A quick 45 minute flight and we landed in Danang. An hour’s taxi ride later and we were at our hotel in Hoi An.
Hoi an is a sleepy fishing village that wouldn’t look out of place on some rustic wall painting. It is probably the most picturesque village I have been to outside of provincial France, or Italy. This is a place where cars are pretty nonexistent, the reason is very simple – The village remains as it was when it was built many years ago and before cars were built or common place. Of course this means that the roads are narrow and not big enough for cars – Which is great, pretty much the whole of Hoi An is reserved exclusively for pedestrians and bikes.
Anyway, after we had checked into the hotel we tried the hotel pool, but it’s too deep for Abi. So we decided to head for Hoi An which is about 3km from our hotel and connected by a shuttle bus which runs at probably the most awkward timings imaginable. We had missed the bus and faced a 3 hour wait for another so I decided to get a taxi. Then something caught my eye – Motorcycle rental $6 per day. I went and investigated it and $6 later, not a single contract signed, no insurance agreed and not even so much of a sniff at my driving licence and all three of us were comfortably zooming off down the road. I was a little cautious, because the last time I hired a motorcycle on holiday it ended up in driving down a motorway the wrong way, nearly getting killed on a roundabout and was the cause of some major arguments in Mexico. Still, away we went.
It didn’t take us long to be completely lost. In fact we were so lost I didn’t even have the slightest idea which direction to go. So we just drove about, it was brilliant. We saw real Vietnam; it was just as id imagined Vietnam to be. About an hour later and somewhere on this country lane out in the middle of nowhere Abi spotted what she thought was the sea. So we made for there and pulled over. We walked up banking and there was this amazing beach with fishing boats all along it. Not a single person in sight. We chilled out for a bit and then were off again. Before long we were on a long coastal road which looked like the one we had travelled down earlier. So we headed along it. About half hour later I spotted a Pagoda showing itself above some trees on the side of a mountain. So we went towards it. Not long later we parked up and climbed the world’s steepest steps up to it. At the top was a Buddha Temple, there were caves behind it which we went into. Inside the deep caves were statues and incense sticks burning. It was brilliant.
Anyway we got back on the bike and continued down the coastal road; soon I noticed a huge statue on the side of a mountain. So passing through a fishing village and heading up a mountain after about half hour we arrived. We parked up and heard singing. So we went up and were suddenly in the centre court of a Monastery. Monks were doing their thing and I half wondered whether we should actually be there. When I spotted another tourist I realized it was open and we mooched about. I have to say, it really was an experience. Charlie has been fascinated with Monks ever since we saw one in China, so he really was in his element.
The heat had really started to get to us and so we did one. It took us about an hour to get back to the hotel once we realized that it was a simple 40km down this road. When we got in we compared our sunburn, yet again I’ve been absolutely blasted, Charlie has got burned knees and Abi – Well, apart from red cheeks and a bikini strap line she is fine.
After we had felt sorry for ourselves we headed for a restaurant on the side of the river in Hoi an and had a lovely meal. Cost – Bike for the day, 2 meals for 3 people and drinks – 500,000 Dong – About 15 quid. We love Vietnam 🙂