Nils Herlerth

Joined February 2017
  • Day417

    Phong Nha

    February 22 in Germany

    Night bus to phong Nha, quite prizy but the only way to get north during Teht.
    On the bus I already met Bilo and Mario. Both traveled together since a few weeks. All of us in different hostels, we appointed to discover the area around Phong Nha together. The easytiger hostel, our base for the upcoming days, provided a free information talk about activities in the town and surrounding. After the talk we joined the group of around 30 people to the phong Nha cave. You need a boat to enter the cave and it's really nice there. The whole tour was cool. In the afternoon we did rent bicycles to get to the duckstop. It's a place where you feed ducks and let them fly. Simple but loads of fun. The ride was scenic.Read more

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  • Day412

    Hoi An

    February 17 in Germany

    Shortest way to Hoi An was the plane. I arrived in Danang a city with almost nothing of interest. I stayed for one night there and left in the morning to Hoi An. The hostel I chose was grose. Bearly clean and instead of my pre-booked six bedroom the gave me a 7bedroom. No space between the beds, dirty bedsheets and moldy smell in the room but no opportunity because of the lunar new year. I went for a walk through oldtown. It's beautiful. Two stories high buildings all over the small island of oldtown. No cars are allowed here. It's a bliss. Even after a while in Asia I didn't like the traffic here. Especially in Vietnam there seem to be no rule. A common saying is: its green: I walk! Orange: I walk! Red: I still walk. The same count for cars, motorbikes and all other vehicles.
    As in the wild west, the survival of the fittest.
    The ground level of the buildings in oldtown are used as restaurants, cafés or tiny shops. Everywhere the flavor of roasted coffee and colorful clothes. This mixture invited to go shopping or enjoy the days with a good Vietnamese coffee. For myself the best in the world. Strong in taste but slightly sweet in the end. Very nice with sweet condensed milk.
    I met Hans, a young norwegian and a very kind guy. One day we went to the beach, just four Kilometer away. There we met Ares again. A Greek from our hostel. Together with Pierre from France we spent most of the four days in Hoi An. Played pool, had amazing food and it never got boring. The speciality in Hoi An is Cao Lao. A unique noodle dish with vegetables, meat, fish or seafood and a bit of sauce. Hans found a place where they prepared a tasty veggy version. The Cao Lao is served with homemade fake meat. So we got the dish with different replaced meats. Good composition in taste and look. Better than common tofu pieces.
    Eventually it was time to say good bye to my friends then all of them went south and I had to head north.
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  • Day409

    Ho chi minh city

    February 14 in Vietnam

    The transport to HCMC was unspectacular. The bus company managed all visa activities for us and after 20 minutes at the border we were back on track.
    A long time ago since I was scammed last time...
    I took a motorcycle taxi and he apparently knew where my hostel was. He asked for 5 dollar and I negotiated to three. After a few minutes he was completely on the wrong track and we asked for the way. Eventually we reached the area and I decided to walk the last meters. I paid him in dollar and got the change back in Vietnamese dong. Well to less I recognized later. In the end he got seven and a half dollar for the ride... Sad but my fault. I didn't inform myself about the exchange between dollar and dong, and I had no small bills with me, so the taxi driver can do whatever they want.
    Never mind!

    Didn't find my hostel. On mapsme it was located in district one. No way to find it. Booking told me something different and also not detectable. Tried to call the owner. Not available.
    OK... I booked something else. The new hostel was located in the middle of district one. One of the backpacker regions... Cheap, clean and on the 8th floor but crowded.
    First night I went out with a girl from Germany and a guy from Greece. They were good company and we had some good food.
    In the night I messaged Laura and Monty, a couple I met in otres Beach and siem reap. Both were in HCMC. So we decided to go to the Ben Thanh Market, a nice "you can buy almost everything" market. One of the tourist attractions in the city and full of people.

    Fifteen minutes away is the war museum located. Another historical lesson. All of us have seen movies produced by the American, very patriotic, heroic and the vietcong is always the badguy. This museum is the opposite. It shows very precisly the war crimes done by the US government. It's very partial but informativ. It's hard to understand how colonization led to these problems and how countries which aren't involved in this issues start to influence parts of the world just for the matter of power. Always the same in recent history and nower days...
    The museum shows the effects of bombing whole areas cluster bombs and agent orange. The effects of last while cause health issues, deformations, genetic defects for generations. This is definitely a fact.

