Published: June 2nd 2010June 2nd 2010
I took an overnight bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An. I've never seen a bus like this. It had completely flat beds, flat bunk beds. I've seen flat beds on buses before in Uruguay, but those were leather chairs that went completely flat. These were leather beds! Anyway, these were much more comfortable than sitting buses, though they must have been designed for Asian people (like everything else up here, including plane seats) , who are way smaller than the Westerners, so space was at a premium. I did get a decent night of sleep though, way better than sitting in a normal bus for 12 hours.
Hoi An used be an important port during the 17th to 19th century, and amazingly still retains the old town from those days. The traders were predominantly Chinese, so there is a lot of Chinese influence in architecture. Before the Chinese, it was the Japanese traders, so there is some Japanese influence as well. The old town is incredible - it's like being transported into 19th century. There are 5 old houses, that are still maintained by descendants of those who built them 2 or 3 centuries. They also live there, so it's
quite something. I spent a morning wandering around the town.
On advise of the Dutch couple I met in Phu Quoc, I decided to pamper myself and stay at a more expensive place. It was $30 a night, way more than the most expensive room I've had so far in Vietnam, which was in Ho Chi Minh City at $18 a night. Boy, does a little a bit of money buys you a lot up here. I ended up staying in a suite, with a sitting area by the TV, huge bed, towels made into swans on the bed with fresh orchids everywhere, huge marble bathroom with a jacuzzi! The hotel had a beautiful swimming pool with a swim up bar ( which unfortunately the bar wasn't working at the time - low season and all) and the buffet breakfast was included. A bike rental came for free as well. The hotel was on a little island right across the river from the old town. There were mahogany and tick everywhere. Really nice place and I enjoyed staying there.
After walking around the old town for a bit, I had enough of the heat, went back to the hotel, got
a bike and biked the 3 miles to the beach. The way to the beach is really beautiful, it goes by a river. The beach was quite nice as well. The water was very cool and refreshing. I had lunch right on the beach.
The next day, I went by bus to see the ruins of My Son. It was a religious center of the ancient Champa state, that practiced Hinduism. It's a UNESCO Heritage site. Unfortunately, Americans couldn't help themselves during the war and bombed the crap out of it. It is a travesty, as the site must have been really beautiful at one time. Now it's kind of disappointing, especially if you have seen Angkor Wat. On the way back, I opted for a boat ride, which was quite nice.
In the evening, I had a nice dinner in the old town and decided to leave the next morning as I am running short on time.
Next stop is the former Imperial city of Hue.
There are more photos below