Story

Vietnam

September 2012


Backpacking in Northern Vietnam and realizing one more time, that two weeks are far too little for traveling a new country. But also being reminded, what lovely people you can meet and what gorgeous places you can find in Asia.

Hanoi


I have been to Asia several times, but arriving at Hanoi hit me like a hammer. 35 °C, an unbelievable humidity and scooters – scooters everywhere. But after acclimatizing: What a city. The overwhelming architecture, the vibrant street life by day and night, the food…
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Traffic

Adapt to the lawless traffic takes a bit longer than to the climate. But if you understand the system and finally take heart to try it, it's pretty simple: Just walk. Like liquid, everything just flows around you.
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Halong Bay


No Vietnam traveler misses this place, and it's definitely worth the trip. Basically everyone does the same there: Coming from Hanoi and getting on a boat to do a 1 to 3 day trip through the bay and to the islands.
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Swimming villages

For us tourists, the bay is an attraction for a few days. For others, it's a home. Making their living from fishing or selling stuff to tourists, their houses are swimming on barrels between the thousands of islands.
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Sea

Jumping from the upper deck into the sea for the first time and expecting the worse, the surprise was even bigger: The water is about air temperature.
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Tam Coc


Another must-see spot in every Vietnam travel guide. The best idea was to rent a scooter during the day to experience the landscape and do the inevitable boat tour in the evening, when most tourists are gone.
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Farming

What a contrast to the industrialized agriculture in our western countries. Here, everything is manual labour. If you saw the people working, you will value your 1 Dollar dinner a bit more.
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Traveling


Getting around is super simple in Vietnam, but sometimes still adventurous. In case: Plan double the time that is written on the schedule.
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The clutch

The bus trip from Tam Coc down to Hue and Hoi An took a while due to a broken clutch. The guys have routine, car workshops are all along Highway 1 and the bus driver of course is a mechanic as well.
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Hoi An


What a place! The most beautiful town we discovered during our short trip. Old french architecture mixes with Vietnamese lifestyle. A calm and relaxed place, offering great food experience, an amazing beach and a time to breath deeply.
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Food

Try a cooking class at Miss Vy. Really: Do it! It's worth every penny, if you love to cook exotic food at home.
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Cycling

The bicycle is still the most important means of transport for a lot of Vietnamese – and for us, to experience the nearby area around Hoi An.
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Markets


I love markets. No idea why, but wherever I am, markets attract me magically. In Vietnam, they are still way more important than supermarkets. You get basically everything there, but most of all: Grocery. What would I give for just one market like these back at home!
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Sapa


The mountain side of Vietnam in the far North. Unfortunately at that time also the foggiest place on earth. So no mountain panoramas and rice terraces, but all I discovered in the mist:
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The boy

That little guy was following us for at least a kilometer during our hike through the mountains. Finally some locals passing by took him back to where ever he came from.
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Back to Hanoi


Staying a day less in Sapa due to the poor weather, we had one more day back in Hanoi. This time, we were prepared for the crazy city live.
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Time to leave

Way too early, as always. But skipping the whole South this time is at least a good reason to come back!
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