Hanoi is said to be one of the most beautiful and atmospheric cities in Vietnam. To be honest we didn’t see its beauty (e.g. compared to Hoi An). It's a nice city but not amazing. The Old Quarter is the historic heart with pulsating life and countless of motorbikes. You find local coffee shops and restaurants at every corner and it's nice to watch to chaotic street life. We toured the capital sights for 3 days.

A small temple between residential housed22_05_Hanoi01

Sightseeing in the Old Quarter and around22_05_Hanoi02 22_05_Hanoi03 22_05_Hanoi04 22_05_Hanoi05 22_05_Hanoi06

Small local market22_05_Hanoi07

Does anyone know these fruits? We have no clue… 22_05_Hanoi08 22_05_Hanoi09

Some specialties for our vegetarian friends22_05_Hanoi12

Who needs a badminton field if there is broad sidewalk? 22_05_Hanoi17

Hoan Kien Lake in the middle of the city22_05_Hanoi18

Thats what you get for 20€ in Vietnam - 3 star hotel incl. breakfast and extremely helpfull staff22_05_Hanoi19

Typical café - on every corner in the Old Quarter22_05_Hanoi36

Need handbags or shoes? 22_05_Hanoi39

Doing the dishes22_05_Hanoi41

Looks a bite weird but the outcome is delicious and my favorite food in Vietnam – Bun Bo Nam Bo (Noodle soup with different kind of lettuce, roasted peanuts, some meat and other things) 22_05_Hanoi45 22_05_Hanoi47-1

Halong Bay

Yet another world heritage site?

Deciding which tour to take, took Eva a long time - too many choices and even more warnings about scam tours made our life as hard as it can get while traveling the world. Only a few tours met our requirements. Our lovely host Linda (Hoi An) offered us our favorite tour ("Glory Cruise") for a good price. The 3D/2N adventure started three days later.

Still a bit cautious we arrived at the harbour and were pretty amazed by our ship. It was new and luxurious. Cruising in luxury made it very easy to enjoy Halong Bay with its over 3000 majestic lime-stone islets. The weather was perfect - sunshine all day long but not too hot. Especially, the second day we were able to explore the bay without the crowds. Sally, Paul and the two of us had a whole ship for ourselves and a lot of fun while kayaking, sun-bathing and relaxing.

The whole trip was great (the research paid off) and way above our expectations:22_04_Halong Bay_00

A few of the lime-stone islets and some more impression around Halong Bay22_04_Halong Bay_01 22_04_Halong Bay_02 22_04_Halong Bay_03 22_04_Halong Bay_04 22_04_Halong Bay_05

A floating kiosk with everything you may need on a cruise: crackers, wine, cigarettes and much more22_04_Halong Bay_06

The four of us kayaking around the bay, visiting some floating villages and relaxing on a small beach22_04_Halong Bay_1022_04_Halong Bay_15 22_04_Halong Bay_16 22_04_Halong Bay_17

No chance of starving22_04_Halong Bay_19

Exhausted from kayaking and eating during our day trip22_04_Halong Bay_20

Eva's best friend the captain - she spent 1 hour solving his excel issues22_04_Halong Bay_21

Our luxury cruise – pretty ok for backpackers22_04_Halong Bay_30 22_04_Halong Bay_31 22_04_Halong Bay_32 22_04_Halong Bay_33

But everything comes to an end…22_04_Halong Bay_40 22_04_Halong Bay_41


Hoi An

It's all about tailor-made stuff!

Hoi An is an ancient town and a unique heritage site. The streets have charming lights in every tree and the whole city has an harmonious character. Not only because of its many temples, stylish restaurants and bars but also because of its grand architecture and the riverside setting it’s a must see when you are in Vietnam.

Everyone who has been to Vietnam recommended this cute little town which is also famous for its glut of tailors (more than 200). We couldn't resist and got tailor-made suits, shirts and much more. It kept us busy for almost 2 days with around 7 fittings. But we left the tailor (BeBe) with a smile and many bags. As good costumers we were allowed to have a look in their factory which is located in the back of their shop.

If not busy with fittings we were wandering along the ancient lanes, the historic perfectly preserved port and the many sights the old town had to offer. The surrounding area could be well explored with our scooter...

