After breakfast we set out to drive along the coast south to Hoi An. Firstly visited Lap An Lagoon which is famous for its farmed pearl industry. We then proceeded up to the summit of Hai Van Pass. Great views of the coastline below both north and south from the summit of the pass at ~500m above sealevel. The pass is up & over the Annamite Range that juts west/east into the East Vietnamese Ocean (aka South China Sea). This mountainous penninsula has a summit of 1,200 meters and seperates north & south Vietnamese climate. It was also considered very strategic during the U.S./Vietnamese War; the U.S. believed they could control troop & supply routes into South Vietnam by controlling this mountain pass. The actual supply route was instead to the west along the Laotian / Cambodian border (aka The Ho Chi Minh Trail). Descending to Danang Bay we could see a large beautiful half-moon sand beach (Quy Hoa / Quy Nhon) that was deserted ? Dat explained that it used to be the site of a leper colony, and to this day no one is interested in visiting or developing the area. Amazing natural beauty sitting in its natural state; I wonder how long before it is developed ?
As we drove from the outskirts thru the downtown center of Danang we realized it is a city we maybe shoulda/coulda visited; but with limited time we had instead chosen to go to Dalat, in the highlands, versus Danang on the coast. Arrived in Hoi An, said our good-byes to Dat, and checked into our hotel; and were given the 'Honeymoon Suite', complete with 'Bunnie' towels arranged on the bed ! I mentioned to Lidia that I wished we could have done more for Dat to asssist his zeal to learn and teach people about nature. Flash of inspiration - give him my binoculars ! We called his cell phone and he had not yet left town, and so we asked if he could stop by our hotel as we had something for him. Dat was very happy, yet a bit reluctant to accept the gift; as he was leaving he even tried to leave the bins with us till we insisted, and convinced him we really wanted to support his journey learning and teaching others about nature. It really felt good to do that for Dat.
Hoi An is the age old Japanese trading site in Indochina. There is even a Japanese Covered Bridge in town center. The daily event of reknown is the 'Night Market'; 2 or 3 blocks of vendors selling various wares & food items. Busloads of tourists arrive from Danang around 17:00 and crowd the streets till 22:30 when the mass exodus occurs. The night lights along the river thru town are quite nice to see. Then fate struck again !
Recieved notice from the airline that our flight from Danang to Dalat had been rescheduled from 08:00 to 20:00 ! That loss of 12 hours in Dalat made the visit not worthwhile. So, we talked with Huy in Hue (thru whom we had booked the tickets) and he agreed to cancel our reservation and refund (most of) our purchase cost. Then the hotel customer service young lady helped us change our flight from Dalat to Saigon, to Danang to Saigon (though there was a re-ticketing/change of flight charge). Presto, we would get to spend a couple days in Danang, though we would miss visiting Dalat. Serendipitous sequence of events !
Hoi An was an enjoyable small town to visit, especially before the tourist busloads showed up for the night market.
Tomorrow it's 45 minutes back north to Danang.
Ciao for now