Vietnam – Da Nang, Hoi An, Huè: surviving the river… and the taxi driver, so difficult.

World Tour: 14th Stop – Da Nang, Hoi An, Marble Mountain, Huè

Dashing with the bicycles in the pouring rain in Hoi An, speleologis in the caves in the Marble Mountain and historicians in the Imperial City of Huè.

Da Nang, Hoi An, Huè

Our stops in Da Nang, Hoi An, Huè

I make the stupid mistake to close my jacket in the cupboard and I only remember that I left it there only halfway to the airport. U inversion and we rush back to the hostel and then back on the road to the airport… but we make it with plenty of time to spare.

We land in Da Nang and we get a cab that takes us to the little village of Hoi An where our accommodation is located. The hotel staff, quite nice, puts at our disposal some brakeless bicycles and we use them to do the 2km to the city centre, where we find many Western tourists. After a brief visit in a temple along the road, we have lunch in a small restaurant betting on the waiter’s age. To wash my hands I need to go to the kitchen and, as usual in these places, it would have been better not to have done it or, at least, to have done it with closed eyes.

Vietnam: Hoi An

Vietnam: Hoi An by bike

The town is small, but very traditional. It coexists with the periodical river inundations, that with their water flood all the streets around the river. Crossing the river by bike or bicycle looks like the local sport, many locals and tourists do it. There are also some locals offering to take you for a tour of the river on their small oar boats. We are tempted, but in the end we opt to go for a stroll.

We visit many temples and the local market, a mix of smells and color that always make quite an impression. With different tastes and curiosities we decide to split to go and explore the various stands and activities of the locals. We then all meet to drink one mango juice in one of the many pubs near the bridge. We call the night to an end stopping in one of the numerous agencies to arrange the tour for the next day, that would have took us to Huè.

Vietnam: Hoi An

Vietnam: Hoi An, the flooded streets.

We go back to the hotel and it starts to rain. We wait for it to stop and then, wearing our waterproof jackets, we take our bikes to the city centre. The tourists have all disappeared because of the rain and we only find a few bouncers who advertise the various happy hours of their pubs. Since the Ho Chi Minh restaurant was quite a success, we try again to look up for a nice restaurant to have dinner in on the Lonely Planet. But after wandering for some time under the rain we end up in front of an abandoned building.

Even though it is only 9pm many restaurants start closing down and consequently we head into the first one that offers to prepare us food. Only problem, everything was cooked by the same lady so it took her longer than one hour to prepare food for everyone. While waiting we watched at least 5 episodes of investigatore Conan, with her children..

Vietnam: Hoi An

Vietnam: Selfie in Hoi An

The Taxi shows up perfectly on time at 7.30am … but we are late so it has to wait for us until 7.50. Once we loaded all our luggages, we ask him to drop us at our first stop of the day, the Marble Mountains. They are rocky hills sprouting up not to far from the sea, their peculiarities are big caves and a few pagodes used for religious rituals.

We hike one of these hills and we end up right away in one of the small cracks in the rock, where we can see a statue. Behind the statue there is hidden a passage with some steps that, little by little, will take us up and through some tunnels, in the end we will arrive to a panoramic point that we found out to be reachable by the outside stairwell. Not too bad… it was good fun.

Vietnam: Marble Mountains

Vietnam: Marble Mountains

Once down from the peak, we see other trails that take to other panoramic views and then we head down to the main attraction of these mountains: a huge cave where there are some small altars for prayers.

The beauty of this cave is also in the openings on the ceiling, creating beautiful rays of sunshine that color up the cave. Exploration over, we walk back down quickly to go back to the minivan and going to the city of Huè, ancient capital of the area.

Vietnam: Marble Mountains

Vietnam: Marble Mountains, the main cave

Across the dragon shaped bridge the coast way begins, with up and downs in the untouched beaches and green hills. We are all quite tired and also the driver looks like he’s about to fall asleep. After the 10th yawn I ask him if he’s like to stop for a coffee, because I’m quite worried for our safety. The place where we have a break is basically only a shed and also the toilet is not far from it. But it still does the trick to give us a break.

Vietnam: Autogrill

Vietnam: “coffee break” along the way

The driver leaves us in the town of Huè, explaining us that we would have found him at the exit. We enter the still well preserved walls, while the structures in the inside are showing the signs left behind by the war and some are only ruins. Nonetheless, the complex is quite impressive and big, it kind of reminds us of the Forbidden city in Beijing. There is a main “way” that links all the different spaces together, the biggest ones and the little small areas now used as galleries or as locations to pray.

We finish our tour and, as usual, totally miss the right way to the exit and end up walking forever before we find the exit where our driver is waiting for us. We start an endless discussion in English/Spanish/Vietnamese between the driver, the agency and us because they thought we needed to go to a different airport but we manage to convince the driver to take us to the one we need. Some times the language barrier is really tough.

Vietnam: Citta Imperiale a Huè

Vietnam: Imperial City of Huè

We are a little bit worried about what to do and what not to do in the little time we have left. We decide to push our luck and sneak in one last stop: one of the main pagodes of the city. There are many of them and just as many tombs of past Vietnamese emperors, but this one is supposed to be the prettiest. In the end, though, we are quite disappointed by it, we expected it to be more impressive. Still, the lake and the gardens which surround it make the location overall very nice.

After some more discussing with the driver about the airport he has to take us (or I probably should say -after “bribing” him with some more cash-) we finally manage to get to the airport and set off for our next stop: Hanoi.

Vietnam: Citta Imperiale a Huè

Vietnam: Imperial City of Huè

Previous Stop:Ho Chi Minh City

Next Stop:Hanoi

Page about Vietnam: Clicca qui

Our itinerary summed up:

World Tour day
Date Activity Mark Accommodation
60 04/12/16 Ho Chi Minh => Hoi An (plane+taxi, Jet Star 8.30am, arrival 10:00am; 11.00 at the hotel) Hoi An
Walk in the centre of Hoi An 8
Evening cycling around under the pouring rain in Hoi An
61 05/12/16 Da Nang => Marble Mountains (private taxi, departure 7.50am, arrival 8.30am) Hanoi
Marble Mountains 7
Marble Mountains => Huè (private taxi, departure 10.15am, arrival 12.15am)
Imperial City of Huè 7,5
Pagoda Thien Mu 6,5
Huè => Da Nang (private taxi, departure 3.00pm, arrival 4.30pm)
Da Nang => Hanoi (plane, departure 7.20pm, arrival 8.40pm)

Complete photo gallery:

Author: Ste

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