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Hitchhiking in Vietnam. Part 1: From China to the waterfall Ban Gioc

By Настя 7 months agoNo Comments
Home  /  Round the world  /  Hitchhiking in Vietnam. Part 1: From China to the waterfall Ban Gioc
Автостоп во Вьетнаме

Exhausted, sweaty and with a package of food, we came to the border control of the Vietnamese side. A stern, stern officer in a dark green military uniform took passport of Nastyaand suddenly, under the red star on his cap, the expression changed.

– Oh! So you are from Russia ?! – he says in Russian – Hello!

– Hello – answered Nastya.

At that moment, our mood also became much better. We were pleased with the way we were met, especially after the Chinese were say good bye us.

Vietnam, Dong Dang. 71 day around the world trip

We go to Vietnam, ate a banana, threw the peel into the bushes and went to the city on our skateboards. Surrounded by the jungle, dilapidated houses on the outskirts of the city looked like in cinema, it was cool. It seems that the originality here compensates poverty. Everything from young to old, almost like in that song about a horse, greeted us with smiles, greeted and waved their hands. But after a while, after the pair “Fak Yu!” Into our backs, we began to answer them in Russian “Hello!”. Not to mislead them, but to dispel their misconceptions about our origin.

Dong Dang City is located at the intersection of four roads, one of which leads to China and, probably, therefore, it is quite large and a bit modern in the center. Everywhere advertising cigarettes.

We need to take a breath somewhere, and we turn into the courtyard of either the Buddhist or the Hindu temple, or some other one. Hot concrete benches burn our ass. All bright and incredible amount of small traced details on the facades. This is one of the most beautiful temples that I have seen until that moment. In front of the entrance stands an altar with fruit offerings. We had our own snack and decided to look inside. It is dark, faded, concrete walls and floor, rags on the floor and it seems that someone is sleeping. Inside is another altar, where in the form of offerings are packs of cigarettes and a can of beer. We did not stop by and went to change money.

We missed one bank on that street and reached the other on this one. We went into the gloom sit a security guard and several managers. Everyone is busy, except the guard. We were told to wait, we sat down and earned the guard, who decided to close the blinds almost, leaving everyone without an opportunity to go outside. Everything is fine, I sat down to the manager, who in parallel served the girl.

– Hello, we want to exchange Chinese money for Vietnamese.

“Hello, now just a minute,” she said, and plunged into an analog monitor, “you know, she will exchange you!” – and showed the girl next to me.

The girl, disdaining coins, considered the bills and otslyunyavila Vietnamese currensy, while taking thirty percent commission.

– Thank you bye!

Нам открыли жалюзи, и мы довольные пошли на выход, а затем на выход из города. Конечно мы обменяли деньги. А что еще оставалось? Но теперь их меньше, чем хотелось бы.

Hitchhiking in Vietnam

It looks like the exit from the city is still far away. We get up at the gate for some kind of construction and half an hour trying to catch the car. Very hot. It passes a lot of intercity minibuses. Probably why no one stops. Dry my t-shirt. It’s getting dark. We decide to drive fifty kilometrs to That Khe. There is a river, where we will a take a shower. As soon as a clear plan appears, an elderly man stops and picks us up.

The mountain road is very winding. Everything is green. Sloping roads during construction, the rocky walls are overgrown with moss and ferns. A valley of Ky Cung River, hidden in the fluffy surface of the jungle, zips through trees.

For a moment I look up from green landscapes and look at Nastya. Nastya is sleeping and very pale. I understand that it is bad, but I do not attach much importance. After a while she wakes up and, oddly enough, says: “I feel bad!”. I sharply ask the driver to stop, and he abruptly slows down. Hi Ichthyander!

– Are you feel better?

– Yes, let’s go!

We are in place, this city is even wilder, more dusty and more noisy in after working hours.

– You do not accidentally go on? – I asked the driver.

– Not! – categorically answered that.


It is not a city, but a village. Building out of wood in one and of concrete in two floors, sometimes in three, if it is something like a hotel or a fitness club. The main facades are beautifully and brightly painted and decorated with columns and stucco, from the courtyard – gray and smooth. All the houses are wide open and it feels like the whole city is outside.