    Anyway, the truth is between western history lessons and this kind of museum.

    In the evening we tried to book a bus Mui ne, Dalat or somewhere else but everything was fully booked because of Vietnamese new year. So I booked a flight to Da nang, a city close to Hoi An. And so I skipped the south and continued with the middle and north of Vietnam.
    Good bye to HCMC.
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  • Day406

    Phnom Penh

    February 11 in Cambodia

    Coincidence?! I believe that universe provides what we need at the right time.
    So, it did again. The hostel I booked in phnom Penh is also home for Jonas and Simon. Third time in a few weeks we met again. Bad luck kept them in phnom Penh. Simon's passport was stolen, although his tablet, mobile phone and 300 dollar. Now we were roommates.
    Pauline did stay in the dorm as well. We discovered the city together and went to the S21 Prison and the killing fields.
    This sites are a good history lesson, a great and heartbreaking experience. Several times I couldn't hold back the tears. It's really disturbing what men are able to do.
    Experiencing the mistakes we do or history taught us doesnt seem to be enough. Why do we repeat them, again and again? Is hate, war, genocide the most important thing we can create?
    I can't believe this. Life is beautiful and love even more. So why spreading envy, greed, mistrust, hate and war into the world? We can be so much more. The world isn't a bad place but it's fragile and we need to care about each other.
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  • Day401

    Kampot

    February 6 in Cambodia

    Another quiet and peaceful place.
    The bus ride was unspectacular and I did fall asleep a few times. We arrived about 4pm and I was thirsty. So a found a bar which sold iced milo, a kind of ice chocolate. Wifi was available but not usable, so since months the first time I had to find a place without booking.
    Easier than expected most of the places had rooms available and a signboard with prices. I got a room in a four bed dorm above a bar. Four dollar per night. Cheap, clean and the noiselevel was bearable. Large and cost beds awaited me. I started to explore the town and distinguished that there was less to do. Eating, sleeping, the night Market, a river cruise and trips to the countryside.
    Day two was planned for the abandoned French hill station, the national park and the river cruise. The day was terrific. With the drone of our guide we saw elephants and large parts of the jungle. The mixed group of Germans, Australians, English and Dutch was nice. Had a lot of fun and we explored the abandoned placed together. Time passed by and we had the two hours break between both parts of the tour. The firefly river tour was relaxing and very scenic. A beautiful sunset was one of the highlights of the day.
    At eight we went out for dinner. Tasty and vegetarian. The place is called little things. After the feast we a parted. All of them left the next morning to Vietnam, phnom Penh and Thailand. So breakfast with Jonas and Simon who were still in kampot.

    Breakfast time with Omelett, baguett and tea. Reasonably and good in taste. Both left to Phnom Penh and I hired a tuktuk for my trip to the pepper farm with the simple name "La Plantation"!
    The ride was long almost one hour for the distance of 17 Kilometer. The roads were bumpy and dusty. I guess the driver took the more scenic way instead of proper streets.
    La Plantation, a organic pepper farm. Build up, support by a French couple. Most of there heritage was spent to this project in 2013. Kampot pepper was during the French colonization a value item.
    During the Civil War in cambodia most of the farm were destroyed by the Kh'mer Rouge.
    Everything is made by hand and men. Pepper will not grow by seeds but by cuttings. In the beginning of the rain season the cuttings were planted. And in the first two years the flowers will be cutted, to support the strengthening of the plants. In the third year they can grow, flourish and will be harvested. The red pepper harvested by hand and boiled in water to desinfect them. Afterwards sundried for 3 days. The white pepper is also red pepper but the pepper seeds will be peeled after the the washing. The black pepper is the ripe one. He is just washed and sundried.

