12.o8.2o18 • Ho Chi Minh

after spending one more day in `Phnom Penh´ – the capital of Cambodia we continued our journey to Vietnam. our first stop in this once in two parts divided but still communistic country is `Ho Chi Minh´. this quite modern & globalized city seems to be full of coffee shops, karaoke bars & especially motor bikes !! the streets are permanently jammed & even the sidewalks are used as highways. nevertheless it is quite funny to watch the chaotic life while chilling in a comfi café .. in contrary to Cambodia supermarkets & known brands like `Starbucks´ can be found here again :)) anyway we started our first day here with the best breakfast we had so far. right in the center of `Ho Chi Minh´ we found this lovely café named `M2C´or better `modern meets culture´ – fancy name fancy stuff !! coffee and breakfast were delicious & the menus they offer (even the lunch menus) are quite cheap. after this pretty good start into the morning we started our walkaround through the city. first of all we visited `Notre Dame´ – the cathedral of Saigon & similitude of the same-named church in `Paris´. we walked further towards the north of the city & finally stood in front of the gate to the `Botanical Garden & Zoo´ of `Ho Chi Minh´. we went in, of course :)) we watched elefants, monkeys & happy kids running around & walked through the beautiful botanical garden. on our way back to our hostel we took a little rest in a pretty hidden restaurant called `Secret Garden´ – not easy to find but absolutely worth going there !! the beautiful roofgarden offers a fantastic view all over the city & accomodates several cowzy places to have a drink or two. furthermore they offer really good & authentic typical vietnamese food. alltogether we felt pretty comfi in this city even if sun & rain are taking turns every few minutes (well .. rainy season .. what a surprise .. lucky me loving rain so much). and tomorrow we will finally dare to take our first rail ride in south east asia .. what a treat to escape the bus for some time !!

15.o8.2o18 • Nha Trang

our first train ride in Vietnam was quite adventurous. we drove more than seven hours along the coast of the `South China Sea´, watched mountains, paddy fields & coast lines passing by & tried to get some sleep during the pretty shaking train ride. we finally arrived in `Nha Trang´ in the late afternoon without any problems or delay .. well done !! then we got surprised by our hotel grading us up to a whole studio apartment for us two .. nice !! but first: beach beach baby :)) so we spent our first evening in the beach capital of Vietnam watching the sunset at the beach & drinking cold beer .. could be worse, right ?! we started the next day with the best cold brew coffee of Vietnam in the `Chia Cafe´ close to our hotel & a very good breakfast at the `Alpaca Homestyle Cafe´ .. i will write a food guide for Vietnam soon .. there are so many awesome cafes & restaurants around here !! then we went to the beautiful city beach again, went swimming (the water here is super clear & pretty warm) & relaxed a bit. in the evening we walked through the streets of `Nha Trang´, visited one of the famous nightmarkets & enjoyed the busy but cozy atmosphere. by the way .. if you like to shop designer clothes this is the place to be (there`s a converse/vans shoe shop, too .. looove). so today we tried something different: we rent a motorbike & cruised along the coastal road !! we visited the `Ba Ho Waterfall´ which is located about 3o km away from `Nha Trang´city. after a short hike up you can find beautiful spots to jump off the cliffs or just to take a swim in the clear water .. a really nice place to go with not too many people around !! on our way back we bumped into a funeral (a huge crowd following a decorated truck by motorbikes) .. quite funny to see how traditions are changing throughout the years :))
anyway the locals are always friendly & talkative !! after a hot day on the road we spent our last evening at the beach again. so tonight we are going to sally to `Da Nang´ by night train (sleeper) .. we`ll see how it goes !!

