Buying a motorbike to ride through Vietnam


 
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Good Morning Vietnam! After a long preparation time, we were actually there. Just in time for the winter in Europe, we had diligently compared flights and finally booked for 285 euros per person return at Air China. These are cheaper after the big TET New Year celebrations according to the lunar calendar in February.
 
For the environment, it is better if you fly in a warm country in winter, instead of heating with 1500 liters of fuel oil (= diesel) a house in cold Germany and cheaper it anyway. However, as long as the continued production of children in times of climate change is not punished severely by rapidly growing overpopulation, we do not even need to talk about environmental protection.
 
The state-owned Chinese airline has the distinct advantage over European airlines that they will not go on strike and go bankrupt, as is the case with two airlines in Europe, who in this case can keep their customers' money but do not have to pay that someone has to go to jail If you do not pay GEZ you will go to prison as a German. Of course not illegal immigrants. Crazy world. Profits are privatized, losses are always nationalized or imposed on the taxpayer. This would be unthinkable in China.
 
During our 12-hour stay in Beijing, the hub of the Asian airline, however, we had the opportunity to get to know the Chinese 1-party dictatorship system also from its cruel side. When we arrived from Germany, one of the most sensitive countries in the world with the highest safety regulations, we first had to go through a security check. The staff was so unbelievably rude as I had never experienced it at any airport before.
 
A young lad snapped at a skilful business man in front of us, who had already discarded everything else, that he had to take off his belt. Pure military drill ... no trace of intelligence or emotional empathy. Call of duty.
 
Even the young guy at the 72 hour China Visa counter had his brain washed so often, until no emotion or intelligence left behind. Chinese officials react like robots. "What this?" A stamp. Yes I have been to many countries as a traveler and therefore had many stamps in my passport. "What this?" One of the stamps in my passport had an even worse quality than most Chinese products. It was hard to tell from which country he came from. Some Neanderthal man had punched him right in the middle, wasting a whole valuable page of my passport, even though there were plenty of other free corners left. I tapped idiots from Senegal. Especially civil servants in Africa lacked tremendous intelligence, while the stamps from South America were mostly positioned to save space. The Chinese official called for reinforcements, opened a database and probably compared the illegible stamp in my passport with some photos. Eventually it turned out that some monkeys from South Africa had left their inglorious tracks prominently in the middle of a valuable new page somewhere in the middle of my passport.
 
The entry into China took almost an hour. So that it does not come back at the exit, I stuck my suitcase label with barcode on the illegible stamp in my passport. 5 times our board card was scanned and twice our 10 fingerprints taken. It seemed nobody had a plan. It was just made stupid service by regulation.
 
Of course, the fingerprinting on the devices made in China did not work properly, so it needed a lot of testing each time. Hopefully, face recognition works just as badly. Throughout the airport we were monitored by at least 7 cameras at the same time. I had never seen such a density of surveillance cameras. Who does not behave in China as prescribed by the government, is recognized by artificial intelligence AI by face recognition and gets, for example, no more loans, may not buy a flat or no car see ZDF time "UNANTASTBAR - The fight for human rights" from 15.12.2018 , Very intimidating. And I would never voluntarily want to buy an autonomously driving vehicle. I never drive a bus. The whole time the officials did not look at me directly (my picture was also on their monitor) and nobody even smiled once. Spooky.
 
Franzi had her 72 hour entry stamp within 10 minutes in her empty passport and waited for me at the exit. We had filled our water bottle after the flight at the drinking water dispenser of the airport. Now we had to go through a security check and the water was taken off again. Welcome to China. In a large hall there was a cash machine, where we took off 150 Chinese yuan about 20 euros.
 
The English Express Airport Express also went to Dong Zhi Menh for 25 yuan per person per way. There we wanted to change to another subway. For this we had to buy another ticket for 4 yuan per person. Also every subway station was littered with surveillance cameras. In addition, police patrolled everywhere with wild flashing Bodycams and a club. There were cameras everywhere.
 
At the place of heavenly peace, we got out. Here, too, mainly the many surveillance cameras and police officers were striking. The total external monitoring see also ARD documentation "The big upheaval" from 08.04.2019. Shit what a sick country. In fact, China managed to push Nigeria out of the top-1 of the worst countries I've ever visited. Amazingly, one of the most common questions I was asked.
 
A Chinese woman sitting on the plane next to me later confirmed to me that monitoring our police presence in all Chinese cities is so bad. Only in the poor country is it a little better. It was only allowed the opinion of the government. The internet and Facebook were blocked.
 
The first thing we saw when the escalator from the subway station came to light was a major police blockade. Numerous cars were searched. We crossed the 20-lane road. Because of the police blockade no traffic prevailed. Nevertheless, we stupidly waited for the green of the traffic light. On each side of the street were 4 officials, from which one could expect no intelligence. Stupid robot. Also, the camera surveillance watched and sends bus money directly to the phone of people who have not buckled, for example, see NDR documentary "China: artificial intelligence in dictatorship".
 
We walked along the footpath. Every 50 meters 4 police officers were waiting in black uniform with an armored car and every 200 meters a policeman stood representative in a nice green uniform. Four times we had to queue up. Then all the people walking along the sidewalk had to have their passport checked and push their bags, shoes, jackets and belts through a scanner like at the airport.
 
The place of heavenly peace was huge. There was hardly anything to see except tall masts with many cameras on them that could be moved in all directions.
 
On the way to the Forbidden City, we passed buildings with extremely large gates, which should explain to the Chinese citizens how small and unimportant they are as a person. Of course, in front of these buildings were numerous police officers, probably the most boring job in the world and it was hardly possible to take a picture without at least 10 surveillance cameras were in the picture. Inside there was a kind of yard. It went like in a military school. Young bulls had to march and make a monkey on command.
 
It was obviously about the young people in the brain to shit until they made any nonsense, without questioning him. In rank and file, they had to sit down to watch a basketball game. However, it was not cheered when it was exciting, but when the upper monkey barked. Incredible. Something you can hardly imagine in the Western world.
 
