Day 6 – Hoi An
After a wonderful time in Hoi An the previous day, we slept very well. But I got up very early around 5 am and went to the river to take some pictures hoping to catch the sunrise. Unfortunately, the sun was not coming up from that direction.
So I went over to the hotel lobby and the sun was just about coming out with the first sunbeams coming through above some trees on the right. After snapping a few shots of this sunrise and the nice reflection of the water pond at the lobby, I went back to the room to catch some more sleep.
Slightly after 7 am, we went to the restaurant to have breakfast. The restaurant wasn’t too crowded yet. Perhaps we were still very early. The buffet spread was quite good. We enjoyed our meals, especially the nice Vietnamese ice coffee. It was a great way to start the morning. The ambience in the restaurant was that of a resort with the swimming pool not very far away and the river just a short distance after the garden. It really looked like a great morning to begin our Hoi An activity.
We went back to the room after breakfast to get ready to head back to the Old Town. We had actually contacted Pullman Danang Beach Resort to see if we could catch a ride with them after sending guests to Hoi An at 10 am the next day. Pullman Danang Beach Resort does provide two shuttle services to Hoi An, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. We were told the bus would arrive at the bus terminal at 127 Phan Chau Trinh. We were requested to be there by 10.25 am and if by 10.40 am we were not there, the bus would leave without us. So this morning we were heading out to this location to recce the place for our transport location in order to be sure where to wait for the shuttle bus.
Having packed and appropriately dressed for this hot summer day, we left Vinh Hung Emerald Resort and walked towards the Old Town retracing the paths of the previous night to the walking streets. Soon we reached the main intersection at the bridge where the Old Town was just a short distance on the right after crossing the bridge. We walked past the walking street where we bought our entrance tickets last night and proceeded further to another street Phan Chau Trinh which was not a walking street. We turned right and walked along trying to locate number 127.
Along the way, we looked at shops and entered one shop selling clothes. After some bargaining, we bought two more polo t-shirts and a table runner for 300,000 VND. Walking further along, we came to a big car park with shops and some buses and taxis coming in and leaving. We believed we had found our pick up point. So we walked a little further and then right into the walking street of the Old Town.
The Old Town looked markedly different from the previously night. The crowds of visitors were noticeably absent which wasn’t surprising. The hot summer weather was not really conducive to explore the Old Town. Besides, the romantic charms were only brought out under the lovely and beautiful lanterns lighting at night under a cooler temperature.
As we walked on the almost empty streets, we turned right again and entered another shop selling clothes. My dear wife saw some nice clothes and bought two pretty blouses for 300,000 VND. After that we walked further down and turned left to walked all the way to the end of the street to visit the market. It was really getting hotter now and most people were under shelter to escape the punishing heat.
My wife approached a stall and enquired about the rice papers for making Vietnamese spring rolls. She was quoted a ridiculously high price. We had bought some rice papers in Hanoi last December with the help of a friend so we knew the price beforehand. Finally, after some bargaining, we bought 5 packs of 10 pieces each for 20,000 VND which was more reasonable.
After this, we walked towards the river and turned right to walked along the river to head back to Vinh Hung Emerald Resort. It was the same street we walked on the previous night with plenty of cafes and restaurants under romantic lights along the river where alfresco dining was available but definitely not during the day which would be insane to have a meal under the hot sun.
The boats were still moored along the river and the river boat restaurant was still there apparently empty during this time. The restaurants were also empty as it was not lunch time yet.
We walked on taking in the sights of the day and reached the big walking bridge in the middle where it was full of life during the night and now we were the only visitors there taking pictures of the surrounding without any hindrance. The lotus flowers decorating the river were actually red in colour but under the lighting at night, they were glowing in pretty pink.
It was already after 10 am so we crossed the river and made our way back to Vinh Hung Emerald Resort. We had to be back before 10.30 am in order not to miss the complimentary river cruise. By now, the heat was biting right into our skins. We were drenching wet and quite uncomfortable.
We made it back to the resort just in time to catch the boat ride. We went back to the room first to put down our shopping bags and grabbed some more bottles of water. We ran to the river where the boat was waiting and passengers were already on board. The resort staff greeted us politely when we approached the boat at the wooden jetty. We were the last two passengers to board and we quickly took our seats and then the boat swiftly left the wooden jetty.
The boat was heading left towards a long bridge. Soon the market we walked past earlier came into view on our left. After passing the market and under the long bridge, we have more boats on the river and houses on the left bank. The boat kept going forward until we passed an islet all the way near to the mouth of the river and then turned back.
