08.29.2014 - 08.11.2014 97 °F
Week 2 and 1/2
It rained the whole trip to Nha Trang, stopping momentarily as we walked to our hotel – Nha Trang Inn. Nice small hotel about a five minute walk from the beach. Rooms are basic, A/C cooled and the owner (Minh) is very helpful.
We had dinner at Omar’s (Indian) just down the street and we settled in for a good night sleep with hopes that tomorrow I would not still be feeling the effects of my “illness”
Friday – breakfast and a walk to check out the beach. We found an area right in front of the Louisiana Brewery which rented umbrellas with beach lounge chairs ($2 pp/pd)….great deal. We rented three and headed back to the hotel for beach attire. The scenery was beautiful – blue water with a backdrop that reminded me of Maui. Jim also liked the scenery – two Russian girls on lounges in front of us in their very small thong bikinis…that and beer made the day for Jim.
Saturday – We weren't sure when we’d have the chance so it was back to the beach!!! This time we started the day dressed in beach attire, had breakfast and got there early. Another beautiful day!!
Sunday through Thursday– Up really early for a 0645 train ride to Danang and from there a short van ride to Hoi An. Our original plan was to stay three nights in Hoi An with the possibility of extending our stay there or in Hanoi. We wanted to make sure that our hotel was nice before we made our decision and after just one day – we decided to extend. Lantern Hoi An was wonderful. The rooms were very nice, pool very refreshing and staff wonderful!!! We took a cooking class with Mr. Tai, ended up getting some clothes made from Mr. Lai and Brenda also found a cute couple who made nice silver jewelry. Add to that some really good food, we could not ask for more. Brenda headed out early one morning for an early bike ride to the beach and another day to snorkel at the Cham Islands.
Local food in Hoi An is some of my favorite – ok – I like just about all Vietnamese food but Crispy Pancakes and White Rose are high on my list.
Hoi An was a definite highlight of the trip.
Friday…off to Hanoi. The decision was to either take a 15 hour train ride for $70 or a 90 minute plane ride for $90…..no brainer there.
The flight to Hanoi was effortless with a driver from our hotel waiting for us.
We have decided (especially with three of us traveling) if our hostel/guesthouse/hotel is able to provide pick up and drop off service either to train station or airport…we’re taking it. It just makes things SO much easier and usually the same price or cheaper.
Our hotel in Hanoi was the Hanoi Glory Hotel. We booked it through our hotel in Hoi An and it was supposed to be as nice as the Lantern….it was ok but nowhere near as nice. It was centrally located in the Old Quarter and for just for a couple of nights with a trip to Halong Bay in the middle – it worked.
Saturday - Halong Bay was a nice trip. The ride out about 3 ½ hours – weather OK, the boat...not huge – about 20 people, bed pretty comfortable (though we were right over the bilge pump which went on and off all night). We woke to beautiful blue skies and Brenda got to see the “beautiful Halong Bay”. Breakfast and it was a slow cruise back to catch the bus back to Hanoi - short but sweet!!
Sunday and Monday….Back to Hanoi and the weather was brutally HOT!!! so we spent the day enjoying good food and cold beer. My restaurant recommendations: Ying and Yang and Green Mango and any of the Gecko’s (which were abundant with cold beer and good food).