A Travellerspoint blog

Central Vietnam (Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang)

sunny

We arrived in Hue after a long bus journey through the night in pretty cramped conditions. Surprisingly we were not feeling too tired and decided to head straight out after dumping our stuff. After walking for a while and being accosted by cyclo touts (bikes with a seat at the front that tourists can be peddled around on by often poor scrawny Vietnamese men). After a while we arrived at our intended destination, The citadel, which is a huge complex built by the Nguyen Dynasty from 1805 to 1945. The citadel is also referred to as the forbidden city, but it bares only a mild resemblance to the forbidden city in Beijing. A vast amount of the citadel was destroyed during heavy bombardment during the Vietnamese American war as Hue was an important military point. I really liked the fact that it was slightly run down an that nature had taken over in places, it had a great character.
   
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After a napping we got ready and went out for some drinks at a bar just down the road, me and Smith decided to challenge two guys (Henrich and Philipp, both from Germany) to a game of pool and after talking to the guys we realised they were staying in the same dorm as us at our hostel. After further discussion we realised we were heading virtually the same direction through South East Asia. However, they had bought motorbikes in Hanoi and were doing it all on two wheels. Both of them had spent time in Ireland at a private school so their English is pretty perfect, and Henrich has even got an Irish twang which is quite amusing! 

The following day we decide we would go to the beach, which excited us all as we have been so primarily stuck in the stuffy cities. We arranged with the hostel someone to take us as it was a good 20 min drive away. We arrived at a quiet white sandy stretch of beach with only a few deck chairs and dumped our stuff and ran into the mellow surf! Although we had done the Halong Bay trip, this was our first outing to the beach and it felt, to me, quite liberating. I had been quite desperate to just sit and stare at the waves with the sand between my toes. I spent a while walking the shoreline watching green soft shelled crabs the size of tangerines scuttling at speed to avoid me and being dragged out by the surf. It was a pretty perfect day as it for-filled in a very modest way what I had pictured the coastline of South East Asia to be like, we had some Seafood from an open sided Restaurant which just tipped it off!

That evening we went out again with the Germans and a few others from the hostel, after a while we had got the whole bar virtually in on a game of Killer Pool and even the owner and his staff were getting involved, we were putting in each, 10,000 dong and after the first three rounds I had won two picking up around 200,000 an a XXL T-shirt from the owner! It was pretty amusing as it sounds like a considerable amount of money but in reality that's about £6 and a T-Shirt that is massively oversized for my small stature!

The following day we were back on the road again, heading to Hoi An, we exchanged details with Henrich and Philipp so they could meet us up again. Hoi An is closer to the coastline, but the main town an it's famous old town is still about a 20 to 25 min bike ride away. When we arrived, staying at a hotel as it's more of a resort, the room offered a luxury that we hadn't had for some time. There was cable TV, a mini bar, our own Air-con, and most importantly for Kailey a Bath (not that I'm saying she needed one!!!). Both me and Smith not being as excited about the bath left her to enjoy a soak while we took full advantage of the free bike service the hotel offered and cycled down to see what the shoreline was like! Greeted by palm trees and beyond a white sandy beach, it looked like a definite day out!

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That evening the Germans turned up and we decide to head out and grab some food and some drinks in the old town. By the day the old town is full of tourists looking round the little galleries but most famously the tailors. I expect there are famous places in India for tailors, or even Hong Kong, which we may have missed, but Hoi An is pretty ridiculous. Lot of the different groups we have made friends with and keep bumping into, including the Germans all got different clothing made, from suits, to tweed jackets, to dresses and even shoes they'll make you anything. Hoi An post office must be one of the busiest in Vietnam with all the different travellers and tourists sending packages of clothes home. We decided not to get in on all the excitement.

Hoi An apart from it's nice beach and old town us a place to relax, and in all honesty that's exactly what we did, which means I can't offer you anything massively cultural to wet your palette, but it's a lovely town to mooch around an look at all the old buildings.

The next stop heading south is Nha Trang, again a seaside town, more so resorty that Hoi An, but there to break up the journey to the last stop in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as everyone in Vietnam still calls it. Nha Trang apart from the large group of people we met and some good nights out wasn't anything to write home about. Unfortunately this seaside town experiences a freak rainy season between November and December, so the weather apart from maybe the first day was pretty poor. Staying at our hostel though was two girls, Emma and Zoe who we had been bumping onto since Hanoi. The Germans, and Three girls, Sammy, Leanne and another Emma. The first day Sammy suggested we went and experience a spa and natural hot springs, where we had a mud bath and enjoyed mucking about at the pool. That evening we all met up, had some food and headed out to experience the town by night.

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(a floating village we passed During the boat trip)

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The following day, collectively experiencing hangovers we had the wise idea to go on a boat trip. The boat took us to a few islands offering different water sports as well as the opportunity to jump off the boat, apart from the poor weather, although still warm it turned out to be a fun day. For the rest of our stay in Nha Trang, dodging showers we didn't go a great deal instead rested up before making our move on to Ho Chi Minh!

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(views of the vietnamese countryside from the coach)

Posted by Christian25 07:42 Archived in Vietnam

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