Hoi An........loved it!
Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia
Sleeper bus journey was fine as it was four hours in the day, wouldn't want to do an overnight as the beds are Vietnamese sized! Stayed at the Botanic Garden Home stay which is more like a good guesthouse. Hoi An is wonderfully flat and so we spent a lot of time on the free bikes. As the weather is really hot, cycling gives a refreshing breeze. We spent a morning with a local family, there was a sign outside their house inviting you in to see their house and how they live. It was, of course, a business venture but it was very low key and we really enjoyed our time. Father took us out in their basket boat, a bamboo coracle. We rowed while he made grass animal toys and laughed at our oarsmanship. He showed us to fish for crabs in the mangroves, Vanda was good at catching but not keen to handle the crabs. They have a lovely house made from split bamboo and timber right on the edge of the River. They made us lunch snacks and we chatted with the son for an hour or so. The son was in his thirties and spoke excellent English, he had opened up the family house as a business to help his retired parents make ends meet. Among his stories he told us how his father had used a bomb, supplied by his mother, to blow off his own foot so that he could escape the south Vietnamese army during the American war, gruesome!
We took a day trip to the nearby Cham islands with a diving company. We snorkelled rather than dived as the visibility was very poor. Saw some lovely corals and luminescing jelly fish. The islands have been a marine park for a few years and are only just recovering from the previous fishing by dynamite methods. Nice day but it got rather rough on the way home and Vanda may be cured of her wish to holiday on a cargo ship. We spent time at the beaches around Hoi An lovely sands with palm trees; Vanda sunbathing, Craig reading under a tree! The town has some lovely Chinese and French colonial architecture and we spent some lovely evenings in the many restaurants lit by colourful lanterns, overlooking the river drinking Vietnamese Dalat wine. Vanda commissioned the local tailors to make some trousers and a dress, very nice and reasonably priced. Craig also joined a photographic workshop and learnt a bit more about how to get the most from his camera, Vanda stayed home as it was a 04:30 start! We really enjoyed our time in Hoi An.