Now we were back on the mainland, one long road allll the way down to Hoi An. Or at least we first thought until we discovered Phong Nha-Ke National park was half way down.
Was a drive straight from Haiphong to Hoi An would have taken us about 18 hours we decided to break that trip down into 2 or 3 smaller trips, allowing us to have a nice drive through the national park and enjoy the scenery rather than rushing through it as quick as we could.
Our first two journeys took us to Thanh Hoa and Vinh both small towns with not too much going for them, although it was nice to chat to locals and see the real Vietnam for a change.
From Vinh we chose to take the scenic route through the national park to Hue. Me, Nick and Andy all agree that this was our best and worst day of riding we had in Vietnam! On the plus side we had perfect sunny weather (for most of the day), amazing scenery driving through the national park and no injuries. On the negatives we did have a few near death experiences, night time driving on gravel roads where our only judgement of the road was following the lights of the truck in front of us and also having to push our bikes for about a mile and a half through a ‘road’ that hadn’t yet been built. Safe to say when we arrived in Hue we all checked into our hostel and crashed out straight away!
We didn’t get up to much in Hue, looking back I suppose we could have stayed an extra day or two and taken in the sights such as the Thien Mu Pagoda and the To Mieu Temple, but we were on a fast track to Hoi An!
A short and leisurely (in comparison to the last) 3 hour ride took us to Hoi an. What a place!!! With the ancient town being parted by Thu Bon River, small streets with shops ranging from small ornaments to custom made suits and a peacefulness you won’t find in any other backpacker town in Vietnam, Hoi an definitely didn’t disappoint!
We spent a few days chilling out in Hoi An, wandering round in the day and nattering about what routes we were going to take from now on etc, letting off a few lanterns in the river as they like to do and oh, did I forgot to mention we all had ridiculous suits made?!
Yes, we did it Top Gear style. There is no way you can walk around Hoi An for a few days, see all the tailoring shops and not be tempted to pop in and get a price! To our surprise a full suit (dickie bow included) tailor made, only came to around £60!! Now when you look at the suits I’m sure you’ll say to yourself ‘what the hell were they thinking?!’ and yes I get it they are terrible and I get asked this all the time and my answer is always ‘if I’m traveling half way round the world and buying a suit, why would I buy a plain boring suit I could get back home?’
We spent another day or so in Hoi An and decided to head for our next big destination Nha Trang.
Accommodation – Budget hostel from £5 ($8) Hotels from £10 ($16)
Food – Can get meals from £4($7) upwards
Getting around – Hoi An is small enough to walk around but you can hire bikes from around £1 ($2) a day
Things to do
Hire a bike and ride around Hoi an – £1 ($2)
Set of a lantern in the river – Can’t remember how much but it’s worth it
Take a cooking class – around £20 ($30)
Get a suit made!!! – Full suit costing around £60 ($85)
Chill – Free