Je bekijkt de reis...
4 november 2014
I had a very comfortable flight to Hanoi with Hong Kong Airlines. I got my backpack off the belt and went into the terminal were a driver was waiting for me. Upfront I was expecting a lot of motorbikes but not this many. They are all over the place: In the middle, on the right, on the left and even on the wrong side of the road! My driver drove me all the way to my hostel (Hanoi Culture Hostel). I was welcomed with a drink from the hostel and a room upgrade for free :). I dropped my bags off and met Frédéric, a guy from Switzerland. We went out together and got something to eat. He gave me some tips about Hanoi and also told me to be very careful because they try to rip you off everywhere.
The next morning I wanted to do some sightseeing at the old part of Hanoi. I came to the area but for some reason everything was closed. Then I met Tom and Patricia and they told me that almost everything is closed on Mondays... Bad day for sightseeing I guess. I was chatting with them and told them I wanted to visit the Prison Museum today. They both wanted to join me to the museum so we went together. We were together the rest of the day seeing some gardens, temples and the Prison Museum. In the evening I went for dinner at a Bún Bò Nam Bô restaurant and encountered my first ripoff. I ordered one can of Pepsi of $0,50 (which is nothing), but since I was a tourist I had to pay $0,75. It was even on the menu which I showed him but he said: "no no, you pay $0,75", okay whatever. I chilled out the rest of the evening because I was going to Halong Bay next morning.
I was picked up next morning and met Andy (German) and Clair (Australian). They have been in a relationship for a couple of years and were very nice people to hang out with. After a drive of four hours we arrived in Halong Bay and went on the boat. We started with lunch, I shared a table with Andy and Clair and two girls from Australia. In the mean while we were enjoying the view of the bay and each other. After lunch we had a excursion to a huge cave that was absolutely stunning. We walked around for a while and got back to the boat for some kayaking. I shared a kayak with Nina (a Austrian girl) and paddled around for an hour. We got back to the boat and had a enormous dinner and a few drinks :).
I was on the sundeck chatting with a Italian guy that had a little bit to much to drink. At some point I told him that I was getting another beer from the bar and that I would be back soon. I came back two minutes later but he was gone... I thought okay I'll just finish my beer and go to my hut. Until I heard a lot of sound behind me all of a sudden. I looked behind me but could not see anyone. Then I heard a voice from above, I looked up and there he was, the idiot. He climbed, completely intoxicated, to the top of the mast of the boat. Luckily he made it down safe were we laughed about it.
My alarm was going of at 6:20 to join a ThaiChi class. At 7:00 I showed up at breakfast completely flexible and energetic. We went to a small island were I climbed to the top of the mountain and took a dive at the beach. It was good to take a dive in the water after such a long time. After a shower we had a "cooking class" were we had to prepare a spring roll. Straight after the spring roll we got another huge lunch and I was now fully stuffed. We got off the boat, in the bus and back to Hanoi. I planned another two day trip to Sapa and was leaving the same night by train. I got in the carriage and shared the room with a French couple and a girl from England. We all pasted out very early in the evening and woke up early at a train station near Sapa.
It was an hour drive to the hotel were a huge welcome committee was waiting for me. The bus stopped and there were about 20 local woman where screaming and yelling, the moment I got off the bus they were all quietly staring at me... No idea what was going on I went in the hotel and had breakfast with the French couple and a Polish girl. The Polish girl and I were on the same hike and as soon as we walked out of the hotel a group of three locals joined our tour. I asked the guide what this was all about and she told me they wanted to sell us stuff during lunchtime... The hike down to a smaller village was beautiful, there were rice fields as far as you could see. The path however was a bit dangerous, it had been raining the day before and it was very slippery. I was walking on my hiking boots with normally a lot of grip but this time it felt like if I was on ice. We got down safely to the restaurant for lunch when the attack of the locals began.
Lady: "Sir, you buy something from me". Me "No, I don't want to buy something from you". Lady: "Sir, I have been following you for so long you must buy something from me now". Me: "Did I ask you to follow me? No I didn't, so it's your choice that you were following me...". Lady: "you buy something from me later? Me: "No, I already told you I don't want to buy anything from you". Lady "I'll come back later". I was lucky that the Polish girl was buying something from them so they lost there interest in me :).
During lunch it started to rain but luckily I was prepared so I grabbed my rain suit and started hiking again. Around 15:00 we were picked up and brought back to the hostel were I could rest for a bit. In the evening I ate some Vietnamese food and drank a couple of beers in a bar together with the Polish girl and an American.