We go where the white tourist’s foot has not stepped. Everyone looks at us as if we are lost, but not in their city, but in the universe, or at least in this country. But these are not the silent, suspicious views that were in China, here it seems that everyone is happy to see you as a dear guest. A lot of things are going on, everyone is busy with something: children are playing, the guys play table tennis, the women does the housework, the tanned men sit topless and smoke. And everything suddenly stops for a moment when you pass by, and then they scream, you scream to them and life goes on.

We reached the bridge. Along the river is a cornfield. Houses far away. Along the coast there is a path and several meadows where you can try to get up for the night. It’s very cool, but how to get there? We turn onto the street and after two hundred meters we try to break through someone’s yard, and a corn field. A man is feeding a cow. Says like: “Where are you going?”. We show: “To the river!”. He’s answer: “You will not pass here!”. His wife comes out and shouts to us: “Come here!” Okay, let’s go there. We approach the bridge and see the path leading under the bridge and to the river in the direction of the field. In the field no one on the river, too. On the other side there are houses, but they are closed by dense thickets of bushes and trees. Corn above the head. And that means we found the perfect place to spend the night.

We set up the tent in the dark. I went to wash sweaty clothes. Nastya began to cook dinner. The sounds of the city are subsiding and only quiet conversations are heard somewhere on the other side. A billion stars above us, and we somewhere in Vietnam, near the river in the middle of a corn field, we stand absolutely naked and take a shower, from water in a plastic bag and alternately watering each other. And it was so refreshingly cool and so funny!

Mountain road to Ban Gioc

In the morning we were in no hurry to get up, but the sun made the air in the tent hot and unbearable. Have a breackfast. A man with a cow passed by. He said nothing, only smiled. Gathered. Kids are swimming nearby. I also bathed, and we went to the other end of the city, and after half an hour I was again so sweaty that I would once again be happy to go into the river.

We catch the first truck. The guy is glad to give us a lift. He gifted us water. His truck is old and dusty, but outside the window is a stunning view! He is not going very far – to some kind of construction, but he takes us about five kilometers and stops him in the village. We stand in the shade, we dry T-shirts, the hens run by. We catch the truck almost immediately. We drive past the cops, but the man stops himself to give them a bribe and after a while to buy us something to drink. He goes to Kaobang, but we decide to go out to Dong Khe to cut along gravel road to another route in Quang Uyen. But near that road, we begin to realize that we made a mistake and did not have to go off the track. We leave the city for the last intersection on an empty narrow mountain road, sit in the shade and eat rice.

– If in half an hour no one passes, go back to the track and drive through Caobang.

– Yes, come on!

We ate, and have been sitting for about twenty minutes. A couple of trucks turned in front of our road, but after a while we again heard the sound of something big. White shiny american truck is driving. I, realizing the seriousness of our position, run out onto the road and wave my hand with all my strength. The driver stops the truck. I show him the direction and say that we go there and he, too, happily takes us “on board.” He goes not alone, but with his wife. We speak Vietnamese-English interspersed with gestures. They laugh a lot, and they rejoice when they know that we are going to Ban Gioc.

The truck is laden, the gravel road is narrow and winding and we drive carefully and very slowly. But there is time to admire the incredible views of the endless green mountains, jungles and rice plantations. Nastya fell asleep in a sleeping bag. We stop a lot to skip the oncoming trucks, but once we just stood in the middle of the road.

– Now we will eat – says the driver in Vietnamese and shows a clear gesture.

– Okay – I answer and happily nod my head.

Rice already cooked in rice cooker while we were driving. A woman pulls out a frying pan, puts it on the stove, throws some leaves, bacon, ginger, pours water on it and puts it out. Nastya and I ate three portions, and then I finished the rice. But we so missed something homely that it was so tasty and I could not resist.

We very soulfully said goodbye to the couple, as with old friends, and went to Quang Uyen, and then they went to the left, and we went to catch the car on right. We catch the first truck again. The young driver, not like a trucker, is also happy pick up us. He landed us in the middle of the road, on a hill, said: “This is here!”, And then he give us water about ten half-liter bottles. The three of us went out, crossed the road and saw a waterfall. I wanted to dance, my eyes laughed and the words, except for “Wow!”, Could not be picked up.

  Round the world, Vietnam
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