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Beautiful Hoi An

sunny 28 °C
View Vietnam on joxa's travel map.

Hoi An is the place which we really recommend as a prime holiday destination! It is the only atmospheric town that we have seen in Asia in our travels so far. The old town is not only perfectly preserved but the way it is presented, with lanterns, music and closed to traffic makes the atmosphere really great. The food is delicious and nearby beaches spectacular! We were walking, cycling, swimming in a hotel pool and simply enjoying!

Hoi An to idealne miejsce na sloneczne wakacje! Jest to jedyne miasteczko, ktore urzeklo nas swoja atmosfera podczas calej naszej podrozy po Azji. Stare miasto jest idealnie utrzymane, a.do tego lampiony, muzyka oraz fakt, ze jest ono zamkniete dla.ruchu ulicznego, przyczyniaja sie  do wspanialego klimatu. Jedzenie pyszne a okoloczne plaze naprawde robia wrazenie! Czas uplywal nam na spacerach, jezdzie na rowerze, plywaniu w hotelowym basenie i po prostu cieszeniem sie kazdego dnia, ze tam jestesmy:-)

Hoi An es un lugar que recomendamos sin reservas como destino turístico. Es el único pueblo que conserva la arquitectura asiática original. La parte vieja no esta solamente perfectamente conservada sino que además está presentada, con faroles, musica y cerrada al tráfico crea un ambiente muy agradable. La comida era deliciosa y las playas cercanas espectaculares! Estuvimos andando, en bicicleta, nadando en la piscina del hotel y simplemente disfrutando.

Hoi An is the first town that we've have seen in South East Asia preserving so much of their own architecture.

Hoi An is the first town that we've have seen in South East Asia preserving so much of their own architecture.

Little buildings full of colour were the norm in the old quarter.

Little buildings full of colour were the norm in the old quarter.

Lanterns were everywhere, giving a very distinct atmosphere to the city

Lanterns were everywhere, giving a very distinct atmosphere to the city

Well preserved buildings were common in the city's old town

Well preserved buildings were common in the city's old town

Day Market, Hoi An

Day Market, Hoi An

Covered Japanese bridge, symbol of Hoi An

Covered Japanese bridge, symbol of Hoi An

Street food, noodles with grilled meat, really tasty

Street food, noodles with grilled meat, really tasty

Atmospheric street. Hoi An

Atmospheric street. Hoi An

Hoi An at night

Hoi An at night

Lanterns at night, Hoi An

Lanterns at night, Hoi An

Beach near Hoi Ann

Beach near Hoi Ann

Beach near Hoi Ann

Beach near Hoi Ann

Beach near Hoi Ann.

Beach near Hoi Ann.

River view , Hoi Ann

River view , Hoi Ann

There is love in Communism also. One of the countless propaganda posters

There is love in Communism also. One of the countless propaganda posters

Temple door, Hoi Ann

Temple door, Hoi Ann

Posted by joxa 20:43 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hue

overcast 20 °C
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After Hoi An our expectation regarding Hue was quite high. Hue was the old capital of Vietnam and were the emperor was living. When we arrived there we realised that we were in quite big modern city. After settling in our accommodation we went for a walk to the old quarters. The Citadel was surrounded by a moat and walls but inside instead to have the original architecture from the period, there were only modern buildings. The highlight was the forbidden city that has been reconstructed and it was really worth to see. After a couple of days,feeling that was enough, we decided to move on to Hanoi.

Despues de Hoi An nuestras expectaciones respecto a Hue eran muy altas. Hue era la antigua capital de Vietnam y donde los emperadores residían. Cuando llegamos allí nos dimos cuenta que era una ciudad grande y moderna. Despues de asentarnos en nuestro albergue fuimos a dar una vuelta a la parte antigua de la ciudad. La ciudadela antigua estaba rodeada de un foso lleno de agua y un muro. Pero en el interior los edificios eran de construcción reciente. Lo único destacable era la ciudad prohibida, la residencia del emperador, que ha sido reconstruida y restaurada y que merecío la pena verla. Despues de un par de días allí, sientiendo que era suficiente, decidimos ir a Hanoi.

Spodziewajac sie kolejnego czarujacego miasteczka, wjechalismy do Hue, ktore okazalo sie byc duzym miastem w komunistycznej zabudowie. Zastala nas tez zmiana pogody. Chmury, zelazne pomniki i mosty skojarzyly nam sie z Polska. Stare miasto bylo wepchniete pomiedzy bloki.i nowe budynki. Jednakze dzien spedzony wewnatrz zakazanego miasta oraz w pobliskich muzeach byl ciekawy.

