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Floating markets and swarms of motorbikes

date of entry 24/02/2012
mileage 783,681

capital Hanoi

area 331.698 km²

population 91.519.289

GDP 122,7 Bill. US-Dollar

official language Vietnamese

It was not easy for Gunther Holtorf to get Otto into Vietnam: "Vietnam requires a driving permit which has to be authorised by five ministries in this corrupt country," he explained. He was only successful at the third attempt and after paying around 2000 dollars in bribes. This allowed him to spend around a month covering a distance of 5000 kilometres with Otto in the country. Apart from the problems in acquiring an entry permit, Holtorf’s experience of Vietnam was that it was "a very good place for travellers".
  • With like-minded people: Otto met some of his "relatives" in Vietnam.
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  • In the south of Vietnam is the Mekong delta, where the river breaks down into a network of distributaries and flows into the South China Sea.
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  • Food and other goods are sold on floating markets in the middle of the river.
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  • Customers travel by boat from one trader to the next. Things get busy on the water when the markets are open.
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  • But there is also a lot happening on the riverbanks. This picture was taken in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.
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  • According to Gunther Holtorf, in Ho Chi Minh City "the roads were incredibly busy, with tens of thousands of motorcycles on the move" and Otto had to find his way through the traffic.
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  • The Hmong women in the north-west are well known for their colourful clothing…
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  • …and Otto poses next to them at a market
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  • The Vietnamese St Michael: like its equivalent in Hamburg, this church is dedicated to the Archangel Michael and has a statue of the saint over the entrance.
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  • Estimates indicate that around 7 percent of the population are Christians. As in many socialist countries, the majority of people – around 80 percent – are atheists.
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  • Socialist propaganda in the one-party state. The right-hand side of the poster celebrates the construction of a "beautiful, modern" building in the province of Kon Tum. The left-hand side takes an optimistic approach to overcoming social and economic challenges. The whole thing is cheerful and brightly coloured.
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  • Otto was loved by children in every country, including Vietnam.
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  • Memorials to a difficult chapter in the country’s history. The war between the communist north of the country and the south lasted from 1955 to 1975 and was supported by the USA. The North Vietnamese fighters, known as the Vietcong, made use of effective guerrilla tactics. For example, they had an extensive network of tunnels that they used for moving around and for storage and this made the air superiority of the USA almost useless. It is now possible to visit some of these tunnels.
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  • Video: Vietnam – floating markets and swarms of motorcycles

Otto was here before ...


date of entry 28 March 2012
mileage 779,777


date of entry 20 March 2012
mileage 788,857


date of entry 25 March 2012
mileage 789,025


date of entry 02 April 2012
mileage 792,605