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Walking around in Hoi An

Day 07


It has been advertised all over Vietnam, maybe even all over the world, that tonight from 8:30p.m. to 9:30p.m. is Earth Hour, and everyone is encouraged to switch off their electrical appliances during that hour. I wonder if the army will also switch off their electronic defense mechanisms? Haha... Anyway I will be in the bus at that time, so none of my business.

I took a shower and checked out of the unfriendly guesthouse slightly before 9a.m. and walked over to Sinh Cafe to keep my luggage, as that will be the place where I am going to board a bus to Nha Trang tonight. I couldn't find any money-changer nearby and I am running dangerously low on Dong, so I exchanged USD40 at Sinh Cafe at a rate of 17200 Dong per dollar. So now I am USD40 poorer, but 688000 Dong richer.

I started my walking tour around Hoi An old town. There are some historical buildings which were preserved but these require entrance fee. So I just passed by and did not enter, opting for a free-of-charge walk-about tour instead. Stopped at Cargo Club for breakfast. Ordered a Parisian breakfast set and what a spread! I can't believe this is what the French really have for breakfast each day. I was so full after breakfast, and all for 49k Dong. During breakfast many vendors came to offer their goods, from newspapers to sunglasses to local fruits. They went from table to table, trying to sell their stuff to the westerners, but just passed me by..... I must be too local-looking to be worth bothering. Haha... Anyway that was interesting.

My Parisian breakfast set!

Continued to wander around aimlessly in Hoi An city and took some pictures. Take a look...

Other than countless tailor shops, there are also innumerable footwear shops...

Not only shirts and shoes... Even Red Star caps are everywhere!

Some pictures of the outdoor market:


Some pictures of the streets of Hoi An:




And also some pictures by the river:




I am feeling so full from the breakfast that I don't think I need any lunch! I crossed the bridge and went to Cam Nam Island. Was hoping to get a second-hand book from Randy's Book Exchange. Eventually paid 80k Dong for a short story compilation, and walked to Lighthouse Restaurant for a glass of lassi. 30k Dong gone, but a great way to spend time. Breezy, lazy, just sitting at the balcony, drinking and reading...

Randy's Book Exchange.... Outside view....

... and inside view.

This is the Lighthouse Restaurant, or Cafe, or whatever...

So relaxed!!

Posted by abellim 02:41 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Dinner Surprise

Day 06 (part 3)


I cycled back to town at around 4:30p.m. Passed by the post office along the way, and inquired the postage fee of sending postcard to Malaysia and Singapore. It's 7000 Dong per postcard. Then I went looking for Sinh Cafe and booked a sleeping bus ticket to Nha Trang tomorrow night for 200k Dong (slightly less than USD12), which was a few dollars cheaper than what the girl at the guesthouse offered the ticket for (USD14).

Post office in Hoi An.

Upon returning to the guesthouse, the girl asked again if I want a ticket. Her face changed immediately once I said that I got it somewhere else, which was to be expected. It didn't bother me much, and I just went back into my room and took a good shower to wash off all that sand and sweat on my body.

Ventured out for dinner at 6p.m.+, I am going to have some good food. There is this place called Cafe des Amis and I expect to burn USD7 for dinner tonight. What's so special about this place? From the internet I read that this cafe offer a full course meal, but no menu. All you have to decide is whether to have chicken or seafood and they will do the thinking for you.

Despite having a map, I still lost my way. Due to that unfortunate event, I was able to have a night view of the old town. And walked a lot. And walked in the rain. Well, eventually I found the place. And true to the stories told on the internet, they only have a menu for drinks and you just say "seafood" or "chicken". I chose "seafood", and very soon the dishes are served one by one.

Bright lanterns at night.

Japanese bridge at night.

First is the appetizer: shrimp dumplings. Followed by a soup that tasted like the shark fin's soup we usually have in chinese weddings. The main dishes are fish and squid. Fried fish cubes to be eaten with something that looks like unleavened bread, and squid fried with mixed vegetables. The staff will show you how to eat these dishes when they are served, which is pretty interesting. The fish is so-so, but the squid tasted real good. Fortunately dessert is just normal pudding and not some seafood stuff again. There goes 125k Dong. Seems like the price has increased since I last read it on the internet because it used to be 90k Dong then. Now it's 120k Dong plus my 5k Dong Sprite.

Inside Cafe des Amis. Due to the atmospheric lighting in the cafe, I wasn't able to take any meaningful pictures of the food or other corners of the cafe. Except this one, which shows some weird decoratives.