Forbidden city, Hue

Forbidden city, Hue

Imperial palace, forbbiden city. Hue

Imperial palace, forbbiden city. Hue

Us <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Us :)

Imperial pavillion. Forbidden city, Hue

Imperial pavillion. Forbidden city, Hue

Gardens inside the main complex in the forbidden city. Hue

Gardens inside the main complex in the forbidden city. Hue

Inner moat inside the forbidden city. Hue

Inner moat inside the forbidden city. Hue

Inner moat around the main complex, forbidden city. Hue

Inner moat around the main complex, forbidden city. Hue

Garden pavillions, inside the forbidden city. Hue

Garden pavillions, inside the forbidden city. Hue

Temple, inside the forbidden city. Hue

Temple, inside the forbidden city. Hue

Doorway to the temple complex. Forbidden city Hue

Doorway to the temple complex. Forbidden city Hue

Pleasure pavillion in the Forbidden city, Hue

Pleasure pavillion in the Forbidden city, Hue

Street Market, Hue

Street Market, Hue

Masks in the imperial palace, Hue

Masks in the imperial palace, Hue

Posted by joxa 20:59 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hanoi

overcast 19 °C
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We arrived to Hanoi after a really long journey on an old smelly bus. While we were looking for accommodation we were surprised to see an old, cluttered city full of the north face merchandise. After we settled we had the chance to walk around the city and our first impressions were confirmed. Chaotic is a word that fully describes the old quarter of the city. Our first stop was the Indian embassy, we have decided to travel to India, to arrange our visa. We were told that it would take a week so we decided to try to enjoy our stay. We visited the main tourist attractions: Ho-Chi Min mausoleum, old quarter, french quarter etc... We also got lost more than once in the labyrinthine streets. We must say that people in Hanoi were rather hostile and to our surprise specially outside the touristic area where we tried to find places to eat. Besides of that we enjoyed our time in there and we arranged a small trip to see the famous Halong Bay.

Llegamos a Hanoi despues de un largo viaje en un autobus viejo y maloliente. Mientras estabamos buscando nuestro alojamiento nos sorprendió ver una ciudad: vieja, llena de cosas y de imitaciones de North Face. Despues de asentarnos tuvimos la oportunidad de dar una vuelta por la ciudad y nuestras primeras impresiones fueron confirmadas. Caotica es la palabra que describe plenamente la parte vieja de Hanoi. Nuestra primera parada fue la embajada de la India, ya que hemos decidido ir a allí a continuar nuestro viaje, para tramitar nuestro visado. Nos dijeron que tardaría una semana así que decidimos intentar disfrutar de nuestra estancia. Visitamos las atracciones turísticas pricipales: el mausoleo de Ho-Chi Min, la parte vieja, el distrito Francés.... También nos perdikos más de una vez en las calles laberinticas de la parte vieja. Hay que decir que la gente en Hanoi era bastante hostil, especialmente fuera de la parte turística donde solemos intentar buscar sitios para comer. Aparte de eso disfrutamos de nuestra estancia y preparamos una pequeña excursión para ver la famosa Halong Bay.

Dojechalismy do Hanoi po bardzo dlugiej przeprawie w starym i smierdzacym autobusie z karaluchami. Im dalej na pilnoc, tym wiecej doswiadczamy oszustw i cwaniactwa. Szukajac miejsca zamieszkania bylismy zaskoczeni raczej zaniedbanym miastem, jakim jest Hanoi, pelnym sklepow z pirackimi produktami. Wietnamczycy w Hanoi kopiuja wszystko, wliczajac hotele, firmy lokalne, etc. Nasze pozniejsze spacety potwierdzily pierwsze wrazenia - pelen chaos przepelnial stare miasto. Nasz pierwszy przystanek to ambasada indyjska, gdzie zlozylismy podanie o wize. Zdecydowalismy sie zatrzymac w Indiach w drodze powrotnej do Europy. Na wize musielismy czekac tydzien, w zwiazku z czym postanowilismy zwiedzic glowne atrakcje miasta: mauzoleum Ho Chi Minha, dzielnice francuska, stare miasto, parki i swiatynie. Kilka razy sie zgubilismy chodzac poprzez labirynty ulic starego miadta. Ludzie w Hanoi nie nalezeli do najmilszych, szczegolnie w czesciach mniej uczeszczanych przez turystow, co bylo dla nas zaskoczeniem.