When I woke up it was raining again and it was very cold outside. I didn't bring any warm clothes with me so I was freezing. I hiked down, through the mist, to another village. Unfortunately you couldn't see anything but being outside was lovely anyway. We were done hiking around noon and had the rest of the day of. Because of the weather I stayed in the hotel and updated my blog. I was picked up and dropped off at the train station and went back to Hanoi.
I arrived early morning (5:30) at my hotel and slept on a couch in the middle of the dining room. While eating breakfast and chatting with everybody that was sleeping in the hotel I recommend a group of Germans to book a trip to Sapa and Halong Bay via the hotel. They booked the trip and the receptionist walked up to me and said: "Thank you for recommending us, you can eat with us for lunch and you will get a room for free for the rest of the day", nice! I grabbed a shower and had a free lunch together with the staff. While walking through the streets I met a elderly couple from the states. We walked through the city together for the rest of the day and talked about the war between America and Vietnam. The man served his country during the war and was now back as a tourist and loving the country. It's sometimes "funny" (perhaps not the right word) how things work out. In the evening I grabbed a night train from Hanoi to Hué and shared a room with three Vietnamese people.
I noticed straight away that a Vietnamese woman in my room was very interested in my small backpack. All my valuables are in this bag so I had to be focused on what was going on. I tied a knot in the cords and always had it in my sight. When I went to bed I put my legs over the bag and went to sleep. In the middle of the night the woman scared the shit out of me. She had grabbed my legs and was lifting them up very slowly to get to my backpack... While she was doing this I lucky woke up and I kicked my legs free. I looked at her and she pretended if nothing happened... After a horrible night sleep I was chatting with a France guy just outside my room. At some point I walked off for 10 seconds and realized that I didn't bring my bag with me. I rushed back to my room and there she was again trying to grab my backpack... Another close call... I was happy to arrive in Hué one hour later and get off the train.
I checked in at Than Thien hotel and slept for a while to recover from my train experience. In the afternoon I went out to visit the imperial palace. People on the streets were very annoying and I wasn't enjoying the city because of it. Although the palace was nice I had enough of the city. I went back to my hostel and booked a bus ticket to Hoi An for the next day. I chilled out in my room and surprisingly I could see SC Cambuur vs Feyenoord. Although the game wasn't that interesting they still won and I was happy again :).
In the morning I was picked up by a small van with a tour guide. Next to me was a very friendly hungover French guy named Lionão. We laughed together on the bus and enjoyed the scenery towards Hoi An. Lionão didn't book a hostel yet and decided to go to the same hotel (The Corner Homestay) where I would be staying. I checked in, Lionão went to sleep for a while and I went to the tailer to get some suits made. I went to Yaly Couture and met my tailer Cherry. I decided to order three suits: black, gray and light blue. I had to come back the next day to try them on. I picked up Lionão and we walked around through lovely Hoi An. We picked out a bar were we could play some pool and drink a beer. We were looking for a place to eat when we bumped into two German girls (Anne and Kathi, I also met them in Hanoi). We ate something and chilled out the rest of the evening.
It was raining quite intense when I woke up, but I had to go out for breakfast. I was walking through the rain on my flip flops when I found a nice smoothie bar where I made a awesome entrance: I ice skated in like Sven Kramer, found my grip and wanted to make a new step and missed a threshold. I struggle to not land on my face and corrected myself again. All the eyes were on me... While shaking my head I started laughing and ordered a smoothie at the bar :). I went back to Yaly Couture to buy one extra suit: I'm a proud Dutch citizen so I chose the color orange! I walked back to my hotel and saw almost everybody that I met before in Vietnam. I was invited for a reunion dinner with a big group around 7:00 pm. The rest of the day I walked around with Lionão and went back to Yaly Couture again. The suits weren't fitting correctly so I needed to come back the next day. The dinner with the group was grate fun and there also was a friendly Dutch couple Anne and Willem. After dinner we all went out for a couple of beers. In the bar I met Carolien and she introduced me to the drinking game beer pong. We played together against a Brazilian guy and won (thanks to Carolien :)). The party went on until early morning, a great night out in Vietnam.
