18/12/2017 – 20/12/2017
We ended up with a longer amount of time off for Christmas than we originally thought. Keen to explore more of Vietnam (but also keen to escape the bad weather we were having up North), we ventured South to see what Central Vietnam had to offer. Our first stop was Da Nang, followed by Hoi An and Hue.
After a long weekend of work we weren’t super excited to be waking up so early but nonetheless we had to get a minibus to the airport in Hanoi. Lucky for us when we were waiting to board our flight we found out that it was delayed by about an hour and a half (we were already pretty early, who knew domestic flights were so painless in comparison to international flights) so had lots of time to spare with nothing to do. We were however entertained by a little Vietnamese boy that gave zero fucks, and who proceeded to poo on the bathroom floor where Izzy’s foot unfortunately landed.
After all that we managed to get to Da Nang in one piece and find our accommodation. We stayed at Funtastic Beach Hostel – which I would really recommend, it was a five minute walk to the beach and a great free breakfast.
Since we got delayed we arrived a couple of hours later than we thought so what we had planned to do on the first day went out of the window. Instead we decided to take a walk along My Khe beach. Now here we learnt a life lesson – check the weather! We kind of checked it but also just kind of assumed it would be warmer because it was south of us. It was a lot colder than we expected it to be! I did not need to pack my bikini. Gone were the days we had scheduled in for sunbathing at the beach! The beach was still really lovely though and really clean and it was a nice to be able to be by the coast. The only annoyance was the amount of people taking pictures there, my God do they love selfies over here!
We had a coffee break at this really cute place where I rekindled my love for coconut coffee, before heading over to Tam’s Pub and Surf shop to get our fix of Western food. It was easily the best veggie burger I’ve had since I’ve been here and real cheap, but that isn’t saying much since I don’t remember the last time I had one here…
Later that night we went to see the Dragon Bridge. It was so nice to be able to walk along Han river, I will never forget how nice it is to freely walk again without the fear of being run over by a motorbike! At night the bridges are lit up and although it was really pretty, I think I prefer the Dragon Bridge in the daytime. Unfortunately we weren’t there on the weekend to see the light show that happens there.
The night before we were thinking of what to do the next day. We really wanted to go to Son Tra Peninsula but as I can’t drive we would have to get a tour, which we didn’t really want to do because they were pretty expensive. After some googling we found out we could walk which was perfect because we love walking and saving money. So the next day we woke up early and got a taxi to the Lady Buddha, the tallest Buddha statue in Vietnam that stands at the bottom of Son Tra Peninsula. The statue is part of Linh Ung Pagoda which is also really beautiful and worth checking out.
So after that we set off to walk to the summit, it was going to take us roughly two hours, but that’s okay because it wasn’t too hot. We walked along the side of the road for about twenty minutes, then realised we were getting nowhere and that google maps had lied because we were definitely not going to be walking up there in a hurry so we swiftly Ubered back.
But all was not lost, because then we went to the Marble Mountains instead, which we loved. The Marble Mountains are five limestone mountains named after the five elements: wood, fire, water, earth and metal. Stone steps lead up the mountains where there are several pagodas, statues and caves to explore and then a viewpoint at the top.
Later that day we decided to have a massage since we hadn’t had one since Ho Chi Minh City. We went to somewhere recommended from a blog (which we learnt the hard way that you should always do – I’m looking at you sketchy massage parlour/tattooist HCMC). We agonised over the treatment list for a long time, but eventually settled on a package deal where we got a scrub, wrap (which we had to look up what it was) and a body massage. I love that massages are so cheap here considering they are in like legit spas (excluding the aforementioned sketchy HCMC one), it’s something I would never be able to justify doing at home. It was real good, if not a little awkward being face up and topless and being rolled in plastic sheeting, I did think for a second they might be going Dexter on us… but it turned out okay.
That night we had some extremely good Indian food at Family Indian. Do you see the reoccurring theme here? I promise I do eat some Vietnamese food in Vietnam.
This was to be our last day in Da Nang so we got up and out early in order to see the sunrise over the beach. But you guessed it – the weather was terrible so we saw nothing. At least you got up early I hear you say? Well we accidentally ended up falling back to sleep until it was time for breakfast. Our hostel provided a free minibus to our next destination, Hoi An, so that morning we packed our bags and set off for the next place.
Although we only had a fleeting visit to Da Nang I can see why it’s such a popular place for expats to settle. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to the hustle and bustle of Saigon and Hanoi and much more chilled and let’s face it, who wouldn’t prefer to spend their time off by the beach?
If you want to see more photos of my travels you can go look at my Flickr where I upload them all