On my way back to the guesthouse, I bought a few postcards to write back to some friends and family. There were many many tailor shops, so I went into a few and asked about the price of making a shirt. All said USD10 and none wanted to budge. So I got myself measured in a tailor shop near the guesthouse to make a USD10 white shirt with french cuffs. It will be cheap compared to Malaysia if they do a good job. French-cuff shirts in Malaysia cost more than RM100!

After that it's back to my room and do some postcard-writing.

Posted by abellim 21:54 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hello, Hoi An!

Day 06 (part 2)


Immediately upon reaching Da Nang, van and motor-drivers alike crowded up to get passengers for Hoi An. Seems like most people who arrive in Da Nang do so simply because it is the nearest station from Hoi An. Me included. (",)


Anyway the first guy who approached me offered USD12 for a motor ride to Hoi An. Either he is crazy or he thinks I am crazy. I said no to all offers and took a walk down one of the streets. Easier to talk in the quieter part of town! Soon a motor-driver approached. Another Vietnamese who speaks zero English. I wrote down "Hoi An" and he showed me 100k Dong currency note. I said no. He gave me eight fingers. I took out a USD1 note and gave him three fingers. He showed four fingers and I walked away. USD3, and I am on my way to Hoi An!

A bookstore along the street of Da Nang.

Quite a distance! It took nearly an hour to reach Hoi An. The driver asked where to drop me, I said anywhere. He showed the sleeping gesture, asking if I have a place to stay where he can drop me. I said no, so he went around asking people where is the guesthouse area. Seems like he is not very familiar with Hoi An. Well, eventually he didn't manage to get me anywhere so I asked him to stop and I can walk around following my map. At first he insisted on getting me somewhere, but I insisted on getting down so in the end I won and walked. I paid him USD3, plus another 5k Dong for his efforts.

I walked around and arrived at the guesthouse area. Hoi An seems to be a pretty expensive place to stay, especially after enjoying such great deals at Hue. I asked a few guesthouses with prices ranging from USD10 to USD30. I got tired of asking and eventually settled into a USD10 room.



It's already 3 p.m., so I rented a bicycle and cycled my way to Cua Dai beach. Bought some pastries along the way. That's my lunch! The beach is 4km away. My butt is really aching with all these rides on the motor and bicycle.

Scenery along the way to Cua Dai beach.

My rented bicycle.

There were many people on the beach, and almost all were foreigners. The waves are big and the breeze is strong, but I don't find it exceptionally beautiful. Even sitting on the beach benches will require something out of your wallet. So I ended up sitting on the sand.




Posted by abellim 07:38 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Fantastic Train Trip

Day 06


I slept while watching TV last night! What a waste of electricity. But then again that is something that has not happened to me for a long long time. Went out to take a walk at the riverfront park, just sat around and bought a French loaf (with fillings) for breakfast.

Stall selling French loaf

A few pictures of the riverfront park:




I collected my pants around 8 a.m.+ and then decided to walk to the train station, which is really far! But I made it, as I already have adequate training while in Hanoi. Just like the railway station in Hanoi, nobody queues up. You have to fight for your voice to be heard!

Hue railway station

Where is the queue?

I fought and I got my turn, so I asked for a soft seat ticket. But the counter lady said all sold out, only soft sleeper is available, which incidentally was the most expensive ticket. Fortunately it's only 24k Dong more expensive, so not too bad. It's also a good opportunity to see how different the soft sleeper is from the hard sleeper I took from Hanoi to Hue.

The most obvious difference is there are only 4 berths in each compartment, and the blanket is thicker, but the air-con is still freezing! There is much more space compared to the 6-berth compartment.

Now, the highlight of my trip. The following are the reasons why the 3 hour train trip from Hue to Da Nang is a must:





Posted by abellim 08:36 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hue at Night

Day 05 (part 4)

I walked across the bridge again. It's all lit up at night and very pretty.

I entered the shopping complex beside the end of the bridge, and went to the supermarket to see if there is anything cheap. Prices of things are certainly not cheaper than in Malaysia! However I bought a 1.5 litre bottle of mineral water for 5600 Dong, exactly the same as those that I bought with 10000 Dong in Hanoi. What a difference! Then I went into KFC to check out the price, a snack plate costs 55k Dong! That is about RM11, even more expensive than Malaysia!

I continued walking around. A mother was trying to make her sulky three year-old daughter smile, so when she saw me taking pictures here and there, she requested that I take a photograph of her daughter, thinking that will make her smile. So, did she smile?
No she didn't. Wonder why she is soooooooooooooo sulky?

I crossed the bridge again to return to the main part of town. I walked on and went to a mixed rice stall. So I ordered this:
Decent taste, decent price.

And I went back to the hotel after dinner.

Posted by abellim 05:54 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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