Saturday, 28 January 2017

People in Hanoi

After the Tet celebrations last night most of the streets were quite deserted.

It's a rare but night sight around Hanoi although compared with other cities in Vietnam there is still quite a bit of traffic and people are out and about after midday.

The busiest spot was unsurprisingly at a bia hoi place and given the nice weather it's easy to understand why.

It's been a nice walk around the Hoang Kiem area but even nicer once I sat down at the bia hoi place with all the other locals.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Tet Road Trip - Cua Lo to Hanoi

We had quite a long drive to make it to Hanoi by the evening but we made good progress and thanks to quite empty roads in parts it was easy to drive fast.

A detour however added an extra hour to our journey and Google maps again decided the best way into Hanoi is to go through every single small village and narrow road instead of staying on the main roads.

The detour also meant we couldn't really enjoy the great scenery around Ninh Binh as much as we would have likes as it got late.

Still, we made it to Hanoi by dinner time and after dinner and some beers we were taking it easy and enjoying the new year celebrations here.

New Year is certainly a different celebration here than it is in Europe but it's very interesting.

So let me wish all Vietnamese friends a 'Happy New Year 2017!' or 'Chuc mung nam moi!'.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Tet Road Trip - Phong Nha to Cua Lo

Another grey start to the day but at least it wasn't raining (yet).

We planned a longer journey today, a loop around Phong Nha and the botanical garden area, then back to the HCM road and  all the way to Vinh or Cua Lo.

As soon as we go to the botanical garden it started raining but it didn't last too long and stopped when we finished the loop.

The loop around the botanical gardens, to the paradise cave is great in terms of scenery and driving and definitely worth doing.

There were a lot of tourists on rented or bought bikes on this roads so it's definitely more touristy than the rest of the HCM road going north.

I've been on these roads a few times but it was always in the opposite direction on my way back to Hue. There were quite a few changes, including more petrol stations (a welcome change).

We actually made good progress at first and were almost at our destination when Google Maps decided to take us on a roundabout excursion through small villages, even smaller roads and on to roads under construction for the final few km to Cua Lo.

This meant we arrived after dark in Cua Lo and while we expected the city to be quiet, we didn't anticipate it would be that quiet without anything to do, with most hotels closed, not many restaurants or even coffee shops open.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Tet Road Trip - Khe Sanh to Phong Nha

The second day started with a few breaks in the clouds but the rain soon got the upper hand.

We decided to take the smaller and less developed West HCM road up north to Phong Nha.

The scenery was great and the breaks in the rain made the first part of the ride quite pleasant.

The road however was narrower and in less good condition so the average speed was not as fast, hindering progress a bit.

Unfortunately a lack of petrol stations, constant rain and the slower progress meant we decided to re-route and head to the more developed East HCM road near Dong Hoi for the final leg of the journey.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Tet Road Trip - Da Nang to Khe Sanh

Having some time off over the Tet holidays, I decided to go on a road trip with a friend.

I started off in Da Nang and drive to Hue to meet up with him and start the first stage of the trip, the ride to Khe Sanh.

Unfortunately the start of the trip was cloudy with some rain but we were in good spirits it would stop raining.

The rain did intermittently stop but it was overall still pretty much a rain drenched ride along the HCM road via A Luoi all the way to Khe Sanh.

The scenery was still great as well as the roads are always nice to drive along so the rain didn't spoil the trip.