Typical busy and touristic street in Hanoi

Typical busy and touristic street in Hanoi

Cables everywhere as usual in South East Asia

Cables everywhere as usual in South East Asia

Enjoying a meal in Hanoi

Enjoying a meal in Hanoi

Joanna in a very romantic picture <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' />

Joanna in a very romantic picture ;)

Opera house, Hanoi. French architecture was still visible on some parts of the city

Opera house, Hanoi. French architecture was still visible on some parts of the city

Old Lenin still up in Hanoi

Old Lenin still up in Hanoi

Ho-Chi Min mausoleum

Ho-Chi Min mausoleum

One pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

One pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

Gate near one pillar templei, Hanoi

Gate near one pillar templei, Hanoi

Gate to courtyard in the Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Gate to courtyard in the Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Vietnamese bonsai

Vietnamese bonsai

Golden Turtle inside the temple of literature

Golden Turtle inside the temple of literature

Big queue to see uncle Ho

Big queue to see uncle Ho

St Joseph's cathedral, Hanoi

St Joseph's cathedral, Hanoi

Inside St Joseph's cathedral, Hanoi

Inside St Joseph's cathedral, Hanoi

Inside St Joseph's cathedral, Hanoi

Inside St Joseph's cathedral, Hanoi

St Joshep's cathedral, Hanoi

St Joshep's cathedral, Hanoi

Vietnamese tea and local sweets

Vietnamese tea and local sweets

Lake inside Lenin park

Lake inside Lenin park

Bridge to temple over Hoam Kien lake, Hanoi

Bridge to temple over Hoam Kien lake, Hanoi

Walking around Hanoi city

Walking around Hanoi city

Posted by joxa 07:35 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Halong Bay from Cat Ba Island

overcast 18 °C
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After some consideration we decided to see Halong Bay as independently as possible.  People in Hanoi did not give us an impression of being at all trustworthy so the tours and cruises organized by them were asking for disaster. Apart from our landlady - thanks to her we had a chance to experience a lightweight travel as she stored our big backpacks and as an extra kept our supercomfy room for our return. We arrived to Cat Ba Island, the biggest island in the area after a smooth bus-boat-bus trip and quickly checked into a budget hotel with a million dollar view of Han Ta Bay. From here we took a day cruise around both bays. The weather was Scottish - rainy, cloudy and windy. At the same time so beautiful, and mysterious, the latter impression created by the fog. This made us nostalgic!!! When we returned from the cruise, frozen and soaked, we spent an evening under two blankets. The next day we headed back to Hanoi, where we organized our way out of Vietnam and into Laos.

Slynna zatoke Halong postanowilismy odwiedzic niezaleznie, gdyz ludzie w Hanoi do godnych zaufania nie nalezeli w zwiazku z czym nie chcielismy brac udzialu w org..nizowanych przez nich wycieczkach. Podroz byla przyjemna i prosta  tym bardziej, ze.mielismy mozliwosc.przechowania naszych ciezkich plecakow w Hanoi na czas  tej kilkudniowej wyprawy. Dotarlszy do Cat Ba, najwiekszej wyspie w rejonie, szybko zameldowalismy sie w tanim hotelu. Nasz pokoj mial przepiekny widok na zatoke. Stad zapisalismy sie na jednodniowy rejs wokol zatoki. Pogoda na rejsie byla.szkocka - mokro, wietrznie i pchmurno, a jednoczesnie tak pieknie! W naszych ponczach i kilku warstwach ubran dzielnie siedzielismy na burcie i podziwialismy widoki,.ktore byly jak nie z tego swiata! Wrocilismy zmarznieci i przemoknieci i pod dwoma kocami grzalismy sie reszte wieczoru. Powrociwszy do Hanoi, zorganizowalismy nasza podroz do Laosu.

Despues de considerarlo por un tiempo, decidimos ver Halong Bay de manera independiente. La gente en Hanoi no nos dió la impresión de que se podía confiar en ellos. Aparte de la señora de nuestro alojamiento que nos guardo la mayor parte del equipaje y nos. reservó nuestra, muy comoda y espaciosa, habitación. Lle gamos a Cat Ba, la isla más grande del area, despues de un viaje sin contratiempos. Nos alojamos en un hotel muy barato y un poquito ruinoso que tenía vistas increibles de la bahía. Desde aquí embarcamos en un crucero de un día para ver las dos bahías: Cat Ba y Halong Bay. El tiempo era típicamente Escoces: lluvioso, nublado y ventoso. Lo que le daba un ambiente misterioso y bonito, y nos hizo sentir nostálgicos... Cundo volvimos del crucero, helados y empapados, pasamos la tarde bajo dos mantas. El día siguiente volvimos a Hanoi donde organizamos nuestra salida de Vietnam y nuestro entrada en Laos.

