The concluding part of my trip around Vietnam.
Saturday 1 August 2009 - Tuesday 11 August 2009
Saturday 8 August – It was with sadness that I left Hue in order to carry on with my trip. Hue is a great place, lots to see, the traffic is manageable and the people are friendly.
The bus to Hoi An left on time and took about four hours to drive the 140 km. The trip is rather scenic, especially around the Hoi Van Pass area. Unfortunately, the new road goes under the hill in the new 6.3 km long tunnel, rather than over the top.
Hotel review: The Green Fields Hotel is further out of town that I expected and the website pictures are different. Incredibly hard bed. Sleeping on a concrete floor would have been more comfortable. Walking back in the evening on unlit streets with open drains etc is not much fun. That afternoon I checked out another hotel much closer to the centre of town and booked it.
Sunday 9 August – Bloody roosters! There was one in the fields next door and he decided to wake up everyone in the hotel at about 4:00 am. When I checked out, the receptionist did offer to cook him for me if I changed my mind and stayed.
Hotel review: The Tranh Binh 3 was much nicer. It had an attractive pool area, decent breakfast and was very much in the centre of town, near the Le Loi main shopping and eating street.
The day was spent wandering around the old town alongside the river. Lots of the old riverside houses have been converted to bars and restaurants of varying quality. I say that as my first dinner was very average to say the least and I needed to move to another place to have a second dinner. The first place had a prime position overlooking the river, but 2/5 for the food. The second place was on a side street off Le Loi, and was 4/5 for food, atmosphere and staff. The also offered 2 litre jugs of spirits and mixers (e.g. vodka and red bull) for 150,000 dong ($US8)!!!
The Thu Bon River in Hoi An.
A typical little restaurant. Note the sign.
More restaurants on the other side of the river.
What a great portrait!
Lanterns in the river.
The Japanese Covered Bridge.
Typical tailoring shops.
A night view of Le Loi, one of the main shopping streets.
More of Le Loi at night.
The pool area at the hotel is just the ticket after a hot day sightseeing and shopping (well, not much shopping).
Monday 10 August – I decided to go out the beach. Vietnam has some great beaches and they are not highly developed. The beach at Hoi An is about 5 km from the town centre and is easily reached by bicycle or taxi. It had a number of restaurants lining it where you could sit and relax and read. A couple of hours later I got back into town for some more wandering around the old town.
After a well earned afternoon swim and nap, dinner was at the market next to the river. This is an outdoor food hawker type place and was very tasty, even though they managed to forget part of my order.
The beach at Hoi An, looking north.
A pagoda on the way back to Da Nang airport.
Tuesday 11 August – Time to say farewell to Vietnam. My bus to Da Nang airport was exactly on time. From there I flew to Saigon and then onto Bangkok for a couple of days of shopping.
Vietnam is a great place. I will definitely be back, maybe further north to Sapa, Dien Bien Phu etc. It was nowhere near as difficult as I thought it might be. All by bookings were honoured and any arrangements made on the ground worked fine. The food is great, do not drink the water, but the beer makes for that. It is very cheap, especially the food and drink, and the people are friendly. Marks out of 10: 7.5, being -1.5 for being too hot and -1 because nowhere is perfect.