Halong Hanoi Bangkok

Hey travellers,

Halong was so beautiful! Around 2000 limestone islets are based in a pretty small area and it really took my breath away. Even though the weather was cloudy and cold, it was overwhelming to see these hundreds of islands rising up from the water and seeing them up close from a boat was really something special.

I did the Halong Bay Boat Tour. It was something I felt I had to do after coming all the way to this wonderful place. It was, for sure, the most touristy thing I have done on my travels so far. Usually, I try to avoid overcrowded places (at least when I’m outside a big city) because they tend to be expensive and it spoils the magic of a place when you can’t even move because of the  other tourists around.

Kayaking through Halong Bay - definitely one highlight of the Boat Tour :)

Kayaking through Halong Bay – definitely one highlight of the Boat Tour 🙂

However, on that day, high season was over and as I told you, the weather was cloudy and pretty cold actually. I thought this boat trip is a must for any to do-list in this part of the world but I would be lying if I said I really enjoyed the trip. I mean, I met some nice people on the boat and took some amazing photos. BUT if you don’t want to be surrounded by other tourists while travelling, I honestly would not recommend to do this boat tour. If I had done this in high-season, I think I would have collapsed!

Halong Bay panorama

Halong Bay panorama

After the Halong Bay Boat Trip experience, I met this little kid on one island. He was so cute and polite when he asked me for a photo with me. Immediately after we took the photo, he ran quickly back to his father with a “yes”, “yes”, “yes”. I am really starting to enjoy moments instead of things. That’s what life is supposed to be. Being happy, living, loving, sharing and enjoying!

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The next day, I rented a motorbike to explore Cat Bá island. I rode across the whole island which was beautiful because I love to explore new places by myself. There were not many people living there and visiting this island anyway. However, this amazing motorbike tour didn’t last long… When I came to a small town (probably the only one of the island), someone followed me and forced me to stop. When I stopped, he said the motorbike belongs to him. I replied: “No, I rented it, it can’t be yours!” I mean anyone can say this is mine so I didn’t trust him and wanted to move on. Suddenly, he became serious, he took the keys off me and called the police. Slowly I realized it really might be his…

To sum up this “adventure”: They rented me a stolen motorbike and the real owner recognized the bike. That means at the end I was kind of stuck at the island but I found a nice Vietnamese man who took me to the ferry station and even showed me the Cat Bá National Park. Sometimes you find such friendly human beings while travelling. To be in touch with locals is important to me when I’m travelling because I can learn so much about their culture and behaviour.

Met those guys on the ferry to Cat Bá (when I still had my motorbike) - always amazing to talk to new people - #partoftravels

Met those guys on the ferry to Cat Bá (when I still had my motorbike) – always amazing to talk to new people – #partoftravels

from Cat Bá National Park 

boundless

boundless

Hanoi &Bangkok
After my stay in Halong I had to go to Hanoi from where my flight to Bangkok went on the following day. So Hanoi was just a one night stopover for me. Although as a city it will always be unforgettable for me because (maybe you remember my post where I had my first ukulele lesson on the beach?) it was where I bought my first musical instrument – a ukulele. Even though I cannot really play, from now on I can practise whenever I want to.

faithful little travel buddy

faithful little travel buddy

Well, I’m back in Bangkok right now to plan my adventure for the next few weeks. And where will I be spending the next few weeks? Here in Thailand – I will be heading up to Chiang Mai on an overnight train on the 23rd.

I’m so glad to share my experience with you and I’m already looking forward to my adventures.

Take care,
LuckyLuki

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Bus trips

Ninh Binh

This was probably the first time of my journey where the time of transportation did not pass, no matter what I did it was like the clock hand was astonied. I listened to music, read my book, wrote into my diary and looked out of the window. However, it was like the train was moving like a turtle. It took me 12 hours by train to go from Hué up to Ninh Binh and those were probably the most boring hours of my whole adventure so far. Anyone tips of making time pass faster while transporting? - please contuct me. If I find any recommendations in the future, I will definitely write an entry to share those with you because that's not what I want to happen more often. Usually, I met people on the bus, train, airport, who let me feel arrival is going to happen soon. But on that train, I could not find a single tourist and even though vietnamese are very friendly people, as long as they don't understand a single word I am saying, it's hard to start a reasonable conversation...

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12h train from Hué to Ninh Binh

Anyway, as I finally arrived in Ninh Binh there was already sunset. So actually another whole day was spent with transportation. But honestly, I was just glad to get this train ticket to Ninh Binh somehow because of vietnamese holidays, it feels like the whole country is moving by public transports ... pobably not the very best time to travel through Vietnam.

In total, I spent two nights in Ninh Binh which was, in my opinion, way enough to see what I wanted to see: Mua Caves. I rented a motorbike again and although I haven't caught the best weather, I had a breathtaking view up there. Probably one of my highlights of my journey so far. Because of the cloudy weather, there weren't even many tourists on the top which let me take some memorable pictures. The only traveller I found were Austrians - first ones on my whole journey, by the way. There I didn't look at the time but I spent at least an hour - taking pictures, thinking, living.

