Myanmar

child monk

A couple of days have gone by in Bangkok before Adrian and me decided to go to Myanmar together. We picked up our visa’s at the embassy in Bangkok and booked a cheap Air Asia flight to Yangon. Let me tell you now: I stayed in Bangkok for a while now and was kinda used to the humidity, but Yangon was worse. After we found our Hotel, we were really looking forward to just throw our bags in the corner, take a shower and enjoy the AC. I knew that Myanmar was going to be more expensive then the neighbouring countries, but 25 dollars for a room without a window, AC and a decent shower was a bit rough. We were just too tired and sweaty, so we took it. The mattresses were kinda soggy and there was only a small fan. At least it was clean. Apparently, this place is known for it’s excellent breakfast, which they’re very proud of. There was a notice at the reception that this place was featured on Discovery Channel. Although we were late for breakfast, we still got a taste of the leftovers.
We spent the previous evening wandering around the Sule Pagoda and decided to already move on the next day. I’ve been in Yangon before and didn’t feel like staying any longer. So after our breakfast we booked a bus ticket to the Golden Rock. The bus wasn’t air conditioned and instead all windows were open. About 6 hours later we arrived in Kinpun, which is at the base of Mt. Kyaiktiyo. This little village offers some basic accommodations and some restaurants. During dinner we came up with this “brilliant” idea to climb up the mountain during the night, so we can see the sunrise. To be honest, this smart choice was made after a couple of Myanmar beers. The more we drank, more amazing ideas came up like hiking up in a longyi (a sheet of cloth worn around the waist) and go barefoot. Fortunately, we came to our senses and I put at least some flip flops on, but we still bought the longyis. The vendor was amused that two western guys bought a longyi at his stall. As we tried it on, others came to see this phenomenon of two tourists trying to knot the longyis around their waists.
All set for the hike, we took off for this traditional pilgrimage. I regretted it already after 5 minutes. It was really humid and the sweat just dripped off. Ok, maybe it also has something to do, that we’re not in the greatest shape. Too much Thai food and Leo beers in bangkok are showing its effects. Since we didn’t want to give up, we continued for our journey. The path wasn’t that steep, just a lot of stairs. There are little shops along the way in which the vendors also sleep in. It was kinda creepy walking through this pitch black jungle. All of a sudden, you hear some dogs barking at you and a random burmese guy looking out of the window just to see two sweaty white dudes. Adrian stripped down to his underpants at this point and I pulled up my longyi because of the heat, so I understand that they were confused to see two half naked guys walking up the mountain at 2 am.
And of course, it started to rain around 3 am. We found some shelter and waited for the rain to stop. And when I say waiting, I mean sleeping. The alarm clock was set for an hour and so we fell asleep outside during the heavy rain. As we continued, it got brighter really quickly. We realized that we would definitely miss the sunrise. But even if we’ve made it on time, it was too foggy that the sun could break through. So this whole night trip was actually for nothing.
The whole scenery was eerie because it was so foggy, monks were chanting and gongs were hit. The golden rock was really impressive. Women weren’t allowed to touch it, but we could take a closer look at it. As the rock seems to defy gravity, the legend says that a hair of buddha keeps the rock to a balance.

Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar

Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar

Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar

Next stop was the new capital city Naypyidaw. It’s one of the world’s 10 fastest growing cities. The construction began 2002 but there are still some construction sites, mostly for hotels. It felt like a ghost town, because other than rich burmese families and employees, no one really lives there. It was impossible to find a budget accommodation, so we took the cheapest hotel room for 35 dollars in a building that was still under construction except for the rooms. It was really comfortable and a nice change to sleep at this fancy place. As we moved to the main building for dinner, we spotted a lot of employees hanging around. The dining hall was empty and as soon as we entered, all employees got up and did their jobs.
The only way to go sightseeing in this huge city was with a taxi that cost us 50 $. It’s pretty steep, but we took it anyway. The city has a Theme Park, a gems museum, a zoo, a fountain park, shopping malls and much more. To our surprise, everything was pretty expensive. We proceeded to the theme park which is kind of a replica of myanmar. The outline of the park has the same outline like the country and there are miniature landmarks of each division. It was nearly empty, except for some monks. We got a service offered, that was specially for foreigners, to get driven around in a golf cart with a tour guide. We skipped the zoo, because 20 $ entrance fee wasn’t worth it to see some sad animals. The Uppatasanti Pagoda is almost an exact replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Not to our surprise, it was also pretty empty.

