Daytrippin' Around Hoi An

After Saigon we made the decision to fly to Da Nang – missing out the popular tourist spots Nha Trang and Dalat – in a desperate bid to save time, as the deadline of Dan and Kallista’s wedding approached. Da Nang didn’t have too much going on in the city besides a convenient airport so we quickly made our way south to Hoi An. Hoi An was described to me by a Vietnamese girl as being a “foreigner town”. Anyone who has heard of it will know why: it’s famous as a cheap place to get tailored clothes.

We did our research and settled on a tailor in the clothing market called “Miss Forget-Me-Not”. She did a fine job and we will do a fashion show when (if?) we receive the package with $800 worth of clothes in!

Hoi An can be a little overwhelming with hundreds of tailors fighting over your custom but once you get over it, you discover a beautiful, quaint town, well deserving of its UNESCO status.
Yeah we couldn't get enough of this typical Vietnamese image...
and we love boats and hats!
As tailoring $800 worth of clothes takes a few days, we hung about and explored some nearby areas, taking some very worthwhile day trips. We rented a moped and went around Cam Kim – a nearby island that shows off the rural beauty of Vietnam. We even had to take a boat to get there.
Abandoned sandals No. 123 & 124
Another superb day trip we did was riding up north to the Son Tra Penisula – a small mountain range very close to Da Nang. Son Tra was described by Travelfish (we used their directions) as having some of the steepest hills in SE Asia. Could two rapidly widening westerners sharing a 125CC bike navigate these hills? Hells yeah we could, even if we did crawl up like a snail on a few hills. It was my fave bike ride of this trip so far – what fun!
On the way to Son Tra was China Beach, which was voted
as one of the top 6 beaches in the world. It was sublime!
Marble Mountain!
Massive statue of Buddha
On the top was (possibly) Ho Chi Min playing chess...
Next we visited a pottery village – we were invited into a processing area and got to make a pot as well as see how it is done by an expert. These women were overly friendly, giving us tea, and not asking for a penny. Of course their friendliness guilted us into buying a little something – still, it was an interesting experience.
Our masterpieces!
There were monuments to the Viet-soldiers
 that died in the “American War” everywhere.
Finally we went to My (pronounced Mee) Son on an organised tour at sunrise to see the ruins of an ancient temple complex. It was very much ruins, having been bombed by the US as well as being over a thousand years old.
I thought this looked like a monkey!
It was a well organised tour (coming from someone that hates tours) and worth the effort if you have a morning to kill. Although it isn’t a scratch on Angkor.

All in all, it was a fabulous few days well spent in Vietnam.
And we saw a statue dedicated to BRIAN BLESSED!

Costs (per person)
Saigon to Da Nang Flight = £35 ($52)
Da Nang to Hoi An = 70,000 VND (£2.20, $3.30)
Da Nang Hotel Double AC = 200,000 VND (£7, $10)
Hoi An 3* Hotel Double AC with Swimming Pool = $12 (£8)
Da Nang to Hue Train = 72,000 VND (£2.30, $3.50)