Saturday, December 19, 2009

Vietnam Backpack - Hoi An (25.11.09)

For the 11 days I (almost completely) explored Vietnam, this is my favourite place - Hoi An.

Continuing from, we reached Hoi An at around 7.00am. 24 hours of bus ride from Saigon!!!

We checked-in a budget hotel called Sea Star Hotel for USD 4 per pax and booked the tour package to My Son Ruins for USD 6.00 per pax (which includes boat ride and lunch) thru Camel Travel, quite a famous tour agency.

We were on the bus at 8.15am, which I didn't even have the time to bath because of Ah Keat's master-piece in the wash-room.

Took about 1.5 hours of bus ride to reach

Entrance of My Son Ruins

Our guide doing the briefing

On Keat's right is a German who married a Vietnamese wife. He was on a backpack. On Keat's left is a HOT CHICK, Cynthia from Washington DC, backpacking alone!!!

Hundreds of school kids in for a school visit?

They must have had a great time

My Son Ruins - Smaller version of Angkor Wat

The guide told us these all some buildings of worshiping some Hindu God

Take 5?

Guess what is this??? DO you all know what happens after hugging it?

Handsome Keat???

However, this place was destroyed during US air-strikes during the war

Making it (in my opinion) inferior to Cambodia's Angkor Wat

The remains are considered left-overs

Standing in-front of what was supposed to be the "main temple", the grandest of them all

Some proof of Hinduism in this land centuries old

The My Son Ruins wasn't really jaw-dropping overall. It's those places you'd go "once will do".

We continued on our river cruise.

We anticipated what they would offer

But the ride was quite disappointing

Besides the pathetic lunch

The views weren't spectacular

At least my friend found something to cheer on

Introducing a Korean lone-ranger and the funny Australian

This friendly Australian (which I've forgotten his name) has been to Vietnam 7 times. He has been backpacking with his wife around the world since young. Now, at their age, they come only to Hoi An and a place call Danang and spend 2 weeks in total. They are a happy couple, something which makes me envy very much. How I wish my life can be like theirs when I'm at their age!

Maybe Guan Yin Ma can see thru that

Back at Hoi An old town, which is by the river

Compared to Saigon, it was much much peaceful, quiet and calm

No busy streets and noisy motorbikes horn-ing away

Only an old town with a perfect pace of life

Japanese Bridge - A present from the Japanese Empire

Through out our stay in Vietnam, many businessmen or food-stall sellers attempted to slaughter us, either by speaking to us in their own language on-stop (making us nodding away in the dark) and mis-interpret what we want. This annoyed me very much...

Like this stall we had afternoon tea

That lady above made four plates for what supposingly was "plastic snacks" when we'd ordered just one (as we always did in order to try different things in small quantity). Of course, we were made to pay the "Tourist price" which was somewhere RM3.00 per small plate (while locals pay half). She "conveniently" misunderstood and made one for each of us!!!

I insisted and acted a little pissed-off. We had to settle for 2 plates at the end.

Undeterred, we were rational and calm enough, not letting some cheap-sters ruin our holiday mood.

And that was important. Don't ever let insignificantly unpleasant things effect your otherwise wonderful trip.

A few street away saw:

This simple stall with the most honest lady we've seen

A bowl of nice noodle soup plus a sincere heart (and a normal price tag)

More snacks

Some long-beard guy by the road

Hoi An is a town strongly influenced by Chinese Culture. Buildings in Hoi An are much China-like rather than Vietnamese. We went to cultural sites such as the Cantonese and the Hokkien Association.

Hokkien Association

At dawn, we had some rest (after walking almost the whole day) back at the hotel.

And we were back to the town center for more

Market place


Kao Lao (Was kind of good)

Any degree transfer program here?

We settled down by the riverside.

There were a row of night-spots and cafes

A nice, quite, calm and cooling night coupled with:

Some local beer

And river-view after a long day

It's still one of the most cherished moments throughout the 11 days I spent in Vietnam

Hoi An's my cup a tea, a fantastic place. It's like historical-Melaka town really, coupled with a blend of cultures in Chinese, Vietnamese, French and American. Compared to major Vietnam cities like Saigon and Hanoi, it has calmer environment, comfortable weather, perfect landscape, and the local girls there look really good.

It's a place where you want to go in order to escape the daily hustle and bustle of life.

It's a place where you want to spend your vacation and holiday.

If I'd go back to Vietnam one day, it'll be to Hoi An