Uppatasanti Pagoda, Nay Pyi Taw

Uppatasanti Pagoda, Nay Pyi Taw

Kalaw is a famous tourist destination for hiking. The route from there to Inle Lake is particularly popular. Our bus drove past Kalaw and we had to take a motorbike taxi back at 3 am. We didn’t realize it, but some burmese dude took care of it and was extremely helpful. He paid for our coffee’s and for the motorbike taxis. Crashed into our beds and got waken up by someone who offered hiking trips to Inle Lake. A group was waiting already to good to go, so we joined them. The weather was really nice, since Kalaw and Inle Lake is located in the mountainous Shan State. The path was pretty flat and not too hard. Our group contained of one english gentleman, a dutch girl and 2 french guys. It takes 2 days to walk to Inle Lake with some nice stops at some ethnic minorities villages.

From Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar

From Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar

Inle Lake, Myanmar

I didn’t bother to take many pictures of Inle Lake and Bagan, since I’ve been there already. We rented some bicycles and drove around. But there is one night I won’t forget. Our hotel room was all nice and neat, but there was a hole in the mosquito net. Unfortunately we discovered it late at night when they already had a big feast with us. It was probably the worst night we had! We took our flip flops and killed like 20 mosquitos each.

After Bagan we went to Mandalay, Myanmars second largest city located in Upper Myanmar. Our hotel smelled like fish sauce as did the streets of Mandalay. The electricity went on and off the whole time, which was really annoying because of the AC. Besides some pagodas, a palace and a hill with a viewing point, Mandalay didn’t have that much that I find worth mentioning. We soon moved to Pyin U Lwin, which was a summer residence used by the brits back in the days. Because of it’s mild climate, we really enjoyed walking around and have some delicious strawberry shakes.

Back in Mandalay, we took a day trip to Inwa and Amarapura. The english dude from the Kalaw hike showed up at our hotel and he joined us immediately. The world’s largest teak wood bridge can be seen in Amarapura and some temples in Inwa.

Mandalay, Myanmar

Inwa, Myanmar

Inwa, Myanmar

U Bein Bridge in Amarapura - the world's longest teakwood brigde

We ended our trip and flew out from Mandalay back to Bangkok.

Malaysia

Kek Lok Si, Temple

After I left the hostel in Bangkok, I flew to Langkawi, Malaysia to see my friend Paul. He’s been there already for a while and I had no idea where to go next, so I thought I should go to see him. Langkawi is an island northwest of Malaysia. I met up with my dutch friend Jordon at the Kuala Lumpur airport. He will travel Malaysia and Indonesia for a long while and I asked him to join us. It was a big coincidence, because I met Jordon last year in Vietnam for only one night! He was in Malaysia at the same time as me and so we had to hang out!

About 10 pm we landed in Langkawi. Weather was a bit better than in Bangkok (and with better, I mean less humid). I was looking forward to a nice beach, since I haven’t been really on an island yet (except for Okinawa). The fact that it was off season didn’t really bother me, except that the nightlife was a bit dull.

Langkawi

Langkawi, Malaysia

At our favourite spot with Paul and Jordon

Langkawi, Malaysia

For the rest of our time we just laid at the beach and visited 3 surrounding islands. Penang was our next destination which is a culinary hotspot in asia! Other than the food, the biggest buddhist temple of Malaysia is in Penang. During my travels I came across many temples, but this one left me speechless again. At night we checked out the food stalls in Georgetown. The sitting area is located right next to the ocean and you can taste some good malay food. Either we didn’t go to the right food stalls or I just didn’t find the food that special. Probably the first one.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Malaysia

Kek Lok Si, Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands was the next destination on our list. Tanah Rata is the biggest city in the Highlands and provides the most options for accommodations. With an altitude of 1,400 m over sea level Tanah Rata has a nice climate. Coming from sweaty Langkawi and Penang, 23 °C was just perfect. Although the afternoon showers weren’t really necessary. The next day after our arrival we hiked up the hill, with our new friends from the guesthouse, that is close by. The receptionist at our guesthouse recommended that we should start as early as possible to avoid the rain. We’re not really morning people, so we figured that we could also start later, which was a bad idea.
At first, the weather was perfect. A little bit of sunshine and not too hot or cold. We got warned about the afternoon showers, but we thought it can’t be that bad. About halfway into the hike, we got totally soaked to a point where I just didn’t care anymore and walked through the mud puddles. The path got really steep and slippery. At some point you almost had to climb to get further. As we finally made it, we found some shelter, where we took our lunch break. After we arrived at the peak, we could easily walk down the rest since the streets were paved. We passed by wonderful tea plantations which gave an amazing view. The trip ended at the tea house, where we could finally taste some of this tea.
By the evening, some of the streets of Tanah Rata got flooded, especially the one to our guesthouse. The fire department pumped the water out, but it took a while until we could cross the street. Nevertheless, we couldn’t take it any longer to stand around in our wet clothes, so once a again we just walked through the puddle.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

