Hello everyone! Amy here...after a poor effort of a blog from Jaan I'd thought I'd correct it abit!
Our bus journey to Hoi An went all ok as planned. We had never been on a sleeper bus before but it was really cool! Everyone had a kind of bed which nearly laid flat - you can see this from our photos. The bus got to Hoi An at around 6pm and stopped outside a hotel called Grassland and everyone was set upon by the staff working there to get us to stay in the hotel. It seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere and Bobbie from our last hotel had given us a recommendation which we said we'd stick to. They are bit sneaky as well, they on purpose gave us a wrong location on where we are as it seemed that everything else is too far of a walk and thus only option is to stay at this hotel. They were charging $15 per room and we didnt want to pay this. We decided to go to the town, but since we were told a wrong location at where we were then we actually were a little lost. Luckily there was a couple just leaving from the hotel and said, the center is actually only 15 minute walk away and has a lot better places/cheaper. They were kind enough to take us to the center, the guy was American who chatted away to Jaan all the way and woman was Romanian - we chatted away but her English was a little hard to understand. As we got to the center, we were really confused as it did not match with the map on Lonely Planet, but then we all of a sudden realised that we were given wrong location at the beggining and then we realised where we were.
From all of the palces that there were we stayed in Hop Yen Hotel - where we originally wanted to stay and we got to it by pure accident, all other hotels on the way were fully booked and once we got a room only then we realised that it was the place where we wanted to get to originally. We paid $12 for the first night for double bed and a single bed in the room.
Now let me tell you something about the hotels in Vietnam, we read countless reviews where people who travel to vietnam, pay 10-20 $ for a night and then expect to get a hotel like in western world. Well - no, people really need to get their head around the fact if you are paying cheap you will get a hotel room, but with nothing fancy, if you run out of the toilet paper, dont expect it to be replaced on its own. you got to ask, you got to get off your lazy ass and just do these kind of things. So for backpackers these kind of places are ideal, they are basic, they provide a bed and a roof and a toilet, shower can or cannot work but so be it. This is what you get for the money you pay, I personally think it is a good experience and this is what its all about :)
So the hotel we stayed was simple and basic, we were ok with it, second night we were moved to 10$ room , which hasd 2 double beds in it, go figure why its cheaper, oh yeah i remembered, it didnt have a balcony to the backstreet ::)
On the first night we went to the first tailor shop where the girl would not shut up and kept talking contantly, after checking couple of more places, we actually returned and I got measured for another pair of shorts and ordered a dress, casual beach dress. The girl loved my skin and kept going on about how she wanted to be as pale as me and she even smelt my hair! She kept going on about how happy me and Jaan looked and she wanted a nice boyfriend and she told us how her ex-boyfriend was horrible to her!
Jaan tried some of the local beer called "Fresh Beer" which was 3000 dong which is about 10p! On 2nd day when we went to pick up our stuff, I got my shorts which were really nice and tried my dress on which needed adjusting slightly but Jaan loved it :)
We decided to order a tshirt each from here as well as we had already planned to get a tshirt each with the slogan "Two Idiots Abroad" on. We got all measured up and then she told us they would be $15 which is expensive. We bargained with her for a while and then choose a material we wanted. Jaan didn't want stretchy material. When we went back to pick the tshirts and my dress up I tried the dress on which now fitted good and tried my tshirt on which was fine. I didn't see Jaan try his on but afterwards he said he wasn't happy with it. They had actually used the cheap material which we told them we didn't want and Jaan's wasn't the best! The writing is pretty bad as well but oh well! :) That's what you get when you use a cheap tailor but I'm sure they will do us!
We bumped into Meg (NZ) and a girl she was with, Petra from Netherlands, and they invited us out for some food and drinks with them later that night and they'd come and meet us at our hotel at half 7. It turned out to be a full moon which the locals thought was very lucky and at night they turned off all the street lights and lit the walk ways with candles and released candle lit lanterns into the river and performed some songs and dancing etc. 9 of us went out for a meal which was the best meal we've had in Vietnam. Jaan had chicken in banana leaf which was sooooo good. Afterwards we found a bar full of foreigners and drank $1 beer all night :) Jaan was rough the next day.
Since we were leaving the next day we decided to go to the beach and sun bath there for a day till our buss goes. Beach was 4km outside of the town so we hired some push-bikes to travel there. It was funny driving on the road on the push bikes as you have to proper watch out for all the other vehicles! From all of the days it was very sunny very hot, once we got there, we had to buy a seat on the beach for 60k dongs and so we just lazied there for 2-3 hours. We both got proper burnt :)
For our last meal in Hoi An we went back to where we had eaten the night before and both I had the chicken in banana leaf and Jaan had chicken in lemon skin - it is soooo good!!
At half 5 we are both sat outside the hotel waiting for the bus when a lady comes from the hotel as the hotel has entrances on both streets asking a couple next to us if they are getting the 6pm bus to Nha Trang, I say we are as well and she looks at us confused and ask if we have a bus ticket. I say no and point to the lady behind reception and say she said we didn't need one. They have a conversation which I obviously don't understand but then she tell us the bus is outside the other entrance to the hotel so we go through. We were told we had been booked on a 5 star bus (don't think 5 stars even exsist in Vietnam!) and it was the best bus. How wrong was she!
We had been on a sleeper bus before which was sooo much better than this one. I got on the bus first whilst Jaan sorted our luggage out so I could get us 2 beds next to each other. A few of us get on the bus and they give you a plastic bag to put your shoes on as you can't board with them on and then we all get shouted out by a worker on the bus who speaks no English but we work out he wants us to fill the back of the bus first. I manage to grab two beds near each other which I thought were ok. We finally get all our smaller bags put away and then I realise I picked the bed with the least leg room as it was at the end of the aisle but by this time all the other beds were taken - this was going to be a fun 12 hours! Jaan had a local lady behind him who burped the whole way and there was a local near me who was grinding his teeth the whole way! The bus driver was a manic and I wondered how long it would be before we crashed! We did have to change a tyre as they burst one going through a hole I think! Oh the bus also had cockroachs running down the aisles and the bottom beds are at the same level as the floor so that was lovely to watch! On the way we stopped at a cafe and I experienced my first Vietnam toilet. The toilet is flush to the ground and there are two plates where you put your foot and you have to squat and they don't use toilet roll there is a kind of hose which I guess they use instead! Well my first go at this toilet was rather bad and I got pee on my foot - the hose came in handy for that - luckily I have learnt to carry tissue with you in Vietnam :) I cannot not imagine ever having to use this toilet for a number 2!! Anyone who doesn't know what the toilet is like - google it for a picture!
We got to Nha Trang at 6am, my back was almost in 2 from the really "comfortable seat" and my legs were num. But least we got there in one piece! From now on I think we will stick with the train! Jaan thought it was ok but I'm a girl :)
Amy & Jaan