We had heard many good things about Hoi An (it is a highlight in the Lonely Planet) and were not disappointed. The small city looks like a fairy tale at night with lights and lanterns everywhere. The centre of the city is closed down for traffic (except at rush hour) and it makes for a very relaxed way to discover the city. Not having to watch the children on the road is bliss. No beeping mopeds, just cyclists and pedestrians.
In the old town there are several historic buildings and museums to visit. You pay an entry ticket which has five stubs on it and you can choose which museums or buildings you wish to visit, each costing one stub. We didn’t end up using them all but visited an old merchant house, the main museum and the Japanese bridge. We also had the obligatory cyclo ride and a leisurely boat ride on the river.
Reluctantly we moved on after spending five days in Hoi An. We transferred to Danang, spent one night there and then took the train to Hue. The train ride was amazing with absolutely wonderful scenery.
Arriving in Hue though, we almost wish we hadn’t left Hanoi as all of a sudden the weather was much colder. We did a city tour and visited the Forbidden City, a craft village, several tombs and came back on a dragon boat.
Next stop was Hanoi. We didn’t expect it but it was very cold. And wet. It felt like home. Hanoi is a very buzzing city though with great old town buzzing with street life, a fancy French Quarter and a lake in between the two. We enjoyed just strolling around and watching life happen.
We managed to squeeze in a trip to Halong Bay, a beautiful area of the country and a UNESCO heritage site. The bay is made up out of thousands of limestone islands. It is a stunning site, even though it was misty and we didn’t see it in the best light.