I really didn’t want to leave Cameron Highlands, because the weather was just amazing! I missed those chilly and rainy days after months of pure sunshine. We made our way to the Taman Negara National Park where it’s super humid. The ride contained a bus and the last couple of miles was on a boat for 3 hours. We’re not talking about a nice ferry because it was a small wooden boat for 10 people or so. It started out as a nice boat trip, but after 30 minutes already I felt like getting off. It was uncomfortable and small but we finally arrived. In search for the cheapest guesthouse, we walked for a while through the center. The one that we ended up with was so far away, that we just called it a day and stayed there.
Taman Negara has a lot of activities to offer. We went for the Night Jungle Walk where you could spot spiders, centipedes, scorpions and other disgusting and terrifying stuff. The next day we checked out the Canopy Walk. The walk there wasn’t that long, but the heat and the humidity made it almost unbearable.
Check out the video I did of the Canopy Walk

I skipped Kuala Lumpur this time, because I’ve been there last year and didn’t find it that exciting. I flew back to Bangkok and stayed there for a couple of days and flew to Myanmar.

Bangkok and the Siam Journey Guesthouse

So after I left Vietnam, I felt the need to settle down for a bit. I found an ad via helpx.net for a volunteer job at a hostel in Bangkok. I sent them an email three days before I arrive in Bangkok and got accepted. They told me I can stay for a week and they’ll see from then. I stayed there more than 2 months in total and it became my second home. My whole itinerary for my trip changed because of this decision.

It’s not a big hostel (14 beds available), which makes it quite easy to manage it. The other thing about a small hostel is, that you get in touch with the people. So, other than just check the guests in, it was also my duty (and my pleasure) to take the guests out. Since I just started work there, Bangkok was pretty unknown to me. “Showing” the guests around was also a chance for me to visit the places. One of the first things I did was to visit Wat Arun. You can take a quick boat ride and be there in no time. The convenient location of the hostel makes it pretty easy to get around. The BTS station is within walking distance and there is also “the foodstreet” with many food stalls for a tasty and cheap meal.

Boat Ride in Bangkok

Wat Arun by night

Bangkok

The people who are staying at the guesthouse choose this location because it’s in a nice and quiet thai neighborhood. They are more of the laid back side and always up for something. This is the place to escape the Khao San Road crowd. I’ve met many good people during my stay and a lot of them have always returned to the hostel. It was more a shared apartment than a hostel. Living with roommates instead of guests…

Tuk Tuk Ride in Bangkok

Wat Arun, Bangkok

After my first month after at the guesthouse, I continued my trip in malaysia. My good friend Paul, who I met in Vietnam, was also in Bangkok for a while. We met again in Langkawi, Malaysia

Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour

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We decided to travel the mountains of Vietnam independently. This is probably the best decision we could’ve done!

First things first:

So the only way to travel independently is to go by local buses to each city, which are not featured by the tour agencies, or to go by motorbike. Of course we chose the second option! After some internet research we found a reliable motorbike rental in Hanoi. Mr. Viet of Vietmotors is a very nice and helpful guy. He was happy to supply us with all our needs we had for this trip. A 125 cc Yamaha automatic bike should be fine. Since we are not experienced bikers, we chose to go with the automatic bikes.
First step was to get out of the chaotic city! Fortunately, Highway 1 was very close to Mr. Viet’s motorbike shop. The roads are well maintained (for vietnamese standards) with a few bumps here and there. There are only a couple of cars and a few trucks on the road, which was very pleasant. It’s roughly about 150 km from Hanoi to Lang Son – our first destination. The city is more of a stop over for tourists from China on their way to Vietnam and we also just spent the night there.

