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An Alien in Spain Visits -Vietnam (Da Nang / Hoi An)

Train from Hue to Da Nang takes about two and a half hours and so I only bought a soft seat ticket and it is more than adequate and the train journey is one of the best in Vietnam it goes all along the coast through tunnels and with the South China Sea beaches and cliffs to the left and beatiful lush green undergrowth to the right with spasmodic streams coursing their way down the hills it lived up to its reputation.

I met up with two guys from Yorkshire travelling with a girl from Singapore and they shared a cab to my hotel (100,000 $10 US) and they ended up staying at the same hotel (The Mango) with one of the guys crashing in my room - which was large air conditioned with two large beds wet room and a sea / Beach view of wide beaches and 25 km long.

The evening meal taken in a local beach side restaurant where we were the only non Vietnamese customers consisted of fresh seafood (Giant Prawns / Red Snapper) boiled rice and a few cold beers that cost us 200,000 ($10 US) each.

Next day the others took of and I had a good breakfast in the sister hotel next door and in the afternoon headed off with another Easyrider (Driver named VU and his Bike) to sight see at an agreed price of $12 US.- (Easyriders are a found around most of Vietnam they ride you on the pillion to either sightsee of transport you from one town/city to another excellent value for money).

First Stop Monkey Mountain with 50 ft High pure white statue of the Lady Buddha who looks out over Da Nang a bit like Rio de Janeiro with the Christ and around her are Pagodas statues and lots to see with entry totally free great place for photos.

Heading south along the coast towards Marble Mountain, which is where five different forms of Marble are mined, and on the way my driver pointed out a very unusual range of Hills that are known as the Buddha Mountains, anyone care to hazard a guess as to how they got that name Ha Ha.

The lift to the top of Marble mountain is glass sided and gives great views and costs under $5 US entry and once up the top there are a number of pagodas and caves with pagodas inside that you visit on the way down. Da Nang was in the middle of the DMZ and this was a very important area in the days of the Vietnam /American war as the Vietcong used these mountains and the caves as hideouts. Many of the caves have temples inside them however my camera decided to play up so you will have to visit to appreciate the amazing sites inside.

Well worth a visit but at the bottom very commercialised with shops and stores everywhere with hawkers selling their wares and yes I did buy some Jade and marble to carry all round Asia !!!!! Be aware (Beware) cheap marble statues are made from compressed marble powder are are cheap but nasty and will not last.

Final destination Hoi An a place I would urge anyone going to Vietnam to visit - The Old Quarter - The Japanese Bridge and the Night Market are a few of the sights the whole place is set on the river and at night the town is lit by coloured lanterns.

Food is reasonable with my meal costing in the region of $3 US and a beer costing half a dollar - had a beer with Vu and his mates and went for a meal with an Aussie (Paul) making his own way by bike through Vietnam

Forgot the time, meeting Vu at 8.30 instead of 7.30, he just laughed had another beer and we headed off back to Da Nang - Bought the driver another beer and gave him 250,000 ($12.5 US) which made him very happy - what a bargain for an excellent day.

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