Category Archives: Vietnam


Hue (I) Micracles / Getting There

Weltschmerz on the 13. (laptop had broken down), oh so beautiful a world the day after…yesterday afternoon and today was my day of miracles. I am writing these lines on my last day in Hoi An, the stop after Hue, but I am way behind with my articles. Had hoped to find more time in Hoi An, but instead I met a lot of people who drank a lot of beer, and who would I be to stand back? So I am still behind with the articles. Pictures are all selected, but writing takes time. And then there was the laptop’s breakdown, from which it against all odds recovered! At the moment the display works as always. I’ll be careful and expect the worst, but maybe a daily prayer will help. Continue reading Hue (I) Micracles / Getting There

Halong Bay – YangShuo on the Water

To imagine what Halong Bay looks like you basically have to take YangShuo (which I visited even twice) and just replace all rice paddies with open water…et voilà: It’s limestone karst peaks peeking out of the water. Despite the similarity I was still overwhelmed by the scenery. The fact that I took no less than 130 pictures in 2,5 days is a sure indication for it. I am usually not so quick in taking picture, although it’s all digital nowadays and could be just deleted. But I still don’t fancy the work of sorting out picture. I’d rather avoid a bad picture right away. But on Halong Bay you could essentially point your camera anywhere and just press the button…you’d still have a stunning picture. Continue reading Halong Bay – YangShuo on the Water

Sapa – Rice Paddies and Minorities

Am I glad that I did the trip! Remember? Many people told me I had to go there, but I had considered skipping it as I thought I had seen enough mountains and rice paddies already. Seeing then that tours to Sapa can be easily booked as group tours through basically any agency and guest house here in Hanoi I opted for a two day/three night version: First night on the night train to Sapa, then one day of hiking there with a tour guide, doing “homestay” for the second night (which means to stay with a local farmer in one of the minority villages), another shorter day of hiking, and the third night back on the night train to Hanoi.

Rice paddies here look like rice paddies in China, no news. But the muddy walking trails were an entirely new experience as was the encounter with the minority people. Not because of their appearance or traditions, but because of their insisting way of persuing their “business”. We’ll come back to that… Continue reading Sapa – Rice Paddies and Minorities

Hanoi (III) Temple of Literature

Let’s start with a small story, which actually dates back as far as to LiJiang: Our group came back from BaiSha, split up after returning. I went with two of the ladies through LiJiang back to the hostel, on the way asking “What’s about a coffee?”, completely taken by surprise that Jennifer, a US University Professor, studying cultural influences on language (I hope you forgive my extremely short-cut description?), could not follow my intention. I had to learn that “What’s about…” requires a context and I should have asked a bit more elaborated like “Would you like to have a coffee?” or “What do you think of having a coffee now?” After such introduction a follow-up like “What’s about tea instead?” would be OK. Well…she’s the native speaker…I just take the point. Continue reading Hanoi (III) Temple of Literature

Hanoi (I) Old Quarter

Hanoi – Capital of Vietnam

Flying out of KunMing yesterday was no big hassle, though during check-in they wanted to have an own copy of my Visa-on-arrival-approval letter. Well…they copied it then themselves. Approaching Hanoi the first glances on Vietnam from a bird’s perspective did not look much different from China. As expected. Just a bit greener. And for a long time I was searching in vain for actual Hanoi city out of my plane window. I saw a runway beneath us and knew that the airport is some 30km off Hanoi city. But while circling over the airport I had expected to see something…only shortly before touchdown I made out the big advertisements along a street and then knew in which direction to look: Along the ads I saw some very few high-rises in the far back. And no air polution. And that made the major difference: Everything is a bit greener, a bit more colorful. Already from the plane I saw that quite some houses, though small and structurally not much different from Chinese houses, are in better shape, better maintained, some freshly painted in bright colors. Continue reading Hanoi (I) Old Quarter