Travelogue: Bangkok again

For some reason, I decided to visit Bangkok again – to get my visa for Myanmar, to see the protests, and to finish other unfinished business.
Bangkok again - peace zone

Coming to Bangkok during the protests, while a state of emergency has been declared, is surprisingly normal. While the US shows all sort of sensational alarming news, depicting Bangkok on the verge of civil war, it’s actually quite tranquil on the ground in Bangkok. For the most part. Arriving in Bangkok and taking a taxi to Khao San Road area, we passed through several checkpoints, with barricaded roads and military police with rifles checking everyone’s identification. Being in a taxi with three other backpackers (white, loud, and rather obnoxious), we were quickly waived passed – tourists are left unmolested – but it was still quite an experience. I didn’t expect to have to ever ride through military checkpoints in the streets of Bangkok. It reminded me of a dystopian movie that I recently watched – Children of Men.
Bangkok again - Lumphini park King Rama statue

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Travelogue: Mai Chau

Normally, travelers to northern Vietnam always visit SaPa, a small town in the northwest mountains of Vietnam, known for amazing terraced riced paddies and great hiking. But during my time in Hanoi, the weather was supremely uncooperative – rainy, cloudy, and foggy. I didn’t want to make a 20-hour round trip just to see fog, so I opted to visit Mai Chau instead – a small SaPa-like mountain town 4 hours southwest of Hanoi.
Mai Chau - panorama rice fields 1 Mai Chau - panorama rice fields 6 Mai Chau - panorama rice fields 7

Mai Chau was a great town to just relax in, but there’s not terribly much to do, so this will be a photo-heavy post.

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Travelogue: Cat Ba and Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is one of the great scenic destinations of northern Vietnam, and there is no shortage of day trips and overnight trips leaving from Hanoi. But with my aversion to tour groups, I chose to make a trip myself to Cat Ba, the island right next to Ha Long Bay. Although the weather was uncooperative, the sights were totally worth it.
Cat Ba - panorama Ha Long tour 2 Cat Ba - panorama port 1

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Travelogue: Hanoi

Finally, I arrived at the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi! My first impression was not great – miserable cold weather, overcast all day every day. And I didn’t end up liking Hanoi very much, but the food was pretty damn good.
Hanoi - Ngoc Son Temple bridge

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Travelogue: Hue

After getting tired of all the tourists milling about the old city of Hoi An, I took a bus to Hue, the old capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen dynasty (pre Ho Chi Minh). It’s a city with quite a bit of history, but it’s also got some pretty bad weather – it was cold, cloudy, and rainy every day I was there. In most people’s minds, Vietnam is a warm sub-tropical country, but north of Hoi An, it can get pretty cold! For the first time in a month, I had to pull out my jacket.
Hue - panorama Citadel 1Hue - panorama Minh Mang tomb 3

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