The forbidden city itself had closed at 15 o'clock despite a large tourist rush. What else can you expect from a state-owned company? The entrance would be 30? Juan tasted. Seen from the outside, however, it would have been just a continuation of police barracks full of young bulls being trained here as if a policeman was a respectable profession.
 
We left the academy through an oversized side gate and wandered through Chinese streets. Everywhere thick German cars but no sound to hear. Porsche Cayenne with electric drive? Possible. Audi A8 electric? Here, of course. In between, hundreds of electric scooters. The future. The cars drove in green completely silently at the traffic light and passed the many cameras, which also monitored here every 50 meters the road in both directions. There were many small shops decorated with a pig's logo. It was the Chinese year of the pig. A lucky year. advertising
 

 
After landing in Hanoi we got our entry stamp completely uncomplicated. A 30-day e-Visa we had already applied for a month in advance online for 23 euros per person.
 
It is important to enter the MEDIUM NAME if you have one in your passport. If the documents are not correct, they are subject to severe penalties, as in most countries. In the worst case criminals are even executed ARD Tagesthemen from 10.04.2019. Vietnam is not a country where criminal, illegal immigrants also get tax money that honest citizens have to work out.
 
The bus line 86 went for 35,000 dong per person to the Old Quarter in the old city center with numerous tourist hotels such as Khao San Road in Bangkok Previously, we had lifted the ATM each the maximum amount: 77.- Euro.
 
Even from the bus window, the country fascinated me. Huge swarms of motorcycles packed with all sorts of things, animals or up to 6 people jumbled all over each other.
 
Red traffic lights seemed to serve only as decoration. No one used the passing of a red light as an excuse to gamble on other people.
 
Again and again came to meet a ghost driver in their own lane, but during our entire trip we saw no single motorcycle accident. In contrast to Germany, people here pay attention to their fellow human beings. There are no lawmakers who insist on their right of way and cause an accident. It only needs a single rule: Look forward but in no case to the side or even back, it could someone drive directly in front of you on the main road, without a single look to see if the road is free.
 
At Hoam Kiem Lake we got out and walked the last kilometer to our hotel on foot. Everywhere there were delicious little street stalls. Fortunately, people were less intrusive than in India. Only a few people chatted us to sell us something.
 
After the long journey we were completely re-piloted without much sleep. The temperature was 30 degrees higher than on our departure. I could not anymore.
 
Although I knew better, I had brought too much stuff with me. Nobody needs more than a T-shirt that he has on and safety flip flops to ride the motorcycle. Fortunately, we were allowed to leave our long pants, our right shoes and other unnecessary things until the end of our trip in our first hotel.
 
First of all, however, big soup time was announced. For 30,000 dong per serving which we did not have to negotiate we got in the middle of the sidewalk a bowl with a soup of noodles, chicken and fresh lettuce leaves. Add chopsticks and small spoons. Luckily I had saved one of the countless disposable plastic forks from the plane. We sat down on tiny children's chairs to the other people and ate together in the middle of the street. Franzi turned out to be much more skilled at eating with chopsticks, but I too soon got the hang of it.
 
After we had rested a bit, we put the last few meters back to the hotel. My Garmin Navi with free map of Openstreatmap knew the way. The sidewalks were so full of motorbikes that we usually had to walk on the street. From all sides motorcycles went around in all directions. It took a lot of courage to cross a street but even if it looked like this all the time: no one killed you.
 
Finally, we turned into an alley that was so narrow that no car would fit into it. Motorcycles parked on the right as everywhere, on the left there were small food stalls and in between we ran. The doors of the houses were open. The street was part of the living room of the people. Then a motorcycle honked behind us until we let it through. Then another came from the front again. A huge mess but no one bothered about it. Brilliant.
 
The supply of medicines to the population is much better here than in Germany. While one of the apothecaries in the oh-so-praised Germany would prefer to die without a prescription, we could here in allegedly underserved Vietnam without state tutelage everywhere, every drug we wanted to buy.
 
Finally we found our hotel North 2. Already alone because of the lack of Feuerwehrzufahrtsmöglichkeit would be unthinkable in Germany. The hotel was about 5 feet wide, maybe 10 feet deep and 4 stories high and had 6 rooms for $ 12 each night.
 
We booked it because of the many positive reviews on Booking.com. It was more about the helpfulness of the operator than the condition of the rooms.
 
If you were to accommodate illegal immigrants in Germany for free, there would be an outcry from the naive, left-wing population. However, we were fully satisfied in Vietnam.
 
Franzi fell asleep immediately after she lay down, while I logged into the wifi. Wifi is much more widespread in Asia than in Spiessig Germany with its liability risks. If copied films are downloaded here, it does not interest anybody. You can buy them anywhere on the roadside anyway.
 
Facebook has two groups: here and here , where tourists sell their motorcycles. Also a group, where you get good travel tips: here. I wrote to a few people and arranged for a test drive in front of their hotel.
 
Armed with my sat nav and a power bank to find home if necessary, I ran through Hanoi and admired this new world.
 
They punished everything lying, which in the anxious spiessigen Germany by the policy and the police again and again falsschlicher wise is drummed: 4 persons on a motorcycle? Completely normal. A huge new fridge? Also normal. At red on the traffic lights and then contrary to the one-way street next? Does not bother anyone and does not lead to a single accident. It just depends on the intelligence of the people.
 
On the way I happened to pass one of the many shops that fake Honda Win motorcycles with Chinese Loncin or Detech engine, etc. of tourists whose visa runs expire for about $ 75, then to brush them and with new rubber bands to other tourists for $ 200 continue to sell. I looked at some of the motorcycles.
 
Even the nasty razende noise when pressing the start button indicated a defect of the starter motor. Not to mention the fork completely oilyed by defective oil seals. The intrusive salesman said that everything was normal. Just away. He called me after $ 180.
 
After a short time I reached the other tourist's hotel. It was much fancier and bigger but if one of the owners is here personally with words and deeds aside and free things stored up to the return flight?
 
