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Restless in Vietnam

VIETNAM | Saturday, 8 December 2007 | Views [607] | Comments [1]

On the day in Luang Prabang - a nice but quite touristic place - I tried to get a bike in order to explore the surroundings without to book a guided tour. Finally, because the stores are not allowed to hire out any set of wheels there was no other option than to rent a fucked up bike - the only one I could find. I drove around the place and hoped not to get controlled by the police. The ride on the bike was pretty strenuous... but definitely not because of the hilly roads. At the end of the day, I decided to continue my journey with a boat ride to Nong Khiew which is a small town upstreams the Nam Ou. I couldn't risk to have another ride with a bike with a nearly broken suspension fork, only a half working break and at least three gears not derailing the chain.

The boat ride to Nong Khiew was really nice but long. To sit seven hours on a tiny chair is not very comfortable, but the beautiful view (especially after all these bus rides) was worth it... and the pee breaks helped to release the legs at least for a few minutes. The village of Nong Khiew is a small village which reminded me of the remote areas in Nepal. There's a nice cave near the town that used to serve as bank in the late 60ies where we tested the quality of an old bamboo ladder (was not the best idea as it turned out!).

The journey continued by another boat ride upstreams to Muang Khua, another not very touristic place. Even more abstruse that the senior German couple made the reservation for the guest house (which costed me about $2.5/night) three months in advance ;-). I bet the call was more expensive! On the walk around the village we met some boys celebrating the national holiday (so yet another!) and couldn't pass before we didn't taste some Lao Lao.

The last part on my trip across Laos was from Muang Khua to the Lao-Vietnamese border (which has only been opened for international travellers in 02/06) and then continued on the Vietnamese side to the town of Dien Bien Phu, the former battle field where the Viet Minh sucessfully fought the French in 1954. Besides the collapsing ceiling at the Vietnamese immigration office and the police searching after 10min being in the country there's not much worth mentioning.

Dien Bien Phu was a strange place and the first one where I spent less than 24h. The visit of the military museum and the A1 hill (the former battle field) was interesting but the I didn't feel very welcome. So I booked a bus ride to Sapa, a village at the foot of Fasipan (at 3134m Vietnam's highest peak). The trip was supposed to take about 5 hours, arriving around noon but turned out to be a confusing full day ride on a local bus with missing windows and narrow seats. Either Lying Planet's map are craps or the driver headed for all towns around.

Finally we got to Sapa where the guys pick you up in the street as soon as you set the first foot on its ground and bring you to their hotel. The town is definitely friendlier and there are lots of hill tribe people or locals who try to sell you a guided tour, some handicrafts or a ride on their motorbikes.

Conclusion of this nice journey: I was sitting too long on bus seats or in touristic places and was missing my bike 'cause there are too little options for freestyle by walking. Next time I know better ;-)

Currently I am in the busy streets of Hanoi and will fly to Bangkok and Krabi tomorrow, hopefully without being catched by any Christchindli.

Black H'Mong woman.

Black H'Mong woman.

Tags: On the Road




Hi Sis,
glad to hear you're fine! Just wanted to let you know that I'm looking forward to read more of your stories and to see you soon!

  Daniela Dec 14, 2007 6:36 AM

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