18.o8.2o18 • Hoi An

after a night with almost no sleep at all we finally arrived in `Da Nang´ at about noon. but after a cup of coffee we already moved further to `Hoi An´ – a 3o minutes bus drive away from `Da Nang´. there we stayed at the very nice `Sol de Villa´ hostel a bit outside of the old quarter of the town – but luckily our hostel had a complementary bike rental !! so after getting some sleep we went to the beautiful old town of `Hoi An´ by bike. OmG i have absolutely never ever seen such a beauty of town before !! colorful lights & glowing lampions everywhere !! one fancy cocktail bar next to each other, cowzy coffee shops, art galleries located in beautiful old buildings .. just amazing !! we just walked through the small streets, watched & watched & couldn`t get enough of all these different impressions. so the best thing to do in a moment like this: sitting down on a rooftop bar next to the small river flowing through `Hoi An´, watching the sunset & drinking cocktails by the bucket !! as you can imagine the bike drive back home was pretty funny .. anyway a perfect first evening here !! the next day we rented a scooter again (1. because it is quite cheap .. more or less 4$ for a whole day .. and much cheaper than taking a taxi from one place to another & 2. beacuse it`s fun fun fun cruising around feeling wind & sand in your hair & getting sunburned :)) we drove along the coastal road up to the `Marble Mountains´. after hiking up the stairs to the top of the `mountain´ you can visit various holy temples & ancient places of prayer. then we went further to `Da Nang´ .. the city we arrived in after our horrible night train ride. actually the train was ok but the air inside was so damn sticky & together with 5 other guys in one cabin it was almost not possible to get any sleep .. well now we know :)) in `Da Nang´ we drove all over the fancy dragon bridge (a huge bridge looking like a yellow dragon diving into the river) & ate lunch at a typical vietnamese restaurant where i tried the `white rose´ (super tasty dumplings filled with little shrimp slices). by the way `Da Nang´ has a beautiful long beach with white sand, palms & good waves .. worth a dip i would say :)) after our afternoon siesta in the hostel (it is truely advisable to take a short nap during the hottest time of the day .. otherwise you will probably die slow & painful burned down by the sun) we drove down to the old quarter of `Hoi An´ by bike again & enjoyed the evening atmosphere at the river. when the sun goes down all the small boats are driving down the river & letting little colorful lights float along the river side .. what a beautiful scenery !! a MUST see when travelling through Vietnam .. i`d loved to stay longer here but time goes fast & we just have maximum 14 days for visiting whole Vietnam because of the entry restrictions for foreigners. however after spending only 7 days in this country i know for sure that i`ll come back again !!

24.o8.2o18 • Ha Noi

the last few days have been absolutely amazing !! we visited some oft the most beautiful places i`ve ever seen & explored landscapes i couldn`t even imagine !! but let me tell you about it from the beginning: after visiting `Hoi An´ .. one of my fav cities so far .. we made our way to `Dong Hoi´ .. a pretty inconspicuous city .. but full of hidden secrets we intended to reveal. first of all we rented a scooter once again & drove all the way to the `Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park´ on our own. by the way our scooter rides through the outbacks are one of the best parts in our whole journey .. banana trees, palms & other exotic plants passing by .. just us the road & our scooter & here and then some cows goats or dogs just crossing the streets. all in one i would say it`s almost the best way of exploring a country if you really want to see all its different faces. in the national park we visited two of the biggest caves in the world by boat .. an amazing experience !! the caves are so damn huge .. you could build a whole town inside !! furthermore they are pretty colorful & full of surreal stone structures & sculptures .. everything all natural !! after this exciting but also very exhausting excursion we were so happy to finally find a calm place to relax & chill out a bit. so the `Tree Hugger Cafè´ seemed to be the perfect place to stay for a while .. right choice :)) as you may have already read in my `vietnam food guide´ i really loved (and still love) this sweet café which offers the best food & the coolest drinks i`ve had in Vietnam so far !! but time goes fast & we had to move on .. next stop: `Ha Noi´ .. the capital of Vietnam .. known for its cultural sights & the super trendy coffee & restaurant scene. so of course we had to check out some oft he best addresses there .. for example the `Hanoi Social Club´ where we ate awesome satay wraps .. read more about it on my personal blog !! unfortunately we only had one afternoon to explore `Ha Noi´ city where you could easily spend several days in .. but we did the best out of it: we visited the fancy old railway leading through the old quarter & walked along the famous train street of `Ha Noi´. in the evening we enjoyed the chaotic but colorful street life & hopped from coffee shop to coffee shop .. could be worse :)) anyway `Ha Noi´ is really worth a visit & we would`ve stayed here longer but there was one thing left in Vietnam we really wanted to see: the `Ha Long Bay´. this beautiful bay is located at the coast of Vietnam & a 4 hours bus drive away from `Ha Noi´ city. we booked a two day boat trip through the bay to get to see at least a bit of this almost unreal scenery: floating through crystal clear water passing exposing rocks towering steeply into the hights while watching the sun sinking into the sea. just amazing !! after we had lunch on board of our boat we went kajaking through the small bays. even if it was pretty windy that day we had a lot of fun & it was a great experience !! back on board we enjoyed the fresh fruit buffet & the amazing view from the top of the boat-deck before having a delicious seafood dinner !! what an evening !! the next morning started early. at o7:oo am we drove to an island near by & hiked up to a beautiful cave in the inside of the rocks. After taking a short beach walk we returned to our boat & had breakfast (OmG the honey pancakes with fresh watermelon .. couldn`t get enough of them) while driving back to the harbour we got a cooking class on the boat & learned how to make spring rolls which was very funny & also very tasty :)) we arrived in `Ha Noi´ in the late afternoon again .. happy but tired we enjoyed our last evening in Vietnam. so all i can say: the `Ha Long Bay´ is a MUST visit on your journey through Vietnam .. a magical place in the south china sea !! bye bye Vietnam .. we`ll see you again some day !!