The man from Canada came and led me into the guarded garage that belonged to the hotel. This is just unreal? While his fake Honda Win looked clean and almost new in his Facebook ad on sale, the grinder here in the garage was completely dirty, the headlamp showed deep scratches from a crash, the brake lever was bent and the seat tore. There was still something to go on the price of $ 180. The man stayed tough and so I used the wifi of the fancy hotel to make an appointment with another saleswoman. Later, I saw on Facebook that he reduced the price of his damaged motorcycle to $ 150. Too late.
 
The girl from Germany stayed in a stinking 8 bed room in a rugged backpacker. By contrast, our hotel was the purest luxury but also 4 times as expensive. Their fake Honda Wave with Chinese Loncin engine was according to the enclosed Blue Card, the obligatory proof of ownership in Vietnam built in 1992 and had already experienced so much. Her rear footpegs hung limp. But you can fix that. However, the seat and tires were new and the chain also.
 
The speedometer did not work but who needs it? The main thing the gas gauge was still working. She just made an oil change. She bought the machine 2 months earlier from a dealer for $ 300. We agreed on $ 150 dollars I had brought including 2 helmets that hardly deserve this title and gloves, which I sold for 20 euros. Shipping bikes around the globe doesn't make sense.
 
Most tourists are traveling with fake Honda Wins. They have a manual gearshift, a mobile phone holder from which the phone falls out while driving and usually an extra large luggage rack so a rack for your backpack. While Honda recommends checking the oil level every 500 km and changing the oil every 12,000 km, windy used motorcycle dealers recommend their customers not to check the oil every 500km but to chase it. Presumably to cover up the high oil consumption of the down ridden boxes. However, regular refilling is sufficient and saves a lot of money and time and protects the environment.
 
For Vietnamese, only original Hondas or, if necessary, Yamaha scooters are considered for quality and longevity, even if they are many times more expensive.
 
The streets are characterized by extremely agile, semi-automatic Honda Wave and various Japanese scooters. These vehicles have the advantage that you can drive a child in the storage space in front of the driver or can stow various goods. Or a backpack with tent and sleeping bag to the inside or on it if it is too warm. BMWs are virtually non-existent in Vietnam because of their lousy quality coupled with inflated prices. See 1, 2, 3. All the gear and no idea. The less experienced people are, the bigger bikes they buy. In Vietnam, only up to 200cc are allowed.
 
Back at the hotel I secured my new purchase with the included bike lock against theft. The hotel operator advised to put it as well as his own vehicle overnight for 25,000 dong with a professional guard at the bottom of the road. At night, almost all vehicles actually disappeared from the streets. Most people took them into the living room of their house or just took care of a guard. There seems to be a reason.
 
With Franzu I made a small culinary dinner tour, the food is in Vietnam to the main occupation. The chaos became even bigger around the Night Marked. There were food stalls everywhere and so much to try. Fortunately, the food was not as spicy as in India or Thailand. In addition, was gladly taken into account for foreigners and the chili omitted. Mmmmh.
 
Around noon the next day, we still decided to eat breakfast and test the new bike. True, the rear pegs are really down too far. Two streets down, people were making street bikes on motorcycles. I explained the problem with a wiggle on the hanging latch. As a cost estimate, one of the men pulled 20,000 dong from his pocket. Thumbs up and a nod. We had a deal. For converted 60 cents, the mechanic mounted both footpegs and welded new metal until they were perfectly straight after unfolding. In Germany, every workshop would have sent us off without an appointment.
 
Where there is a gas station? I made the gesture as if I would refuel the motorcycle with a fuel nozzle and then raised my shoulders and hands helplessly. Pantomilian language always works. The workshop master pointed to the other side of the street. There was actually a man selling petrol in plastic bottles. 30,000 per liter. At the gas station it costs 18,000 but they are not everywhere. However, such small traders already.
 
With my fingers, I pushed the tire around and made a swaying motion with my hand. The air pressure was not good. One pointed to the workshop next door. The had a compressor, but only wanted to inflate the tire 20,000. The guy in the workshop next to the workshop spoke English and kindly allowed me to increase the tire pressure briefly for the 2-person operation. Then it could go on.
 
The city tour with Franzi continued through Hanoi. Again and again we stopped to take pictures or eat something. Small food stalls were really everywhere. Even on the train tracks that led right through a residential area. If the train comes here once or twice a day, people have to clear their tables and chairs and hang up the laundry.
 
The next morning, we sorted out our stuff, left spare clothes, long pants and shoes from the cold Europe in the hotel, and just got on our way with tent, sleeping bags, the short clothes we had on, flip flops, toothbrushes, sunscreen and cameras with the motorbike through Vietnam. As a pillow, against sunburn and if the short things are too cold or even need to be washed, we each had a long underpants, a long sweater and a rain-proof jacket with it. Franzi also a swimsuit. For me, my underpants were enough.
 
Despite all austerity measures was our little Honda wave with two people plus camping gear for German conditions completely overloaded. However, we were in Vietnam and so seamlessly integrated into the street scene.
 
From there, the Luzi headed north-west into the mountains to the legendary rice terraces. In Vietnam, mainly jasmine rice is grown. Because Sa Pa GPS was 22 ° 20'10.90 "N 103 ° 50'37.63" E with 300 km per direction too short for our short time, Franzi had ergoogelt an alternative: Mai Chau, Pu Luong nature reserve 20 ° 26'48.26 " N 105 ° 8'54.81 "E 13,000 km of rice are eaten per second worldwide. Inconceivably. The people of Vietnam are really growing rice everywhere, even in the steep mountains. So that the water in which the rice grows does not flow away, they laboriously create many horizontal terraces.
 
Nevertheless, we found again and again quiet places where we could undisturbed pitch our tent as for example near the Cuc Phuong National Park. Was showered either in a river, under a waterfall or from a drinking water bottle until we found out that most gas stations have public showers. Really a great service.
 
While we were showering, we always washed our clothes right away and then put them back wet. In the wind of the motorcycle, they were dry again within a short time. The weather got better as we got further south. Sunscreen became indispensable.
 