Colorful bowls made out of coconuts22_03_Hoi An_00

Happy Budda is always around and loves Choco-Pies22_03_Hoi An_01 22_03_Hoi An_03

The old Japanese covered bridge22_03_Hoi An_25

Historic houses, pagodas, temples and much more dotted around the old town22_03_Hoi An_11322_03_Hoi An_15

Impressions of the city22_03_Hoi An_111
22_03_Hoi An_11022_03_Hoi An_3022_03_Hoi An_0422_03_Hoi An_24 22_03_Hoi An_21 22_03_Hoi An_20 22_03_Hoi An_1922_03_Hoi An_16

Nice as well but completely different - the surrounding
22_03_Hoi An_35 22_03_Hoi An_18

Tailor-made bags, knifes and much more22_03_Hoi An_1122_03_Hoi An_28 22_03_Hoi An_10 22_03_Hoi An_09

Niels favorite Sandwiches - no idea whats all in there22_03_Hoi An_27

Our luxory room 22_03_Hoi An_08

Outcome of 2 days of fitting 22_03_Hoi An_07

Phu Quoc 

A scooter ride is not always a peace of cake...

No pick up was awaiting us at the airport. After waiting for 20 min. not many taxis were left and our options therefore very limited. A strange guy came up to us asking where we want to go several times. Our travel experience told us to be cautious denying his offer to give us a lift. Eventually, the guy knew our hotel and Phu Quoc is neither Central nor South America, so we finally gave in and accepted his offer. Due to his mad driving skills we reached the hotel in Warpspeed.

Our nice hotel was located directly at the beach. Every room had its own hammock, which we used heavily. We enjoyed most meals along the beachside or in Raghavs favorite place – surprise: an Indian restaurant. The running gag was fish sauce. Raghav and Rakshita found it in pretty much every single meal – Niels in turn found it in his breakfast pancake only – seriously, they prepared the pancake in fish sauce… The first contact with locals taught us that not everyone likes to bargain: the girls wanted to bargain for fruits. The lady responded by pushing, cursing and trying to spill dirty water over them. Completely confused they brought out in big laughter. Luckily this was the only weird experience we had with locals for the rest of our trip.

Marcus, Rakshita, Farina and Niels rented two scooters for the exploration of northern Phu Quoc while Raghav and Eva stayed at the hotel. The roads are mostly unsealed and sometimes really tough. Marcus and Rakshita rode a scooter together. While going down-hill the scooter sledded and they crashed. Rescue team 'Niels and Farina' helped them up again. Marcus had scratches along his leg, arm and a stone in his hand while Rakshita seemed to be more lucky with only some scratches on her ankle (her jeans saved her from worse).

Back at our place Niels cleaned all wounds while Eva got the stone out of Marcus hand. The stone was actually quite big (size of a big pea). Not sure if the wound was really clean Niels and Marcus went to a so-called hospital. For only 3 € Marcus got treated including a local anesthetic (because he was screaming like a little baby) and antibiotics. The doctor advised Niels to take pictures of Meggis while cleaning the hole in his hand. However, out of respect and decency those pictures can't be published here 😉 What an experience!

Raghav and Rakshita had to leave the same day so that Rakshita could get a proper check-up at home. As it turned out Rakshita wasn't lucky afterall. Her bone had a small crack and the next weeks a cast was part of her fashion style.

Besides that little happening we had a great time together and look forward to met up again. But without scooter trips 😉

Our Scooter gang22_02_Phu Quoc_000

Farina enjoying Coco Loco 22_02_Phu Quoc_001

Impressions from our first scooter tour around the island 22_02_Phu Quoc_002 22_02_Phu Quoc_005 22_02_Phu Quoc_006 22_02_Phu Quoc_007 22_02_Phu Quoc_008 22_02_Phu Quoc_009 22_02_Phu Quoc_010

Christmas trees look somehow different in Vietnam 22_02_Phu Quoc_012

Before the accident ...22_02_Phu Quoc_013

... and after 22_02_Phu Quoc_014 22_02_Phu Quoc_015 22_02_Phu Quoc_016

Relaxing on the Island-hopping tour and enjoying the scenery 22_02_Phu Quoc_017 22_02_Phu Quoc_018

Local transport 22_02_Phu Quoc_019 22_02_Phu Quoc_020

Snacks on the tour (mussels and sea urchins) followed by even more snacks on the local market 22_02_Phu Quoc_025 22_02_Phu Quoc_026

Life is good - getting a massage on the beach 22_02_Phu Quoc_027

Our bungalow 22_02_Phu Quoc_028

The most beautiful beach on the island 22_02_Phu Quoc_029

Time to say goodbye 22_02_Phu Quoc_030

Our accommodation
Farina enjoying Coco loco 😉
First scooter tour in the south of the island - roads are a bit dusty
Foto von R&R
Foto vin transport bamboo
The most beautiful beach on the island but unfortunately there are also parts which are ruined by rubbish
Beautiful scenery in the north
Alles aus dem Norden
Christmas trees look a bit different in Vietnam
Foto Baum  strand
Before and after
Baule und Rakshita auf brucke
Enjoying dishes without fish sauce
Time to say goodbye...

