It is easy -go to Hoi An !!!!!
Danang is a very friendly and relaxing place, and it is very easy to just stay here and spend some time. If the weather is up for it – there is a bunch of beaches to choose from, and many good restaurants as well. Only downside, is that Danang is rather big to its area, so you need your own vehicle to go around (taxi is cheap so that is an alternative – but I always find it difficult using taxi when I am not really going anywhere specific).
The weeks we stayed here, in February, the weather did not invite us to long and lazy days on the beach (windy and around 18 degrees Celsius) so we rented a motorbike from the coffee-shop next door (100. 000 vdn/day) – and went for day trips to Hoi An – only 30 minutes away.
We visited Hoi An back in 2003 (before the heavy flooding) and remember it to be very beautiful and picturesque, a little bit like being in the middle of a Tin Tin album, so it was with mixed emotions we planned for the re-entry. But no reason to fear – a few km outside the city we start seeing all the tourists out on bicycle – and it was just to “follow the stream” into town. And the first sight f Hoi An was just as beautiful as we remembered it – with one difference – now the entire old city has turned into a huge tourist market with restaurants, tailor-shops, shoe-shops and art galleries in absolute every building.
And then we faced the tourist scam. On our first day we were approached for tourist scam 3 times: First scam: on the restaurant – it was really good, reasonable priced and we even told the lady in charge that we would come back – but when we were going to pay she would not give us the bill, just said the amount. First when we have asked for the menu several times to double check the prices on our food and drink, she gave us the written bill – with the correct amount (about 60.000 vdn) below her first attempt.
Second scam: we had an ice-coffee in a normal Vietnamese coffee-corner, but when we paid, he “accidentally” forgot to give us change back on our 200.000 bill and pretends he only receive a 100.000 bill.
Third scam: on our way back we needed to fill petrol – and had to pay for the guest prior to us as well.
On our next visit, we had trouble on the restaurant – again! The bill was much higher than expected, but the price for each dishes was correct, but the sum at the end around 60.000 extra. What are we doing wrong????
When first visiting Hoi An we want to sit in an old building in the middle of the old city – it is partly because of that atmosphere we do our (daily) visits. For the rest of our visits we were more lucky – found restaurants serving good food – and paid according to the prices in their menu
Going to the tailor
Hoi An is well known for all its tailors, and during our first day we stopped by at a small tailor shop to see what they offer and to get an idea of the price. Back in Danang we visited the markets, looked at the fabric on offer there and tried to find some English speaking persons making men clothes. Failure (a week later we realized we were at the wrong market). We started looking for tailor-shops out on the street, and when we finally found one that was open, the price for a shirt (with same kind of fabric) was 40 US$ and 10 days for delivery compared to 17 US$ in Hoi An and ready within 1-2 days. So we went back to Hoi An and was met with a warm welcome at the same tailor–shop.
In total we paid 455 US$ for
- 10 men shirts (long sleeve)
- 3 women blouses (long sleeve)
- 1 women top
- 2 men suit-jackets
- 1 woman suit-jacket (in wool)
3 days and 4 fittings later we could bring it all back. I red somewhere that it should be possible to buy men shirt for as low as 10 US$ – but we were very pleased with the price we got, taken into consideration that we agreed on the final designs together with the tailors, when it comes to colour on thread, button, fabric inside neck, pocket shape and placement etc.
We had daily biking trips around in Danang, Visited the Marble Mountain – actually better than expected, and when you got further away from the elevator it was more relaxed, no guides anymore stressing around you, only families having their picnic or sitting relaxing on a bench and looking at the beautiful flowers/garden/temples.
Tried also the Check brewery Tulip (after advice from the guy we rented motorbike from). Lovely cold, dark beer – at last the first one. The second glass was unfortunately a big disappointment, warm and without no freshness. As we forgot to take a table close to the bar we could not check if we were served fresh tapped beer each time.
Even if the weather did not invite for lazy sun-bathing days on the beach – it was still nice enough to sit on the pedestrian watching the sun-set, drinking freshly pressed sugar-cane lemonade. Or we had a good cup of coffee (7.000 vnd only) and a chat at our next door coffee-shop.
In Hoi An we also found a favorite spot, next to the old Japanese bridge was a simple and cheap café with plastic chair, where you could have some noodle lunch, a beer, or just a refreshing ice-coffee, while watching couples taking photos of themselves in front of the bridge.