Pictures from Vietnam

Based on popular demand here are the pictures from my trip to Vietnam. Some were taken by my friend with her digital camera, others with my SLR (burned to CD at the photo-shop).

The first picture was taken from the breakfast room of the Platinum II hotel that I stayed at. It’s newly renovated and the rooms are very nice.
Comes with a reasonably-sized bathroom attached and thus highly recommended for around USD55 a night.

Typical local road-side “restaurant”:

The hotel I wish I would have stayed at:

Sofitel at Night:

Impression of the traffic. Supposingly it was not that busy during our trip due to the Tet:

Halong Bay
2-day cruise through Halong Bay, around 3.5 hours from Hanoi:

One of the many islands, this one had a small temple on a nice beach:

The captain in full control:

Locals selling fresh fruits during a stop at a floating village:

(To be continued …)

Sapa seen from the Dragon’s Jaw Mountain. It used to be a French outpost and later became a mountain resort. Very nice place, not as hot & humid as Hanoi and much less relaxing.

The lake in Sapa, with some nice houses overlooking it:

Dzao ladies selling their handicraft items at the local market in Sapa:

One of the peaks is Mt. Fansipang, the highest mountain in Vietnam or rather Indochina:

Local boy in Sapa:

Tribe girls:

Black H’mong village near Sapa, we took a guided tour (walking) through the valley:

Riding on the Russian-made Jeep back to Sapa:

Bac Ha
Bac Ha market takes about 3 hours by car/mini-bus to reach from Sapa. It’s only open on Sundays and will be visited by many different tribes people, some that travel for hours on foot. But due to the Tet not many of them came:

Tobacco seller at Bac Ha market:

Boy sleeping at the stall:

Tasting the local-made liqor; a cheap way to get drunk:

Flower H’mong village and fields near Bac Ha:

Flower H’mong Girls:

Some old Palast (they did indeed have some kind of king there) and an old truck:

Lao Cai
Lao Cai is the train station for Sapa and border-town to China (He Kou). A river separates the two and beside the bridge shown people also cross it by walking/swimming. It’s illegal of course but faster than waiting for a visa.

It takes around 8-9 hours by over-night train to get from Hanoi to Lao Cai or vice versa; a one-way ticket on the soft-sleeper (4 beds per berth) costs USD25 per person. Hard-sleeper and seats also available, as well as the more luxury Victoria Express cars, but the latter only in combination with a stay at the Victoria Hotel in Sapa.

Thanks for sharing these pictures.
Hope I have a chance to go to Sapa.

Awesome pictures. You brought me back to Millennium New Year and my trip with a friend to Hanoi.

Great pics. I only saw Hanoi when I was in Vietnam a few years ago, I’ll have to go back and check out some other places.

Great pics, Rascal. Thanks.

This one reminded me of a funny experience I had in Hanoi:

It was 1997, on my first trip there, and I noticed everywhere people were sitting in the fields and on the sidewalk and inside cafes smoking bongs. Holy shit! Everyone’s heard of killer Thai stick, and of how many US soldiers when fighting in Vietnam enjoyed the great herbal medicine, but I didn’t know the country was awash with potheads. This was too good to be true.

So, after some hesitation, I finally ventured up to a small shop selling bamboo bongs and asked “how much?” He gestured the price and I indicated that, ok, but I wanted some herb to try it out first. “Sure,” he was happy to oblige. He pulled out a baggie and packed a big bowl for me as his two companions sat beside him happily watching. After many months away from my native California sinsemilla, I was thrilled. He handed me the lighter. I steadied myself, exhaled deeply, sparked the lighter, and drew one long, massive bong load, taking the smoke deep into my lungs and holding it in until. . .

Suddenly a giant cloud of smoke bellowing from my throat, as I began coughing and gagging and desperately gasping for air, my eyes tearing up instantly, my head spinning, I tried standing, but grew dizzy and nauseaus. I recalled the various stories I’d read in Lonely Planet and the like about how one should never take a cigarrete from a stranger in Asia, because they’ll drug it and rob you, so I struggled for my feet, but my head spun, and they guy offered me a small stool to sit on. No way, I thought, you won’t get me that easily, as I cartweeled about trying to avoid crashing down on the sidewalk.

First astounded, then alarmed, the guy’s buddies were now laughing, and slowly my head cleared enough that I could give him the requested payment, grab my loot, and stagger off to my nearby hotel room, where I tried to puke in the toilet, threw water on my face, and crashed out on the bed, by then realizing that it was only tobacco, but a most effective substance when ingested in deep bonghits, which is obviously not how the locals do it, instead just drawing the smoke slowly and gently through the device. Oh well, live and learn.


But they are serious potheads too! Especially old soldiers. Charlie was doing weed while fighting the south AND got a firmer taste for it while chasing Pol Pot away.


I think I might have eaten there… … …

-Nice pictures, Rascal!!!
I was in Vietnam some years ago, and had a really good trip with my friend. Too bad I didn’t owned a digi-cam at that time…

small street-restaurants in Hanoi are so delicious and cheap, even if I was a little hesitating at the first try cos sometimes they seem so dirty. But I’ve never been ill in Hanoi :slight_smile: