The bus directly from Dalat to Hoi An would have been around 20 hour long so we got the bus from the beautiful mountains of Dalat to Nah Trang, a beach resort half way up Vietnam. We only had the day here as we were getting the over night bus to Hoi An at half five. This meant we couldn’t venture to the nearby Islands but we didn’t have to, the beach in Nah Trang is beautiful with plenty of beach hut bars and restaurants. We spent most of the day chilling out in a beach bar, with a nice pool and decent pool table. This place also sold it’s own brewed beers so we sampled a few, would have been rude not too.
After a lovely day we made our way to meet our overnight bus. The bus had small beds along the bottom and top, if you get an overnight bus be warned that when you get comfy and think the bus is full it’s not! Oh the beds were all taken but then the Vietnamese get on and they will take any available space, I was on one of the middle beds, there was a bit of a walkway and John was by the window next to me and they crammed Vietnamese on either side of me.
One guy thought it would be OK to share my pillow (no concept of personal space), the other was not the best smelling guy in the world. Since then we’ve sampled a few overnight buses, all have been completely different but still overcrowded with Vietnamese. We’re getting the hang of it now, I’m not so polite that I’ll share my pillow and when they rush you off the bus and give you a nudge in the right direction, I will turn round to tell them to ‘do one, I’ll take as much time as I want!’
The bus ride over, we stumbled into one of the first hostels we saw, which was damp and smelly but fairly clean and more importantly, cheap with a hot shower so who were we to complain. At breakfast I met a guy who was working in Malaysia on business and had been told to fly over to Hoi An for the weekend for some shopping. Which of course he did and had bought a dozen shoes, shirts, suits etc… all tailor made and so he pointed us in the direction of a good shop.
We strolled down to see what they could do and found out it’s more a case of what can’t they do. I sat there for ages looking through cataloges and magazines, dress after dress. I finally decided on a little black dress (every girl needs one) and a summery dress for our trip and as my sister is getting married in Cyprus next year so it would be good for one of the hen nights. John had gone for a three piece suit and shirt, so we were measured, had picked our fabric and they would be ready for our first fitting that evening, pretty impressive.
We spent the day strolling around the beautiful city of Hoi An, this place is so different from other cities in Vietnam. The streets are clean, most of them are traffic free with just bycicles and cyclos riding about. The best word to describe it would be tranquile. The buildings are old, they were saved from the war and you get a feel for old Vietnam, the French influence shows but that just adds to the charm, the river runs through the center of town and there are roof top bars & restaurants lining the river, I could go on but I think you get the picture and you can see the pictures soon on Flickr or Facebook. Also every other shop is a tailors, there’s 300 or so of them in town.
After a day of strolling through Hoi An, visiting old houses and ceramic & crafts museums (that’s all this place has to offer as far as sight seeing goes), we went back to the shop to try on our dresses and suit. All fitted perfectly and where just what we ordered so we thought what the hell and both ordered winter coats as well! Mine was straight out of the Next catalog with a few personal touches added and John went one up and ordered one from the Paul Smith website. They would be ready the next day.
While there we bumped into some guys we’d met in in Cambodia twice and decided to meet them and a few others at a bar in town. The night was good, from what I can remember, John filled in the gaps in the morning of how we both had to get on the same motorbike taxi back to the hostel as he was scared I wouldn’t (couldn’t) hold on by myself.
The next day was pretty lazy and chilled. We picked up all of our clothes and paid $300 USD for two dresses, two coats, a three piece suite and a shirt all made to fit. So we can’t put anymore beer weight on. Next stop Hue for the afternoon and another overnight bus to Hanoi. Being on the move constantly is taking its toll. We’ll have seen 7 countries in two months so its all going a bit quick, but it’s totally worth it and we wake up excited about where we will be that day or the next.