Day 91, Wednesday 04 April 2012, Da Nang, Vietnam.
I have a very unreliable internet connection in the hotel room in Da Nang so will go back to using BlogDesk, the one good thing with it is I can upload photos to BlogDesk off line and it will post everything when connected, this means I can do entire posts offline which is awesome…
Facebook is blocked in Vietnam, bizarrely however, the FB cellphone apps are not, so I can access on my phone but not on my netbook. The only issue with that is I cannot seem to work out how to comment on photos on the cellphone app, doh ! So apologies if I do not reply to any FB comments.
Right, back to Bangkok – I was up at 4.30 am and quietly snuck out of the hostel and up to Sukhumvit, the hostel told me I would have no problems finding a cab, even at that time of day and this was very true. I had only barely got to the street when three cabs all stopped to give me a ride. The hostel did get the price to the airport wrong, they said 300-350 baht – but it only cost 150, bonus!
Even at 5.00 am the airport was manic, the Air Asia check in was crowded and slow and I queued for forty five minutes, I am soooooo glad I got there early as I really wanted coffee before I got on the plane.
The flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HMC) was fine, full as all AA flights are, but reasonably smooth and we got there on time. I had pre-ordered my Vietnam visa on line and had to wait about 40 minutes in various queues to get it all processed, but a simple process. Myanmar and Vietnam are the only two countries that I have been to that do not do visa on arrival for NZers.
I walked over to the dometic terminal and queued some more to check in to the Vietnam Airlines flight to Da Nang. Once checked I found neither of my cards worked in the airport ATM so I could not get any local currency without changing some of my Thai or US and i wanted that for later as I did not have a whole lot anyway – so no coffee… the flight to Da Nang was the roughest I have had since my travels began – and I am not convinced it was the fault of the weather either, but we landed safely !
It was great to be met at the airport for a change ! My friend Dan was there with his motorbike to pick me up and we had a quick ride to the Pearl Sea Hotel where all the non-Vietnamese wedding guests are staying.
The rest of the crew were down by the beach for lunch, so after a very quick change we were off again. The hotel is a ten minute walk to the beach, and man what a beach ! White sand as far as the eye can see, one section of the bay is China Beach, made famous as a key landing point and military base for the US Army during the Vietnam war. Lunch was great ! beer and coffee just what was needed.
on the back of the bike again, I don’t think I am ready to ride on these streets, the Vietnamese do not ride fast, but there are a lot of them and they ride everywhere, road rules have limited application here !
Hoi An is a UNESCO heritage site and a semi-well preserved old town with sections dating back 300 years. It is a gorgeous little town and one I will go back to later and spend some more time looking around, we got there quite late in the day so did not get much time for photos and exploration. Though we did discover fresh beer for about 25 cents a handle !
If you are new to my blog, then you will soon find out I love bicycles, especially the older steel ones found in SE Asia. There will be bike photos when I find them.
After a very nice noodle dish for dinner, whose name I have totally forgotten we went for a walk along the water front. Hoi An is famous for its river and lanterns, with floating candle lanterns being a popular tourist attraction and there were numerous girls (child labour sadly) selling them along the river front for tourists to purchase and then float down the river.
There is also the Japanese bridge which was built in the late 1500’s.
We all walked back up to the bikes and to wait for the car to come and collect us, Dan had hired a people mover sized vehicle to ferry people around and Van’s brother Luc (I am guessing at the spelling) was driving us around. Though in true Vietnamese fashion the 10 minute wait was an hour. I experimented with panning photos again : )
We had a reasonably early night which I needed after the very early start !
So far Da Nang has been pretty cool, we are away from the main back packer area, not that many stay here as Hoi An is the key attraction, but the streets are big and wide, the traffic is crazy but not crazy crazy and the beach is lovely and beer is cheap!