Travelling South Vietnam

Hoi-An, Vietnam 1st-3rd April

Hoi-An is a lovely town, famous for its good food and many tailors who will make you anything from a suit, dress or shoes. The town had a lovely feel, tourists strolling around the banks of the river taking in the lights and the atmosphere. We booked into a nice hotel with a pool as a treat for Paddy’s birthday. From there, we rented bikes for USD$1 each and cycled through the country before looping back into the old quarter district to find a cooking course. We booked one for that evening with Cafe 43 and came back to prepare fried squid stuffed with pork and a chicken curry. The course was reasonable at $5 each plus price of food which was $2-3 per main. Beers here were 15 cent for a glass. We enjoyed the cooking course both of us making one dish. The food was good. Next day, we rented bikes again and cycled out to the beaches. It started to get cloudy and eventually light rain so we didn’t stay long at the beach, a nice cycle though. That night, we went back to Cafe 43 to try something else on the menu. The following morning we checked out of the hotel and spent a bit of time on the computers transferring movies from the hard drive to the IPAD Mini – important to have sorted for the long bus journeys. That evening we took a night bus to Nha Trang, we took the back seats which gave Patrick more leg room.

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Hoi-An

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Nha Trang, Vietnam 5th-8th April

We arrived in Nha Trang at 6.30am after a bumpy ride down from Hoi-An. All the roads in Vietnam are rough and in need of upgrading, this one particularly bad. There seems to be some upgrades going on but not much progress made anywhere. Tired and in search of a hotel, we walked around and found a lovely hotel New Day, clean and very cheap at USD$12.50 per night room only. We stayed four nights as we really enjoyed Nha Trang – a place to relax after a lot of travelling. It is a beach town, the beach stretching out the Coast with many day beds and umbrellas to relax under. We did some cycling one day to see the sights including a Budda and cathedral. At the Budda, there was a monk ringing the bell, he did a ritual where we each sat under the bell while he sang and hit the bell softly. It was funny and calming. I felt he was blessing us and wishing us a safe trip. He asked for a donation and wished us well on our trip. We did two beach days, sitting under an umbrella and catching up on some reading. I finished Roy Keane’s autobiography which was very good and Paddy finished ‘long way down’ by Charlie Boreman and Ewen McGregor. I tried a fresh coconut; it was nice, cold and refreshing. A lot of locals walk up and down the beach selling fruit, paintings, coconut donuts, books and sunglasses. We quickly got used to the Vietnamese shouting at us to purchase something…”buy something” they would shout nicely. The sun was shining with temperatures of 30-31 degrees. Every morning, we had a French baguette for breakfast purchased from a lady’s street stall. For only USD$1, it was so tasty. The French baguettes were heated on a grate over hot coals. Under the lady’s cart she has a frying pan where she cracked the four eggs and let them cook. She filled the rolls with a little sweet chilli sauce, butter, a pâté, sliced tomato, fresh rocket leaves and eggs. On top, she finished with a drizzle of soya sauce. The best breakfast and kept us going all day. We also got a nice takeaway coffee across the road.

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Dalat and Mui Ne, Vietnam 9th – 11th April

This morning we took a four hour bus to the town of Dalat which is a little inland up in the hills. We were collected at 7.30am (half an hour late as the Vietnamese buses often are). I picked up a copy of Barak Obama book (literally a copy). It cost $3 after a little haggling. The weather is good today; Dalat had lovely countryside, with nice waterfalls and a lot of farming and flowers growing there. We hired a scooter that afternoon and drove around the lake and town, stopping at the local markets for a look. That evening we found a lovely restaurant where we had an amazing curry. It was delicious. We met an Irish couple from Dublin in the restaurant. They were travelling for the year and heading back to Ireland in May. We got talking to them and they shared some stories of their experiences in South America. It was nice to meet them and we went for a drink later that evening with them. The next day, we hired a scooter and headed off to find elephant waterfalls. On the way, we came across road works, as we went further the road deteriorated; it was bad, driving on a sand dirt track. The owner of our hotel advised us the previous day about the road works going on in the area and not to take the scooter out when raining. The road works lasting 10 kms. The morning was dry and good so we thought fine but as we went on I got a bit nervous of the bad condition and we skidded a little so I asked Paddy to turn around. We headed back to Dalat, a failed mission! We went to a bakery for coffee and some cake to cheer up, it started to rain and I thought glad I’m not out on the bike. The next day we took a bus to Mui Ne. Mui Ne is a small tourist town, popular with the Russians. The beaches were rocky, town itself a little untidy. We stayed one night and the following day we took a six hour bus to Saigon.

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One thought on “Travelling South Vietnam

  1. Theresa Mc Guane. says:

    What beautiful pictures and scenery.Those dishes of food look so great I wished I was near to have some.Ye are great at the cycling and the bicycle looked lovely.Ye have a lot done.All the best.
    Theresa.

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