Week 2 began with us bussing back to Saigon from where we flew to Da Nang. I had only ever driven past Da Nang on my last trip and so wanted to see Vietnam's third largest city for myself. We decided to stay right on the main beach of My Khe, or otherwise also known as China Beach, as was the name used by American GIs during the war. It's only been since the late 90s that this city has seen major development and foreign investment. To me, it's become a very typical seaside tourist destination; lots of seafood restaurants, coconut trees, scooter rentals and beach lounge rentals.
After Da Nang, we travelled 45 minutes south to Hoi An, a romantic UNESCO heritage listed city. Its Old Town is very small and charming. We rode bicycles through it and spent our days observing the full moon festivities and lantern festival. The evenings were extremely crowded and unfortunately reminded me a little too much of a Chinese national holiday :-( Otherwise, Hoi An is a wonderful place to visit with quaint shops of Vietnamese silk garments and silk lanterns.
We then had to decide on how to get from Hoi An to Nha Trang, another beach area further south along the coast. Cheapest was a bus ticket (13.50 USD) that would take 12 hours or a 50 minute flight from Da Nang to Nha Trang for roughly 3 times the price of the bus ticket. I was tempted to go the local way, meaning bus, but both Linh and I had at some point in Da Nang contracted head colds with a nasty cough and so a 12 hour bus ride didn't sound like something we'd be able to endure very well. We therefore splurged and spent 45 USD on the plane tickets! Woah!
We are currently in Nha Trang and spent the day lounging by the beach. We kept out of the sun while enjoying the cooling sea breeze. I have to say that Nha Trang is not somewhere I need to come to again. It is actually quite a nice beach but it caters primarily for Russian and Chinese tourists. We walked into a restaurant that did not have an English menu; Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese only... and I think the Vietnamese part was primarily for the benefit of the staff who work there. We've been here since yesterday morning and have yet to find good Vietnamese food. Our plan is to rent a scooter tomorrow and head away from the tourist bubble and find out where locals get real food!