Hàn River Bridge in Da Nang
Day 5: HCMC to DaNang
Fifth day in Viet Nam: a breakfast of Mi Quang. My cousin tricks me into ordering a bowl of organs and noodles; the best liver I've ever eaten. We spend our morning wandering in the sweltering heat with rolling backpacks over broken sidewalks (traveler's tip: don't try to walk around Viet Nam with rolling bags). Taxi to the airport and we're on our way to DaNang. Domestic flights in Viet Nam are cheap and worth it; twelve hour bus rides with blasting Vietnamese versions of X-Factor not so much.
Da Nang, the fifth largest city in Viet Nam, is modernized in much the same way as Nagasaki or Hiroshima: read bombed to shit and back, then streamlined and gaudy. My boyfriend compared it to Vegas, but it's lacking the maze of casinos, flagrant sex trade, and stale cigarette smell; however, it does have neon. In fact, it has a neon dragon bridge that breathes real fire on weekends at 9 pm. Gotta love the lack of health and safety regulations. With a cool breeze and awesome bridges, Da Nang was one of my favorite places in Viet Nam. Also, our hostel was great and we ended up staying there two different times on the trip.
Day 6: Hoi An
Welcome to Hoi An! Where you will spend an entire day feeling like you are in the Epcot Center version of Viet Nam. Most travel blogs wet their pants in excitement over this place; personally, I found it pretty and quaint but boring. Also, the food we ate there was disgusting.
Getting from DaNang to Hoi An is simple: go to a bus station and get on the yellow bus. Yes, you will be charged more than the locals. Your fare will be fifty thousand dong per person each way. It will drop you off nowhere near to the center of town where all the tourist action is, but it's not a bad walk either.
Day 7: DaNang to Hue
Translated from Vietnamese, this is the ocean cloud pass. The train dodders up a mountain valley through the clouds then hugs the mountain sides giving stunning views of the coast line. Getting a sleeper car is an excellent way to travel from DaNang to Hue and fairly economical; it was the most picturesque train ride I've ever taken.
Once we arrived in Hue, we walked from the train station to our hotel. Valentine Hotel is situated in an alley away from the main road and was quiet, clean, and the hosts helpful. My only issue was the bathroom which had a tub with ridiculously high sides and a shower head that sprayed everywhere.
Much of our late afternoon and evening was spent freshening up under the overexuberant shower head, eating ridiculous amounts of tiny food items, and being offered marijuana while walking past clubs full of intoxicated Chinese tourists and blasting EDM.