Historical port town Hoi An and beach towns Nha Trang & Mui Ne

07/09/2012

South East Asia, Vietnam

Extremely colorful Chinese lanterns at night in Hoi An

Extremely colorful Chinese lanterns at night in Hoi An

Hoi An

If you want to experience the historal value of Vietnam, you should definately stop by Hoi An for a couple of days. This place used to be a major trading port and you can still see a lot of Chinese, Japanese and even European influences in the architecture. The well-preserved and UNESCO World heritage Old Town of Hoi An is a great place place to stroll around. During the day you can admire the architecture and at night you can soak up the street stalls and the colorful lanterns that lit up the waterfront.

Japanese bridge in Hoi An old town

Japanese bridge in Hoi An old town

Kids playing around at night in Hoi An

Kids playing around at night in Hoi An

Night market in Hoi An

Night market in Hoi An

Streetfood in Hoi An

Streetfood in Hoi An

Night market in Hoi An selling tons of lanterns

Night market in Hoi An selling tons of lanterns

With all that to offer, it’s hard to turn away any tourist that visits Vietnam, meaning that you’ll probably encounter as many tourists here as in the other major touristic hotspots. If you do want to get away however, I can recommend you taking a bike tour in the outer villages with a free tour. The Hoi An free bike tour was set up by a local merchant to help the University students get in contact with tourists in order to practice and improve their English. In return, they take you on a bike tour over the river, visiting wood carving workshops, a rice paper making family and a weaving place.

Rice paper making with Hoi An free tour

Rice paper making with Hoi An free tour

Rice paper making in Hoi An

Rice paper making in Hoi An

Making rice noodles and rice papers

Making rice noodles and rice papers

We did pay a small amount of money to our guide which he gave to the families we’re visiting. Small way of giving something back to the local community. I do admit, the workshops were part of the typical tour “scams” but these people seem innocent enough and it was interesting to talk to the students and bike through the farm fields.

Making those weaved mats

Making those weaved mats you see everywhere. Not as easy as it looks!

Puff the magic dragon in one of the woodcarving workshops

Puff the magic dragon in one of the woodcarving workshops

Classic cao lau noodle dish in Hoi An

Classic cao lau noodle dish in Hoi An

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is one of the best beach destinations in Vietnam, combined with a handful of islands and excellent diving spots, makes this a place to relax. I however only stayed 1 solid day here since it’s “yet another” beach destination to me. And I haven’t gotten my diving license yet.

Floating fishing pods in Nha Trang

Floating fishing pods in Nha Trang

Fishing pods in Nha Trang

Fishing pods in Nha Trang

I met up with a bunch of other travelers at the hostel and we all took a scooter/motorbike out to visit a mud spa and waterfall for a refreshing dip. The trip itself to the waterfall was really nice, driving along the coastline, passing by some fishing village. After the swim, some of the guys went to the mud spa, but I just wanted to take my time driving back taking in the nice scenery and stopping by the fishing village. Of course it started to rain again on the way back.

End of a fishing day in Nha Trang

Sunset at Nha Trang

Sunset at Nha Trang

Mui Ne

Seriously, I have no idea why I keep going to these beach destinations when I’m not that big of a fan of beaches. Mui Ne is arguably thé best beach destination in Vietnam. I stopped by Mui Ne to visit the other attractions which consists of the most amazing sand dunes in the area. I rented a motorbike for a day and went around cruising around again. After a couple of times on the motorbike I felt quite comfortable, eventhough it’s automatic, I managed to handle the bike pretty good.

Sliding down the sand dunes in Mui Ne

Sliding down the sand dunes in Mui Ne

However this time I encountered something that I didn’t really expect. I actually drove through a swarm of bees lingering around the freeway. I didn’t crash or anything but it was quite scary to drive into it head first. I saw some flying dots from far away but didn’t realise they were bees until I picked them out from my shirt and one from my collar bone. The sting hurted like hell and the whole area swelled up like a b**ch. I was scared that it might have been some infected or anything but thankfully the swelling and sting disappeared after a few days/weeks.

Enjoying the sand dunes at sunset in Mui Ne

Enjoying the sand dunes at sunset in Mui Ne

Anyway, the dunes. They were quite impressive and even the locals appreciate the place as well. It was a bit too crowded for my taste and didn’t especially feel like sliding down the dunes either. So I just looked around a bit, took some pictures and made my way back home to prepare for last destination: Ho Chi Minh City!

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About Alex Yip

Alex Yip is a web enthusiast who put his online marketing career on hold to travel around the world for a year. This blog is his virtual journal and logbook to keep people updated on his backpacking adventures on the road.

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