After more than half way in, Adrian got a flat tire. I didn’t notice it for a long time (maybe I should’ve look back more often). After I waited for while at a gas station, I thought I should drive back and look for him. My fear that something might have happend with him was supported by a vietnamese guy who drove by and told me that my friend was somewhere behind. I drove all the way back to find him, but at the same time Adrian was already somewhere to fix his tire, so I didn’t see him. It took a while to find each other again, but we managed it after some hours.

Lang Son was surprisingly a big city. We checked in a nice hotel for 300.000 VND (about 15$) and just dropped in to bed. Since we never made a motorbike trip, we didn’t know how exhausting it was!

Next day started off with a bowl of Phở bò and another 160 km ahead of us to Cao Bang. Since Lang Son is so close to the chinese border, we accidentally drove to through the border control. We explained that we got a bit lost and after they checked our passports they let us go.

Cao Bang doesn’t have too much to offer, but 50 km further you can visit the Pac Bo Cave, in which Ho Chi Minh lived for seven weeks, during February and March 1941, when he returned after 30 years of exile.

Lang Son to Cao Bang

From Lang Son to Cao Bang

Cao Bang

Cao Bang

Around Pac Bo Cave

Around Pac Bo Cave

After 2 nights in Cao Bang we headed to Ba Be National Park. A nice 3 hour drive and we arrived at the empty Park Headquarter. They have a nice pool, lots of hotel facilities and a big Restaurant. I guess we come off season, because there were like only one or two other people there. Nevertheless, we made the most out of it. Besides the huge Ba Be Lake, there were a lot of caves, hiking trails, minority villages and waterfalls to explore. The National Park was so big that our motorbikes came in pretty handy. The caves were pretty impressive and I enjoyed them far more than at Halong Bay. First of all, because there were no tourists around and the caves were pitch black. It was pretty exciting to step into the deep cave. At the other cave, we weren’t given any flashlights and there were a lot of bats at the ceiling.

Puong Cave, Ba Be National Park

Ba Be National Park

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Waterfall at the National Park

Road Number 279

Our next destination is Ha Giang in the far north. We checked our 3 maps and tried to compare them. Every one has another way to Ha Giang. But it seems that every map says that we need to take the Road Nr 279 to Viet Quang and from there straight to Ha Giang. It was a pain in the ass to look for that road, since nobody seems to know where it begins or where it is. After 2 hours of driving we found ourselves driving in a circle. So we decided to ask people how to get to the first Town on the road called Na Hang. It’s a always a funny thing to ask locals about directions, because most of the time we ask a group of people and everybody points in an other direction. Our theory is that Road Nr 279 most be under construction or there is just no Road 279. The Road lead us over a mountain and the conditions were just horrible. There was no street, only big rocks. It took us hours to get through and at some point we had to get off the bikes and push it over some big rocks that must’ve fallen from the mountain. It was very tiring and exhausting but we were pretty sure that we’re on the right road. It already gotten dark and our tank was empty. We feared the worst and I was already prepared in my mind to ask some locals if we can stay at their houses.

Fortunately, we found a guy who sold gas in front of his house. He told us it’s another 40 km to Na Hang! So it took us all day from Ba Be to Na Hang, which google maps said it would take 1,5 hours. We were lucky to find a hotel, cause Na Hang didn’t look like they ever seen a western here. The next day we arrived finally in Ha Giang. The reason we came to Ha Giang was to take the most northern Route through Meo Vac and Dong Vang. To travel outside we required a police permit, which was kinda hard to organise. We found a tour agency which was closed and asked several hotels who offered tours if they know where we can buy the permit. The spoken english in Ha Giang was very limited and most of the people had no idea what the heck we were talking about. We decided to go straight to the police station and hope that they can help us and as we expected, nobody spoke english. We were lucky that a police officer’s wife was at the station to visit her husband. She spoke decent english and helped us out! She said we can buy the permit at the immigration police office, which was at the other side of the town. Finally, we bought our permit for 10 $ each and were ready to go!

The road to Meo Vac, Dong Vang and back to Ha Giang took us 2 days to drive. But it was definitely worth it! It was one of the most beautiful sceneries I’ve ever seen!

Road to Mèo Vạc

The Road to Meo Vac

We drove through several villages of ethnic minorities. There are only very few tourists passing through these roads, so all they did was stare, smile and waved at us. We felt very welcomed and all the kids were yelling “hello!”. I felt like a president driving through town and waving to everybody.