We reached Ninh Binh, the so-called dry Halong Bay GPS 20 ° 15'2.21 "N 105 ° 58'28.03" E. Here you could take boat tours through the typical hills that characterize the landscape of Vietnam. Because Tam Coc was too touristy, Franzi had a great alternative: Linh Coc Pier. It was worth negotiating hard for the boat tour.
 
One of the top attractions in the center of Vietnam are its caves. The tickets for the dripstone caves Dong Tien Son and Phong Nha can be bought in the package at the tourist office in the city Phong Nha-Ke Bang GPS 17 ° 36'43.64 "N 106 ° 18'21.76" E for 250.000 about 10 Euro per person.
 
Previously, a group of 12 people must gather together. Then it goes behind the ticket office by boat.
 
We kindly let our belongings to the family of a friendly mechanic who had previously replaced a screw we had lost on the way.
 
We did not trust the intrusive "security guards" who were chatting to you on arrival in the city, and we did not want to book a hotel. We had our tent with us.
 
At the caves we have seen several tourists who have driven with their own scooters directly to the coordinates of the caves. However, they arrived on the wrong bank of the river and nobody showed mercy to bring them over and so they had to bump the bad way back.
 
The trip to the stalactite caves definitely paid off. It is a great spectacle of nature that has been illuminated by human hands.
 
Through the first cave you walk on fenced footbridges, in the second cave you drive by boat and then run back.
 
Dinner was in a little tourist restaurant opposite the motorcycle workshop. The dishes were washed on the ground outdoors directly in sight of the guests with cold water from the boss personally. Everything is normal here. Also that there was Wi-Fi and we could refill our bottles at the big tanks with drinking water and recharge our batteries. The European plugs fit everywhere in the sockets.
 
We left the city for the night and pitched our tent in the wilderness just outside the gate of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
 
Since we had not seen enough caves, we stored our things again the next day at the mechanic and followed the narrow road 30 km through great nature to Paradise Cave. On the way we passed a botanical garden.
 
For the parking required 5000 dong. The entrance of Paradise Cave was 50,000 dong per person. Because today was Women's Day, Franzi got 25,000 discount. I already hear the equality idiots screaming in Germany. There is no such nonsense here.
 
Paradise Cave was fantastic as well. First, it is about 2 km up the hill. Part of it can be driven for an extra charge in golf cars. Then it goes down the stairs deep into the tastefully lit interior of the mountain. Hundreds of Vietnamese tourists crowded here.
 
Running children made the boardwalks vibrate, so that shake-free photography with the camera on the railing required a lot of patience.
 
If you want, you can hike for about 80 euros in the form of an adventure tour with headlamp and guide about 8 km into the mountain. The visit to the largest cave in the world Song Dong costs a staggering $ 3,000 per person and is said to be quite adventurous with swimming and hiking.
 
Back in our regular restaurant, we filled our stomachs and water bottles.
 
Then we left the city to go a few more miles behind us. Time was pressing. On the way we struck our tent hidden between many tombs with the forbidden in Germany sun sign. Nobody bothered and cemeteries were easy to find even in the densely populated coastal area. The people greeted, laughed and walked on.
 
In Hue, Franzi visited the former imperial city, while I ate something delicious and kept an eye on our things.
 
The cloud pass Hoi Van GPS 16 ° 13'34.00 "N 108 ° 4'59.05" E was recommended to us. After the great roads we had already driven and which were still following, this overcrowded pass with coaches could only elicit a weary smile.
 
Just continue, the intrusive dealers really annoying.
 
On the other side of the cloud pass, the weather was drier and our tent was no longer as soaked in condensed moisture in the morning. During the day we sweaty wet and at night the moisture dripped from the branches of the trees, when the temperatures dropped a bit after sunset and the air could not hold so much moisture. More than 100% humidity will not work.
 
After Hoi An we drove on the coast. The traffic here was murderous and the heat was extreme. We needed strong nerves and a lot of sunscreen.
 
Hoi An by night, however, was great. The city center was decorated with thousands of colorful lampignos. In addition, the city is known for its tailoring.
 
We left our belongings to an old man, who took care of the guests' bikes in front of a luxury restaurant and made our way on foot.
 
About a likewise well illuminated bridge it went in the city center over a bridge. Every 20 seconds we were approached and asked if we wanted to do a boat tour.
 
Ignoring these annoyances, they took one to attract attention.
 
Since Hoi An is very small, we found, surprisingly enough, the perfect place to camp.
 
The next day we took off to swim in the sea and dry our sweaty or dew-drenched clothes on the beach. We had now made half of our route and were well in time.
 
The flat tire that surprised us one morning because of strange metal splinters in the tire, we could easily fix. A new hose cost 70,000 so about 2 euros including installation. Luckily we had to push the fully loaded motorcycle only 1 km to the nearest road workshop.
 
Then we went to the mountains. I had tremendous respect. The small motorcycle with its surprisingly high oil consumption and so much luggage. Hopefully it will prevail.
 
Our Luzi, however, beat each other well. Every now and then she emerged in the race against smoldering, 9km / h fast truck full of cut down jungle wood with incredible 12 km / h as the clear winner. On a straight line she managed 60 km / h according to GPS.
 
The 110cc engine would have had even more power, but then slipped the semi-automatic Flihkraftkupplung. So down a gear and more speed, so she stopped.
 
The consumption of Luzi was about 3 liters per 100 km eco-friendly. Since her tank took just that much, we had to go to the gas station about one or two times a day. What annoyed me was that the Tankwärte when the tank was already full and everything was already over and I Stop Stop Stop still called several times the fuel pump off and continued to refuel tank to achieve a smooth sum. I should then pay the lake on the ground. If I had enough cash to pay properly, I cut the bill in such outrageous cases. Otherwise, we were allowed to take a shower for free at least everywhere and could make the banknotes of the ATMs small for many street restaurants. Although there was no petrol station in the mountains, there was a small shop in each village that also sold gasoline for 20,000 in bottles. It was not necessary to take reserve canisters with it.
 
