We made it to the coast! Beach time! Well, that was the plan anyways. I read a lot of good things about Da Nang, an up and coming beach town in central Vietnam. Heard even more great things about a beach there called My Khe, or China Beach. After 15 hours on a nasty train we were excited to lounge on the sand, then we looked out the window. Rain day! Hahah…our first beach day came on our first rainy day, it was perfect really.
We walked along the beach, grabbed some fresh seafood, and decided to bar hop the day away. We got caught in the rain several times in between drinks, but we just laughed about it. It gave us time to plan the rest of Vietnam and out of pure curiousity I logged on to my trusty kayak.com app. We had planned to do one more 15 hour train ride to Ho Chi Minh, but I thought maybeeeee we could avoid that. Found a flight for 37 dollars each! Didn’t take much consultation, we booked it, right there at the bar. 1.5 flight, saves us an entire day!
I assume it was the weather, and that it’s winter, why Da Nang seemed deserted. We decided to cut it a night short and head to a place we’ve both been really looking forward to, Hoi An, just a 25 minute drive south.
We booked a Homestay in Hoi An because we heard that’s a really good town to do it in. We stayed at Mr. Tuans house in a very nice room upstairs. He cooked us breakfast each morning and recommended all his favorite things. His Homestay is only 2 years old, before he ran it he worked at a boating booking office and made $200 a month. Now he has his Homestay with his family but has to work everyday all day because he is the only one who can speak any English. It makes me sad he doesn’t have any free time for his hobbies (volleyball) or to travel outside his town. It also makes me realize how soft Americans can be, how many times have you complained about having to stay at the office an extra hour? Not getting enough vacation days? Not getting paid ENOUGH? Too many times. He and his family also all sleep in the same room downstairs while he rents out the nice big ones to guests upstairs. The work ethic is instilled early, and they do whatever they can to make money, money to be used in the ways it was intended to be used, for food, water, and clothes.
Hoi An is often described as a town so charming it belongs in only a postcard. It proved to be true, it was beautiful. We got free bikes from Mr. Tuan and rode them all day, everyday. Most everything is walkable, but the beach is a 20 minute ride outside of town Finally got a sunny beach day! The weather said it was to be cloudy all week, but boy did I get burned up! It came out of nowhere, and was sunny both days we were there. An Bang beach was the perfect spot to swim and lay out for the morning. Mostly peaceful but still had locals approaching you to buy things (fruit, beer, sunglasses) even as you lay there eyes shut, they just don’t seem to understand the preciousness of personal space.
Every night the locals light up those bright paper box things (are you following?) that you can buy and release on the river. Between all the floating lights, lamps, lit up arched walking bridges, and a community of peacefulness, it has been my favorite town of this trip. A lot of great restaurants, bakeries, and even a local, organic, superfood juicery right in town (spent A LOT of time there). It was really nice to slow down and have a complete free day to go to the cafes, beach, walk about, and mingle at the markets. Hoi An you are wonderful, and I will miss your charm. Time for the hustle and bustle of HO CHI MINH