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.
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.