Vietnam Part 2. Hoi An, Nha Trang and Saigon (Ho Chi Min)

Hoi An

We planned on getting a bus to Hoi An, which was only 40 minutes away, but as we were leaving another English couple were getting a taxi and between the four of us, it was about the same price so we travelled in luxury!! Everyone raved about Hoi An but we were a bit meh?!  We were there two days and one day was lost to me being ill (again) but even when we did venture out we weren’t that impressed. There is a beach which we didn’t go to and a town with plenty of shops.  Hoi An is famously cheap for tailoring however we didn’t need (and couldn’t afford) anything. All we did is eat in Hoi An!  We found a lovely veggie place and had hot pot which was delicious.  

And we found a lovely french cafe with the best tea I have ever tasted.  

 
We stayed quite out of the way in a private room with a bath :). It was a homestay so the family lived there too which was nice. Their daughter spoke perfect english and could’ve been a comedienne! They gave you free bicycles because they were that bit further out.  I thought this might be nice to cycle through the fields and round town.  FML was I wrong.  This time of year is hot. So hot every part of you sweats to stop itself bursting into flames when you step into the sun.  Cycling in it was hard work. Admittedly it was nice seeing some of the real Vietnam, as where we were staying wasn’t touristy at all.  It was down a long dirt road with all their houses down the side – a proper Vietnamese village (albeit an affluent one)
Nha Trang
Nha Trang was meant to be a nice beach place however as it turns out Da Nang wins them all.  It was supposed to be more of a party place too.  We were only here for one night and it was pretty much what I expected although more built up than i thought it would be.  Actually this is the case everywhere in Vietnam.  It is fast rising and I feel it will change drastically in the coming years.  Everything is very cosmopolitan and modern.

 
We arrived at 5:30 in the morning and decided to walk to 1.5km to our guest house.  Even at this time in the morning it was searingly hot and we arrived, a pair of drenched rats.  We spent our one day here on the beach which was OK.  It was nice to have cocktails on the beachfront.  We had been craving western food and found a bar owned by a welsh guy.  There was proper beans and HP sauce.  They did roast dinners, cottage pie, chicken kiev, chips and gravy!

I was in food heaven but had no time to eat it all :(. Sometimes you just really crave western food and we had spent most of Vietnam thinking about the delights of home. I’m having dreams about chunky chicken down my road.

Saigon

Saigon (which is now called Ho Chi Min city but nobody calls it that) was somewhere I really didn’t want to go.  So much so that we even looked to see if there was a bus from Nha Trang straight to Cambodia.  There was, but you had to sit and wait in Saigon anyway so we just decided to go for one day.  I was worried as a few people had said it was worse than Hanoi (which I didn’t enjoy).  The Negativaussie had said it was shit and the girl I follow religiously on youtube said she didn’t feel safe there and wore her money belt.  If I could go back in time I wouldnt listen to any of it and spend longer there.  I actually loved it!!  It was just a city.  Clean and nice architecture.  

I have no clue why people said it was bad? Our hostel was on a slightly dodgy road but it wasn’t the locals that made it dodgy – it was the westerners drinking super cheap beer and getting wasted til late. 

 
Anyhow we did our best with our one day. We pottered around the city and found the tower that is meant to look like stark towers from the avengers.  Then we went in search of a mall as it was too hot. (Top tip – malls are freezing cold and its like an oasis).  Purely for this reason alone and no other reason in the world especially not wanting to buy a dress, we went to another mall.  

After it had cooled down we the headed (sadly dressless) to the war museum (past the replica of Notre Dame).  

I have no pictures of the museum for two reasons. 1, my phone had died. 2, even if I had power I wouldn’t have taken pictures here.  Some of the pictures were horrific. 

There were the pictures I expected, from the war – people dead, bloodied, americans holding the heads of Vietnamese civilians, dead children, and land mine injuries.  But I wasn’t prepared for the agent orange stuff.  Photos of deformed foetuses and deformed children and adults, caused by this toxin.  It was pretty horrific.

I also realised I don’t really know anything about anything.  I didn’t know what agent orange was. I didn’t know what the war was about or who won, or when it was.  I should really know this stuff.  I decided that going forward, before I go somewhere I need to learn a little bit about it.

Our last night in Vietnam we got our free hostel beer and sat with a group of people on the rooftop chatting. It was an amazing view and it made me feel sad that I hadn’t given the city a chance.  I also realised that we had rushed vietnam – It is somewhere I would definitely come back and do more slowly.

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