09.07.2012 - 13.07.2012 40 °C
Vietnams most picturesque city, Hoi An´s old town has kept its traditional buildings, small lanes and tailor shops. After coming through a few of the big cities, this change to a nice small more peaceful city was great. And to make things even better for the 3 girls, shopping is cheap and everywhere. Mateo and I on the other hand didn’t quite have the same enthusiasm for the shopping.
We had an overnight sleeper bus taking us up to Hoi An and as we were now in our group of 5, we were given the back row beds which was a cosy setup for the nights sleep. There ended up being people sleeping on the floor in the aisles and everything, so at least we had a bed each.
The streets are very nice to walk around and after having some breakfast down by the river, the girls stopped to look in a shop. Mateo and I said we would go and sort out our bus tickets for the following trips and meet the girls back at the hotel in 15 minutes. 2 and a half hours later we had had a snooze and showered by the time that it seemed the 3 girls had visited every shop in Hoi An and made a number of purchases of tailored dresses to be made over the next day or two.
For the afternoon we once again hired some motorbikes with Tanya taking her own one this time. We headed out to the coast and north to a small set of rocky hills called the Marble Mountains. The ride out was nice, and the breeze on the motorbikes was a welcome relief from the heat! The Marble Mountains had a lot of Buddha images and temples that we took a while walking through and having a bit of fun here and there.
We found out that Mateo is actually a ghost in the form of an Italian body
The view from the Marble Mountains
On the way back to Hoi An we stopped at the local beach which was jam packed with local people enjoying the balmy evening and slightly cooler water. We sat on a mat and ordered a round of drinks and played cards for a while as an awesome sunset played out before our eyes.
Back in Hoi An we walked around the streets as they were full of colour and light with all the shops showing their stock. It really is a beautiful little city Hoi An. We had some good food and drinks before retreating back to our air conditioned hotel rooms for some more cards and drinks
The following day the girls went to check on the progress of their recent purchases before we hired some pushbikes to ride around the old town with. We crossed the river and managed to keep at it for about 30minutes before the heat became too unbearable. From this part of Vietnam and further north, the weather isn’t wet and dry season, but rather a traditional northern hemisphere 4 seasons. So we were in the height of summer with 40 degree temperatures. Mateo and I called a day on the bike riding at that point and sought the comfort of ice cold beers for the sum total of 4000 dong each ($0.20) while the girls took the opportunity of not having us around to do some more shopping and hunting out the local markets. A win win situation really, apart from the budget of course.
We cycled back out to the beach again to spend the afternoon before coming back into town and doing some more exploring under the cooler conditions of the night. The colonial architecture that has been preserved really does make it an enjoyable city to walk around and get photos.
We had an early morning bus pick us up from our hotel and take us a few hours north to the city of Hue where we had another bus that night to Hanoi. We had about 5 hours to spare in Hue so walked over the river to the citadel that used to be the home of the emperor Nguyen. It wasn’t spectacular but gave us something to do for a few hours before the next bus journey
Daniel – Probably the prettiest city we have seen in Asia since Pingyao in China. Still with old buildings and traditional shops, you have to stop here on any tour of Vietnam. Although watch out if you have female company with room to spare in their bags...
Tanya – The city had that oldie worldly charm and the countless tailors, shoemakers etc that made it even more special. Luckily with 20c beers, we could find room in the budget (plus room in my backpack) for a few additional purchases.