Hue – Nguyen Dynastie

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Vietnam

Hue was capital from 1802 till 1945. We arrived there after a 16 hour busride. I tell you, sleeping buses are not fine either. The sleepingspace was alright for little Nadine, but turning around wasn’t much possible. Bigger guys cannot travel like this. We had the wish they would not honk during the night but they are way to far into this. Now and then we drove offroad due to building places or damaged streets. At 10 pm we stopped and got late-dinner for free. At 6.30 am what a nice time we got breakfast.

In Hue we found a nice and cheap place, little away from the trafficnoise. We discovered the Old town and met a couple we met in Cat Ba already. They joined us for a motorcycletrip the next day to follow a guide through less beaten roads. We went to differnet Pagodas, Tombs and the Citadelle (Forbidden Purple City). We gained lots of fantastic and extraordenary experiences.

The next day we wanted to see the Vin Moc Tunnels without the masstourism so we rented a motocycle. The tunnels are about 110 km away but must be mindtaking. 2.8 km long, three stories, and you can walk deep inside. Not to be compaed with the Cu Chi Tunnels near Saigon where you just go a little bit inside and see nothing but tourists. We will find out tomorrow.


Cat Ba

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Vietnam

When we reached Halong Bay we dicided to head for Cat Ba. We had to organize a bootticket at the harbour which was not that easy. But we met some people whom we just followed to teh island.

The boottrip was about three hours and was absoluty breathtaking. BIG rocks whereever you look coming out of the sea. Around 3000 island were seen in the Gulf of Tonkin with hundreds of grottos and caves. Ha Long means „Where the dragon slides into the sea“. The telling says that a big dragon went from the montains into the sea and his tail formed the landscape.

As we hit the harbour at cat Ba there were four people without a hick to the city 30 km away. So we had to agree, this is to far for walking. We bargained minutes with soem motocycle drivers who brought us to the city. This was a scene made as Jurrasic Park absoluty crazy.

They took us to a cheap hotel for 9 US a night. It’s low season almost nobody there. Nadine got a cold in Sapa so she stayed in bed next day. We met Steve on ou rway to Cat Ba, he is an american guy from Idaho, yippie I oh. Steve catched up with us the next day and we planned a tour 18 km through the island. We wanted to do at least a part of this trail. 

We hired a bik efor 3 US a day and went to the park. We saw a big bus packed with tourists who had the same idea we had. So we ran up a hill like gooses and had a great lookout on a tower which didn’t look to stable. The sign, max 5 people alowed, wasn’t seen by any tourist. We left the tower when 20 had been up there...

We went back to the original trek, which we missed in the beginning and made our way to the frag lake. There we were, no tourists and just a scene out of Lord of the Rings. Stonestairs to reach the peak, close jungle which „ate“ the trek. It was so wonderful, it just hit ur taste! Away from the beaten trek...

The frog lake looked more like a swamp, but quite faszinating. Wir were a little disappointed taht we lost so much time to see the tower. So we could make it to the Village, which was aonther 4 km into the jungle. In the middle of nowhere. But we couldn’t make it back in time before the dark would hit us. So we turned around heavy hearted. But this trek was great. Thanks Steve for beeing such a good trekking-made!!!

We decided spontaneously to leave Cat ba next day to Haiphong. So we had some beers into the night at a street“bar“. Beer costs about 60 Cent a liter. When the girls needed a leak, the female boss brought them to her house. This was an experience. In Vietnam they don’t have any privacy. They live together without doors in one big room. The bathroom had just had a curtain maybe 2 squaremeters.

Next morning we had a long trip. 20 hours from Cat Ba to Hue. We had a sleeping bus. Let’s see how this will be.



Sapa - Goooooood Mooooorniiiing Viiiiietnaaam

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Vietnam

Even if the movie was not made here... We are quite close to the chinese border, it is about 5.15 am, damn early. The nightrain wasn’t that good. Whoever had a nightride on a sleeper with 4 person knows how we feel right know. The trains are like straight from the 1960ies... After a while, some beers, earplugs and the steady movement we feelt into a light sleep. Even if you woke up any minute. At least it seemed like it.

In Loa Cai just 8 km away from China a Mercedes Benz Sprinter picked us and 12 other people up. Nadine saw us standing at the trainstation, because she had the Sammet Hotel in mind. Aour agency named that hotel as the one we were booked on. So ran Nadine towards the guy with the sign for the Sammet Hotel, niot looking for any other signs. Michael, still sleeping, just followed her. He awoke when Nadine started talking a little more loud to this poor guy who did not want to talk us to the hotel because we were not on his list...

On their way out Michael meant to have seen the busdriver from Hanoi so they went back into the trainstation. Luckily there was the vitnames mom and daughter whom we talked to before leaving Hanoi. They could remember us and called when we past. And there we found ourselfes standing infront if a sign with Nadine and Michael Zangerle on it.... So it went out well...

They droped us off at a hotel which we didn’t book. It looked better than the one we booked so we kept our mouthes shut. After checkin we could follow the sunrise over the montains. Before we had breakfast we sleept one hour to be fresh for the first trek. This first one was just about three hours and ended around noon.

We treked to a Mongh-village where we could hear some details about their lives. We were introduced into an old musicinstrument to get the attention of women who are willing to marry. The man kidnapped a woman and locked her for three days in his home. If she does not want to marry him her only way to get out of this is to commit suicide. If thgis ain’t romance???

There are differnt tribes of Mongh. They are also called cat people, because they don’t like water. Which means, they wash themselfe once a year. So don’t stay to close...

When we hit Sapa again we could run through the city. This is done within 30 minutes. We went early to bed to discover that we need a heater and a second blanket. It was so damn cold! The matrace was so hard as a table. It wasn’t a good night again.

Next morning we went on a 14 km trek. After a coffee which can wake up dead people we started trekking with a group of Mongh-women behind us. We went to a waterfall and further on to a village. Whenever we started more Mongh-women followed us. So we had double size groups... this women wanted to know about us,where we are from and so on. Of course they tried to sell some stuff but on a really friendly and shy way. Yopu said just once „No, thanks.“ And the did not bother you with selling anymore, they just followed and talk to us. They spoke a better english than most people in Hanoi!

The landscape was amazing, just marvelous. Nadine went back to her youth where she trekked the Alps with here family every sommer. She had a lot of songs for trekking in mind which did not fit here in Vietnam. If you crossed the bamboo and the ricefields out off your mind then theses montains could be anywhere. The peaks were deep in clouds. But we were lucky again. A couple of days ago there had been rain. Now it was fine. We very on the sunny side again.

This evening we left Sapa at 5 pm to go back to Hanoi. Another bad night, waiting for the next bus three hours later... No cafe had opened when we hit Hanoi at 5 am. We are heading for Halang Bay today. Let’s see what we do there. No plans yet.