Small beach in Cat Ba

Small beach in Cat Ba

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay, we couldn't stop taking pictures

Lanha Bay, we couldn't stop taking pictures

Well equipped <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Well equipped :)

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay, really foggy and rainy at the beginning of our little cruise

Lanha Bay, really foggy and rainy at the beginning of our little cruise

Lanha Bay

Lanha Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Braving the cold and the rain

Braving the cold and the rain

Cave inside one of the small islands  in Halong Bay

Cave inside one of the small islands in Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay, water was really a deep turquoise colour

Halong Bay, water was really a deep turquoise colour

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Foggy Cat Ba bay

Foggy Cat Ba bay

Cat Ba bay view from our room's balcony

Cat Ba bay view from our room's balcony

Posted by joxa 07:50 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Along Nam Ou River

overcast 36 °C
View laos & Vietnam on joxa's travel map.

We arrived to Laos after 21 hour journey, first by sleeper bus and then a local minivan. Laos greeted us with series of scams with weird fees incurred on the border. The journey reminded us of our travels in Sumatra with packed and slow minivans. No friendly locals on the way though! Our first stop in Muang Khua was a really picturesque town. The moment we stepped out of the van we were hit by an extraordinary heat and also the super lazy and relaxed atmosphere. We felt a deep relief. In a minivan from Vietnam we met a Spanish couple, Ruben and Sonia wwith whom we travelled to our next destination, Muang Ngoi Neua. We took a 4 hour boat journey which was truly amazing in terms of a landscape and views, not so much from the point of view of comfort. Splashes of a cold water, hard seats and moments of rafting rather than cruising were all part of the deal:-) and then we arrived to one of the most beautiful places on Earth! The mountains, the river, the atmosphere - so beautiful! We were double lucky as we found a great accommodation with a direct view from the Venetian window of our room where two hammocks were installed... we read books,.relaxed and did some treks around the area. After we had fulfilled our beauty loving sides we took a shorter boat ride to the next town called Nong Khiaw. Also picturesque but not as much as the previous place. We did more treks and sweated a lot and also enjoyed.. Indian food which provided a great change for us and encouragement around our travel to India. We saw a movie about a Secret CIA War which was a good history lesson and explained the presence of bomb shells in the area, used now as a decoration. Many warnings too about an unexploded ordnance...

Po ponad- dwudziestogodzinnej przeprawie dotarlismy do miejscowosci Muang Khua w Laosie. Ten ostatni juz na granicy powital nas seria oszustw w postaci roznego rodzaju oplat dodatkowych, np. Za zmierzenie temperatury, ktora to operacje wykonal jeden ze straznikow! Wietnamski autobus byl calkiem wygodny, tymczasem zapakowany po brzegi lao wan skojarzyl nam sie z podrozami po Sumatrze. Niestety zabraklo przemilych tubylcow. Pierwsi napotkani ludzie w Laosie wygladali raczej na malo zainteresowanych czymkolwiek. Wysiadlszy z autobusu uderzylo nas nieprawdopodobne goraco oraz jednoczesnie bardzo zrelaksowana, leniwa atmosfera. Byc moze oba czynniki czesto ida w parze? Z uczuciem glebokiej ulgi zwiedzilismy male miasteczko z uroczymi gorskimi widokami, po czym padlismy spac. Nastepnego dnia udalismy sie lodzia do kolejne miejscowosci - Mung Noi Neua. Towarzyszyla nam poznana w lao wanie hiszpanska para, z ktora spedzilismy kilka ciekawych wieczorow. Widoki podczas przeprawy lodzia zapieraly dech w piersiach. Dodatkowe atrakcje stanowily rwace partie rzeki, lodowata woda, ktora od czasu do czasu nas zalewala oraz nieprawdopodobnie twarde lawki, na ktorych co jakis czas podskakiwalismy. Widoki stawaly sie coraz piekniejsze gdy naszym oczom ukazala sie scena z czasow prehistorycznych - jedno z najwspanialszych w naszym odczuciu miejsc na ziemi! Nasze szczescie dopelnil znaleziony bungalow, z weneckicm oknem, w ktorym zainstalowano dwa hamaki, z ktorych podziwialismy powyzszy widok, czytalismy i relaksowalismy sie. Poszlismy tez na kilka gorskich spacerow, raz nieplanowanie - w klapkach! Gdy juz nasycilismy sie miejscem, poplynelismy lodzia no nastepnej miejscowosci - Nong Khiaw. Rowniez pieknie, ale nie az tak jak w poprzedniej -zwiedzilismy pobliska jaskinie, weszlismy na jedna z mniejszych gor oraz delektowalismy sie indyjskim jedzeniem! Obejrzelismy tez film o sekretnej wojnie w Laosie, ktory byl dla nas lekcja z historii i wyjasnil obecnosc bomb - obecnie wykorzystywanych do dekoracji (!) Oraz znakow ostrzegawczych o minach.