On the way back, it was the same scenery on the river. This time the houses and buildings were on our right. We passed by the luxurious Anantara Hoi An Resort by the river. Next was the lovely Brother’s Café with a lonely brother sitting by the river bank. Then came the long bridge again and passing under on the right was the untidy market where stall holders threw trash into the river. They also lowered buckets to collect water to do washing beside the river.
After that was those boats we saw moored by the river at the Old Town in front of the many shops, cafes and restaurants where many visitors dined alfresco style beside the river at night. The big boat restaurant was also there resting quietly to be awakened only in the evening. As it was another hot day with clear blue sky, the sights along the river were lovely during the cruise. We were sheltered from the sun and with wind blowing into our face, the boat ride was quite pleasant.
More boats were seen on the river plying along on their transportation mission. We didn’t really come across any tourists river cruise during our boat ride this late morning. Eventually, we were back to our wooden jetty at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort. So everyone disembarked here and we were back to the garden ground of the resort. The whole boat ride lasted about 45 minutes which was great. Before we went for the boat ride, we had called reception to request for late check out so that we might have a short swim at the pool after the boat ride which was granted. The check out time was thus pushed back to 1 pm.
By the time we finished the boat ride, it was already 11.30 am so it was a great time to plunge into the nice and warm water in the swimming pool for a swim. The swim was just simply lovely and a delight under the summer heat of the day. It was so relaxing dipping and floating on the sparkling waters under the midday sun. It was actually very needful after our hot morning walk around the Old Town and river cruise just to unwind a while before other activities planned for the day.
After the swim, we had a quick shower and enjoyed the air-condition in the room for a short while as we packed and get ready to leave. This hotel room was quite good and we enjoyed our stay even though it might not be considered luxurious. This resort provided free street food buffet in the late afternoon as well as this free river cruise in the late morning which was very enjoyable. The meals at the restaurant were great as well that came with a 5%, 10% and then a 15% discount for our meals during each visit.
So we went to the lobby to check out and left our bags with their staff. Then we went back to the restaurant to have lunch before we move over to The Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel. We were not too hungry so we ordered something simple but delicious. Of course we ordered the ice ginger tea which we enjoyed very much the night before. The restaurant staff was happy to see us and serve us again as very few guests remained in the hotel for meals.
With lunch done, we went back to the hotel lobby to collect our bags and we thus bid Vinh Hung Emerald Resort goodbye and moved on to our next hotel accommodation which was nearby. We carried our bags and walked back in the direction of the Old Town. Once we reached the junction before the big bridge, the Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel was just on our left. We took less than five minutes to walk over and this time, we were nearer to the Old Town and we could see the Unesco World Heritage Site from the hotel.
Once we walked up the steps to the hotel, the hotel staff came and took our bags. We had actually come over to this hotel the previous night when we went to explore the Old Town. We told the staff of our booking and requested for an upgrade and we were told it shouldn’t be a problem as we came during their low season. So during check in, we were upgraded to a deluxe room with a balcony facing the river with a view of the Old Town.
The hotel staff here were simply sincerely personable and friendly. We were shown to our room which was a delight indeed. The furnishing of the room was superb. The king bed looked very clean and comfortable. The room was tastefully decorated with an antique looking telephone and clock.
The bathroom was nice and clean complete with very good toiletries. In fact, the entire hotel ground was nicely decorated where it was very easy to fall in love with this little boutique hotel. The balcony opened out to a river view and the Old Town was further on the right across the main bridge.
Everything was in working order. TV with plenty of channels to watch though mostly local channels. Wifi worked exceptionally well. Likewise the air-conditioning worked perfectly which was critical during this summer time. So with such a nice hotel and room to park ourselves in, there was no point going anywhere during the hot afternoon.
So our afternoon was spent relaxing in our beautiful room watching TV and chatting up with children and friends over whatsapp. We needed the rest anyway after our tiring morning activities under the scorching sun. This hotel was simply lovely where we could rest in a nice and quiet environment.
Not many people would be out on the streets during this time anyway so this afternoon nap and rest would prepare us to head back to the Old Town for another round of enjoyable walk in a totally different ambience in the evening where everyone would be out on the streets to have a great time.
Closer to 5 pm, we went to the Spa where we were given a 10 minutes complimentary foot massage. This establishment was one of the best we had come across during our Central Vietnam tour. The staff were polite and professional and ambience very nice to spend some relaxing time. We were given face towels and drinks. The foot massage was very enjoyable and it seemed to take longer than the given 10 minutes. Under the skillful hands of the masseurs, we were put back to our feet in good shape.
After that, we went to the semi-indoor swimming pool for a look. We already had our swim earlier so we were in no mood for another swim. The pool wasn’t very big but quite nice and clean. No one was swimming when we went there.
