From Saigon we went on to Da Lat, a small city in the Vietnamese Central Highlands. This place felt very laid-back and peaceful. It seemed to be popular amongst Vietnamese tourists but not very much so among international ones. All the kids greeted us on the streets (no, they weren’t stealing nor selling anything). We went hiking/walking with a nice guide and visited the Pongour Falls.
After a few days, we travelled on to Hoi An, a beautiful small city about half way between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. It used to be an important trading port ages ago and I learned on Wikipedia that it’s recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. At night, everything was lit wonderfully and the lights reflected in the water. We stayed at Lakeside Homestay, where we were greeted every morning with fresh fruit and the most delicious Vietnamese coffee mankind has ever brewed. They had some bicycles for us too, so we ventured into small town traffic two-wheeled. It was still a little frightening sometimes. We went diving/snorkelling around Cham Island, which was nice but not extraordinarily good.
On we went, second to last stop: Hanoi. Wild city, crazy traffic, air pollution. We enjoyed it, even though I can’t recall many of the things we did. A lot of food for sure, some markets or museums or stuff. I didn’t take any photos.
Let’s talk about Sapa though, cause I took a lot of photos there. We took an overnight train, as we had previously done from Danang (close to Hoi An) to Hanoi. This time, we had a very comfortable cabin with beds instead of normal seats in a noisy car. For Sapa, we had booked a group hiking trip that included a funny guide, one night at a homestay, making spring rolls, a lot of rice wine and much more. Almost everything was really nice and well worth the money – and the landscapes were magnificent!
And that was it. Back to Hanoi briefly, back to KL for a few days, and a super annoying few hours on the phone with Qatar on our last night, before returning to Switzerland via Doha and Munich (including a mandatory visit at Stereo Café).