On top of Mua

Me on top of Mua

Today, I took the bus to Halong, which was actually supposed to be a 2 1/2 hours ride, extended into an almost 5 hours ride. Reason: slowest (and cheapest) bus they could offer me and traffic. But this time it fortunately seemed to happen faster or I maybe slowly get used to hours lasting bus and train rides.

Halong

When I arrived, I took this snapshot from the bus: 

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I believe there are worse welcome views of the bay

On my first evening I haven't been able to see a lot of Halong but I again, I have a supergreat food recommendation already. Travelling makes hungry! AND when I walked through the streets of Halong, I stopped here:

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Unfortunately, I don't have any adress and couldn't find anything on the internet but this place is called "Banh Mi An" and must be somewhere on the "Ha Long Street" around this marked place you can see on the map of this blogpost. I recommend it to anyone, I even tried the vegetarian sandwich - delicious!

In the last few days, I spent a lot of time on my own. Not because I don't want anyone around me but Ninh Binh was definitely not a tourist magnetic city of Vietnam but that's okay for me. I believe I haven't got so much time to think about life before. Attitudes, environment, ideas. To be honest, I don't regret a single minute of this trip and recommend anyone to travel lonely once in your lifetime.

Now I am ready for my last few adventurous days in Vietnam - in case I've already booked a flight back to Bangkok again on Feb, 20th ... Thailand Calling.

All the best,
LuckyLuki 

 

location of ‘Banh Mi An’

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21 days: no signs of homesickness

Danang 

is one of Vietnams biggest cities , situated on the coast of central Vietnam. I stayed there for 2 nights and I think this was probably enough time to gain an insight  into the city. As I mentioned on my last post, I was exhausted from the night bus ride on my first day. After running on the beach with the Canadian, I went to bed immediately after coming back because I wanted to wake up early on the next day. On that day, I rented a motorbike for my first time in Vietnam and it was way easier to go through the traffic than I thought it will be. I rode to Marble Mountains with some travellers I’ve met in the hostel I stayed at. There we went into the fascinating caves of one main mountain. It was worth seeing, especially the view on the top – gorgeous.

top of Marble Mountains

top of Marble Mountains

In the afternoon we went to the beach where we hung out together and a British guy called Chris taught me my very first Ukulele chords. I think I was pretty good, even though I had never played any instruments before. I also went swimming into the sea which was actually my first time in Vietnam. I honestly don’t know why I never go swimming, although the weather is nice and hot, so far I cannot remember a single rainy day on my trip haha.

Danang Beach

Danang Beach

Another thing I love about travelling on my own is that I am always free. I can decide where I go, what I do and with whom I spend my lovely travel time. It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The following day, for example, I woke up and enjoyed breakfast like this:

6$ backpacker hostel in Danang - breakfast included

6$ backpacker hostel in Danang – breakfast included

Hué

photo taken out of the hostel window

photo from the hostel window

I took the bus to Hué on, Feb, 12th, which took me not even more than 3 hours. Unfortunately, the bus departed and so I arrived only at 5 pm. However, that was okay becuase I actually never plan anything. I met some Swedish guys and a German whom I played some pool with before we hung out at a bar not far from our hostel.

On the next day, I went to Tomb of Tu Duc with another German, I’ve met at the hostel before. We rented a bike and rode there for about 30 minutes. It was worth seeing because it was not only a huge tomb of the former emperor Tu Duc, it was also a monstrous temple area.

  • Tomb of Tu Duc

When we came back, closer to the hostel, we enjoyed dinner and some delicious ice-cream I would like to recommend to anyone who wants to visit Hué in the future. I asked them for a business card but they haven’t got any – so I link their facebook page: fref=ts https://www.facebook.com/kemxongkhoiTOTO/?fref=ts. They produce their ice-cream with liquid nitrogen … very refreshing and delicious.

  • Blueberry flavour with vanilla chips on top

Now I am going to stay one more night here in Hué before my train goes to Ninh Binh tomorrow morning (5.30 am). On my next blog entry I am going to tell you some low budget travel advices, based on my own experience after 3 weeks of backpacking. – Believe it or not, travelling is probably way less expensive than you think!

Stay safe
All the best,
Lucky Luki

 

 

 

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Summer sun Vietnam

07/02/16:

I have been in Vietnam for almost a whole week now ... how fast can time pass? And yes: Vietnam is sunny and enjoyable BUT I don't want to hide some of the less happy experiences from you. I've told you about Yussef (my Moroccan travel buddy) in my last post, on Feb, 7th. I saw him for the last time. It was not the usual goodbye that you imagine - it was completely unexpected and special. 

In fact, we had already booked our next journey, including a flight + hotel in Nha Trang together. We were supposed to leave the hostel in Ho Chi Minh City for the airport at 5 pm. In the morning, I woke up at around 10 am. Yussef was already awake but he wanted a late check-out. Since I knew he had seen the Vietnam War Museum already, I decided to visit it by myself. Before I left, Yussef reminded me to come back no later than 5 pm. I accepted, said "see you later", and left. 

