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Published: August 27th 2015
view from our room
After a night bus from nha trang, we arrived in Hoi an, the gem of the country. I really like the night buses here, it is like 3 rows with 2 aisles and 2 levels, like bunk beds but as i am quite small i can moer or less stretch right out so i normally sleep well on them. Hoi An is actually a Unesco protected heritage town, which means development and other things are very regulated within the ancient town so most accomodation is outwith. We had a lovely homestay on an island nearby, they provided free bikes which was just as well because it would have been quite tricky to get around the town otherwise. On bike, about 10 odd mins. Pictures dont really do the place justice, but it is a lovely riverside town which has lots of japanese lights and lanterns, sleepy cafes and a multitude of tailor shops, cloth shops, shoes, belts, you name it. Hoi an is famous for being the clothes capital of vietnam. I personally got 2 pairs of boots made for myself, one of which i got sent home, for a very reasonable price. I would have loved to got more but
my trusty bike,where i would spent many many hours on!
i simply dont have the room in my case! We stayed 6 nights there and even though most days we were busy, i struggle to remember doing what! we spent a couple of days wandering the old town and bartering over some vests, chilled by the river, and explored by bike. The surrounding areas were beautiful. There were also 2 beaches nearby, I went to one of them twice, and the other once, while gary went into Da nang by moped tosee if he could find some electronics. I had received the sad news that my granny smith had passed away, so I was a bit more subdued so the beach was probably what the doctor ordered. I couldnt have wanted a better place to receive this news though, as it was really beautful and she would have liked it. I lit a lantern on the water for her in her honour. The town was buzzing in the evening and i picked up some lovely earings, rings, and a few items of clothing. Luckily i had some birthday money otherwise i would have struggled!
We had heard that the train from da nang (about 40 min away) to Hue
hoi an river
(old imperial city) was stunning and since we hadnt experienced a train ride we went forit. unluckily we got the raw deal and were sat mountainside ont he train as opposed to coast side, however when you went between carriages you could look out the window and the scenery was amazing. There were so many beaches that looked completely undiscovered and would have been amazing to visit. The weather in vietnam had been amazing, it isnt their monsoon season yet soit was great to be able to enjoy the beaches etc without worry of rain!
We spent what felt like a short couple of days in Hue, the previous imperial capital and a very ancient city which had largely been destroyed during the war. After hoi an it was slightly underwhelming but we had a really nice guesthouse who treated us so well, amazing local food, and we hired a scooter for $4 to jump about which was loads of fun. The views over the rivers were absolutely stunning! There were many tombs around the area but unfortunately they were really expensive so we didnt visit them. We did visit the old citadel which is being restored due tot
bahn mi's, which dominated my diet!
he war. It was serene and peaceful with lots of lakes, and we could feed the tonnes of fish that were there! Our guesthouse were amazing, a very sweet old lady, she let us stay in our roomuntil 4pm with no charge as we had another nightbus to get. Quick walk to the bus stop, and we were on our way to Hanoi.
Everyone had told us "ohh hanoi is insane, its soo crazy" but when we arrived we wondered whether the people that had told us this has been to Ho chi minh as we found it to be much larger and much more overwhelming with traffic. The old quarter was nice, but just really to wander around, look at shops/eat. The city had some nice lakes, we visited a prison which is up my street, but we werent overhwlemed by the city. Probably as well because it was our final stop in Vietnam so the standard was higher (you either start in hanoi or finish there, or the majority do). From Hanoi though, you can go to the famous Halong bay. We were told that the weather was a bit dodgy and unpredictable but what can you
on the drive to the beach
do? We took our chances and booked in a mid range boat for 2days, 1 night for $79 USD.
After about a 4 hour drive, we got onto our boat. IT was us and another 2 english couples, and one pair of older Aussie guy mates. The weather was fortunately glorious! I immediately dropped by bag off and got up on the deck in my bikini, aware that i wouldnt be seeing much more sun like that since we were headed inland afterwards. The scenery was amazing, i felt like i had been taken back tot he phillipines! The water was the only thing that wasnt the same, that and a lot more people! We visited a cave which was absolutely huge, really impressive. But no pics, as they didnt turn out well on camera. The viewpoints were amazing too. Afterwards we got time to chill on the beach, then once we got back to the boat we went for a sunset kayak. Quick shower, relax and we had a quick lesson on how to make spring rolls, then dinner. The one fault with the boat was that the drink prices were extortionate (3-5 times normal)and if they caught
an bang beach
you with 'contraband' they would fine you. Water was ok, i brought 2 big bottles which i bought for 7000dong in the city, the cost of a small was 20000! unreal. There were some crafty women who came round and rowing boats passing stuff up to you with nets, so we bought some pringles. Gary had the sense to buy some rum so we just bought coke and filled it up. Kind of ridiculous as the end result was noone bought anything at all, they couldhave made a lot more money and people would have been merrier. None the less, we had a good laugh meeting new people and swapping travel stories and was fun to be around new folk. The next day we chilled on the deck and quickly visited a pearling farm w here we were shown the process for making pearls. Then shown the extortionate prices to buy them! I dont think anyone was really that interested. Back on the boat to relax, arrived to shore about mid day then tucked into our lunch before heading back to Hanoi. One more night in Hanoi, then it was time to move onto Laos.
Hope you enjoy the
train from da nang to hue
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