The landscape was breathtakingly beautiful. Dense jungle and huge tropical trees wherever you looked. And then more and more people came and demanded more and more coal.
 
Really sad to see that the jungle was cut down everywhere and burned away. Everything has been cleared to plant new plantations or even rice terraces here.
 
The consequences of the ever-increasing overpopulation of our planet. As long as further production of children is not prohibited, it is not necessary to talk about environmental protection in times of climate change due to overpopulation. Here, too many children were running around, clearing the jungle for their own house in a few years, and then producing more children themselves.
 
We progressed slowly but steadily. Again and again we took photo breaks. Especially in inaccessible places where the jungle had not yet cleared, nature was so beautiful.
 
Towards evening we set out to find a place to camp. Especially here in the steep mountains this will be a difficult task. We thought.
 
About an adventurous steel cable bridge from Vietnam war times we left the main road, to look a bit off a quiet spot.
 
A little boy who drove a cow herd over the bridge in front of us frightened himself when he saw foreigners and urged his cows to hurry. An error.
 
As the cows started to run, the entire bridge started to vibrate. The whole thing kept rocking. I stopped immediately and waited for the herd of cows to leave the bridge on the other side. We were just at the beginning.
 
However, Franzi got a lot of panic from swinging the bridge. When everything had calmed down, I drove slowly and evenly across the bridge and then over a second.
 
On the other side we found a small village. Many children waved to us. There was no open space here either. The mountains were very steep, it was all overgrown or built on small houses.
 
Slowly we drove through the village. Then suddenly we discovered an abandoned house on the wayside. The roof was broken, the windows were missing and the door was open. I stopped to take a closer look.
 
The house was so heavily overgrown even inside that you could not build a tent on its floor but it had a backyard on a kind of small garden whose soil was probably tamped over decades so firmly that here still nothing grew. Perfect.
 
We dragged our backpacks behind the house and I carefully pushed Luzi through the undergrowth. Especially here in the mountains I did not want to risk a flat tire. But no theft. As usual, the bike had to stand next to our tent.
 
When we opened the tent, a curious group of children and a few older neighbors appeared as before. They looked at us friendly, smiled and then left us alone. As always, we used the tent only as mosquito protection without rain cover and spent a relaxed night. Everything else would have been too hot.
 
The next morning we refueled from bottles. Who knows how far away the next village is? I was glad that my Navi knew the streets.
 
The higher we came, the less we met other road users. At 1535 meters, the road was cleared away. No car would fit through here. We were all alone and relieved to take a break. We actually did it.
 
Luzi got back 200 ml of motor oil. Not only did it burn it, it slowly dripped out of the shift lever gasket. The fork oil we had long lost by a defective Simmerring. Who cares?
 
As we sat there and fumbled with oil on the bike, the only motorcyclist who had loaded 5 huge vases immediately to help us. Unbelievable, how friendly and helpful people were here. Luckily we did not need any help and thanked each other.
 
The next challenge was to make it down again. The performance of the front drum brake left much to be desired.
 
The drum brake back worked really well. The problem was, however, that the brake pedal dragged on the asphalt and then there was no braking effect when I made a right turn when braking, or a wooden truck, which suddenly appeared in the middle of the road.
 
So we slowly twitched with a howling engine in the first or second gear down the mountains and enjoyed the great scenery.
 
Unfortunately, very few villages had a restaurant and when these restaurants had no food during the day. Only tea was offered.
 
It was always a great pleasure when we found a restaurant somewhere where we saw people eating and a surprise to see what there was today. Such a break lasted with Wlan daddeln and cameras load quickly a few hours. At midday it was already too hot to drive anyway and we were well in time.
 
On the way, a few spots next to the road were marked with skull and crossbones. What was lying here? Too dangerous to fathom.
 
The deeper we came down, the less jungle was left. Most had been cleared and charred by now.
 
Back instead of juicy jungle was a dry steppe with some thorny bushes. The cheap charcoal in German DIY stores has to come somewhere for 2.99 euros.
 
Although we were still moving inland near the border with Laos on the way to the elephants GPS N12 ° 24'43.0 "E108 ° 10'14.5", the landscape became much flatter.
 
So we managed despite photo stops at interesting temples and churches, showering, washing clothes and leisurely lunch breaks 200 km per day with the usual here about 50 km / h.
 
Slowly we came into the holiday flow. It was no longer about reaching any goals and hooking off, but simply about enjoying life here, while the cold winter had a grip on Europe.
 
Vietnam turned out to be one of the most beautiful and easiest to travel countries in the world.
 
The people were friendly but reserved, the landscape very varied and everything was ridiculously cheap for our conditions.
 
Nevertheless, we were happy to have our tent with us. Especially in the most interesting places off the beaten track there are no hotels.
 
One day, as we ate in a small, local restaurant on the roadside as usual, a small boy came to us.
 
He was able to speak a little English like most young people here and told us that his father was a coffee farmer.
 
What? Coffee is growing here in the area? So far, I've seen coffee growing high up on the Bolaven Plateau in Laos and India, and so far Franzi only knew coffee from the capsule. Could he show us a plantation?
 
According to his information, the field is about 20 km away and we were already considering whether we should take the boy as usual here as a third person on a motorcycle. He could also run.
 
After all, it was only a few hundred meters to his father's field, and in fact: here coffee plants were in full bloom.
 
As usual, the pepper grew together with the coffee in the same field. Instead of palm trees as in India, however, he grew up on other tree species.
 
For the pepper was just harvest time. The many small peppercorns were dried on huge sheets in the middle of the street in the hot sun.
 
In between we also discovered an avocado tree full of ripe avocados. They were still quite hard but softened after a few days. Mmmmmh.
 
As we drove on, we saw more and more coffee plantations. He grew here everywhere. Towards evening we turned into a coffee plantation and then turn right again. Here we hid our tent hidden behind tall peppercorns.
 
The next day, we spotted men traveling elephants early on. We tried to follow in their footsteps to find out where to ripen elephants.
 