                                         When I came back again (a little early), he had left me this letter: 

Lucas: Your a great guy. I taught you some basic advice to help you on your trip, based on my experiences. Now it's time for you to create your own unique experiences, from now on. You will meet new pwople, new girls, just be safe and don't forget: parting ways is part of backpacking! I am going back to my son, and I wish you the best in your adventure!  PS: hotel + flight prepaid - you can use them. Yussef L.  #seeyousoon

Lucas:
Your a great guy. I taught you some basic advice to help you on your trip, based on my experiences. Now it's time for you to create your own unique experiences, from now on. You will meet new pwople, new girls, just be safe and don't forget: parting ways is part of backpacking! I am going back to my son, and I wish you the best in your adventure!
PS: hotel + flight prepaid - you can use them. Yussef L.

At first, when I came back to the hostel, I actually didn't even recognize the letter on my backpack. So I waited and relaxed in the lobby, drinking a cool coke without any thoughts, until 4:50 pm. At that time I went to look for him when I suddenly saw the small letter hanging on my backpack with my name on it. I read through it rapidly and was so shocked I could neither speak nor move for a moment. It was probably one of the most interesting experiences in my life. I can't even express all of my feelings about the situation. I read the letter like 10 times until I realized  I - had - to - go  if I wanted to reach the flight on time. So I took the next taxi to the airport ... now I am on my own again. 

I was never angry about Yussef, just a little disappointed that I couldn't say goodbye to this special Moroccan guy who taught me so much. I will never forget what he showed me on my first real backpacking experience and NOW Africa and especially Morocco are on my bucket list. #seeyousoonYussef 

sorry 4 the snapshot

sorry 4 the snapshot

Nha Trang 

was a very nice place to stay to escape the city for the beach. I am glad I was able to celebrate New Years Eve a second time in two months (lunar New Year). I arrived at around 11:30 pm, so I went to the beach immediately after check in. It took me no more than 5 minutes to find some guys (2 South Africans and a German guy) with whom I could celebrate the New Year. 

Nha Trang beach firework

Nha Trang beach firework

Danang

is my present location, as you can see on my map. I arrived today in the morning after a 14 hour night bus ride. It was okay because I saved one night of acommodation but I wouldn't recommend doing it too many times because I haven't slept a lot which made my day more worthless than worthy. However, I had a little sleep in the hostel before I went running with a Canadian I just met when I arrived at the hostel.

Now I am going to stay here in Danang for two nights. Pretty excited for my upcoming experience. 

All the best,
Lucky Luki

beach-run in Danang #sportsforlife

beach-run in Danang #sportsforlife

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13 days independent

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beach day in Sihanoukville/ Cambodia

I’ve been travelling for 13 days now …alone. Being indepedent in foreign countries sounds much harder than it actually is! I travel on my own but I am never really alone. Within my first 2 weeks I grew and learned so much, in terms of culture, diversity and about myself.´The main reason I decided to do this trip was to experience travel and my explore my love for travelling, I wanted to see new things, new worlds, cultures, and environments outside of my own, to challange myself and take me out my natural comfort zone in Austria, In Europe….to see and experience and live how other people live in different countries, beyond Europe. ´Travelling is definitely much more than experiencing new cultures its also about meeting new people who are on their own journeys, traveling for their own respective reasons, and there is so much to learn from these people. You meet new people, your paths cross, u travel with them, and you then part ways and meet new fellow travelers, and the process repeats itself, its amazing, everyday is an opportunity to learn. Right now, I am backpacking  with a little crazy, friendly and smart marokkaen guy called Yussef who has a great attitude of life which I really respect. So I believe beside seeing the wonderful sides of earth, travelling is about meeting people, as well. You learn AND experience so much, definitely worth doing!

Anyway, we crossed the Vietnam border 3 days ago and we stayed with a local family for the first night. Then I left the group in Ho Chi Minh City, a metropole city in south Vietnam. I am staying in Ho Chi Minh in a hostel (http://www.vietnamhideouthostels.com/) right now. If you head to Vietnam recently, I would definitely recommend it. Clean, nice lobby and a good atmosphere every day/ night – what else needed? Tomorrow, I am going further to Nha Trang which is on the east coast beach, only positive references heard so far – let´s see ;-).

Sorry I haven´t blogged for a while but it´s not that easy as I imagined before, because I honestly don´t have so much time and when I have time, there is usually no wifi, of course haha. AND two days ago I wrote a whole entry and just before I wanted to publish it, my laptop shut down … not even funny haha. However, you have to calm down and see it with humour. Maybe this entry is even more informative than the one I lost.

Cambodia was worth seeing, now excited of my upcoming Vietnam experience you can read soon.

All the best,
Lucky Luki

 

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border crossing to Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City

 

 

 

 

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