The sun was shining the next morning. I first had to go to Yaly Couture for a short visit. The suits were fitting better but still some work to do. After the tailor I went to the beach together with Anne, Willem, Lionão and Carolien. We chilled out at the beach the entire day and had loads of fun with bodyboarding and swimming. I said goodbye to Lionão in the beginning of the evening and went to Yaly Couture again. After fitting I had to come back one more extra time for some minor adjustments. I went out for pizza and a drink together with Carolien. Durning the evening I met Filippo a Italian guy. We exchange contacts because we were following the same route (Ho Chi Minh and Singapore) for the upcoming week.
In the morning I had to bring my last visit to Yaly Couture, everything was perfect and I was all happy. During the day I went to the beach with Carolien and got some extra tan. In the evening Carolien and I ate some food and met up with Anne, Willem and two other Dutch guy's. We drank a "couple" of beers, laughed and played beer pong again. In the end of the evening we all said goodbye to each other because we were going our separate ways the next day.
Ho Chi Minh
In the morning I checked out, updated my blog and shipped my suite off to The Netherlands. I grabbed a bus to Da Nang and went on a domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh. During the flight I met a German couple that offered me to share a cab to there hotel (just around the corner from my hotel) for free :). We exchange contact information and we would get together for a drink the next day. I checked in Hong Kong Kaiteki Hotel (a capsule hotel) and met a American couple. It was Halloween and we walked together through the backpackers area that was overloaded by motorbikes and people. It took us 45 minutes to cover a distance of 500 meters, because of the heavy crowd people where pushing each other and fights were breaking out... We went inside a club and drank some beers before getting back to the hotel.
After a bad night sleep because the capsules are made from aluminum and are very noisy. I went out to discover the city by my self. I visited a couple of nice old buildings and went to the War Remnants Museum. The museum was shocking and very interesting at the same time. I learned something about "agent orange" a chemical used by America in the war that caused a lot of misery in the lives of Vietnamese people. During my stay In the museum I saw a German couple that I met before, we walked together and I invited them for a drink together with the other German couple from the flight. We all met on a rooftop bar at the AB tower. With nice people and a lovely view it was another nice night out in Vietnam.
I decided to take it easy for a day and went out for breakfast/lunch together with a Malaysian guy. After some food I went to the Ho Chi Minh Museum and walked around for a bit. Around 4:00 pm I met Lionão again and we went out for a beer at a sports bar. We sticked at the bar until late and watched the game Manchester City vs Manchester United. After a couple of beers I went to bed because I had to wake up early to go to the Mekong delta.
I was picked up around 7:30 am and brought to the Mekong delta. I had a nice tour guide that made the trip worth it. I went to a floating market in the morning and tasted some traditional Vietnamese delicacies. In the afternoon I had a short tour through a fruit plantation and went back to Ho Chi Minh again. I packed my bags when I got back because I was flying out to Singapore early morning. In the evening Lionão and I were meeting up with Anne and Kathi, to celebrate Anne her birthday. We started up at the rooftop bar of the AB tower. After a while we went out to eat some sushi at Ichiban Sushi Vietnam and went to a bar to wait for midnight. Once the clock hit midnight all hell broke lose and we celebrated Anne her birthday Vietnamese style :). It was 5:00 am when my head hit my pillow and I set my alarm at 6:00 am... "I was keeping my fingers crossed that I would wake up"
It was 6:45 am when a guy from the reception woke me up and told me that there was a cab waiting for me... I jumped out of bed grabbed my stuff and went down. I thanked the guy from the reception a couple of time and apologized to the taxi driver. It was 7:00 am when I went towards the airport, 30 minutes later than planned. Luckily I had plenty of time when I checked in at 8:00 am because my flight was departing at 9:10 am. When I sat in my chair in the airplane I straight away passed out and woke up in Singspore two hours later.
I really had a nice stay in Vietnam. I met so many cool people and I'm digging my trip so far :).
7 november 2014 10:22 | Door: anneke
Wat zie je veel mooie dingen en ook veel om over na te denken, weer met plezier gelezen, veel plezier in Singapore
11 november 2014 08:42 | Door: Els
Wat een schitterend verslag Erik. Ik heb het met veel plezier en een glimlach gelezen.
11 november 2014 13:34 | Door: Huong
Tôi cố gắng để rip bạn tắt trong tàu. Nhưng bạn thức dậy khi tôi đã cố gắng để ăn cắp ví của bạn. Tôi không hạnh phúc.
18 november 2014 08:45 | Door: Tiny T
Erik! Geweldig verhaal weer.
Ik kan er alleen met m'n hoofd niet bij dat je het koud hebt gehad in Vietnam ?!?!?! ;-)
Verder ook gaaf om veel dingen te herkennen van m'n eigen reis!