Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Toughest ride to the charming beach town of Hoi An

We left Hue, really early in the hope of making to Hoi An the same day. The day started out perfect, cloudy and flat for the first part. Then we started to see hills and then a cliff side mountain road known as the Hai Van pass. They have a tunnel but locals told us its too dangerous to ride bicycles through so we had to take the high road. The twisty road takes you up with amazing views of the sea, soon the sites are whiteout with fog, not too many cars on the road now with the tunnel but we see lots of motorbikes zipping by us and looking back and smiling. I not sure if they are friendly or just think we are crazy biking up this hill. We finally made it to the top after 2 hours of mostly pushing the bike, it was damp, foggy and cool with a small strip of vendors. After a few photos we started the nice downhill decent, it took 20 minutes of effortless bliss except for the fingers on the brakes, by the time we reached the bottom it was dark and we were in Da nang, to rest a night. After a much needed shower we headed out to get something to eat and found the best tasting Pho to date, I don't know it was the fact we were starving but we both ordered another bowl cost $1 a bowl. 

perfect day to ride, until we see the hills coming
tombs outside Hue

taking a break on top of one of the hills
this restaurant saved us with great food and views

$3 usd for a plate of great seafood spring rolls
the mother of all hill climbs in Vietnam
enjoying the views at the start
not so happy in the middle

just glad we made it to the top
Next day after sleeping in we went back to the same Pho restaurant to try it again and yes it is the best Pho we've had, savory broth with fresh sprouts and noodles plus free cold ice tea topped it off. This time for breakfast we only had 3 bowls we split the last. Lucky for us its a short ride to Hoi An because the sun was blistering compared to the day before. We checked out the famous China beach which was made famous by American G.I's needing a place for some R&R. Four hours later we reached Hoi An because of the strong head wind and the extreme heat slowed us down. We stopped at the beach to enjoy a cool drink and snack, while watching the old ladies round up customers for their respective establishments. After waiting for the sun to go down alittle we head to town and found a good value ($20usd without breakfast) place to stay the Grassland Hotel just 5 minutes outside of town and 15 minutes from the beach by bike. 

owner of the best Pho we've ever tasted just north of Da  Nang on route #1
round fishing boats in Da Nang 
the legendary China beach in Da Nang
wishing for cloud and no hills 
Hoi An, is famous for its hand made silk clothes, suites, pants, dresses you name it, if you can imagine it they can make it for you in silk or other types of fabrics. You won't have any trouble finding a shop because they are everywhere in the centre. The night life is around the river with restaurants and bars really nice place to relax and kill a few days. Also alot of the restaurants offer cooking classes if your so inclined to learn and you get to eat what you prepare. Hoi An has something for everyone, we only spent 2 nights but I can easily see why so many people end up staying longer here. 

beaches in Hoi An less chimerical than those of Da Nang

attractive night life alone the river

this tasty cool drink was made with avocados and mixed fruits  (never though to use it like this)
streets are lite up with cute lamps all over Hoi An
Jieun trying out the round boats parked in front of this great eat restaurant
cooked to perfection squid with garlic and ginger $3.50 usd
if you in Hoi An and looking for great value seafood check out this place
enjoying a cold beer in the hotel room
cute indoor pool at the hotel but never saw anyone using it
back court dinning area of the hotel