    All three kinds of pepper are from one pepper plant. Just the time of harvest decides which sort is sold. Green pepper is the lowest quality.
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  • Day394

    Koh ta Kiev

    January 30 in Cambodia

    A small island without internet or wifi connection...
    Also electricity is just available between 6pm and 10pm. Sounds like hell and paradise in one.
    It's more a paradise. Long, white beaches surrounding the isle and the rest is jungle. A few guesthouses owned by locals and some guests are here. During noon some boats of the snorkeling trips are arriving at this beautiful beach for lunch. Most time it's really quiet. Elephantrock, a spot for cliff jumping, the mango plantation, fishermen's village and last point, a bar that's highly frequented in the afternoon because of the happy (half) hour. Buy one beer and get 30 minutes free refill.
    Very funny to play volleyball afterwards.
    Here you can study the art of doing nothing. Just enjoying yourself and life.
    The fact of having no connection to the world doesn't bother me. I could stay here for weeks, just practicing yoga and playing guitar all day long. Today is the 30th of January. I have to leave on the 13th to Vietnam. Just two places are on my list and 14days left. Should I stay? Kampot and phnom Penh could wait.
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  • Day389

    Otres Village

    January 25 in Cambodia

    Two busses and twelve hours later we arrived in sihakouville. Very early in the morning and with loads of water from above. We grabbed our belongings and took a too expensive taxi to "lost in neverland " the hostel we booked in otres village.
    The hostel is set up as a village out of Peter pan's neverland. The huts are made of wood and straw. The dorms are open and the mats on ground level.
    The atmosphere is great, chilled and relaxed all day long. We are to early and checkin time is hours later. Maren took a nap while I did two hours of meditation and yoga practice. Breakfast was basic but for free. Baguette and eggs. We were allowed to use the kitchen. Plenty of black tea is also available. So a kind of paradise even while it's pouring.
    Days passed by during guitar playing and yoga/meditation. As often in the last weeks I met a lot of Germans. Three from Hamburg and two from Nürnberg. It was nice to spend time with them. The beach days turned into water from the sea and also from the top. Beach bars have pool and good vibes.
    Wednesday is Kerfuffle party. A party in the forest with a small Rollercoaster, and other attractions from a fun fair. But in total its a simple goa party. Electronic music all night long and just bearable with drugs.
    Eventually I left at 3am because of tiredness.
    Next morning everyone had a hangover. Even me caused by less sleep. No energy for yoga so change of daily routine and yoga afterwards.
    Again I had this inner feeling of meditation. I'm able to focus on my breath and in parts of the third eye Chakra. It did feel amazing because Alejandro and the Kundalini yoga book told me it's part of the awakening of the Chakras. So I'm slowly start to grow.

    Simon,... and I decided to go to koh ta Kiev on Saturday morning. Last sit in with our friends. Sasha and Konner were still there and we spent the evening with them. Too tired for partying we hung out at footprints and enjoyed good chats.
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  • Day382

    Siem reap

    January 18 in Cambodia

    It's a long ride to siem reap...
    Switching busses and crossing the border. I avoided the scam on the border by applying for the visa in advance. But they still tried it. 300baht for this 100baht for that. I didn't pay a cent but nice tries.

    After 11hrs of ferry and busses I arrived in my hostel. In the bus I met a girl from Finland, Hanna. We booked a tuktuk for the next day to do the small angkor wat tour. Nine dollars each. Not too bad.
    The hostel, dorm point, is a good choice. The people were nice and the beds, bathrooms were clean. And it was cheap as well.
    I slept like a stone after my late-night yoga.
    First thing after waking up... YOGA!
    My body loves it. Even with a stiff body and tight hamstrings it's fun and I switches between different postures and sequences. Whatever came into my mind I tried. My head stand got better and better. I did progresses in bridge and wheel pose as well. Life is great and amazing (with yoga.)

    Angkor wat... World heritage site!!!
    The whole area is huge. The main temple already impressive, I couldn't get enough of it. Hanna is a very good companion for the tour. Also interested in the carvings and old buildings we're both impressed. Sadly there are less sign boards with historical explanations. The hours flew by and even with the tuktuk we made about 15km between 10am and 4pm.
    I know why they offer two day tickets and seven day tickets... You need this time to see all the small sites. I am not sure how many temples we visited but it was less than a tenth of them. The style of the kh'mer temples are amazing. I'm sure there weren't able to build small temple. All of them are massive. From the main, angkor wat, to the smaller ones, also famous because of the tomb raider movie. I still try to imagine how they looked as the were inhabited and full of normal life.

