January 17-21, 2019
Things were getting better as we moved to the central part of the country. After landing in Da Nang, we took a Grab to the city center. With a little help of Google, we found a public bus going to the picturesque village of Hoi An. The bus ride was quite an experience itself since people were literally jumping on and off the bus.
In the city, hoards of tourists were strolling the streets days and nights, but we were able to find certain time slots when the area was not so crowded, and we could enjoy its genius loci. On top of that, our comfortable Almond villa (320,000 VND) was a bit out of the epicenter, which made it an excellent base for our bike explorations. It is an ideal mean of transport for going to the sea and vast rice fields surrounding the city. It always surprises me that you can go as little as 2 km from the center and enjoy, e.g., beautiful Chùa Long Tuyền temple just for yourself while not far from there you can barely move.
That time we started to understand why some people like Vietnam so much. Since the city is famous for tailor shops, the only thing we regret is that we could not purchase any new suit. Well, we could, but there was still almost another half a year of living with a backpack in front of us.
Hai Van Pass and My Son historical site
We ignored the fact that road traffic in Vietnam seems to be one of the most dangerous things on Earth and rented a motorbike for a day. We went with the stream and visited super-overrated Hải Vân Pass. If you go to the north and you go via the pass and have beautiful weather, then it makes sense. Otherwise, going only there and back, it is just a waste of time.
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On the other hand, Mỹ Sơn (150,000 VND) is a different story if you want to make a half-day trip. Historically significant, nicely placed, and restored. Next to the parking lot, there is a building with exhaustive information and a free electric shuttle that goes to the site. Also, it seems most people are rather interested in nice tailor shops and mediocre, overpriced restaurants than places like this. Which was appreciated by us at the end.
For the last night, we moved from Hoi An to Da Nang and stayed in hotel Chill Suits (315,000 VND) next to the My Khe beach. All in all, the whole area is one big construction site for new hotels and apartments. But you can find plenty of decent or even cool places to go for a cafe, meal or drink. Soon this place will be something like Miami or Gold Coast of Vietnam.
The next day our bus to Kontum was leaving in the evening. So we could visit Ngũ Hành Sơn temple (Marble mountains, 40,000 VND pp). That was very well spent time before the long and almost restless night on a bus to Kontum (200,000 VND).