Continuation on our update in Vietnam, we bid Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) goodbye and set flight to Da Nang in the early hours of 4AM.
Apparently, our flight was scheduled for a 5 AM start courtesy by Jetstar. I assume not enough people took the 9am flight so they put us into an earlier flight. The postive side of this is that there were less automobiles and bikes around, so getting there to airport has proven the ETA to be right for once using Google Maps. At the airport, we took a nap and suddenly we’re at Da Nang. Sorry i can’t recall how we got there
We arrived at Da Nang airport around 7AM. Trying to save costs, we took one of suggestions from Trip Advisors and walked from the Airport to the City in order to catch the Local Bus to Hoi An. Hungry and Thirsty we stumble upon a local Pho place to grab some brekky. I would say this was the most delicious food we tasted and has re-energised us to seek the elusive bus stop.
After 20 minutes of walking of carrying our backpacks (which i think has increased up to 9 Kg), we saw some fellow thrifty travellers who are also trying to catch the same bus as we are. We then instructed them that the bus is somewhere around the corner according to Google Maps. They were hesitant to follow us but we later end up the same bus stop as they were told by a local. It appears they have the right mind set for travelling as they don’t rely on technology but asking locals where a particular destination you want to head to.
Feeling Good, we boarded the Bus #1 to Hoi An, YAY! We paid 30000 VND per person (which i feel is a bit much) but at the end of the day we were so glad that we’re able to head the right direction. The cost of Shuttle Bus from the Airport is around 150000 per person so we somewhat save around 120000 VND to be used for foooooood.
As we got of the bus, we walked to our new home called Beautiful Moon Villa. This place we’re staying for the night is a 10 minute bike ride away from the city centre. Hot and Bothered we’re dying for refreshments, the host offered a drink and we feel this homestay will feel right at home. We stayed at a 4 Bedroom Dorm and has it’s own ensuite to take hot showers, clean bathroom and a spacious bed. During this time, we had a quick rest and re-charged our phones and camera to capture the beauty of Hoi An. The cost of this lodge is $7 per person
We borrowed the bicycles and the experience was simply amazing. We’ve navigated through the streets towards the city and joined the traffic with other vehicles. Parking is easy… just park in front of the shop or a safe street side placement and should be good to go. Except its best to park in a secure area at night time but expect to pay parking fee around 5000VND.
Hoi An, is best known for its Ancient City and tailoring. I didn’t get to do it, as it’s not in my intention to buy clothing, also dont want to exceed over 7Kg (which i think i’m already am). However, they look pretty good. It reminds me back home visiting Cabramatta where you see a lot of fabrics to choose for your clothing. This place is very touristy and local shop keepers would screw you over. Be prepared for this, and carry as much of loose change to bargain.
Proceeding towards the Ancient town, we were greeted by entry staff that you need to buy ticket to enter. We’ve googled whether this is true and there’s no indication that it requires payment. We became hungry of this ordeal so we’ve turn back and head for nearby lunch.
After lunch, we stumbled upon a side alley and we seem to have entered to the Ancient Town. Walking through the place is marvelous, although you have to dodge past pre-wedding takers, foreigners and locals. This day coincided during the lantern festival which occured every month and it was packed . The architecture retains the old charm and you feel that you’re transported back in time. Wonderful areas to take photos to capture it’s charming backdrop.
The town itself is a maze, it sort of reminded me when my wife and I were visiting in Venice during our honeymoon. You can get totally lost here but wonderul experience and do some serious photo shoots especially at sunset.
I expect the lanterns to go float up to the sky but its been floated onto the water (not like the disney film i saw in tangled). Some survived, others became a flaming paper ball. We end the night having local food dinner nearby the river and had chicken fried rice which was…..ok.
Feeling full and tired, we’ve headed back to our place. Here’s a tip.. it’s better to book somewhere close to the Ancient Town because you’re battling against car/bike and foot traffic and riding back home is challenging at night. However the streets are pretty well lit.
Today we spent around $20 per person excluding flights.
Slept in and felt really refreshed to start the day. Brekky wasn’t included but no matter, we’ve decided to stay in for extra night. Oh No… 😯 Unfortunately, there’s another couple who have booked for the night so we decided to find another hostel. One of the room mates kindly offered that she’ll move but we chose to seek another that’s closer to the Ancient Town. So off we went to find another home 😋
We chose to stay at a place called paradise hotel and it was a sheer delight. The host greeted us with open arms and his beaming smile makes us feel welcomed. We’ve booked for 2 more nights just in case as this place seems like a paradise as appropriately named, and its real close to the town. Cost of Lodging – $7
As we settled to our room, we met a German fellow in our dorm and he was really friendly. His tale was similar to us but more of an adventure kind. He likes to trek at Nepal which he recommends by going there via Calcutta as it was cheaper. Moreover, his journey continues to Hue via motorbike to take breathtaking photos of the Mountains and on the road. He showed his pictures and it looks really professional, looks like he works in national geographic. Need to step up my game and take awesome photos like him. Anyways, this has made our decision to change our itinerary whether if we could spend a night here and journey to Hue as well. Oh well, time will tell.
Cycles through the streets to find breakfast and with good wifi we have to keep up and update our blog. Y’know blogging is pretty hard… you need to set a specific day/time to work on it where there’s so many places to see.
Next in our itinerary, we headed to the Beach. Its a 5k from the town, and cycled for around 15 minutes. Cycling the road looks amazing as you see rice paddocks along the way.
On our way near to the beach we have to park our bikes. We met friendly old ladies with big smiles and were escorted to the parking area. She ask for a fee of 15K for two, so we hesitantly payed for it.
“No 5, 0. 50000 thousand”.
She raised her tiny hands with 5 fingers. We thought it was 15 so we declined and try to take our money and park elsewhere. NO! she exclaimed, and wouldn’t let go our money for us to take.
Without any change of money left to make up 50 to offer, she pointed the 20K note in my wallet to fulfill the payment. Refusing to do so, she got really more angry. Sigh… after much arguing and not going anywhere, we gave our last 20K to have our bikes to be held hostaged.
An Bang Beach
Feeling frustrated and despondent we walked towards An Bang Beach. Having not prepared for anything (no towels, swimmers), we just took turns and make a splash on the water to cool off. After spending more than a hour, we walked alongside the beach to do some karate exercises to keep fit due to our ever increasing tummy throughout our trip.
Sunset is closing in, so It was time to get our bikes and cycled our way to the town.
Our last night at Hoi An graced us with loving memories of the sun, cheap cafes, friendly locals and busy streets.
We had the utmost pleasure enjoying the local foods and friendly people (except the old parking lady) but overall would love to come back to see the smiling faces again.
Overall in our trip to Hoi An, the cost per person would be roughly $20AUD per night. Our transport getting here from HCMC (Flight) to Da Nang is $40 and (Bus) to Hoi An is around $1.60
This makes up the rough figure of around $60.
I would say taking bus from Ho Chi Minh would be cheaper, but have to consider the cost of time and energy to invest this trip.
Rating 9/10, because price here is relatively cheap compare to Ho Chi Minh City.