As soon as we entered the train loud Vietnamese music came out of the speakers and I saw the male looking at me in panic thinking this was going to last for the next three and a half hours (it didn’t). During the journey I made friends with the three Vietnamese women surrounding me; a grandmother, mother and daughter. They we very keen on sharing their food with me and although I initially was hesitant – not because I didn’t want to eat, I always want to eat, but more so because I was afraid of getting food poisoning (forgive me for my silly Western thinking). My curiosity for all things edible won in the end. I had some sort of prawn crackers and a boiled egg that needed to be dipped in something similar to salt. It tasted good and of course I didn’t get food poisoning. After our ‘lunch’ we made an attempt to communicate, i.e. I got my Lonely Planet out and tried to pronounce some words. It turns out I’m not very gifted for the Vietnamese language but me and my train buddies had a good time nevertheless.
Upon arrival in Binh Thuan – there are no trains to Mui Ne – we got a taxi to our hotel. We were supposed to stay at Mui Ne Hills Budget Hotel but when we got there they gave us an immediate upgrade because our room wasn’t ready yet. Obviously there are worse ways to start off your stay! Most people come to Mui Ne because of the good kite surf conditions but we mainly wanted to chill. Mui Ne Hills is the perfect place for exactly that; several pools, a great bar area, super friendly staff, good value for money and, most importantly, good food. I won’t make this post a hotel review, but I do recommend this place!
After a few days of chilling, swimming and sunbathing we went back to Binh Thuan for an overnight train to Hoi An. About 15 hours later we rolled off the train into a taxi that took us, taking a slight detour to stop at his sisters tailoring business, to our hotel.
Hoi An is famous for mainly two things; lanterns and tailor made clothes, lots of clothes. Everywhere you look you see lanterns hanging, something I found very cute and everywhere you look you see tailor businesses, something I found less cute. The old town of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightly so I would say. Unfortunately the old town is also swamped with tourists, something I was a little disappointed about as it kills a lot of the charm. It’s one of the reasons we preferred roaming around Hoi An outside of the old town, something I’d definitely recommend!
A few kilometers from Hoi An lies pretty An Bang beach. You’ll see many people taking a bicycle to get there, we -or I should say the male- decided to rent a scooter. On the day we went to the beach it was quite windy so we didn’t stay overly long, but I can imagine it being very pleasant when there’s less wind. No need to worry about bringing food either; you’ll find plenty of women selling deliciously fresh fruit on the beach and there a several little restaurants where you can have a tasty Vietnamese lunch – some of them even offer you a free sun bed if you have lunch at their place. For those who want to get out of the busyness in Hoi An, a day on An Bang beach can be a good alternative.
We spent four days in Hoi An which is definitely enough if you ask me, but if you’re planning on getting some clothes measured up it’s probably the time you’ll need. What I enjoyed most about Hoi An was exploring the areas around the Old Town, sipping a cold beer watching the world go by and listening to live music in Guitar Hawaii Hoi An.
Next up: Hue