 finally πŸ˜‚πŸ˜. The race down was amazing, we overtook literally everything🏎️. Down in the next city we had to visit a mechanican again as my sprocket was completely worn out πŸ™„ but 1,60€ πŸ˜‰ At night we randomly met two girls we got to know in cat ba, so we hang out in some bars

7 March 2019

Ninh Binh - dong hoi 400km journey on our bikes today 😴 as if the pain in our arses wouldn't be enough we also had to struggle with the rain, wet clothes in friedes backpack and a little crash Friede had on the way. Nothing serious happened but I think that happens when you are not concentrated for one second on the roads here. So we drove to the next mechanican that fixed the broken brake with glue 😳😳 yes glue πŸ˜‚. Well, I can already say... It hold together for the next 300km πŸ€”πŸ‘ When we finally arrived dong Hoi we noticed that there is something different here. Definitely less poverty and more a European style here although it is not touristy at all.

6 March 2019

Ninh Binh We explored ninh Binh by climbing up some of those rocks and enjoyed the stunning view up there. In the afternoon we went on a boat trip together with Alex and Adam. A gay couple from england πŸ˜πŸ˜…πŸ˜… . The poor lady that had to paddle the boat either with her arms or her feet 😳 asked us to help her a little on the straight parts when we weren't in a cave that are so small we had to move in our heads all the time. But Alex and Adam said after 5min that they are too weak for that kind of work so for the rest 2h we paddled. So good exercise πŸ’ͺ. But still amazing how these little women can do this all day long😳

5 March 2019

That morning we were all kind of sleepy due to the night before. πŸ™„πŸ€” So we left cat ba at midday drove together with Marcel off that island towards ninh binh. So that day nothing spectacular happened and we settled down on a beautiful hostel that is more a resort in between the amazing mountains of ninh binh. So the first impressions of ninh binh, that is actually called "dry halong bay" were really great. The kind of mountains are the same as it is in halong bay. But I reckon I prefer this place here more because it's less touristical and you are closer the rocks that seem to be more massiv as well. At dinner we tried traditional ninh bin goat🐐. It was alright but I would probably not order it a second time. They present the slaughtered goats that are still complete on the roads with their heads up what somehow looks scary and definitely not yummy

4 March 2019

A day in popular halong bay πŸ’ We went on a boat for a day to see world heritage halong bay. I was firstly worried that there might be too many tourists and that the place had lost its charme. But luckily I was wrong. Cat ba actually looks like a city at the Mediterranean see but we still really enjoyed it as we got to know some nice backpackers on our boat. Our first stop was monkey Island. An island on that monkeys live and so became we. We climbed together with Marcel up on a really spiky rock mostly barefoot and had an amazing view over halong bay. Sadly it started raining at that moment. β˜”πŸ™ƒπŸ’ After that we did some cayaking through dark caves and explored some hidden bays from that you could hear some monkeys roaring. When we were back in our boat we were able to go swimming. So we used the stop to make some jumps and backflips from the boat into the still colder water. As we were in a somehow touristical area we had to go out that night with Marcel and some British guys😁🍻🍻

3 March 2019

Back to Hanoi. To buy Motorbikes. πŸ›΅πŸ˜πŸ€™ Friede was convinced now as traveling in a bus sucks and you can not stop wherever you want. The night before in the night bus I contacted several people over Facebook and so we were able to start having looks on Motorbikes a 7am. By 9.30 we already had two bikes and we have reached everything we wanted for that day. So we used that time to drive from Hanoi to Cat ba. An island in the halong bay. That was our first drive with our own Motorbikes. πŸ˜‰ A littke bit exciting as we had to drive in the unique Hanoi traffic. But it was alright. Better than expected. You just have to swim in the stream like a fish as a friend of us told usπŸŸπŸ˜‚

2 March 2019

We finished the loop through the north east of Vietnam with our rented scooters and had a lot of fun racing the hills up and downπŸ›΅πŸ˜… For the first time we saw really poor regions. As we drove through their village we saw them slaughtering, washing and and working on their fields. Even all the children had to give the adults a hand and looked really dirty all over. But they werey still very happy when they noticed us and always wanted high fives and greeted us friendly by saying "hello". That was really cute πŸ’. After giving the scooters back to the rental shop, the staff offered us a shower and dinner together with them. They were really kind as well and finally we had all you can eat rice 😍. The night bus brought us then back to Hanoi

1 March 2019

SA PA - HA GIANG - - hardest bus drive we have ever had πŸ˜… 8 hours for 200km in a minibus that usually transports 12 people. Well, today we were 30 people, 10 bags of fish fodder and some packages we picked up from the street and delivered it to somewhere on the road. We wondered if we were some kind of drug dealer in disguise as tourists. Furthermore noticeable was the travel sickness of the locals as they throwed up several times due to the bumpy, twisting, and steep gravel road.🀒 After that we directly rented motorbikes again to do a 270km loop through the north west of Vietnam until tomorrow.

