New Vietnamese Adventures: Da Nang and Hoi An
Русская версия Our favourite region in Vietnam is of course Dak Lak, but the rest of the places we visited (excluding Nha Trang) left very positive impression too. On this day it was time to get from Da Lat to Da Nang – the seaside city and a great hub for visiting various sights.
Yet, we had to get by bus to Nha Trang first (135000 dongs, multiple busses every day). As the day before, our bus companions turned out to have very weak stomachs and they were throwing up all the way, which did not make Victor felt better (as he was sick too – caught some cold).
We had several hours in Nha Trang between the bus from Da Lat and the train to Da Nang. Having looked around, we understood that we would hardly find a free map or luggage storage facility and went to walk around the city. The city was full of Russian signs and drunk Russian speakers. Despite the high waves, they were the only ones who were trying to swim, while there was a bottle (of beer in the best case scenario) left on the beach warming up and waiting for them.
Most of the cafes in the city centre have a menu in Russian, but the prices differ compared to the Vietnamese menu twice or thrice. The names for Vietnamese foods are very easy to remember, but this is not necessary for someone who came just to have rest.
Transport in Vietnam.
It is needless to say that waiting for the train in this place was a torture, since this way of having rest contradicts our interests. Also, we made a mistake buying seating places on the train (before the Chinese New Year the trains were full and only the third upper berths were available – and we did not know how good they were before we tried them afterwards in the Chinese train). Since this was a night ride we could not really sleep. The train stopped for many times and the passengers were getting in and out, often sleeping on the floor. At night, some passenger’s box fell down on Victor’s head.
What to do in Da Nang.
Finally we were in Da Nang.
Coming there, we settled into the hotel (Cali Hotel, which we recommend a lot because of the great owner!), had some sleep, rented a motorbike, and went to see the Marble Mountains situated not far from the city. In these mountains in the middle of the plain, caves formed providing the space for many Buddhist shrines. Now you may climb through these shrines, and a lot of pilgrims come to worship them.
Who is odd? 🙂
In the evening we had some excellent hot pot not far from the hotel.
Next morning we decided to start with the Buddhist temple, driving there up the hill through the fishing villages.
We also wanted to get to the Monkey Pass, but the bike did not have enough power to get both of us there.
Next we planned to visit a town of Hoi An. We recommend visiting it from Da Nang on the following reasons. Hoi An is extremely popular among the tourists and, as a results, the hotels and food are much more expensive here, and you even have to pay for parking the bike here (unlike in the majority of Vietnam). Yet, you may see everything in one day in Hoi An, and even sew some suits and dresses for yourself within this day too.
Hoi An is an interesting fusion of countryside landscape, several historical buildings, and the domineering tourist infrastructure.
Chinese New Year was coming to Hoi An:
On some reason (perhaps, because it was based on the river), the city resembles Verona a lot.
There are not too many must-sees in Hoi An, perhaps, only this bridge.
The tourist should get one of the maps with sights and just follow the route there. The route will mainly go through tourist streets and markets where you may buy everything you want. In this sense, the town resembles the Tai town of Pai also mainly serving for the tourists – especially when it comes to shopping.
Hoi An is famous for its tailors offering to make a dress within one day. We also got into this trap: you may try many dresses or suits, choose the cut and the fabric for it. Nastya chose two dresses and bargained to 15 dollars for each. They took the measures and said that the dresses would be ready at 7.
Then we were just rambling around, bought a lot of souvenirs. We had a lunch in Vuon Xua restaurant (Phan Cau Trinh 54), a bit hidden from the tourist streets and their noise. We enjoyed the food and its prices.
The time to collect dresses came, and it turned out that they were not ready. The tailor kept calling somewhere and promising that the dress would be ready in 15 minutes, then – in 2 hours. We needed to go, since it was getting dark and we still had to return to Da Nang. The tailor promised to bring the dresses next morning to our hotel. We drove out of Hoi An at around 8 PM.
When there were holes on the road, the light on the bike either switched off or on. The main road was well lighted and not too busy, and we returned to Da Nang without any problems.
In the morning, the tailor brought the dresses as promised at 9 AM, she was kind as an angel and wished us to return to Vietnam with a baby
Our next destination was Hue and Victor went to the bus station to buy the tickets. Some roads were closed and there were traffic jams, but when he finally reached the bus station he learned that you cannot buy the tickets in advance, only 1-2 hours before the departure. Victor wasted one hour on that, in addition, the motorbike refused to start. Luckily, a passerby helped by lifting the back wheel up and showing how to start the bike with the feet. The way back took less.
The owner of our hostel got the new bike to us within 10 minutes and we drove to the museum of Ho Chi Minh and Zone 5 Military Museum. They were having a lunch time break, and the information on when it starts and finishes was different on the museum website, at the museum sign and according to the opinion of its guard.
Waiting for the museum to open, we had to walk around and decided to get some food. Again, it turned out that the restaurant had two menus – in Vietnamese and English – with different prices too. Just for fun, we asked why, and, being visibly ashamed, the restaurant workers replied that the Vietnamese receive smaller portions – because of that their portions cost less. Yet, the coca-cola in the same cans also cost different in English and Vietnamese menus.
Ho Chi Minh museum.
Nevertheless, after the lunch we succeeded in getting into Ho Chi Minh museum, from the third attempt. Although we came there during the open hours, the employees of the museum tried to convince us that the museum was closed, but together with other visitors we managed to get into it. Perhaps, we insisted in vain: the museum was very boring.
We returned to the bus station, bought a ticket (65000 dongs) and got ready to go to Hue, towards new adventures!
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