From Dull To Disney In One Short Bus Ride

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2014

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

We chill out in Da Nang for most of our second day there. Anna is still ill so we try and relax. We take a short walk around the town and visit a nice temple and pagoda, then watch some old fella's doing a spot of Thai Chi on the promenade. Da Nang is nice but becoming increasingly boring. We are looking forward to getting out of here and plan on catching the bus down to Hoi An in the morning. Hoi An is like a Viet version of York or Chester. It's an ancient town stuck in time. There are restrictions on buildings and modernisation so the town stays looking (sort of) like it did a few hundred years ago. It is full of history and culture but also very touristy and people flock to Hoi An to get clothes made in one of the million tailor shops lining the roads. Sounds like an interesting place.

Departure day arrives and we melt along the road on our way to the bus station. The sun has been turned up to maximum and just when it looks like we won't make it, a big yellow bus comes drifting out of the heat haze. It has Hoi An painted on the front and the driver waves at us expectantly. We crawl on board and throw our bags behind us, covering the back window. Expecting to pay a hugely inflated price to the locals, we are relieved to be charged only double, still a steal to us at 90p for a 45 minute bus journey.

Arriving in Hoi An we head out of the bus station (according to our ever-reliable map). However, it soon becomes apparent that something is amiss when we quickly get lost. A couple of motorbike-taxi's advise us that we were dropped at the 'other' bus depot. The one that isn't on our map. Oh good. After turning down their kind offers of hurtling us along the road on the back of their death-bikes, we start to walk the right way. It really is a good job our packs are comfy and light in this heat. Thankfully Hoi An is tiny and our hotel is pretty central.

We dump our stuff in our new room and follow our noses (because our maps are useless) to the riverside. Hoi An is a quaint ancient town, most of which is still preserved. It is a pretty place but also feels slightly fake due to its touristy facade. The buildings are painted yellow and the streets are small and quiet, many closed to motor vehicles. Bicycles are big here but everything is in walking distance. We choose a bar on the waterfront advertising happy hour in the mid afternoon and settle down to watch the world go by and sip a cheap fresh beer. There is lots to see in and around Hoi An as it's a very historical old town. We decide to explore it the following morning.

After a peaceful nights sleep we set out to do what we do best. Walk about and look at stuff. Lots of stuff. And lots of walking. We have a nosey at numerous temples and buildings, all of which are wonderful and interesting. Our final port of call is the Japanese Bridge (16th-17th century). The bridge is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side. It is lovely. As well as an abundance of sights to see, Hoi An is also rammed full of places to eat, drink and shop. All of which makes it very busy with the tourists and the local poeple and culture only become evident once you walk out of the main area into the back streets of the town. It's a really nice place and we are glad to be staying here for a few days.
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