Vietjet was late departing so by the time we landed at Da Nang it was already getting dark. This was the main entrance and staging post for the US marines and so is actually a huge airfield right next to the city. However because of its American design the city was also too big to walk around so we decided to escape to Hoi an and shared a bus with some very quiet Thai tourists and checked in to our over friendly host at the bnb.
Hoi An is one of those places you have to visit - it was a french trading port that was spared some of the more intense fighting so retains many original buildings and bridges. The locals have twigged that putting up lanterns everywhere draws in the crowds who will happily pay £3 to sit on a boat and look at the same lanterns from the water (we also did this...) Rammed full of tourists bussed in from mainland Asia means that a lot of the charm it had is lost amidst the spitting, lack of personal space and selfie sticks.
We wanted to see some of the local sights e.g. ‘the marble mountains’ but were quoted many £ to do so (26 in fact) which we thought was a bit steep! So ever adventurous we caught the local bus there, got lost and ended up at the summit! For free! Spurred on by our successes we got bicycles out the next day and went through the paddies all the way to the beach for a sunrise brekkie before spending the afternoon exploring the local islands and finding gems like a floating restaurant. Despite Nat leaving her debit card in the ATM (nice Aussie man ran down the road to return it), a boy with special needs pulling her hair and a fearsome/staring water buffalo it’s been one of our favourite days so far.
We’ve since bought ourselves to Hue via a cool sleeper bus (but only a 3 hour journey). The ancient capital and seat of imperial Vietnamese royalty. Nat did one of her special Midday sun walking tours (and now knows that she shares this habit with mad dogs) which nearly gave Chris heatstroke so we hid out in a sushi restaurant before doing our own tour of the ancient town (but not the citadel). We discovered lots of bullet holes, old buildings, rusty tanks, a MIG(!) and a fair few coffee shops.
Unfortunately part of our plan to get to Hanoi has gone from 1st class train to some sort of sleeperbus/£9 coach. The next installation of the blog will be from Northern Vietnam after the 13 hours drive tomorrow afternoon! Hopefully all this exotic food won’t cause us any bowel issues en route!