Tag Archives: Hoi An

Hoi An and Ba Na Hill

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After a wonderful time in Saigon it was time to move on for some well-earned rest and relaxation. This leg of our journey onto Hoi An we decided to fly, a big thanks to Jetstar airlines for their great service. The flight took about an hour from Saigon a lot shorter than the train journey originally planned, when we arranged the trip it was decided to have a week in the middle our for some chill time, and we chose the perfect place to do it the Vinh Hung Riverside Resort, what a fabulous place and a perfect location for exploring Hoi An. The resort as the name suggests is situated right on the river edge with great views amazing staff, we could not have picked a better place for our stay, we even got handed a gift when we left the hotel to say thanks for our custom an amazing place. Now Hoi An can only be described as a jewel in the crown of Vietnam, but then again there are many more, it is extremely picturesque a photographer’s dream, it has an abundance of shops, restaurants, and many interesting sights to see, and at night the whole place is magically transformed into wonderland with street after street lit up by lanterns of all colours and shapes and sizes absolutely breathtaking. Now like I said it was our time on the trip just to relax and this is what we did, either by the pool, the riverside, or as you would expect the bar, so there is not a great deal to write about except don’t ever miss out on visiting Hoi An if you plan a visit to Vietnam. During our stay in Hoi An we also visited the Ba Na Hill Resort and I took myself off for a morning of cycling in Vietnam but first Ba Na Hills

Ba Na Hill was formerly a French resort built-in the 1920’s and once boasted 200 villas, and many restaurants, and clubs. It is now undergoing a major re-building project and being turned into in my opinion a rather tacky theme park, but the main reason we visited Ba Na Hills was to ride on the worlds longest cable car at 5km long and to experience the magnificent views from the top of the mountain and to see the equally magnificent 27m high marble Buddha who proudly sits at the top. You can arrange a trip from the many travel agents in Hoi An for around $39 per person, which includes transport to the hill station, the return journey on the cable car and also lunch, but we thought we could do it ourselves cheaper, so we hired a car with a driver for $50 return, (incidentally the journey from Hoi An is around one and a half hours) and the cost of the return trip on the cable car is 400,000 dong which is $12 per person so we did not save a great deal, but a worthwhile visit nonetheless.

Ba Na Hills Cable Car

The worlds longest cable car at 5km long

 

The 27m high buddha at the top of Ba Na Hill

The 27m high buddha at the top of Ba Na Hill

Now everywhere you travel in Vietnam there are hundreds of scooters, motorbikes, and bicycles on the roads, and Hoi An is no exception, also there are many travel agents offering tours of all kinds to various sights in and around Hoi An and cycling trips are one of them, I looked at the various options of the tours, one included visiting a farm and helping with the gardening “I don’t think so I’m on holiday” so I just decided to rent a bike for myself for the morning as the girls wanted to lay in the sun, so I took myself off, the cost for the said bike rental by the way was a massive 50,000 dong or one pound twenty pence. My journey took me along to the beach some 4 miles from where we were staying I followed the road along the edge of the beach until I come to a dead end (why do men always think they can navigate without a map it must be bred into us). So I reluctantly got out my map and realised I would have to cycle back almost the distance I just rode to get to where I originally planned to go. Whist cycling back along the beach road I decided to look for somewhere that I could stop and have a drink and against my better judgement take anothere look at the map. It was then that I passed a small house with a small stall outside selling drinks when a Vietnamese local called me to me “Have a look” in broken English so I stopped as I needed some more water, he invited me to take a seat, and that’s where I sat for some 20mins or more chatting to Sun, he brought out his Vietnamese to English phrase book so I was learning a little Vietnamese and I was teaching him some English (mind you I’m not a very good ambassador when it comes to speaking our mother tongue coming from the east end of London, “Apples and Pears and all that) I had a great time he introduced me to his wife I showed him pictures of my family and of my home town, a really special moment, so if you are ever in the Cui Dai beach area of Vietnam and come across a cockney Vietnamese then you can blame me. After my little break I followed a cycle route marked out on my map, it took me through some lovely small villages where I witnessed many cottage industries, furniture making, the making of roofing panels from palm leaves even watched the locals cutting up large blocks of ice on a band saw normally used for woodworking, a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a morning. Click Here for my route and stats of my journey supplied by my cyclemeter phone app.

Riverside view Hoi An old town

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Japanese Covered Bridge

One of the many lantern seller in town

Vietnam 2013

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Well its holiday planning time again,and this trip is a big one, you see its my dear wife’s let say milestone birthday next year and also we have been together for forty years so we decided that we would do something special. Now from previous posts you can see we love travelling and have always been ones to do lets say not your average holiday, we have always booked our holidays independently and not with tour or holiday company, now for many people having the comfort of leaving it all to a travel agent is the way they like it but personally the planning of the holiday is just as enjoyable as the holiday itself.

We have travelled a great deal but mainly to the USA and throughout Europe and we have only been on the eastern side of the world  a couple of times both these times to India with a stop overnight in Qatar but our experience of the east has left us wanting more. Now the idea of going to Vietnam was conceived after watching an episode of Top Gear where they travelled to Vietnam and travelled from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in the south, travelling north along the coast and ending up in a place called Halong Bay a Unesco world Heritage site which I instantly fell in love with as it looks a truly magnificent place.

Another reason for booking independently is that you can change your plans along the way the more information about the country you are visiting to you gain, so here is the itinerary so far

  • Fly to Bangkok with Emirates airlines, where we have three nights at the hotel Boonsiri Palace.
  • We then have the option of either taxi, coach or train to the border town of aranyaprathet
  • Cross the border into Cambodia then travel onwards to Siem Reap by coach or taxi (no trains in Cambodia)
  • We have three nights at the Hotel La Tradition d’Angkor it’s from here will be visiting the temples of Angkor
  • Then our next leg is an onward journey by river speed boat , (looking forward to this part) to Phnom Penh for two nights where we are staying at the Aqua Boutique Guesthouse.
  • Next it’s onto Ho Chi Minh City formerly Saigon. We are staying here for four nights and are staying at the Nhat Ha 3 Hotel it’s from here will be visiting the various sights that Saigon has to offer, the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels (not all the 200km of them I might add) and the Killing Fields etc, although the killing fields will be a rather sobering and distressing place to visit I feel its a must if you are in Saigon
  • Next it’s an overnight sleeper train to Nha Trang where its time to chill for a couple of days. We staying at the Fairy Bay Hotel in a luxury sea view suite, I might add all for £60 per night bargain
  • Then its on the train again to Hoi An a Unesco World Heritage site for three nights at the Vinh Hung Hotel & Spa
  • Next it’s off to Hue  (pronounced hway) where we are staying in the Orchid Hotel for two nights
  • Then it’s an overnight sleeper train to Hanoi where we are staying for three nights at the Ha Noi Eternity Hotel with a day visiting Halong Bay

Finally here are some of the websites that I have used to put this trip together just click on the highlighted links

You can find more of the sites that I have used by checking out my Pearl Trees account, just click here Bob Rouse@ Pearl Trees . Keep a check on this from time to time for more additions and useful information for anyone planning a trip to Vietnam.

Finally please follow my blog if you are interested so you can keep up with the regular updates