Link for pictures!
The shortest plane ride of all time was simple and comfortable. Silk Air even gave us muffins and orange juice! (Free stuff just makes everything better.) Envision getting out of the airport with very little idea of where to go, and you’ll know how we feel most travel days of our trip. Zac read about a cheap surfer’s haven on the strip of coast unofficially known as China Beach, so we hailed a cab and headed in that direction. About 15 minutes later, and after passing one fancy resort after another, our cab driver has come to a complete stop (well, almost complete; we were slowly drifting into the next lane), trying to read the address in the dark. A lightbulb seemed to suddenly go off in his head and he turned down a sketchy-looking side street, and pulled up ungracefully in front of Hoa’s Guest House. We had arrived.
The place where we stayed really made our time in Da Nang enjoyable. The no-frills guest house is a stone’s throw from the sand, and the family dinner and overall environment helped us meet some really cool people. Zac even found a buddy to surf with for a few days, and I had a running companion for an entire 4-mile run!
(And they even provided critters for midnight entertainment…)
My favorite part of the trip was our afternoon hike up Marble Mountain. It’s really more of a hill, and there’s not a lot of hiking, more like walking up stairs, but it was very enjoyable. It’s always nice to burn a few L-B’s doing a touristy thing, you know, killing two birds with one stone and all that.
The view was really great, and we even found some hidden little spots to climb for a better view or another path. It was a nice way to pass an afternoon, and I wish we’d stayed up there to see the sunset!
We rented a motorbike again and took a day trip to Hoi An. It was kind of a cool little town, but as I’m not one for shopping, and the concept of having a dress made for me is altogether intimidating, we didn’t find much excitement.
The french colonial architecture was pretty nice, but the overall feel of the place was incredibly touristy. Things were priced higher than in Da Nang and Saigon, so we just wandered for a bit to say we’d been there.
Just before leaving, we stumbled upon a delicious Banh Mi stand for the best local sandwiches money can buy. It was my favorite part of Hoi An!
While chatting it up waiting for our sandwich, we discovered that Anthony Bourdain actually went to this place on one of his shows. (No Reservations, I believe.)
And just for the record, our Banh Mi was just as elaborate, so it wasn’t specially made for Mr. Celebrity Chef.
With a full tank of gas, we headed back to Da Nang, and decided to try our hand at reaching a huge, but far-off statue on the other end of the inlet. It was gigantic, but everything was in Vietnamese, so I have no clue what it’s purpose was.
After some “world famous” do-it-yourself spring rolls, we spent the last day just lounging around the beach, and headed to the train station for an overnighter up to Hanoi. It was the best traveling sleep we’ve had, but it was an experience in and of itself. From diaperless babies peeing in the hallway to a smelly roommate with a broken leg, it’s a journey we won’t soon forget. We’re now in Hanoi for about a week, and then it’s off to Hong Kong to see Jayme!
Oh, and just so you know, I’ve started putting the links to my Facebook albums at the top of the blog so you can see all of the pictures. Thanks!