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Published: November 30th 2018
The following morning we were picked up and drove towards Hoi An - our final stop in Vietnam.
We had booked a car from Hue to Hoi An, and dropped into Elephant Spring, then Lap An lagoon, Lang Co Bay. We drove through the Hai Van pass, and stopped at a military fort, a key viewpoint in the Vietnam War, on a mountain-top with views either side.
Then we visited Marble Mountain,
a cluster of 5 hills just south of Da Nang made of Limestone and Marble temples and pagodas on top and within the mountain.
We went up by escalator on the mountain side and visited the temples, pagodas and caves. Climbing up into the biggest circular cave meant clambering through a few narrow and steep passages till eventually we came out into the light on top of the mountain with great views. Eventually we came down again - the wrong side!!! And had to find our way back, no where near the escalator, to our driver to head to our final stop.
Once at the hotel we shot out using the shuttle bus and struck up a conversation with a young couple from the
UK who were travelling for 4 months and who had been to a few of the places we were heading to later in our trip and vice versa. Always useful getting tips about where we are going and to be able to share experiences. Although their stories about falling off motorbikes and getting stung by a box jellyfish a few days apart were a bit more colourful ( and painful) than ours.
Crazy busy on the roads again as we walked in the town but once we turned into the old town and the river there were no cars or bikes allowed other than rickshaws which made it pleasant to walk around.The Old town is clearly geared up for tourism with temples, historic buildings, bespoke tailoring, clothes shops, and bars and restaurants galore.
The riverside was lovely, changing as it was getting dark and floating paper lanterns were being sold and floated down the river - a beautiful sight.
We also came across a couple of photo shoots on boats being shot from the bridge so of course we had to try and replicate the shots.
Finally deciding we needed to eat before we headed back
we found a great and cheap restaurant called ‘Bahn Mi Phuong’. It only takes cash but there is an ATM round the corner - from the outside it looks like a takeaway and that’s clearly what the locals use it for but we pushed through the crowd at the front and went upstairs for one of the cheapest and best meals I’ve had in Vietnam.
Fortunately it was also just across the road from the bus back to the hotel.
The next day as the weather was a tad suspect- rain, heavy rain, sunshine, rain, clouds, rain and finally sun for most of the afternoon we decided to buy a Culture ticket which got us into 5 different ‘houses of culture’ in the old town.
And just because I like lists these are the ones we went in:-
Fukien Chinese assembly
Quan Cong temple
Museum of folklore
All very interesting except the folklore museum which was being renovated and the Japanese bridge though interesting is a bit disappointing.
We also visited the Precious Heritage Museum which was free and saw some great photography. The museum doubled as a photographic gallery and
an historical recording of the different ethnic groups across Vietnam together with their costumes.
To date french photographer Rehahn has visited and captured 49 out of 54 different cultures and captured them beautifully for posterity. Definitely worth a visit if you are there and if not check him out online - http://www.rehahnphotographer.com/
Short but sweet we left for the airport only to have found we hadn’t paid for our luggage so had to shell out an extra $120 cash which fortunately I had on me otherwise who knows what we would have done - but hey ho now sitting air side in the airport waiting for the plane back to Siem Reap. But that’s another day.
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