Unfortunately the tracks did not stop and there were no signs. Also, nobody understood the word elephant and my attempt to portray a pantomime.
 
However, when I showed around one of the photos that we had shot of course before, a man led us on his motorcycle to the right place and there they stood: 6 powerful elephants chained to one foot and waiting for tourists.
 
When Franzi approached one of the elephants, she greeted him with his trunk as if he were looking for something.
 
I understood immediately and disappeared. Nearby, at the edge of the road, I had spotted a wild palm that was half-bent under the weight of a thick banana tree.
 
The bananas were still green, but that would not disturb the elephant. I broke off a few bananas. They were extremely juicy and sticky.
 
With my find I returned to Franzi. Piece by piece we handed the bananas to the elephant. The elephants carefully grabbed them with their trunk and ate them with shell with only one bite.
 
I certainly hauled in 10 kilos of bananas and took a lot of pictures. For 500,000 so 30 euros you could ride an hour through the water.
 
It was mainly rich Russians who were vacationing here and taking this offer. When they saw me with the camera, they immediately wanted the pictures.
 
However, since I only had my smartphone with Bluotooth keyboard but no laptop with me during this trip, I could not access the single-lens reflex camera I photographed with because it was ready and triggered faster than any other camera. So the guys had to wait a bit for good or bad.
 
The next day we saw the first traffic accident of our trip. In spite of the crazy traffic nothing else had happened. Here, however, was a truck in the street ditch.
 
Truck drivers are the worst drivers here. Many overtake though they see oncoming traffic coming. The right of the fittest. The only thing that helps is to pull out the camera while driving.
 
As thick clouds rose, we asked at a church if we could pitch our tent under their roof and were even led into a large hall where we spent the night, when a violent storm raged outside.
 
As we approached the next town, Luzi suddenly started to bitch around and did not gas any more.
 
I tried to drive them full throttle but without success. When I slowed down, she went completely off and not on again. And now?
 
I started to push. A few seconds later, a motorcyclist stopped next to us and recognized our problem. We should get back on the bike.
 
With his right foot he pressed against the left Sociafussraste, and pushed us on so. After about 2 km we reached a workshop.
 
When I wanted to give him 50,000, he waved off. That's not necessary. He said goodbye and disappeared. The workshop master immediately recognized the problem. When I had typed bad gas or a clogged filter, he unscrewed the spark plug. She was completely coked and showed no spark. Flight he mounted a new spark plug for 50,000 and lo and behold: Luzi jumped as usual and smoked powerful. The high oil consumption was also the workshop master worrisome. Since I was aware of the problem and I waved with a started oil can of which I refilled every 100 km, everything was fine.
 
I had found out that it was not necessary to fill the oil up to the minimum display of the dipstick. Then she just smoked and everything dripped out again. Money and time for a repair I did not want to invest in the last few days. Instead, I tried to keep the oil level measured with a branch measured at about 2 cm from the engine floor. That was the oil level she always had when I stopped to measure and so Luzi was not gone in the mountains.
 
Our planned itinerary caused me a lot more headaches. Franzi wanted to see the dunes of Mui Ne. On all the ways there, however, highwaymen lurk on rich tourists. Like everywhere else in the world, most of the danger is done by the police themselves. The robbing of travelers, the second oldest trade in the world is widespread. The contributions are firmly planned in the budgets of the state governments.
 
If you do not find enough victims, limits are officially lowered for air pollution control, etc. , until the revenue bubbles up again. The Landesumweltanstalt has predicted that "a car with 30 km / h in second gear often emits more pollutants than at 50 km / h in fourth or fifth gear".
 
Security is not really what we're talking about, despite the government's different language rules and language guidance . On the contrary: Speed ??cameras lead to more rear-end collisions. The argument is therefore only advanced.
 
If a policeman does not take in enough money, he will not be promoted see ZDF documentary from 23.5.2012 "Darn Blitzer! From small-scale war on German roads". It is the police so the fulfillment of their fishing quotas, see Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
 
When a local man carries several gas bottles on his motorbike or is traveling with a huge, unbraked trailer, nobody bothers.
 
Woe though, the annual expiration date in a foreigner's international driver's license has expired or you do not have a Vietnamese driver's license. See here . It's like Christmas for the police here.
 
The highwaymen probably always find an excuse to gamble on one. That's why only 40 km / h are allowed here on the highway outside of the city. How do you want to prove that you did not drive faster? No tourist comes through here without a penalty.
 
Also, the avoidance of the coastal road is no longer possible, as lurking on the detour route highwaymen and force one to go back all the way to the robbers see here
 
Hans from Holland, who later bought our Luzi, said he was even stopped and ripped off in Mui Ne's Fisher Village.
 
Experienced Vietnam travelers recommend to have a maximum of 200,000 dong of cash in their pockets and to hide everything else well. But that too can be exhausting. The police plays good cop bad cop and loads the vehicles of tourists to impress or fear to wake up immediately on their pickup. If you want it again, it will be expensive. Very expensive.
 
Some travelers tell about 1 million dong, others paid 2.5 million so 140 dollars and more see here victims are mostly rich Russians who make thousands of holidays here and rent the scooters for small day trips. At least you get here with something to negotiate the scooter without having to deposit a passport as security. It is enough the address and a fictitious room number of a hotel in which one allegedly descended.
 
Either way, I did not feel like it. We had never had any contact with the police during the entire journey and I did not want to be ruined by such idiots.
 
We researched on the Internet, read many sad reports and informed us in numerous video blogs on Youtube. Finally, it became clear that the direct route from Da Lat to Phan Tiet was safe.
 
We probably stayed in Phan Tiet, except for the fact that we had a flat tire twice that day.
 
The patch of a friendly mechanic in the mountains did not last long. Now I allowed ourselves a new hose for 45,000 and paid a waiting day laborer 10,000 for assembly. As expected, he tightened the rear drum brake much too hard, so she blocked when Franzi rose with. Everything better than being robbed.
 
