More Hoi An

Since I booked many days in Hoi An (yea me!) I am able to relax and enjoy the city. I really enjoy just wandering around town.

I try the local specialty Cao Lau at a cute cafe. I wish I wrote the name of the place down because I can no longer remember where I stopped.

I finally make it to the night market. I make a good amount of purchases because I plan a shipment home after my clothes are made. I end up buying way too many lantern coverings.

The whole city is vibrant with colored lights at night.

After all that shopping I decide it is time for a night cap. I stop at a lively but quieter bar on the road along the water. It is a nice end to a nice day.

Hoi An beach day

I want today to be a beach day. There are bikes I can borrow to ride to the private beach of the hotel but the ride looks long and the map is confusing. I am afraid of getting lost so I take the hotel shuttle van instead.

The shuttle drops me off at its private beach that is connected to a restaurant.

I am in the mood for a snack so I sit at the cafe with a drink and snacks and watch the ocean.

Very unhealthy lunch of cheese sticks and yam like fries.

I grab a beer can to go and wander down to the beach via a stairway that has a metal fish like structure at top.

I have my own towel so I just claim a lounge chair. There seems to be enough available. The beach is not crowded since the weather is iffy and it does seem to be off season. I tend to like the overcast days though. I get too much sun out sightseeing as it is.

It is mostly relaxing until a tour group of English speaking teenagers camp out close to me. They are loud and running around screaming. I decide to move a little further from them to get some peace.

I entertainment myself by watching dogs play on the beach.

In the distance is one of those ocean swings that Instagram influencers seem to love. It falls over with high tide and the resort staff have a heck of a time pulling it in.

It is almost time for my return van to show up. I pack up my things and wander down the road a bit while I am waiting. It looks like some places have storm damage from a past storm.

The vibe is very calm and peaceful. I wonder if it is different during season? Perhaps on another visit to Hoi An I stay near the beach instead for a change of pace?

I am back to my hotel to finish my evening on the other part of Hoi An.

My Son is me sun

Today I am taking a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site My Son Sanctuary from my hotel in Hoi An (Vietnam).

The name ‘My Son’ looks like you are saying “my son” but it is actually pounced “me sun”.

These Hindu temples were built between the 4th and 14th century by the Champa Kingdom. My tour guide referred to it as little Angkor Wat. These temples are smaller and less impressive than the temples in Cambodia but are dated earlier and look similar, thus the nickname. My Son is impressive but I agree with the criticism that maybe it is not as impressive if you have seen Angkor Wat first. Luckily my first visit to Angkor Wat is later in my travels.

This UNESCO site had lots of destruction in the war (B52 bombing in 1969 and 1972) as the south Vietnamese were using the temples to hide out.

Researchers are still discovering how they were originally constructed in order to try to repair them. During my visit I saw temples in various states of repair.

Bomb site

There is a heritage dance show. It is standing room only in the very back for me. I only catch a short glimpse of it.

When our tour of My Son is complete we visit a lady who makes rice paper. We get a demonstration on how they are made.

We are taken to a local house where we are served a delicious meal family style. We are instructed on how to wet the dry rice sheets and make wraps filled with delicious toppings.

Our day is finished with a short boat ride.

Aaaah, I am in Hoi An

I am in Hoi An, Vietnam. I have heard many praises about this place but wasn’t sure what to expect. I anticipate liking it as well and book about a week in Hoi An. I end up loving it.

I book a really nice resort recommended by a couple I met during my travels. Luckily I had a good number of credit card points to offset the cost. I say it is expensive for Vietnam it is but the cost is $50 a night; quite a deal compared to what you would get in other countries. The hotel is on separate island from the main town of Hoi An but it is only a mile or so walk to the main tourist areas. There is a periodic shuttle to town but I end up walking there myself on most days.

Hoi An Odyssey Hotel

my view
Hotel pool at night

When I arrive it is raining again. I settle in my room and get dinner at the hotel restaurant. There are not any others dining.

The next morning I am off to get some clothes made. It is imperative I do my orders soon because it can take 3 days for the clothes to be sewed. There are so many choices and it is overwhelming. I end up choosing a place my hotel recommends. Not the cheapest tailor but they have a good reputation for quality.

I begin the couple mile walk. I could get a taxi but I feel I need the exercise.

Some of many tailors in town.

I choose designs and patterns. Many have fancy suits made but I end up ordering one wrap dress, one more formal dress, and one pant jumpsuit. Afterwards I go to have some shoes designed close by. I’ll come back a couple times for fittings at both places. After my first dress fitting I decide to order an additional wrap dress since they seem to be easy to make and are flattering.

