Lock down intensifies

During the last summer months, things have become slightly intense in Vietnam. Cases have been going up steadily and the country faced a hard time.

In the last few weeks, all big cities pretty much isolated themselves and “forced” people to stay at home.

It even got to a point where no one was allowed to go outside at all for 20 days! Not even grocery shopping.

danang lockdown food supply at night 25087596316052102522.
The city delivered food to neighborhoods at night.

After months of lock down, I decided it was time for me to leave. It wasn’t an easy decision to begin with, because traveling inside the country became much more difficult with domestic flights stopping completely.

I didn’t know how much longer this would go on and so I decided to take the next step and leave Vietnam during these crazy times.

The only way was to hire a private car and drive 20h from Da Nang to Hanoi International Airport.

Da Nang September 2021 empty streets

My last day

I was lucky enough to be able to sneak out in the morning and get to see the beach one more time. But I didn’t expect to encounter the blockade right in front of the beach…

Lockdown Danang Beach Blockade

But some rubber bands and cables couldn’t stop me. I was still nervous to be honest #policeState.

Oh boy was this a good feeling. This is what I will miss the most: the sound of the ocean.

Lockdown Danang Empty streets

It’s still unbelievable what times we’re going through. So many streets in the main area that are normally filled with people are now just empty.

I felt like Will Smith in I AM LEGEND.

I couldn’t have been more grateful that I stayed at Moon Hotel during these times. I was fortunate to get close to the family and join their daily lunches and dinners. For my last day, they prepared for me my favorite central Vietnam dish: My Quang.

my moon family goodbye
My lovely family at Moon Hotel supporting me until my last day.

This was the hardest part before embracing my long journey. Saying goodbye to people who took care of me for so many months.

2 Leaving Vietnam Ambulance

Getting out of Da Nang was the strangest procedure. With my PCR test results equipped, I was transported by an ambulance from my hotel to a highway outside the city where black vans waited in the dark. I  slightly felt like in a gangster movie.

2 Car Ride Da nang Hanoi
We drove through the night and only made 2-3 stops. I was surprised it was only 1 person driving all the way. What a machine!
3 Car Ride Da nang Hanoi
I thought we gonna see some lovely sunrise the next morning. But nope, just a gas station and clouds instead.
4 Car Ride Da nang Hanoi
Taking a short break 3h before arriving in Hanoi. I had no idea where we were.

During the 20h ride, we had to go through multiple checkpoints. The Vietnamese bureaucracy is mind staggering. People love paperwork. You need a permit for everything. It was a funny feeling knowing that my PCR test and passport was handed to 20 other people. But this is why we have hand sanitizers for, right?

6 Leaving Vietnam Checkpoint Hanoi

It’s hard to convey the feeling in a blog post how happy I was to finally arrived at the airport. The first leg of the journey was done.  Now just waiting for 17h waiting until my flight takes off.

8 Leaving Vietnam Noi Bai Airport 01

Well, good thing was that such a big international airport like Noi Bai in Hanoi had a functioning vending maching to take care of all travelers.

13 Leaving Vietnam Noi Bai Airport Vending Machine

Only 5 flights going out the country in a day!

14 Leaving Vietnam Noi Bai Airport Time Table
15 Leaving Vietnam Noi Bai Airport at night
At night, people were slowly filling up the airport.

An image that has been ingrained in mine and millions of other people in Vietnam during the pandemic: people in blue useless HAZMAT SUITS!

I couldn’t wait to leave.

An image that has been ingrained in mine and millions of other people in Vietnam during the pandemic: people in blue useless HAZMAT SUITS!

I couldn’t wait to leave.

20 Leaving Vietnam Noi Bai Airport boardimg
My happy face after going through the gate during boarding time.
21 Leaving Vietnam Qatar Airlines
More people than I expected! Lot’s of students going to europe for their studies.

After a 7h flight, I arrived in Doha. The world seems somewhat fine here. People are wearing masks. But I don’t see anyone with a blue suit. Sigh.

23 Leaving Vietnam Doha Airport During Covid
24 Leaving Vietnam Doha Business Lounge
Checking into the business lounge to get some coffee and take a nice warm shower.

Continuing the journey to Bulgaria. After 50h of traveling, I finally arrived in Sofia Airport. The weather was cloudy. The temperature comfortable.

27 Leaving Vietnam Sofia Bulgaria Airport
26 Leaving Vietnam Sofia Airport
I missed these gates in the EU. Just swiping your passport and you’re good to go.
28 Leaving Vietnam After 50h travel
I was pretty exhausted.
29 Leaving Vietnam Sofia Hotel Room
Finally checked into my hotel room…
30 Leaving Vietnam Andrea gift
… and found this little surprise from Andrea. She called the manager and arranged a little gift for me.

To finish off this trip, I went out and visited a very traditional Bulgarian restaurant. The cold beer never tasted better.

31 Leaving Vietnam Sofia Bulgarian Restaurant
32 Leaving Vietnam Sofia Bulgarian Restaurant 2
33 Leaving Vietnam Sofia Bulgarian Restaurant food

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