We ate delicious food, found a cemetery for camping and parked our fully loaded motorcycle the next morning in the guarded underground garage of a company. Only a bag of valuables and drinking water we took.
 
Then we took the Blue Line 1 bus for 18,000 each way 20km to Mui Ne. On the way we passed unbelievably chic hotels and resorts. We have to get off on the way back.
 
In the tiny town of Mui Ne we got on the red bus of the line 9. This one again wanted 18,000 and let us out after 1 km on the red sand dunes. We were there without being robbed. Whether we want to rent a sand board to slide down the dunes? No thanks.
 
It was fascinating to walk barefoot through the sand, which heated up around noon. Finally, it was too hot. We walked back the one kilometer to Mui Ne.
 
In Mui Ne we discovered a large, covered market hall. Inside it was pleasantly cool. Here you could buy everything from uncooked fish to meat and fruit to plastic items and clothes.
 
Franzi was in her element and bought all sorts of fruit to try. We saw that the dragon fruits were even in two different colors.
 
On the way back we asked the ticket vendor on the bus to stop where the chic hotels were and got out.
 
Since we were at the beginning of the low season, everything was very quiet. The tourists were just too hot. It's supposed to be hell over New Year and Christmas.
 
Franzi was eager for an iced coffee and so we sat in the restaurant of a kite surf school. As a customer, we naturally took advantage of the pool as well. No one bothered about it and so we came back with the Luzi the next day.
 
Hundreds of surfers were traveling with their kites on the warm and quite undulating water. I would like to try that with some time. Two taster lessons are available here for $ 100. But you do not even touch the water, but practice only to steer the dragon.
 
In the restaurant we got into conversation with a man from Holland.His son works here every year as a kite teacher. He was as enthusiastic about Vietnam as we were and seemed to know each other well.
 
Did he know someone who might want to buy our bike? We had already offered the Luzi as a test to some dealers but we had been offered only one to 1.5 or 1.8 million Dong so maximum $ 60.
 
He visited the motorcycle and sent a few photos to acquaintances. Since these did not answer promptly, he offered 100 €. If his acquaintances did not want the bike, he would keep it.
 
Uff that went fast but now. We had 5 days left and Franzi wanted to drive down to the Mekong Delta, where people live on floating houses and fish farming.
 
I quickly inquired what it would cost to rent a scooter. 100,000 a day. Since Hans did not need the bike right away, he rented the Luzi for 6 days for 300,000 dong. Perfect. Since we will no longer have a motorcycle, we booked two bus tickets for each 130,000 dong in the cozy Sleepliner to Ho Chi Min City.
 
Then we went back to Phan Tiet where food such as eggs was much cheaper and more traditional than in Mui Ne and the night in the cemetery for free. A night in the chic kite school would have cost 500,000.
 
That the bike was already sold, relieved me a lot. Especially after the season, it is not easy to find other tourists who want to buy a motorcycle.
 
Of course, the commercial motorcycle dealers fully exploit the pressure of the expiring visa and already booked return flight of the tourists to push the price.
 
Many tourists were able to sell motorcycles, for which they had paid 300 dollars at the beginning of their journey with a dealer, for only 30 euros at the end of their journey therefore it is important to pay as little as possible for a motorcycle from the beginning.
 
Renting a motorcycle here is the worst. Here one carries to the relatively high costs even the risk of at least 400 euros deposit or must leave his passport as a pledge. Whether this ever appears again?
 
Since the 200km ride on the main road to Ho Chi Minh City was hell, we turned left after 100km to explore the Mekong Delta from this side.
 
Unfortunately, here too nature is increasingly destroyed. The government stamps a huge ship's harbor from the mangrove forests.
 
Back along the coastal road we enjoyed our vacation with delicious lobster, a lot of iced coffee and siesta in the hammock and spent a few more days in Mui Ne and nights in our cemetery.
 
Then we unscrewed the Navi and said goodbye to our Luzi, with whom we really had a great time. With a new tire for 150,000 and a new seal for little money she will surely fit again soon. The bus collected us punctually in front of the hotel as agreed and brought us to Saigon.
 
Even the large and comfortable coach with very comfortable, superimposed beach chairs needed more than 5 hours for the 200 km. In Europe you have the clock, in Vietnam the time. Too bad that you will probably never introduce such comfortable couches in fearful Europe.
 
In Saigon, the bus let out some passengers somewhere on the roadside. No bus stop anything official. Thousands of motorcycles whirled around us.
 
Fortunately, it was not even 1 km to our booked on booking single room. So we were exactly in the city center and not as usual in Germany 30 km outside somewhere in the Pampa unloaded. Perfect.
 
The well-known tourist mile Bui Vien lay directly in front of us. Looking for something we found the woman's housing offering tourists a room for 200,000 as a homestay. We locked our belongings and went out again. It was pure madness what was going on here.
 
Restaurants, bars and discos lined up. Everywhere it glittered and blinked almost like New York.
 
The food was incredibly expensive. 120,000 for rice with chicken instead of the normal 20,000. A trap for tourists who have just arrived and did not know the normal prices yet. Here it can also happen that your own cell phone by passing motorcyclists nimbly stolen from the hand or unscrewed the lens of a camera in the crowd is so careful!
 
When we thought we had found an honest trader, the portion we received was ridiculously tiny.
 
In the side street was almost as much going on but the prices slowly normalized. You just had to ask for it first.
 
A bread roll with omlet from 2 eggs costs 15,000 in the post-Vietnam War, more to the west. In the communist north, on the other hand, the soup was everywhere. We bought two rolls. Since we were still hungry, we went back and ordered two more.
 
The old lady we had somehow closed in the heart. Everyone except them seemed to want to fool you. When we gave her 30,000, she wanted 60. Hello? Not with me.5 minutes ago we got another 30 rolls for 30.000. It did not seem likely that we were the same people who had previously asked for the prize. You can do it with foreigners.
 
Cheap drinks were in the strongly air-conditioned small supermarkets everywhere. Also our room had air conditioning which we used to cool the temperature down to a pleasant 27 degrees.
 