Ho Chi Minh City alias Saigon

One Australian, one Indian, one American, two Germans and us - our planned NYE celebrations group. As it turned out you can add two more Indians and a loooot of Vietnamese 😉

Rob, Eva and I were supposed to leave Langkawi at 11 a.m. and arrive in Ho-Chi-Minh-City at around 3.30 p.m. local time. It was not before 9:00 p.m. we finally were able to meet with Maggis and Farina who were waiting for us at the airport by that time... At least we were able to enjoy one more pizza at our favorite place at KLIA2 (stop-over) because of the delay.

When the five of us finally managed to find a taxi we expected the worst. While driving the meter was jumping in 10.000th every second the car stopped (26.000 Dong =~ 1 €). Another 100.000 were added every km we went. By the time we arrived at our hotel the total amount came up to 1.8 million (~69€ for 8 kms).  Ready to start the arguing, I asked for the price - 160.000 Dong?!? Well seems like meters work different in other parts of the world 😉

Our room / suite / apartment was nicer than expected: two bedrooms, spacious living room (huge dining table and a chill-out area), two fully equipped bathrooms and a kitchen. It immediately felt like the apartment in the TV show "friends".

The moment we touched ground in Vietnam something wierd happend to Rob: he got active, he started planning, he searched for information in the net. As it turned out he badly wanted to visit the Chu-Chi tunnels. Thanks to Rob we went there right away the next day. It was quite an experience. We are not taking any sides, we are no historians but living in those tunnels must have been hell. They are so small I couldn't fit in there. We had the chance to squeeze in one of those holes !oppressive! Also we "walked" down a tunnel, as I read later on it was prepared for tourists - however I nearly got stuck.

The same day Raghav and Rakshita arrived. Following the "Friends" mentality we took it easy that evening and chilled in our apartment. The following day the girls prepared for NYE, meaning they went shopping. Raghav and me met with two friends of Raghav and went to the national war museum. A propaganda palace - but well there are always two sides of a coin. Mainly military equipment (parts of shot down B-52 bombers and there like) as well as pictures of wounded and crippled Vietnamese are shown. The whole thing is rather depressing and left a lot of open questions as the history itself is nearly left out completely. While Raghav did some more sightseeing with his friends I went home to get myself ready for the big night. First thing I saw was a miserable Rob and a sleeping Meggis (who was supposed to take care of the evening planning).

Exhausted from the major shopping trip the girls came back. The evening planning was made (not by Meggis) and we headed out for dinner. Because of Robs misarble condition the team decided to celebrate the countdown at our roof-top with a great view over the city. As soon as the new year started we went for some serious partying in the gossip-club. On the way we got to learn how a real traffic jam looks like. Round about 500 meters away from the club it was impossible to go any further by car – but also walking was quite and exercise: climbing over dozens of motorbikes and squeezing trough non existing gaps. Everyone was in a good mood therefore the whole thing was great fun and the locals were pretty impressed by the way foreigners make their way! Finally arriving at the Club a bouncer lead us to a private table and a great night with a lot of fun started – no more details given 😉

The next day we followed the "Friends" mentality again and chillaxed in our apartment, only leaving it to get some food.

On our way to the New Years Eve Party


Our beloved apartment


Learning about the Chu Chi tunnels which were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during the Vietnam War on our private tour including the its crazy traps they used 22_01_HCMC_003 22_01_HCMC_0031 22_01_HCMC_004

Niels going down in one of the tunnels

22_01_HCMC_005 22_01_HCMC_006 22_01_HCMC_007

Sightseeing in Backpacker area (with great paintings and souvenirs)


Ben Than Market 22_01_HCMC_008

Notre Dame Cathedral with its 40m-high towers could also be in the Normandy 22_01_HCMC_009

Impressions of the city 22_01_HCMC_010 22_01_HCMC_011 22_01_HCMC_012 22_01_HCMC_013 22_01_HCMC_014

Daily traffic in the city


Celebrating the countdown on our roof-top


New Years traffic jam – climbing over dozens of scooters to get to our party place 22_01_HCMC_017

New Years party in the Gossip 22_01_HCMC_018 22_01_HCMC_019

Welcoming the New Year with a day full of chillaxing in our apartment22_01_HCMC_020

Having a drink in the skybar at 48th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower 22_01_HCMC_021 22_01_HCMC_022

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