After Ho Chi Minh City we took a domestic flight up to the centre of the country and spent a week in the towns of Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue…
Da Nang is Vietnams third largest city but feels much smaller and quieter than both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. We rented a scooter from our homestay and spent a lot of time just exploring the area. We visited the Lady Buddha statue, some more pagodas and temples, relaxed on the beach and made the most of the cheap beer (40 cents) and coffee. But the highlight was probably the small theme park we visited. It really looked great, very new and clean, and they were still building more rides but the whole place was empty. It was very surreal. Music was playing, disco lights were flashing and roller-coasters were rolling…but there were very few people on them. But we didn’t mind, it was great not having to que for anything and we will never forget when Frida laugh her head of while Jack went on the Pirate Roller Coaster all by himself sitting at the front of the ride all alone.
The attraction here is the atmosphere of the “old town”, right in the heart of the town. The old yellow buildings and cosy narrow streets are very pretty, especially at night when the whole centre is illuminated by thousands of colourful lanterns. Other than that, the only other thing to do here might be to shop. Lots and lots of shops from art to lanterns, from hand bags to coffee but high quality tailoring is what Hoi An is known for. Oh, and there are so many tourists, easily the most touristy place we have seen so far (urgh!).
We were given quite a surprise when arrived in Hue. We walked from the train station to our hostel, nothing unusual in that, but in those 30 minutes were approached by men on motorbikes trying to sell marijuana, 4 times. It may just have been the tourist part of town we were staying in but even a 200 meter walk to get some dinner could present us with 3 or 4 offers of weed. But, as far as we’re aware, people don’t come here to get high. Hue was Vietnams capital city up until 1945 and the political, cultural and religious centre of Vietnam under the control of Nguyen Dynasty. It’s attractions includes numerous tombs and pagodas, the perfume river and many day tours to the surrounding areas but we only managed to see the imperial city and the Citadel (UNESCO world heritage site). All photos below are from The Citadel Imperial City.