Historic Hoi An and getting on our Hué

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Confused by the title? It’s fine, we weren’t sure on how to say Hué either (it’s ‘ha-whey’, said as one syllable). Get it? It’s a pun. I’ll get my coat…

But our pronounciation of Hué problem was not our biggest challenge on our recent two stops. After battling sickness on an overnight bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An (mostly motion sickness, to be honest), no problem seems too big right now.

The high road from Hoi An to Hue
The high road from Hoi An to Hue

The hell highway to Hoi An

We have mentioned the overnight buses before and, this time, we took an 11 hour ride with Sinh Tourist (much better than Futabus Lines, as we talked about here ). However, the bus was not the problem necessarily. The main pain was the road.

Vietnam’s roads are awful. The main highway (Highway 1) is not much more than a country road, except with cars doing 70mph and lorries overtaking on blind bends. It’s a white knuckle ride, that’s for sure.

Jo enjoying the ride to Hue
Jo enjoying the ride to Hue

 

And that’s why, in Hoi An, we began a relationship with motorbikes. First up, at our homestay in Hoi An (the lovely Viet’s Family River homestay) the family all ride motorbikes and will happily take you to local attractions in and out of the guidebooks, all for free. The coconut farm (pictured) is perhaps the best trip we have done so far on our trip.

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Rocking the crazy hats made by the coconut farmer

Away from the traffic

Still, Hoi An is not in love with motorbikes. Why? Well the town center is pretty damn old and so, to protect the buildings and keep the streets clear, there is a ban on motorised vehicles pretty much all of the day. I was a fan of this – it’s nice to breathe fresh air and not move out of the way of beeping motorists every two seconds.

Josefin enjoying the peaceful Hoi An streets
Josefin enjoying the peaceful Hoi An streets

 

But while Hoi An is charming, it’s pricey. It is perhaps the priciest place we have been in Vietnam so far. And while the history is cool, they certainly charge for it. The Old Hoi An Town ticket for example, at 120,000 Dong (10 dollars), is a rip-off. Most of the sights are small and disappointing, and could probably be visited by just walking in. No one checks your tickets 90% of the time.

But Hoi An is a great base to take tours, especially on bikes. Nearby (well, 40km away) is My Son – a historic collection of Cham temples. While I wasn’t that impressed with the site, it’s a cool visit. I hear that the sunrise there is stunning.

Famed My Son temples, mostly ruins due to the Vietnam war
Famed My Son temples, mostly ruins due to the Vietnam war

Then there’s a decent beach just outside of Hoi An which is apparently great, again reachable by motorbike only really.

And then there are the nearby towns of Danang (some 45km away), and Hué (some 110km away). Both are easily linked by easy rider tours (there are plenty).

The easy Easy Rider ride

And so that’s how we went from Hoi An to Hué: on the back of a motorbike. Going via the Hai Van pass, the Marble Mountains, and various beaches, we had an excellent time (even if we were a bit sunburnt). For small trips, it is definitely the best way to travel. But would I jump on the bike again tomorrow for another few hours? My bottom might not want to.

Inside Marble Mountain
Inside Marble Mountain

So now we are in Hué, soaking up the Imperial City sights and enjoying the somehwat peaceful atmosphere.

Next stop: Hanoi. We are cheating and flying there, as we don’t want another motion sickness episode (and 24hrs on a bike is just too much time, and money, to spend).

We’ll check back in when we are there and, after this entire trip, we will go into each step in more detail. Right now, there is just no time – there’s too much to see!

To see what we are seeing, just go to our Facebook page, or Twitter, or Instagram. We look forward to seeing you there!

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