Arrived at Da Nang airport Wed 2 Nov 11.30am ish. My hostel were due to collect me at the airport but did not show up! So I stood waiting for a while, ended up sharing a taxi thankfully with 2 english guys into the town of Hoi An after bargaining down the price a bit of course. We had some lunch toegther then near my hostel which was nice and they then headed off to their hostel. My hostel 'Hop Yen hostel' is around a fiver a night for private ensuite room with fan, so good value. It was recommended in my 'Rough Guides' book whcih has turned out to be my lifeline for south east asia, so so useful.
Hoi An is a little fishing village on the river and had a lot of charm.....much quieter and smaller than HCMC by far so a very welcomed change. Their architecture had a mixture of many cultures including french, japanease, chinease....buildings were pretty and the ancient town was very quaint. To help preserve the old town everyone is supposed to pay 75,000 Dong (3quid each) but I never came across a toll both so got away with it somehow!
Hoi An, its most famously known for its dress making! There are dress making shops literally every other shop along many streets. They try and get you in and look at their designs. you can choose any garment, style, colour fabric etc and they make it for you!!! I decided not to get something made but instead bought 2 pretty skirts and 1 dress for really cheap, just off the shelf. I puposely didnt bring lots of clothes as I knew I would want to buy things here, so Im glad to have a few new items for my wardrobe!!
First full day here on Thursday 2 Nov I went to My Son temple ruins about 35km inland on a tour bus at 8am. Was enjoyable, set at the bottom of a mountain range, in jungle surrounds, very beautiful....the temples are actually older than those in Angkor Wat dating back as early as 700 AD....many were destroyed by US B-52's during the Vietnam War. I enjoyed the tour, however after seeing Angkor Wat in Cambodia just over a week ago it didnt really compare. A bus took me there and I returned part way by boat, where we were given lunch on the boat and stopped at a traditional wood carving workshop in a traditional river village. I am finding out more and more that every tour you go on they stop somehere for you to buy things, they must have deals with certain companies / shops etc to get the tourists to come and spend their money haha!! In the afternoon I leisurely walked around Hoi An, you could easily spend hours just walking around, taking photos, looking in shops etc. I visted the Japanease bridge which has been adopted as Hoi An's emblem, it was built originally in the mid 16th century. It has a pagoda inside, very cute. Theres 2 dogs and 2 monkey statues inside, to record that the work began in the year of the monkey and ended in the year of the dog!
I wandered through the markets and shops and soaked up the atmosphere. The market sells everything from live chickens to silk and jewellery. I visited the 'Phung Hung House' which is an old merchants house that has been in the same family for 8 generations, since 1780. In the evening I had dinner with a Swedish girl from my hostel, had some traditional vietnamese food, 'white rose' - Banh Bao Vac - shrimp dumpling made from see through dough bunched up into a rose shape. Was soso yummy! Enjoyed some 15p beer again thurs night, crazy prices!!
Friday 4th Nov morning my plan was to do bit of clothes shopping and then hire a bicycle for 70p and visit the local beache for a few hours before leaving Hoi An. Unfortunately I woke up to torrential rain!! Unbelievable. So just did some shopping (got completely soaked) and emailing etc before my 1.30pm bus on to Hue, further north in Vietnam. I am hoping the weather will improve, has been scorching every day so wasnt expecting this kind of rain haha!! It funny here when it rains all the locals wear massive ponchos, putting them over their entire body and scooter. motorbike as well, quite funny to see them all driving past! Am sad to leave Hoi An, it has been a beautiful wee place.