    Hot weather and too many different currencies (thai baht, us Dollar and Cambodian Riehl) in the wallet took their tribute. I one temple I donated a 1000 Riehl bill to the shrine. Nothing special and quite common for me.
    At the end of the day I missed a 100 dollar bill and actually found the only 1000 Riehl bill I had til then...
    I've got enlightend that I gave that missing bill to the priest by mistake. Sad but life teaches you in several ways. I have to get rid of the baht. Too confusing. 🙄
    Could be worse. It was a good donation.
    Next day, I got a message from Sasha, she was in siem reap. So went to the markets to kill time and joined them in their hostel, it was a nice one. Very chilly with an amazing pool. So I changed the hostel the day after. As I went back home it was already twelve o'clock. Was a great day. Next morning, my birthday! Alone and but alone. My friends and family wrote me. I had breakfast and played guitar for hours.
    As I arrived in my hostel sasha, Konner, Maren, Monty and Laura came from angkor wat.

    After a couple of beers and lot of dancing we eventually went to bed at 4 o'clock. Was a long but amazing day.
    The next days were mostly relaxed. Guitar playing and yoga were the daily practice mixed with eating and walks during the city.
    Maren and me planed to go to sihakouville while the others went to phnom phen.
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  • Day380

    Koh mak, koh koot or chang?

    January 16 in Thailand

    What a decision... Three islands in my pool of choice. I know koh chang already and have no good experiences there. Too crowded and full of Germans.
    So koh mak or koh koot. Koh koot suppose to be the more beautiful island but also 4 times more expensive. So first koh mak. The ferry drive was not spectacular, calm sea, sun and just a few people an to boat.
    I booked a bed in the banana sunset bar and guesthouse. Half way to my home a young from Sweden picked me up with his scooter and gave me a ride for the last mile. Fred was working there and seems to be a kind guy, on the road since 4 months.
    During my check in, PK already asked me if I wanna work for him as well because almost all backpackers who stayed there, worked for food and accommodation. I denied. My stay last just a few days.
    I would have done it, next time. Days flew by. I stayed in a tent, rented a bicycle and explored the island. I met nice people as Julian and Cassie. I also met Marina, a girl from the AYM here. We met several times in the Banana Bar and had a good time.

    During yoga, guitar playing, time at the beaches and swimming in the warm and bluish sea I could clear my mind.
    I forced myself to use my mobile less than I usually do. It's quite easy while I'm on the road but tougher when I'm in my hostel. We are so addicted to this invention of hell that we are almost no able to live without.
    I have got my games I'll play regularly and I need to get rid of them, just to be free. I already started to use my camera to take pictures to avoid the use of my mobile. But we need it to stay in touch with friends I made... It's so sad...

    After seven nights on this beautiful island it's eventually time to head towards Siem reap. I booked my transfer for the 16th of January. Another month in Thailand is gone, so fast...
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  • Day372

    Pattaya

    January 8 in Thailand

    A place most of the people hate and other highly recommended. Not sure what I expected but it doesn't matter. I took a cheap transfer to this city of sin.

    It's another big city but at the beach. My first impression was: busy and quit touristy. I decided to walk to my hostel and passed plenty of massage centres and recognized they are cheaper than in BKK or chiang Mai.
    My hostel, Anna's hostel is cheap, clean and the owner are nice. The beds were comfortable and invited for a nap. Later on I walked to the beachside and found, without looking for it, the red-light areas in town. Even at daytime the girl were waiting in front of the bars and massage centres. I am sure you can get here everything but a massage. I prefer the proper shops without infection risk 😋

    It's still nice to walk along the roads, markets and restaurants. It's different to say if I like it or not.
    At least I walked more than 20km the first day.

    Day two. I was to lazy to visit a temple, a Buddha or anything else. I enjoyed the shade of the palm trees at the beach. Passing beach venders tried to sell fruits, food, bracelets and things you don't need.
    I realized that two days in this hell are more than enough and I made my way to the islands...
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