Published: February 29th 2012February 29th 2012
First thanks for all your messages we have received them all just writing this a couple of days behind.
The distance between Hue and our next Stop Hoi An is only 63 Miles but it still takes 2 hours 20 minutes on the train as it has to up into the mountains and along a pass which looks over the sea, amazing views along the way. You can also go by car, but we have seen the driving over here and it's not particularly good, in fact it is completely crazy. Its 60 dollars for a private car, or 5 dollars on the train. So opting for the train was not too difficult a choice. The great thing about the trains here is that everyone gets a seat, it might be crowded and difficult to get bags on and off, but at least you can sit down. We had a bit of a mishap getting on as I thought the number on the seat represented the seat in front not the seat it was on, and so I tried to hoist a Vietnamese guy out but he wasn't going anywhere. So having worked out the system we meekly sat down
in the correct seats in front of him, saying sorry! But then realising we had done this on the first train so of course we had woken up the lady to move her when we didn't have to! Oh dear.
The weather was perfect really for travelling a bit cooler but still shorts and T shirt weather the scenery on that part of the train journey is supposed to be the best of the whole route as the train goes the full distance from Hanoi to Hoi Chi Ming City and the time went quickly as we arrived in Danang. Here things didn't go quite to plan for the first time, as we got off the platform and out of the station 2 drivers with our names on popped up. Which one should we choose, we just went with the guy who took our bags, seemed logical, and took the decision out of our hands. Sorry to the other guy! Who was on his mobile trying to sort it out.
We got to the homestay and we were informed we did get in the right transport, but it was a bit confusing still as to why two had
turned up. Then the news was broken to us that our Bungalow had been let out to some people who turned up and actually wanted two bungalows not one, so we would have to stay in a suite in the main building for 2 nights and then move, for the other 3 nights, hmmmm. So we thought we might as well have a look, but it was quite a dark room at the back of the house and smelt a bit musty and we were not very happy. And there was a lot of drilling going on, hang on a minute, there was a building site to the left and to the right of our room. More banging with a very loud hammer right next to our room! There was no way we were stopping here. So thanks to those that double booked us because you made up our minds to move straight away. But no thanks to the people on trip advisor who have placed this bed and breakfast No 1 on trip advisor!!! It is the Orchid Garden Homestay in Hoi An and the reviews are very misleading. However we checked again and someone else last week was
double booked as well, but no mention of the building work. What I think they might be doing is moving people from the rooms in the house because they are too noisy into the bungalows, but of course losing the plot when it comes to the bookings! The girl doing the check in tried to get us to stay offering us $20 a night refund on the first two night and a free meal that night, but there was just no way. Anyway they were pretty good giving us the full refund in cash and in 30 minutes, as we had pre-paid. We had found somewhere on the internet as it happens just down the road, a much better place the Hoi An Trails Resort and Spa, we walked up to the desk about 15 minutes away and they agreed to match the deal we found on the internet if we paid cash, so they avoided the 15% they pay to Agoda, and they gave us a good room. The disapointment for me was trip advisor, no mention of any building work, there will be soon though!
All in all the whole episode was worked out very easily, and
within 90 minutes we were unpacked in our new hotel and very happy with the beautiful place, so really as I said I think the double booking did us a favour. The weather here is just about perfect about 24 degrees with a bit of cloud which tends to disapear in the afternoon. We walked to the beach the first evening, and had a small meal in a resturant there, and then got a taxi back it was an eventful day, we even watched the Man Utd in the bar back at the hotel on the laptop a perfect picture as well as the internet connection here is very good indeed.
Monday we were up pretty early and we hot footed it on the free bus (which the other place did not have) into town, which is about 4 kms and too far too walk. You can take the free bikes, which a lot of people do as it is very flat, but the roads are busier than we both expected and in the town itself it was far too busy for us both to attempt bikes. Credit to those that do though! Hoi An is the very touristy
and they have hundreds of small shops with clothes and shoes and paintings, but they are good quality things mostly hand made and we did see a few copies of western goods, but not that many. Most of the things are made in Vietnam and are worth the money. It is also the tailor capital of the world, there are supposed to be over 200 of them, they are everywhere. So it is very difficult trying to choose which one to go in. Basically they can copy anything you take in, or you can pick anything from any UK Catalogue and they will make it, so it fits perfectly, in just a few hours. Pauline had a dress made in one place for $30 and she picked that up the next day. Then on Tuesday I had two shirts made in another shop and Pauline had a top made and that was $45. So it was £50 for the 4 items.
On Monday afternoon we took out the bikes into the countryside, fantastic to just cycle around in the paddy fields and farms and small holdings, water buffalo's on the road, and lots of small bridges. Beautiful countryside people
waving to you. It is just how you imagine it to be, but it is special to actually do it.
Ok I will catch up again on Thursday after our Anniversay. we have a cooking class booked for the morning.
There are more photos below