28 February 2019

Welcome to real Vietnam! Finally got out of the busy city and exploring the northern countryside with its rice fields and mountains. We arrived in Sa pa and actually wanted to go directly on a hike up to the Fansipan mountain (3143) with some locals we had contacted before. But we were too late for today's hike.. Luckily.. πŸ˜…πŸ˜… Although we seem to be fit and ancient enough to hike up onto 3000m it was good we did not. We drove up by cable car and it was soo cold, foggy and windy up there, we simply do not have the right clothes for that, especially not for a night in a shed with locals. After that Friede and I rented two scooter for not even 2€ and went on the most dangerous scooter trip we ever had up to the Chinese borderπŸ˜‰πŸ˜… but it was fun.. Real fun! Friede drives crazily, even crazier than most of the locals we had to overtook in narrow curves in the serpentines. Tonight is the last night with emmely as we are heading to a nice motorbike spot tomorrow morningπŸ˜‰πŸ›΅πŸ˜

27 February 2019

We spent our last day in the huge city Hanoi today with walking. Again more than 20km. The good thing is that we are not afraid of crossing the streets anymore. We just go... You don't even have to watch the traffic, you hear the horns and they will drive around you. At least mostly. Sometimes they probably think the same we do:"He, she, it will notice me and stop" Well, we visited some parks, those popular railways and ate the so far best meals in Vietnam. Ah yeah.. And we saw another president. This time it was Donald trump.πŸ˜…πŸ™„ Now we are somehow resting in a night bus that is supposed to bring us to Sa Pa, a city in the rice fields in the north.

26 February 2019

After some rest we walked through the old quarter in Hanoi and learned how to cross the roads here as the traffic is unique. There are no rules but it is still working.. Maybe sometimes it is better to regulate lessπŸ˜‰ Suddenly we came across a closed road where hundreds of scooters are horning because they want to drive further. However, this time even the scooters had to stop for Kim jong un who passed byπŸ˜‚ In the evening we met Marco and Sarah we got to know on the flight and spend some nice time in different and sometimes stunning bars in the nightlife quarter together with emmely as well. Hanoi beer really is enjoyable πŸ»πŸ‘ whereas Ballons are not. 🎈 It had to end shortly past midnight because of the American North corean conference tomorrow, so Friede could not go in to the club a friend of him recommended
After eating Beijings best dumplings reportedly, we made another stop at a Chinese supermarket. But this time we did not buy something he recommended as the last time a 🀒 Felix still ate a lot of it... As we paid for it.. πŸ™„ The next 8h of waiting flew by as we slept at the airport. So finally we got excited about Vietnam and hanoi😁 After landing in Hanoi we met Emmely who had the same problem like us... Finding bus no. 86 that should drive every 25min to the city. We directly got to know to the friendliness of the Vietnamese as another bus driver brought us to the right bus stop, we did not find before. As it was 7am we were not able to check in our hostel and had to wait until 12am to finally get some sleep. We used the time to buy Sim cards (we know now why the Asians are phone addicted... 60gb for 6β‚¬πŸ˜³) and got a new haircut for 2€. Friede is still suffering from that as he is deaf on his right ear now, due to the head massageπŸ’†β€β™‚

25 February 2019

No wonder as he had to stop every 10m to take some breaths and had to check his mobile phone. That was something really outstanding... The Chinese are smartphone addicted. They play games and chat all time. But back to the wall... We had already climbed the wall (yes it was real climbing and we did not expect that, but it really was fun) and felt like some ninjas and were enjoying the amazing view when we finally heard our guide coming up. It was so silent up there... Really enjoyable 😍 He texted us with a smartphone he has given us before because he could not speak a single word English except for "welcome to Beijing", that we were really fast and should follow the wall for like 8km and he will pick us up there. The walk or better hike was really steep and exhausting. How could the Chinese who had to protect the wall in early times build and work on that? 😳 But we really enjoyed the wall as there were no tourists for the first 8km on this not restaured piece.

24 February 2019

MUC - PEK... Off to Beijing! FinallyπŸ˜πŸ€™ On the flight we realized that we were more excited about the giant city Peking than Hanoi. So we hoped even more to be able to leave the airport as we had a 20h stopover. And YES it worked. After 2h of visa application and security checks we were in Peking. Well, at least somewhere outside Peking where the airport is located. Friede had already organized a funny Chinese driver who was supposed to bring us to a hidden place somewhere at the Chinese great wall. After we found a "FRIEDERICH KΓ–PKE" sign we were driving 2h through lonely places in the mountains where hotels, bars and restaurants were left behind from the Olympics in 2008 and were not used anymore. That really made us thinking why all the stunning nature had to be destroyed for an 2 months event. It now was a ghost town with at least excellent road conditions. As we hiked up towards the wall we always lost our guide.