Vikki: Today we left Hoi An for Hue. We hired a private car (7 seater) with driver which was great, plenty of room for us and all the luggage. It was a 4 1/2 hour journey stopping at a few sites along the way. First, we continued along the coast line, following kilometres of golden sand beaches and miles of blue water. The beach just continues all along the coast, both north and south of Hoi An. Just stunning and so much of it. Lots of large resorts are being developed and there is loads of room for more, so can imagine over the next 5-10 years it will get pretty busy. Personally would have to say if anyone is looking for a tropical/beach holiday in Asia, look no further than this area, it wins hands down.
Our first stop was the Marble Mountains, an area on the outskirts of Da Nang, where marble is quarried and carving is done. Some beautiful pieces, and the locals as usual are keen for you to buy up large and they'll ship it home for you. Being our usual cheap selves the kids found some scrap pieces on the side of the road, so we took that as our souvenirs. We took a lift up the mountain, which has a number of pagodas, temples and caves for Hindu and Buddhist worship, similar in a way to the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. There were also fantastic views of the Da Nang area, and surrounding beaches and sea. Stunning.
Our trip continued north, up over the Hai Van Pass, with more stunning scenic views, past French/American bunkers from the war and down through the valley where land with rice paddies and lagoons for fish, shrimp and oyster (pearl) harvesting are everywhere.
Lots of big trucks and buses on the road, and as the drive was somewhat hilly in places, this made for real slow progress at times, in fact I think the top speed would have only been 80km/hr on a good stretch.
We arrived into Hue, mid afternoon to 39 degrees, and within minutes of check-in the kids were in the pool. We've got a great room at the hotel, first floor so not too far to have to carry the bags, and a balcony which goes straight down to the pool (small but so good) so feel quite spoilt.
Off on a tour city tour tomorrow to see the sites, so more soon.
Today on the Raj Factor: We had dinner at a relatively cheap local Vietnamese restaurant suggested by the hotel staff. Forks were provided but as usual no knives. Raj took to his pork chop and rice with a fork and spoon and we all laughed when completely bent his spoon sideways as it proved a poor substitute for a knife. He then took to his chop with his fingers (what he should have done in the first place). Oh and earlier in the day Raj sercombed to eating lettuce and other uncooked greens with his pork kebabs so time will tell if that was a good choice and if he is the first to fall sick!