Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Vietnam 2010

Relocation to Hoi An

Our morning routine in Saigon was now almost automatic, with the difference that on this, our last day here, it was all a little more rushed, as the airport transfer was booked for 0915. Initially, the journey aboard the taxi seemed like a reprise of all the sights that we had visited over the previous two days. Traffic was as chaotic as ever: we even had a minor accident when a motorcyclist clipped our nearside door mirror.

We had an easy check-in at the rather dingy domestic terminal, then went through Security and into a reasonably nice lounge to await our departure time.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

Da Nang Airport was a bit of a dive, but we soon found our driver and realised that we had a minivan to ourselves for the transfer to Hoi An. The driver proceeded at a slow and steady pace, avoiding bikes, motorbikes and other assorted hazards. I was amazed by the huge amount of construction work going on along the coastline, most of which appeared to be tourism-related. Approaching Hoi An, there was much evidence of the recent severe weather that I had seen being forecast in Zurich Airport, with sand strewn around the road in a manner that was reminiscent of snow in rather more northerly latitudes.

We checked in at the Hoi An Beach Resort and were driven the short distance to Room 121 in an electric buggy. Initial impressions were certainly favourable! We decided to go for a short stroll on the beach and had a second light lunch of spring rolls at one of the beach places, alongside some backpacker types. It cost next to nothing. While we were there, we had a visit from a female beach hawker called Sun-Sun, whose catchphrase was 'Sun-Sun, Number One' and who claimed to be having a happy-hour promotion - she certainly knew her lines! Although hawkers tend to be an inevitable part of any visit to Vietnam, they generally go about their business with such a pleasant manner that it is impossible to become irritated.

We eventually strolled back to the hotel and, with a bit of furniture rearranging, settled into our agreeable riverside verandah for a gin and tonic as the sun set. Later, we had a nice room service dinner of Cao Dai noodles, so-called 'white roses' (which turned out to be slightly odd dumplings) and a delicious egg-drop soup with crab, corn and shrimp. Bruce fell asleep very early, so I spent a couple of hours listening to music on my iPhone. It had been an easy day, but I reflected that one of the pleasing design features of this trip was that the various bouts of intensive sightseeing were nicely interspersed with opportunities for rest and relaxation.