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Sa Pa and Mt Fansipan hike

Back in Ha Giang we stayed for one more night. The next ride was a long one. About 220 km from Ha Giang to Sa Pa. My ass is starting to hurt now since we were on the road for a couple of days. But we took a break of driving when we arrived in Sa Pa. The town is definitely focus on tourism. Everywhere are restaurants serving vietnamese and western food. North Face shops and hiking supply shops everywhere. After so many days without seeing many tourists, this was quite a shock for us. As soon we arrived in town, we were asked the usual questions “You need hotel? Motobike? Marijuana?”, which we respectfully declined. Checked in at our hotel, had some dinner and just crashed to bed. Next day we slept in and just enjoyed doing nothing. The sun came out and I enjoyed my afternoon at the balcony with an amazing view. For the next day we booked a guided hike to Mt. Fansipan, the biggest mountain in Vietnam (and apparently in Indochina). We waited at 09:15 am in front of the agency where we got picked up. It’s going take 2 days to go up and down. Some people do it in one day but we thought that we might not be in shape for that.
The hike started out pretty nice and not to hard. Until lunchtime we were pretty optimistic that this would be an easy hike. It got harder and steeper, and we were pretty exhausted by the end of the day.

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Lunch time

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This is where we spent the night

The food was really good. For lunch we had Banh My (vietnamese version of a sandwich) and for dinner steamed rice, pork, fish, vegetables and tofu. And what the locals referred to “Happy Water” (Rice wine).

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Our dinner

It got really cold at night, especially the wind. We slept in a barrack with all the other tourists. The tour guides provided us with sleeping bags but it was still pretty cold. The fun began when all the tour guides of the other group gathered around the fire, sang vietnamese songs and passed the rice wine to each other. They wanted me to sing, so I sang vietnamese sentences I’ve learned and turned it into a song, which they all thought it was hilarious.

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I barely slept through the night. Since we had to sleep on hard wood, I woke up like every hour to find a new comfortable position. After our breakfast noodle soup we started to hike to the top. The last part was more of a climb than a hike but it was definitely worth it. The wind was blowing like crazy but everybody was glad they made it.

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Our energetic tour guide

The hike ended with the long hike back. All I could think of was a hot shower and a comfy bed. At this point we are pretty tired from the hike and driving the motorbike, but we still had some spots to visit. Next destination was Dien Bien Phu in the north east of Vietnam. It was again a pretty long drive and we had to follow the Road 279 again. We feared the worst and it happened to be the worst. The road just ended and we found ourselves at a river bank. The boatsmen explained that the road continued a couple a meters ahead. He gave us a ride with his boat (which wasn’t cheap), but we had no other options.

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Arrived at Dien Bien Phu at 8 pm. It was already dark and we just checked in at our hotel and crashed. I treated myself with a sauna and massage at the next door parlor. Since we were really tired, we kinda rushed the next day through all the sightseeing spots in dien bien phu. Back on the bike heading towards son la. The road was pretty easy and there was almost no traffic. The only problem we encountered was Adrian’s motorbike broke down. The children from the village surrounded us as we stood aimlessly on the road. They pointed us to a xe may (mechanic). The chain (or whatever it’s called) of the bike just burnt. Lucky that Mr Viet gave me a spare one. All the kids are still standing around us and looking how the mechanic does his magic. After the first attempt it still didn’t work. It almost took him 2 hours to repair that thing! Arrived in Son La at night and immediately crashed to bed again.

Broken Motorbike

The next day we visited the french prison in Son La. But besides that, there is not much to do there. Almost getting tired of the trip, we drove to our last destination to Mai Chau. The last part from Mai Chau to Hanoi was kinda hard. The traffic started to get worse and the roads bumpier. Also, Adrians motorbike broke down again! The same problem like last time. The next mechanic was nearby and he fixed it in an hour. To get to Mr Viet’s motorbike shop, we had to drive through the whole town. It was saturday and 5 pm. There were tons of motorbikes and cars on the street. We definitely aren’t used to drive in such a busy street. We happily dropped our bikes off and told ourselves that we won’t drive a motorbike for a while.

Vietnam, Pt II

So we’re finally made it to Hanoi with two more stops in Hoi An and Hue. The overnight sleeping bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An was probably the most uncomfortable 11 hours on our trip so far. Driving on bumpy roads gave us no chance to sleep and the honking didn’t make it any better! There were also hitchhikers on the way which the busdriver picked up! So I found myself sleeping next to a smelly vietnamese guy and a vietnamese women with her baby, who later became sick (fortunately she had a plastic bag).

