Helen and Doug's Round the World Trip travel blog

Nha Trang beach

Islands off shore

Cham towers

Fishing boats in the old town

At the promontory

After school activities in Nha Trang

View of rice paddies from the train

Hoi An architecture

Museum in Hoi An

View from upstairs window

Chinese congregation hall

Japanese Covered Bridge - where the holy dogs and sacred monkeys blessed...

Hoi An's river

View from lunch - boats on the river

Hoi An's old streets and ancient transportation methods!

Garden of Brothers Cafe

They like to travel en masse in Vietnam!

Need ice?!

Happy hour at Tam Tam Cafe

Inside Marble Mountain

Marble Mountain

Hai Van Pass

We only just survived this hair pin bend!

Biggest flag pole in Vietnam

Wettest day of the trip

Traditional school uniform

On Wednesday we spent 12 hours on a bus from Saigon to Nha Trang, not a fun day and really annoying to waste so much time since we are rushed anyway - we just didn't realise how big Vietnam is!

Nha Trang was lovely, it was very windy but the beach was beautiful and it was a lively place. We chilled out on the beach mostly but did visit the old town which was very ugly and the Cham Towers which were basically just more ruins like those at Angkor and not nearly as impressive, we're getting a bit sick of religious shrines and temples now! We also went to a promontory which was basically a huge granite rock jutting out in to the sea which they charged us to walk on, it only cost about 25p for both of us but still! It was a beautiful view though as you could see the beach on one side and the mountains on the other three sides, it was just about worth the 6km walk there and back!

We left Nha Trang on Saturday night on the overnight train which was infinately better than the bus, although it's arranged into cabins of 4 with no individual privacy and we were sharing with 2 Vietnamese men who woke up at 4am and started chain smoking, nice!

Hoi An is the nicest place we've visited in Vietnam so far. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and so the old town is preserved, it's all wooden houses and narrow streets which cars, although sadly not motorbikes, are banned from using. We had to pay to walk around the town but for that we also visited a museum, an old house which the family who still live there showed us around, a very short cultural show and a Chinese Congregation Hall. We also got to go into the Japanese Covered Bridge where the sacred monkeys and holy dogs blessed us forever, even though we only crossed the bridge once, how generous!

Hoi An is famous for its tailors and not wanting to feel left out we ordered some clothes. It was definately worth it, you get treated like royalty and get to pick anything you want from a catalogue (or make it up yourself) and any material you like. They had everything and both of us had things made to measure, the clothes fit so much better than anything from the high street. We got a suit each (for $45 jacket and trousers, $57 with skirt as well), 4 shirts were $30 and a floor length red Thai silk dress was $30! A silk top was $9. It's totally insane, the girl said 'suits are easy' and sure enough everything was finished in well under 24 hours.

On Tuesday we left Hoi An on the bus for Hue. For once it was a pleasant journey, we got to stop at Marble Mountain which is literally a mountain of marble which we could go inside, and Hoi Van Pass which is high in the mountains and marks the border between the tropical southern and temperate northern climate.

Hue is pretty quiet so we haven't been doing much. Went to the Imperial Enclosure today which is part of the ancient city, in the pouring rain. It was nice but we've seen better, and the weather didn't help! Leaving tonight on another heinous overnight bus, this time to Hanoi.

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