Sunday, 8 December 2013
In the afternoon, I went for a stroll around the Ho Bay Mau park and the big lake at the center of it. It was Sunday and a nice day at that so a lot of people were out in the park.
Something that is always very nice about walking though parks in Asia is that people socialize a lot more while out in in the park than it happens in the west.
You can see people walking, jogging, skateboarding, rollerblading and even doing parkour. This next to the outside gym, badminton games or just relaxing with a coffee.
I spent most time hanging out with the guys doing parkour, chatting and taking pictures.
Once it started to get dark, it was time to had back and enjoy a quiet evening with friends.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
The recent days feel a bit like a break from my trip in terms of photography but it was nice to just chill for a bit.
Today was again a pretty quiet and relaxed day but I went to the night market to take some photos in the evening. I took quite a few but was not too happy with most so only chose 5 pictures to post.
Tomorrow, will be a more photography focused day and I will try to get one o my outstanding series of Hanoi done.
Friday, 6 December 2013
It was a strange day today, everyone seemed to be tired and just wanting to chill. Although I had some plans for the day, I ended up doing nothing. While it might feel like a wasted day, I think it needs to be done every now and then.
The only thing I ended up doing was to go to a gallery opening in the evening with a friend who knows one of the artists. While I did not get all of the modern art, it was still fun and I even had some brief talk with some of the artists there.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Despite some very nice weather, the day was pretty much relaxing and chilling out after the drive in the past two days.
So a not to let the day go by without doing anything, we decided to drive to the ceramic village and go for a browse around there.
It was a nice drive there and after some trouble finding it, we did manage to make some ceramic cups for fun and browse around the shops.
The way back showed why sometimes it's not good to take a shortcut as we happened to find the worst road in Hanoi and end up miles away from where we intended to be.
This meant some less pleasant driving in the dark to make it back to Hanoi.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
After having breakfast we went for a drive around Tam Coc and to the nearby temple. The weather was great as were the views of the limestone mountains.
The temple itself is very nice and it's built at the foot and on one of the limestone mountains. You can also go climbing up all the way to the top of the mountain if you feel adventurous and have the energy.
After exploring the temple and surrounding area a bit we had to get going to make it back to Hanoi before it got dark.
The first part of the journey took us along the main road north towards Hanoi but it was a pretty boring journey and although we made fast progress, we decided to abandon this road and turn off to some of the smaller roads.
This was a much more enjoyable journey for the remaining way to Hanoi.
We made it back to Hanoi just before it got dark and had some well deserved drinks and dinner to relax after the drive.
Tomorrow will be a quiet day in Hanoi before planning my next steps now that I have the bike and it's going well.
I also have to keep in mind that realistically I can only make between 100-150 km a day on the bike along the more interesting country roads.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
They say Vietnam is a country best explored by motorbike so what do you do when you have a new motorbike and want to try it out? You get two friends together and set out for a road trip to Tam Coc.
Tam Coc is about 100 km from Hanoi so you could do it in 3 hours with the traffic here but this would mean to take the main road full of buses, trucks and cars without anything to see.
The better route is to go and take the smaller roads through little villages, past temples and mountains. This is the real way to explore Vietnam and actually see it.
Vietnam is a beautiful country with a lot to see that's not in any guide book so you have to explore a little bit. You do need the time for it though as going to a place 100 km away will take you the whole day to get there.
We set out early in the morning, just after the rush hour in Hanoi finished and after a few initial problems with keeping together with 3 bikes through traffic we managed fine for the rest of the day.
The bikes handled really well and the ride was great, it was a nice and sunny day so perfect for riding a motorbike.
Despite setting off early and driving an average of 40 km/h, we only got to Tam Coc after it got dark. There was no time for sightseeing so we just had dinner and some well deserved drinks after the 6h ride. It was a great day though and we all enjoyed being out there.
Tomorrow we'll be heading back to Hanoi after doing some sightseeing around here in the morning.