Next, we approached the restaurant for dinner. The restaurant was quite empty when we turned up and the hotel’s staff at the restaurant were likewise exceptionally good with their customer service.
We took our seats and ordered cordon bleu and fish and chips. In addition, we also ordered fresh fruit juice. The meal was great and we always liked to have an enjoyable meal in a quieter environment. After the tasty meals, we went back to our room to get ready for our evening walk to the Old Town again. From the balcony, we could see the Old Town lighting up and ready for visitors. We took water with us and left the hotel.
Evening was already setting in and the hotel viewed from the outside was lovely under red lantern lights against a deep blue night sky. Some food vendors had already set up stalls near the hotel.
This time, instead of crossing the bridge to enter the Old Town walking streets, we just walked along the other side of the river to look at cafes and restaurants. This side of the river was quieter and not as crowded. We could see the beautiful and lovely warm lantern lights across the river providing a romantic ambience for those cafes and restaurants over on the other side.
On this side of the river, it was more like a walk in the park. Restaurants and cafes were on the right of the main road and a park by the river on the left. Tricycles in different colour lighting were on this road bringing out a very different feel of this place. Soon we reached the middle walking bridge where food vendors were there all ready for business for the evening.
We walked on further this side of the river to explore more cafes and restaurants and took pictures of the surrounding as we didn’t cover this area the previous night. When we reached the end of these shops, we turned back and walked back to the lively walking bridge in the middle. It might still be a little early as the lotus flowers on the river were not lighted up yet. But vendors were already selling paper lotus lights for those who wished to release them into the river.
On the bridge, it was crowded as usual with the announcement to purchase tickets to enter the Old Town. We didn’t even have a chance to visit those attractions listed on the ticket these two days. These were buildings of associations where I didn’t feel any great loss for missing such visits as I grew up hanging out at some associations around Chinatown in Singapore whenever my grandparents brought me out to town. They were not very special to me and I didn’t see any reason to head back into Old Town during the hot afternoon just for a quick look. So at the end of the main walking bridge was this Cantonese Association building which was already closed at night. Street vendors were out selling their wares outside this association building.
We walked further into the middle of Old Town and looked around some areas we didn’t cover the night before. They were more or less about the same with more cafes and restaurants nicely lighted up at night waiting for diners to patronize them. We also walked past another side of the town square where attentive locals were listening to stories and happily participating in activities over there.
After this, we walked back towards the middle walking bridge along the river without crossing over the river again. Instead, we walked on along the river to look at this side of the river scenes we missed last night. We came across the famous Japanese bridge viewed from outside initially lit up in a mysterious blue light which was a little eerie. The bridge then changed to a combination of soft green and pink lighting which was more lovely to look at. Having taken a few pictures, we walked on.
On the left along the river bank, food vendors set up food stalls. This was the cheaper version of the alfresco dining experience along the river. Tables and benches were arranged nicely and the place was quite nicely lit up as well. There were some restaurants on the right side of the walking street for those who preferred to eat at proper restaurants.
Soon we reached the end and were at the junction of the major bridge where the Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel was just across the road after the bridge on the other side of the river. We walked along the path and crossed the river on the bridge and were back to the side of the hotel. We went up to a coffee shop and bought a big bottle of water for 20,000 VND and then walked back to our hotel. On the way, we walked past some food vendors outside the hotel at the road junction.
Finally, we entered the Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel and the staff greeted us heartily. Then we were back in our room enjoying the air-conditioning and elements of creature comfort. Another shower after a warm and sticky walk to the Old Town was just fantastic. We were completely comfortable now and with our nice and comfy bed as companion, resting in the room was pure delight. Of course the TV was switched on and our children were connected via whatsapp to catch up on events during the day.
It was a very enjoyable experience in Hoi An for the past two days. The hotel room over here was much nicer and more comfortable than Vinh Hung Emerald Resort. But the resort has a nice outdoor swimming pool and a garden beside the river. The resort also provided free street food buffet and free boat ride. Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel however, was excellent in customer service. Not one staff was unhappy or rude and they were all genuinely helpful and friendly. So we were pleased with our choice of accommodation for these two days. It was better for us to stay at two different places to experience two different unique accommodations.
Finally, it was time to conclude our day with some nice and sweet sleep. Going back to Pullman Danang Beach Resort was something to look forward to having had a great and splendid time over there during our second day of our Central Vietnam tour. The last time we were upgraded to a junior suite and our accommodation was simply fantastic. We hope our return trip would be equally good if not even better. Soon, we were off to our sweet dreams and expecting greater things to come the next day.
Continue to Day 7 …