Next we did not want to go out for fear of catching a cold. As a pleasant side effect, the air conditioner was also able to dry the air and thus our sweaty sleeping bags and the gossiping wet tent at night. We do not need it anymore and it should not start to mold.
 
Then we went by bus line 152 to the airport and with Vietjet Air for about $ 57 back to Hanoi. The drama started at the time of booking. As usual, I entered my first and last name in the two fields provided for this purpose on the website and booked 20 kg of luggage for 7 euros in addition.
 
In the first field but my first name + my middle name would have heard. Why do not fade in the third input field? A mistake here is apparently used by Vietjet Air again and again as an excuse to collect customers at the airport again from or not to provide the acquired performance.
 
The regular customer service at 19001886@vietjetair.com is unbelievably bad and after a week with a text module said that a name change was only possible for a fee. Only the change of the order of names is possible for free.
 
Here is the report of other customers who had problems with the "customer service" of this airline for months because of a name change https://www.vivien-und-erhard.de/forum/index.php?thread/9863-vietjet-air- named% C3% A4nderung-fast-unm% C3% B6glich /
 
My theory is that there is at least one friendly person in every company. You just have to find them and if not, then you have to go to the unfriendly employees on the nerves.
 
That's why I wrote a program that sends my request for customer-friendly adding of 7 letters automatically in ever shorter intervals repeatedly to all 17 email addresses spewed out Google see source code. Including executives of the freely accessible , who had participated in a conference. MRO East Asia Networking List
 
Within 2 hours, the matter was suddenly done free of charge and I received a positive response from the Thai support, who had previously also 792THB demanded: Why not the same?
 
The flight booked at 5pm started at 8pm, so we arrived at our first hotel in Hanoi late at night. We left almost all our stuff except for sturdy shoes here. Already at 7 o'clock the next morning we were picked up on foot directly at the door of our hotel in the narrow lane.
 
With the tourist express bus we went on the toll road and motorcycle closed highway, then with a ferry and then again with a bus for $ 12 per person on the island to Cat Ba within 5 hours. The boat tour we wanted to book there. A complete tour would have cost $ 80 per person in the various tour offices in Hanoi!
 
On Cat Ba we had a private hotel room with 2 double beds only for us for a ridiculous 100,000 dong including breakfast. On the photo was sea view and even if the man at the front desk said, sea view was not possible for this price, we still got a room with sea view. The front block of the hotel was just not high enough.
 
Apparently, this low price was a decoy offer to get the hotel full in the off-season and to sell the guests on commission a boat tour or a bus ticket back to Hanoi.
 
As a precaution we already had our return ticket in our pockets and that was a good thing, because the bus was filled to the last seat.
 
Because of a boat tour we made our way and strolled along the beach promenade. Everywhere, full day boat tours including lunch were offered for around $ 400,000 per person around $ 17.
 
But we did not have time for that. For the same price you could also drive in a small taxi boat to the floating houses, Lan Ha Bay and Monkey Island. However, without lunch. Since it was quite foggy and you could hardly see the typical rocks that stick out everywhere from the sea, we did not book but hiked up to Canon Fort, because from here you should have a nice view over the bay.
 
When we got to the top, however, you wanted 40,000 entry per person. Cheap Cheap. The funny guards laughed. Nah, I prefer to eat delicious.
 
On the way we had already seen a hill in the center of the city, on the top of which stood a small temple. I wanted to go up there.
 
We found the access and climbed the hundred steps. The view compensated for all efforts. Much better than the images of the cannons castle that I had previously seen on the net. And free.
 
Early the next morning, some fishermen told us whether we wanted to take a boat trip with them or their cousin. We negotiated hard and agreed. $ 20 for us both. Then the man pulled out his cell phone and made a few phone calls. Finally he left without explanation. So it was just a commission hunter.
 
We tried our luck with another taxi driver and now knew that for $ 20 even these people do not feel like driving.
 
This time we agreed for $ 25. Then the man went with us to the big jetty, where an official looking woman sat and wanted to sell us tickets.
 
Apparently nobody is allowed to travel around without these state tickets. I put another 5 dollars on it because we did not want to go again to withdraw money and instructed the boatman to pay for the tickets for us. There was also a so-called James Bond rock here. A boat trip to the original costs about $ 80 in Thailand. However, I was most fascinated by the small floating villages that I had already seen in a GEO 360 ° reportage on Youtube. See here . People live here from fishing, go by boat to school and buy at a small supermarket boat that comes regularly past. On the other hand, the best known is the island of Monkey Island, where wild monkeys jump on the tourists' shoulder when they lure them with food like chips. However, I decided to take pictures of this island, which has a great lookout, which you can walk with sturdy shoes. The reference to sturdy shoes was very good. The sharp-edged rocks were full of slippery sand by the millions of tourists who have already climbed up here. In addition, the way was quite steep. Too steep for Franzi. She did not want to go to the top. I was about to do a vlog for Youtube when I heard Franzi screaming. When I wanted to climb down quickly, some monkeys came to meet me and hissed at me. I yelled back and tried to hit one, but he backed away. Franzi, however, had not resisted and so the monkeys had bitten her. Luckily, she had on her long-sleeved jacket, so there were no bad wounds. Other tourists who were there had driven the monkeys with a stick. A stick on Monkey Island is just as important as sturdy footwear. The next morning we wandered past delicious food stalls with banana pancakes on the high hill in the middle of the city. Then our bus picked us up in front of the hotel and brought us back to Hanoi. Here we spent our last money and let us go well with a delicious Entensüppchen. Then we picked up our things and waited for the bus to the airport. At the bus stop a taxi driver chatted to us and offered to drive us for 200. I showed the bus money that I still had. The taxi drove us to only 70,000, while the taximeter climbed up to 300,000. The airport was brightly decorated but completely empty. Only tourists from Europe were waiting to check in their flight with China Air via Beijing at 3am. No middle name was needed on the plane ticket. Thanks to my small alarm systems, we were able to sleep amazingly well at the airport. On the return flight we were lucky enough to see the Great Wall of China from the air :-)

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