Hoi An

The beach was definitely the way to go for a bit of a chill out. Good job really as we took a 14 hour train up the coast to a place called Danang before heading a further 45 minutes to the town of Hoi An.

The train journey wasn’t too bad despite hearing some horror stories about the journey involving filth, food poisoning and cockroaches. Obviously it’s not 5 star travelling and the seats are definitely designed for small bendy Vietnamese people (especially when the seats are in full recline!) So, it’s not comfortable but there’s always plenty going on including the commotion each time we stop at a station and an tsunami of Vietnamese traders board to sell their wares.

It always gets a little fraught just before the train is due to set off again. The train staff shout at the sellers as they rush to conclude their transactions. On one station a particularly keen vendor launched herself through the window and gets stuck. There was genuine suspense as half the carriage tried desperately to push her back out before the train started moving again…and there’s no doubt it will start, small salesperson attached or not!

Wouldn’t be so bad if the fold down tray worked. Alas, it doesn’t…and everything falls off.

Not so bad…

So, Hoi An – a lovely little place that used to be the heart of the trade route and as a result it has a lot of influences from the big trading countries of time gone by. Each having left their influence in the architecture and culture which makes the place a bit of a time bubble. It is very tourist focussed which initially feels a bit weird after Saigon and Phnom Penh as it means that practically everyone there makes their living from tourists so we have become experts at batting off the hawkers – there is a shakey-hand thing you can do that seems to do the trick nicely!


Seriously think we should get jobs as UNESCO inspectors as everywhere we visit seems to be one of their sites -Hoi An and My Son (pronounced ‘mee-sun’).  A quick google confirms they do have quite a lot – 962! So that’s probably why. To be fair they are all very beautiful or have some other historical significance. My Son was particularly interesting as it’s a complex of ancient temples, older even than Angkor Wat in Cambodia, unfortunately bombed to bits by the Americans as some of the Viet Cong were based there during the war.

Most of the original brickwork is still intact and in good condition versus the 30 year old renovated bricks which are crumbling and covered in moss. Despite numerous attempts to recreate the ancients’ building techniques – it remains a mystery…

Thu Bon River, Hoi An

Ancient temples at My Son in the shadow of Cat’s Tooth Mountain (above)

Our ‘My Son’ guide or is Gangnam Style’s Psy moonlighting?

The preferred mode of transport here (as most of Vietnam) is the motorbike and they are everywhere. We’re having a bit of a contest to see who can spot the most unusual motorbike cargo/the most people on a motorbike.  Family of 5 is the record so far on one. Alas by the time the camera was whipped out they had sped by. We’ll try to get quicker to capture this incredible sight (always the little baby right at the front gripping the handlebars for dear life!)

The food here is superb and cheap. We have some basic (but lovely) Vietnamese food along the banks of the lantern-lit river: 2 starters, 2 mains, bottle of wine, large bottle of water – under a tenner! You can eat a lot more cheaply than that too…Our pockets are going to sorely miss Vietnam as Australia is shaping up to be by far the most expensive bit of the trip. We can stay in Vietnam in a very comfortable hotel for 4 nights, including breakfast for less than 1 night in the IBIS in Brisbane!

‘Little Hanoi’ Bar and Restaurant…yummy and cheap.

Today’s beer is…Larue


Why did the chicken cross the road? It’s Vietnam – must be a death wish!










Off to Hue next – a couple of hours train journey up the coast…

4 thoughts on “Hoi An

  1. l so look forward to your blog updates. Booked our flights last week very excited. Let me know where you stayed in Hoi An.
    Lots of love and beers

  2. Thank god for a new update. In between your news I have resorted back to ebay. So sleep deprived am I that I forgot I had bid and won an antique box on Monday night. On Tuesday I bid and won another! So now I have two of the same thing, what a fool. Going to have to learn how to sell lt again on there instead of just buying things. Up in Appleby this week and babs and Ian say hello too x

    Your adventures sounds great. Tempting to stay longer in Asia at those prices. Miss you xx

  3. you’re doing a great job at keeping your blog up to date.. keep at it, it will be lovely for you to re-read when you get back & in years to come (i did a diary on my year abroad, but only kept it going for the first couple of weeks, and so there are loads of little details that I’ve forgotten)
    glad you are both having a great time x x x
    p.s. Dan – are all your family all okay – Whitby was on the new this week, due to the terrible floods etc

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