Llegamos a Laos despues de 21 horas de viaje, primero en un autobus nocturno y despues en una furgoneta local. Tuvimos un recibiento curioso en la aduana donde toco pagar el timo de turno. El viaje nos recordo a sumatra, con furgonetas llenas al máximo y unas velocidades de caracol, pero sin lugareños amistosos. Nuestra primera parada fue Muang Khua, un pequeño pueblo muy escénico. En el momento que salimos de la furgoneta sentimos un golpe de calor y el ambiente relajado del pueblo. En la furgoneta conocimos a Ruben y Sonia, una pareja de Galicia, con quienes viajamos a nuestro siguiente destino: Muang Ngoi Neua.

Fuimos en barca , 4 horas de viaje, y el trayecto fue increible en lo que respecto a las vistas, la comodidad dejaba much que desear. Salpicones de agua, asientis incomodos y un poco de rafting estaba incluido en el lote. Finalmente llegamos a nueestro destino, un sitio idílico en las montañas. Nuestra suerte no se acabo aquí ya que encontramos una habitación con vistas y un par de hamacas para disfrutar de ellas desde la inmensa ventana que tenía. Aprovechamos para relajarnos, leer libros, para explorar el area caminando.... Una vez satisfechos cogimos un bote al próximo pueblo: Non Khiaw.

También escénico pero no tanto como el pueblo anterior. Caminamos más, sudamos como locos y disfrutamos de comida India; un gran aliciente para nuestro viaje a la India. Vimos una película acerca de la guerra secreta de la C.I.A,que fue una buena lección de historia, y vino ha explicar la razón de las numerosas bombas usadas como decoración.

Comfy sleeper bus

Comfy sleeper bus

Muang Khua wobbly bridge

Muang Khua wobbly bridge

Muang Khua

Muang Khua

Muang Khua - view to the river

Muang Khua - view to the river

Our scenic boat Muai Ngoi Neua

Our scenic boat Muai Ngoi Neua

Boat trip

Boat trip

Views from the boat

Views from the boat

Views from the boat

Views from the boat

Views from the boat

Views from the boat

Muai Ngoi Neua our paradise

Muai Ngoi Neua our paradise

Views in Muai Ngoi Neua

Views in Muai Ngoi Neua

we were eating well in Muang Ngoi Neua

we were eating well in Muang Ngoi Neua

Enjoying the view from our room

Enjoying the view from our room

Muang Ngoi Neua

Muang Ngoi Neua

We were very happy with our accommodation.

We were very happy with our accommodation.

View of the river in Muang Ngoi Neua

View of the river in Muang Ngoi Neua

Nearby cave in  Muang Ngoi Neua

Nearby cave in Muang Ngoi Neua

Walking around Muang Ngoi Neua to nearby villages

Walking around Muang Ngoi Neua to nearby villages

Walking around Muang Ngoi Neua

Walking around Muang Ngoi Neua

Wallking around Muang Ngoi Neua

Wallking around Muang Ngoi Neua

Prepared to sweat

Prepared to sweat

Buddha cave in Muang Ngoi Neua

Buddha cave in Muang Ngoi Neua

Fashion is important, even trekking

Fashion is important, even trekking

View of the river, Muang Ngoi Neua

View of the river, Muang Ngoi Neua

Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw

Bomb shells used as decoration

Bomb shells used as decoration

cave used by Hmong people to hide when Laos was being bombed during secret war

cave used by Hmong people to hide when Laos was being bombed during secret war

Inside the cave - government chamber

Inside the cave - government chamber

Ticket place for the viewpoint, not very encouraging

Ticket place for the viewpoint, not very encouraging

On top of the viewpoint. Unfortunately was very hazy.

On top of the viewpoint. Unfortunately was very hazy.

Hide and seek while trekking:-)

Hide and seek while trekking:-)

Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw

our bungalow in Nong Khiaw

our bungalow in Nong Khiaw

Posted by joxa 00:15 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

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