We read that the scenery from Hué to Da Nang was one of the most beautiful in Vietnam and we were not disappointed! From lush green fields to sights of turquoise beaches and white sands, we could not take our eyes off of it – or off the camera screen since we – and everyone in the wagon – were just snapping away.
We arrived in Da Nang three hours later and our first mission was to find transportation to Hoi An, about thirty kilometers from Da Nang. The hotel we picked, Hoa Binh Hotel, offered a shuttle ride for 315,000VND ($15-16). We figured that if we could find two other people at the train station who needed to go to Hoi An plus find a taxi that would take us there for less than or equal to 315,000VND, we would be golden. Bingo! Thank you couple at the train station who was going to Hoi An and thank you taxi who agreed to take all four of us there for 300,000! We ended up paying 150,000VND ($7.50) per couple, that means 150,000VND spared.
We were more than satisfied with Hoa Binh Hotel: free apple juice when we arrived, great location, working WiFi in the entire hotel, indoor pool, A/C, delicious breakfast buffet, free daily bananas, daily room cleaning and we were able to take a shower after we checked out – prior to our overnight sleeping bus to Nha Trang – great bonus and free water bottles when we left! We would recommend it to anyone if you were to stop in Hoi An. We were within walking distance of the old city and even got a custom-made suit for Mister from Yaly’s (also heard great things about Kimmy’s from travelers). The beach is easily accessed by bicycle, less than a thirty minute stroll (about 3.5km away), beautiful ride. We rented the bicycle from one of the ladies outside of our hotel. We bargained for two bicycles for 30,000VND instead of 40,000VND ($1.50 instead of $2) not that necessary but any money spared is good when you are traveling.
Hoi An is a beautiful, quaint, little town with many shops, food stands and fresh beer for 5,000VND ($0.25) to quench your thirst during those hot summer days of 40+ degrees. Everything is pretty much walking distance. We loved just wandering around town and admiring its beauty instead of doing the touristy attractions, which it doesn’t have much of except for a couple of little museums, temples and old houses you can visit. You can purchase a ticket for 90,000VND ($4.50) which will give you access to six possible attractions. We preferred to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of Hoi An.
If you find yourself in Hoi An during the 14th day of any lunar moon, you will be able to experience the Full Moon Lantern Festival when electricity is shut off and only the lantern lights guide you through the old town. The Japanese Bridge was open that night as well. . We enjoyed it so much we ended up staying an extra day before heading on to cooler Dalat.
To get to Dalat, we had two options. Go back to Da Nang and buy a ticket at the train station for Dalat, or buy a sleeping bus ticket departing from Hoi An to Dalat. The first option meant going to Da Nang train station early to make sure we would get sleepers/seats and then wait in Da Nang, while the second one allowed us to stay longer in Hoi An, spend less (360,000VND or $18) but maybe get to Dalat a little less rested. Less comfort, cheaper and more Hoi An it is!