Day Seven – Hoi An
Our first day in Hoi An! The bus trip from Hue was around four hours including a couple of stops along the way. We stopped in between Hue and Da Nang at the Hai Van Pass, where our bargaining skills were really put to the test. It’s likely your bus will stop here and you will not be approached, as much as mobbed, by vendors selling necklaces, bracelets, ‘real pearls’ and drinks. But the views were worth stopping for – and most of us ended up with jewellery we didn’t really need too.
“Our train pulled into Hue station around 8.30am. We were all struck by how quiet Hue was compared to Hanoi. The roads were almost empty (and easy to cross) and there were few other tourists in the vicinity of our hotel. We spent our morning familiarising ourselves with the town, wandering around shops and grabbing some of Hue’s famed pancakes at the Mandarin Café.
Given any opportunity the Intrepid team will head off to wild and wonderful corners of our world. Sarah Moore from our NZ team has recently jumped aboard Intrepid’s Reunification Express and her journey continues on Day 3 in Vietnam…
“Everyone was looking forward to today – we’d all heard so much about Halong Bay with its emerald waters and unusual jutting islands. But first it was all aboard the Intrepid bus for a trip to the Blue Dragon Charity – another institution set up to help disadvantaged children earn an education.
We were welcomed into a beautiful building decorated with children’s art and brought upstairs to a breakfast of thick coffee, cakes and fruit (including the popular dragon fruit – a watery but tasteless produce specked with seeds that look identical to black sesame seed. Huong assured us that dragon fruit is very delicious and refreshing, but I’m not sure she’s going to secure any devotees on this tour).
Vietnamese New Year, or Tet, is a bright display of blossoms, fruit offerings and red envelopes carrying lucky money. As the chant of “Chuc mung nam moi” rings out around Vietnam this week, wishing friends and family happy New Year, we join Intrepid’s Sarah Moore on her recent Reunification Express adventure…
“Last night I met the eleven travellers I would spend the next 14 days with. A mixture of Kiwis, Aussies and Brits, we are (amongst other professions) a doctor, hairdresser, lawyer, two school teachers, a semi-retired courier driver and a diesel mechanic, ranging in age from eighteen to fifty-six years.