Day 8: Hoi An
Hoi An was the end of our guided tour. We were dropped off at the hotel after a disastrous day seeing random sights along the way from Hue to Hoi An. Our hotel certainly made up for it. The Hoi An Almanity Wellness resort was one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in. The resort is beautiful and very well maintained. One of the perks of our booking was that we received a 60min full body massage each day! We spent the evening walking around the Hoi An old town which is pedestrianised – more to come on that!
Day 9: Hoi An
Our last guided tour experience started by taking a cycle out into the suburbs of the city to meet a local family. The family taught us how to make fishing nets by hand and let us have a try – a lot harder than it looks! Next we took a walk along to a river boat where we got to take turns casting the net into the river which was hilarious, we were totally hopeless. After the fishing experiencing, we were reunited with our bikes and cycled a bit further out into the countryside to the Bay Mau cocnut forest. We embarked onto little boats shaped like half a coconut shell, very precarious! We rowed around the bay and had the opportunity to fish for crabs – more successful in this attempt! Fortunately , no man-overboard moments! Next, we picked up the bikes again to cycle to the Tra Que Vegetable Village to take part in some farming and a cooking lesson. We donned some traditional farming clothes and headed to the farm where we helped plant some potatoes and other veg, preparing the soil first. This was really good fun, everyone was so friendly. Back at the farm house, we were treated to a relaxing foot soak with Vietnamese herbs and flowers and a rather brusque neck and shoulder massage. In the cookery class we got to have a shot at making traditional pancakes and practiced flipping them from a distance! A couple of casualties! Then, it was time to sit down and enjoy a varied home made lunch including our pancakes! Afterwards we relaxed for a while before being driven back to the hotel.
Hoi An Old Town:
The Hoi An old town is a really pretty, traditional part of Vietnam decorated with yellow buildings and lanterns hanging across every street. We spent a good bit of time wandering around the various streets and lovely shops. Heading over the bridge, we visited the night market, picking up some nice Vietnamese made bowls. The night market sells a lot of the touristy items you see all over the country but it was a nice atmosphere and not too pushy.
Morning Vietnam: lovely Italian restaurant in the Old Town serving delicious pizza’s and equally delicious wines!
Little Faifo: This was a great find on a very rainy night in Hoi An, nothing like a bowl of warm Vietnamese Pho in bad weather! The restaurant serves wonderful traditional Vietnamese food, a must see place!
Morning Glory: just over the river in the old quarter, the Morning Glory restaurant offers a wide variety of food options – another Pho for me! It is one of those places that seems to be three different restaurants in one but it is a really nice ambience and the food was amazing.
White Marble Wine Bar: lovely little spot for a crisp white wine (or any grape!). The décor s very traditional in style and the drink list very extensive!
Pasteur Street Brewing Co.: We visited this little pub for lunch – the pub brews it’s own beer and is part of a chain of taprooms across Vietnam. The beer and the fried chicken burger were great! The pub is on the water so great people watching opportunities.
Da Nang was our final stop on the holiday. As part of the guided tour, we had a transfer to Da Nang airport included but we actually booked 2 nights in the Novotel there so the tour company took us there instead of airport which was nice of them.
The Novotel in Da Nang is a great hotel, our room was massive and had a balcony (we were really high up so it was a bit anxiety-inducing going outside). The hotel could be in any and I much preferred the local hotels we had stayed in up until now. On our first day in Da Nang, the rain was absolutely mental. We walked about in ponchos for most of the afternoon and ended up visiting the Cham Museum we were meant to be going to as part of the guided tour. The Cham museum is worth a visit to understand some of the history of Vietnam
On our last day, it was also torrential rain, so we got a taxi up to the Ba Na Hills. I was really excited about this as the Ba Na Hills was one of the things I really wanted to do on the holiday. As we were off-season there weren’t many queues which was good. It costs about £35-40 for entry ticket. We got on the gondola pretty quickly. Up at the top of the hills, it is a mix of theme park and medieval town. We walked out onto the bridge for some photos but no views due to the fog. It is still really cool to see though – could make out the hands etc. Then we walked around the different sections of the purpose built town – there is a large buddhist statue and a beautiful manicured garden.
Theme park – we didn’t realise this was included in our ticket price at first but it was! There were a good few rides to go on even for adults – we had good fun on the 3D, 4D and 5D rides, the cherry planes and the arcades! It was just what we needed with the heavy rain outside! We had a blast at Ba Na Hills!
L’Italiano Restaurant – we took an Uber over to this restaurant and it was well worth the journey. One of the guys working there was from Italy and shared his very interesting life story. He recommended the food and wine we should order and it was all fantastic. Highly recommend this place!
On our final night in Da Nang we found a restaurant on the waterfront, conveniently called, Waterfront Da Nang restaurant. The restaurant had an industrial, modern interior, a live band playing music tables outside upstairs, which is where we sat with great views over the water and of the bridges. We had delicious mezze sharing platter and a seafood pasta dish which were lovely. Afterwards, we retired downstairs for a few cocktails and live music.
Final Day: The day we were due to fly home, we caught an early-ish flight to HCMC from Da Nang, which took about an hour. It also happened to be the day of the Rugby World Cup final England v South Africa. We found a pub which was showing the game and chilled out there for the afternoon (I say chilled, it was absolutely roasting and heaving but the atmosphere was brilliant and South Africa won! We had dinner at Hard Rock Café before heading to the airport for our journey home!
Vietnam was one of the best trips I have ever been on. We crammed so much in to the time we had there and managed to see and do everything we wanted to do. I would 100% say to anyone that they must go to Vietnam to experience the sights, the colours, the food and the wonderful people!