Hue, Hoi An and Na Trang
28.11.2011 - 06.12.2011
So after another long night-bus journey, Bina, Heather and I were dumped with our bags in Hue outside our hostel. As we only had a day to see the place we headed out early after our free breakfast (always a winner) to make the most of our time and first stop was the Citadel. We could have gone and seen a few tombs or done a river cruise after the Citadel but since it was a nice day we decided to go and check out the beach which apparently was only 30 minutes away by bicycle… one hour later and after having to ask numerous locals if we were going in the right direction, we made it to the beach which to be honest wasn't anything special but it was a nice way to spend the afternoon - cycling through the Vietnamese countryside and practising our sign language skills with the locals while trying to get directions.
After nearly missing our bus the next day (we ended up running through the back streets of Hue in a mad panic while looking for our hostel) we arrived in Hoi An to be met by Shannon and Kayleigh who were staying at the same hotel as us! Turns out Hoi An is an amazingly beautiful little town with at least 200 tailor shops - clearly the place to get something made which of course I did. Hoi An is somewhere I'm going to have to come back to again with an empty suitcase and get a whole new wardrobe made up! They literally will make anything in under 2 days - suits, winter coats, board shorts… there were even places where you could get shoes made!
We were apparently really lucky with the weather while we were there and made it down to the beach one afternoon - we had the option of cycling but chose instead to take a taxi this time… I think I've done all the cycling I want to for a while! We weren't so lucky with our trip to see the ruins of My Son and the 3 of us got rained on pretty badly, but My Son (although nothing in comparison to Angkor Wat) was definitely worth a visit, not many of the temples are left in a good state (apparently the American's bombed it quite badly during the war) but what there was to see was impressive.
After 3 days in Hoi An of taking in the sights and having some amazing meals, (a DIY spring roll place which was down a dark alley was particularly memorable) Bina, Heather and I hopped on yet another night bus headed to Na Trang. Turns out I was sat right next to one of the guys from the group I'd been with in Laos a few weeks back - it always amazes me how you keep bumping into the same people along the way while travelling! After getting hardly any sleep we got dropped off in Na Trang at a very unsociable hour of the morning - it was still dark which says enough. We managed to somehow find our hostel and after waking the security man up we were told we couldn't check in until 10am and that there were no free beds for us to crash on until then… what to do?! We ended up leaving our bags at the hostel and headed down to the beach where we found some deck chairs and passed out for a few hours, to be honest it could have been a lot worse. We spent pretty much the whole day on the beach and I was lured into getting a massage which after our long bus journey was amazing!! When we got back to the hostel we made friends with the guys who we were sharing a dorm with (Billy, Sean and Paddy) and headed out for the night with them. I actually met someone that night who used to go to Kings and even better he said he was in Harvey House… not sure how that would be possible as he was a guy but it was quite cool to meet an OKS on the other side of the world!
Bina Heather and I had 3 amazing days in Na Trang chilling on the beach, going out in the evenings with our new friends from our dorm and we even made it to the local water park which involved getting a cable car over to an island across from Na Trang… very random and although there were a few sore heads from the night before it was a really fun day. There was a bit of kerfuffle trying to sort out our next bus journey as we firstly couldn't find the travel agent and walked round for about half an hour in the rain asking who ever looked like they spoke english for directions. Eventually we found the place after resorting to calling their office for directions, and then we were told that our bus was full and we if we wanted to get on a different bus which did have seats free we would have to pay an extra $4 which at the time seemed extortionate and we were sure we were being scammed… we paid the extra money all the same. As we had an early start the next morning and had been out every night while in Na Trang, the plan was to get an early night but that all went out the window pretty quickly and I ended up getting in around 1am and not feeling too hot the next morning.
Sadly I had to say goodbye to Heather and Bina the next day as they were getting off the bus in Mui Ne and I was carrying on to Saigon to meet up with Ness, Dan and Owen (other friends made on the Halong Bay trip). I really enjoyed travelling with Heather and Bina and was quite sad to say goodbye, but like with Kayleigh and Shannon, I'm sure I'll see them again most likely down under!
another nght bus journey...