Date: 2019-06-26 to 2019-06-28

The train ride from Berlin to Bruxelles was really hard, so I won’t recommend it to anybody going the same way.

First I took the ICE from Berlin to Cologne overnight. Actually it is not a night train, so you have just normal seat and every station the announcement of the stop is waking you up. So when I reached Cologne I was very tired, but I had some time to spare till the connection to Bruxelles, therefore I went for a coffee and some cake.

Getting on the train to Bruxelles I still was tired, but cake, coffee and view was good.

When I arrived in Bruxelles I stored my heavy backpack at the station and used the rest of the day exploring the city, eating chocolate cake, and enjoying some great days there. And finally learned how Van Gogh really lost his ear …

Journey continued

After the end of the journey in Ho Chi Minh City, I finally got back to work. The impressons of the last 6 months helped me to see some things in daily life differently.

But actually I missed travelling a lot, this kind of self defined lifestyle is really great.

So in the end of June it was time to travel again …

Night train to Hue

The train I went down from Hanoi to Hue had the splendid name Reunification Express 3. I checked in early enough in Hanoi, that I could take some nice pictures.

The soft-sleeper cabin consisted of 4 berths. Well the mattress was harder, and because it is warm normally in Vietnam we only got a thin blanket. For that night it was much too thin we had heavy rainy weather outside and only 13 degrees. It was really cold on the trains.

So the best train sleeper award on this journey goes to  China Railways. Mattresses are nice and you get thick blankets. And railroad lines are better maintained than in Russia or Vietnam.


Date: 2018-12-07 to 2018-12-11

After I picked up an infection my days in Hanoi were not so funny. Most time lying in bed with fever. I even went to doctor to check whether I got Malaria from mosquito bites in Laos. The doc found out that it was a bacterial infection, so I was some kind of relieved not having Malaria, but the side effect was that the toilet in my hotel room became my favourite place for the next days 🙁

Even in the few times I was sightseeing in Hanoi I found some really nice places and even had great dinner at the Hanoi Home restaurant, which was really delicious.

A really awkward thing was watching the train just going through a street in Hanoi:



Date: 2018-12-03 to 2018-12-07

Sapa itself is not worth visiting it is a dirty and very touristy city in the North of Vietnam.

But the landscape around with all the small valley and villages and the famous ricefields is amazing.

I did two hikes one down the valley in South East direction which is really famous. So I went to the Cat-Cat village, paid entrance there walked there around and was not so really amused by all this touristy stuff there, visited the site with the waterwheels and the headed down the valley. After a while I was almost alone sometimes I met pigs or dogs and just one other trekking group. It was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it, except the way back. Do not try to go back on the street!

The second hike was up north in some parts the trail of the Vietnam Mountain Marathon of 2015 until Ta Phi village. There I visited a cave and met nice local people from the Mong tribe. I would recommend this trekking tour – sometimes I had to search a little bit the path, but I had no severe problems to find it. The route is amazing because you cross some small passes, which are nice viewpoints for enjoying this amazing rice terraced landscape situated in front of you.

The bad thing is that on all hiking paths you see the pollution of plastic and even the river coming down from Sa Pa was foaming like you can see on following image:

And the cave tour was very special. Thanks to the Mong ladies they guided me through.

Travelling on Nam Ou river

In the morning I went to small pier in Nong Khiaw and bought a ticket to Muang Khua, which is another small town in the north of Lao. From there it should be easy to get a bus to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam.

The boat started at 10:30 from Nong Khiaw. Till the first stop the boat was very full, so full that water came in and I think even the driver was anxious that there is too much load on the boat and got quite nervous.

But after that it was a relaxing trip, just once we had to bypass a dam by bus.

Nong Khiaw

Date: 2018-11-27 to 2018-11-29

From Luang Prabang I went up by public bus to Nong Khiaw. I was lucky to get the bus because it departed 30 minutes ahead of schedule and was quite full.

Nong Khiaw is a little town with some shops and a lot of trekking companies.

After signing up for a tour on the next day I hiked up to a viewpoint. The view over there was really good, but there was a lot of mist down in the river valley. The path is quite challenging uphill and runs through dense forest.

Next day I went on a two day trekking tour. So I stored my big bag at the guesthouse where I stayed in Nong Khiaw and used my daypack for the two days.

First we went up by boat the Nam Ou river and the guide showed me different plants they use for medicine or to eat.

He was really knowledgeable. After about two hours we arrived at a village where we had lunch, then we headed back to the river and took the boat to the village where we had the homestay over night. It was interesting to be there and they even made great handcraft there like weaving silk.

The next day we went down the river again, had a little tour through a jungle part near the river and hiked up to a nice waterfall.

And then headed back to Nong Khiaw by kayak.

It was a nice tour but not very challenging and most time you sit in the boat going up.or down the river.


Hiking to Tad Sae Waterfall

Date: 2018-11-24

I hiked with Laos Adventure Tours to the waterfall and did a kayaking back to Luang Prabang.

I cannot recommend going with them. The company is very unorganized. First the guide I should have gone did not show up, we did a long tour through Luang Prabang to get 4 kayaks and finally when we should start the tour one kayak was missing.