After ordering my clothes I walk around town. There is a ticket you buy to each of the sites but I just view them from the outside instead. I like just hanging out in town and people watching.

I stop in a cafe for lunch. I order some chicken stir fried with noodles and vegetables.

After my lunch I walk back toward my hotel.

It is hot out so I enjoy the rest of the afternoon at the pool with a cocktail and apparently a new kitty to take home.

Loving my time in Hoi An thus far.

Da Nang is a bust

I asked for downtime and I got it. My time in Da Nang is basically a bust.

I am able to arrange to van ride to Da Nang from Hue. The van ride I book includes a couple stops along the way.

Thanh Toan Bridge

First stop on our ride is in a small village that is famous for its Thanh Toan Bridge. little bridge Thanh Toan Bridge, a Japanese bridge built in the 1700’s. It is a quaint wooden bridge in a quiet town. Note: At the time of this post I discovered the bridge has been disassembled for possible renovations.

Lang Co Beach 

Our second stop is at Lang Co Beach. We stop at what looks likes a once great beach resort but now appears to be fallen into disrepair. There is a place to buy jewelry on this stop (there is always is). I don’t bother going in so not sure if it was gold or whatever. We walk through the resort to get a view of the beach. If it isn’t for all of the trash on the beach it seems like it could be a wonderful place during season. I see some medical waste.

Hai Van Quan

Last stop is the Hai Van Quan along the Van Hai pass. Van Hai Pass is the curvy scenic road that you take into Da Nang. It is quite overcast today but it does still look pretty out the window. We stop at the Hai Van Quan. Built in 1826 by King Minh Mang the gate overlooks Da Nang and also contains an old French fort and Vietnam War bunker.

Da Nang

Finally I am in DaNang. I think I am the only passenger stopping here, the rest are onto Hoi An.

I had high hopes for Da Nang. I am going to visit that famous hand bridge, the marble mountain, and more…. but of course I am visiting during rainy season. I knew there is a risk of rainy days but pretty much my whole time in Da Nang consisted of thunderstorms, not unlike the tropical storms we get in Florida. I felt at home, sort of.

My room is on an upper floor and I have a great view of the ocean.

Storms start. I head upstairs to get a look at the pool. It is closed of course. I’ll try for a visit later.

As the storm progresses the wind gets stronger. The weather proofing from the windows does not hold and water slowly puddles in. I use towels from the bathroom to soak up the water so it doesn’t further flood the room. I later call to tell them repair is needed but they don’t seem too concerned so I just make sure to ask for more towels since mine are all on water duty.

It is later before the storms end. I am not in the mood to explore town in the evening. Instead I take pictures of Lady Buddha off in the distance.

I send an email to my family to check in and let them know I am safe. It is soon after I get a reply from one aunt who remembers my uncle getting stationed in Da Nang during the Vietnam war. I had no clue, war stories don’t seem to be widely discussed. It is odd for my aunts to imagine it being a vacation resort town now when my uncle had a vastly different experience here many years ago. It makes me appreciate how far things have come since then.

Day 2

It is supposed to storm once again all day. I decide not to arrange a ride to sights and just take more downtime since I am not in the mood to be out in the rain.

Buffet breakfast is interesting at the hotel. This is the first place I’ve been at in a while that doesn’t offer a western style breakfast.

During breakfast the storm comes again.

Got a little rooftop pool time during one the brief times the sun comes out. I almost have the entire pool to myself. It is a nice and relaxing view but doesn’t last long because the storms start again.

My hotel offers afternoon tea. I decide to take advantage of it today.

A couple hours pass and I am sick of wasting time watching movies and such. I am in the mood for pizza and luckily the rain stops again. I find a European style pizza place run by an Italian ex-pat near by.

L’Italiano Da Nang

After all that food I need a walk, luckily the rain still hasn’t begun again. I walk down to My Khe Beach.

My Khe Beach

On the way to the beach I walk by some seafood markets. The different types of crustaceans and clams fascinate me.

It is a little challenging to walk across to the beach. There is a steady stream of traffic and they are going much faster than Hanoi. I am scared to try the Hanoi cross here. Luckily traffic lightens up enough for me to cross.

The beach is nice and quiet with only a few people relaxing in the sand; it is off season so it is normal for the beach to be empty.

The rain starts again so I head back to my hotel. This evening is Halloween and rain does stop briefly in the evening for me to go out for a beer. There is a not so crowded bar and food area about 5 blocks away I don’t stay long because I am sure the rain will start again soon.

My stay in Da Nang is short and I pretty much miss all the main attractions but I am well rested. I’ll have to return to Da Nang sometime when it is not rainy season!