Arriving at the bus station of Hoi An at 6 am, without any orientation, we took an overpriced taxi ride to our hotel which was like 5 min away. The room wasn’t ready yet so we took advantage of the big breakfast buffet. After our meal, we went straight with a tour bus to the My Son Hindu temple ruins, which obviously is a major tourist attraction!

My Son

It was almost impossible to get a shot without a tourist in front of your lense! The walk through the forest was great and the ruins were quite impressive.

Back in Hoi An, we rented some bicycles and cruised through the Old Quarter and to the beach.

Hoi An

We spent our days with participating in a cooking class, driving to the marble mountains with a motorbike and hang out at the beach.

Hoi An

3 Hours to the north, there is the Imperial City called Hue. It was the capital city for 150 years and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hue

Because we were short on time, our stay in Hue was limited to one night. Bought some overpriced train tickets because during the chinese new year everything is totally booked and o they charged us the usual “Tet Fee”. Our last option was a 15 hour overnight train ride. No sleeping cabins, only normal seats!

Hue to Hanoi by Train

It wasn’t as bad as I expected. The sleeping bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An was way worse. As we walked through the city with our bags in our flip flops and shorts, we knew that summer time is over. It was raining and cold. After the taxi driver “accidentally” drove to the wrong street, we made it to our hotel. Booked a 3 Days, 2 Nights Tour on Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island in the North East of Vietnam. There are plenty of options and companies that offer these tours, but it’s also known that prices vary from each agency. On the low budget class, it doesn’t matter how much you pay, because you end up on the same tour. During the tour we found out that everyone paid an other amount. The agency wanted 80$ at first, but I haggled it down to 60$. A other guy paid 55$.

The next day started at 8 am with a bus ride to the harbor of Halong City from where we will cruise through Halong Bay and spend the night on the boat. I’ve been last year on this tour, so I knew what to expect. The rooms were better then some hotels we’ve been at during our trip (like the one in Nha Trang where we had ants in the room). We made a quick stop at the Thien Cung Cave, followed by some kayaking to explore the surroundings.

Thien Cung Cave, Halong Bay

Cat Ba is the biggest island of Halong Bay. It is home to the Cat Ba langurs, the most endangered primates in the world and a National Park. A short hike up the hill lead us to a wonderful overview to the island!

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island

Unfortunately, my sister’s vacation are over! The last 3 weeks went by so fast and she is already back home. But now we are no longer in a hurry, so we will relax for a while in Hanoi and make our plans for the north of vietnam.

Check out the photo gallery for more pictures!

Vietnam!

After we left Japan, we arrived in hot and sweaty Ho Chi Minh City! With an overlay in Shanghai, the flight wasn’t that terrible. The city hasn’t changed that much, obviously, since my last visit. There are still thousands of motorbikes driving through the city every day!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Pham Ngu Lao is the backpacker district, where you’ll find cheap accommodation and really cheap beer! 12’000 VND for a bottle of Saigon Red/Green (about 60 cents!). You’ll meet all kinds of travelers there. From budget backpackers to flashpackers! While drinking a cold beer, sitting on plastic chairs, you can watch the action on the street and enjoy the heat even at night time!

South of Vietnam, you can find the Mekong Delta. We went to Cần Thơ which is the biggest city in the Mekong Delta area. There is an impressive floating market, where locals buy their fruits, vegetables and other stuff!

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Back in Saigon and a 6 hours overnight bus ride later, we arrived in Đà Lạt. The city is known for it’s ever green forests and has the nick name “city of eternal spring”. It gets quite chilly in the morning but during the day the temperature is just perfect! We rented some motorbikes and explored the city and it’s surroundings!

Đà Lạt, Vietnam

Please check out our photo gallery to see more pictures!

Today we arrived in Nha Trang. A famous beach town in Vietnam!

Nagano Prefecture

Snow Monkey

After an exciting week in Tokyo, we went to Nagano city. It was a bit colder then Tokyo and a lot smaller, too! After a great meal of soba noodles, our friend Shigeto took us to the Yudanaka Snow Monkey Park where you can see the monkeys bath in the hot springs! Unfortunately, we were a bit late and most of the monkey left but the view was still worth the 1.5 km long hike to the park! Shigeto was also kind enough to bring to 2 “gaijin” for the first time to an onsen. We enjoyed the onsen that was located outside, while surrounded by snow! Ending the night with another great meal at Shigetos local Izakaya with sashimi, asahi and sake! Check out the gallery!