5 Days 4 Nights Danang and Hoi An Vacation Day 2 (May 2016)

Morning at Hoi An Sincerity Hotel

The first day was flying to Danang and transferred to Hoi An for the night. The only activity was a nice dinner at Hotel Royal and a quick stroll at the ancient town where the full moon festivity was already over. So this second day would be the real action for Hoi An. After a good night sleep, we went straight for breakfast. The breakfast was very good and we enjoyed the local food together with western items.

Cycling to Hoi An Ancient Town

We rested in our room for a while to plan our activities for the day. When we were ready, we went to the lobby to borrow the bicycles from Hoi An Sincerity Hotel. This hotel has bicycles for hotel guests to use for free. So we got a map from the hotel, orientated ourselves as we prepared to cycle to the ancient town.

From the main entrance of the hotel, turned right and cycled to the main road. We then turned left and cycled along Hai Ba Trung towards the ancient town. Cycling all the way following Hai Ba Trung will lead to the ancient town. Traffic wasn’t too heavy and there were other cyclists just like ourselves on the road. This was of course comforting as this was our first time cycling on the road in Central Vietnam. However, we needed to cycle carefully as there were big vehicles on the road as well.

In about 15 minutes, we entered the ancient town. Vehicular traffic is not allowed in this part of town. Only pedestrians and and cyclists are allowed to roam this wonderful ancient town. Our first stop was to cycle to the river near the very old Japanese Bridge. This is one of the the main attractions in the ancient town.

Day Tour at Hoi An Ancient Town

It was a very hot and sunny day as we arrived here. There were locals and tourists mingling around the river front, in particular, near the Japanese Bridge. We stopped and walked around to enjoy the site and took pictures. Tour groups also arrived and tour leaders were explaining to these tourists about history of this place.

The ancient town is an interesting place, very beautifully restored, architecturally, Chinese style. You won’t find Chinese living here anymore. Hundreds of years ago, this was a major port city used by the Chinese. Though this town is no longer authentic, it is nevertheless, a lovely place to explore and to enjoy a slice of history. Several Chinese association buildings are here to welcome visitors to learn more about their history.

So we cycled around the streets in the ancient town stopping to take pictures from time to time. There were lesser people on the streets during a hot day. This whole area would come alive after sunset. You could go for a boat ride on the river if you wish but we were more interested to roam the streets and do some shopping.

Last year, we stayed at the Vinh Hung Emerald Resort located just outside the ancient town across the river. We could simply walk into town to roam. Vinh Hung Emerald Resort provides free river cruise in the morning which was very good. The resort also provides free afternoon tea by the river to sample their local snacks too. It was a good experience and we enjoyed our stay.

Shopping at Hoi An Ancient Town

My brother had asked if we could help him buy a back pack since we were in Vietnam. So we went bag hunting. We checked out the prices at some shops along the way. Eventually, we ended up buying 2 small back carry bags and a duffle bag at one of the shops at the corner near the river facing the market. Each bag cost 300,000 VND. We bought some other stuff from this shop as well as the lady owner was helpful and friendly and more willing to negotiate prices. This shop also sells tour packages.

The good thing about the bicycles from Hoi An Sincerity Hotel is that the bicycles come with a small basket in front so we could put our shopping as we continued our cycling tour around town. After cycling through a few streets, it was time to return to Hoi An Sincerity Hotel. We took the same route back with the same amount of road traffic.

By the time we arrived Hoi An Sincerity Hotel, we were completely drenched. We were already wearing caps but often time the wind would blow them off our head. We were wearing sunglasses as well but the glare was still rather strong. So be prepared for the heat and the sun if you wish to roam around Hoi An during the day.

Pandanus Spa Treatment Booking

Instead of returning to our room, we cycled around the hotel vicinity. We spotted a very nice spa behind the hotel. The name of this shop is Pandanus Spa Hoi An. This spa is listed as the top spa on Tripadvisor. So we approached the shop and made enquiries. The owner was friendly and also very helpful. So we booked our treatment session in the afternoon.

Finally, we returned to Hoi An Sincerity Hotel and went back to our room to rest. It was already near 1 pm and exhaustion was about to set in. The heat and humidity were something we had to deal with during summer. It was the same time we visited Central Vietnam a year ago so we knew what we had to face during this time.

So we needed to cool down quick. A shower was necessary and it was so good. The morning was well spent. Hoi An ancient town was still as attractive. We were very satisfied with our shopping and took pictures of the bags we bought and shared them with our children and my brother. Of course they were delighted.

Lunch and Explore Hoi An Sincerity Hotel

Having rested enough we went to the lobby restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was quiet but the staff were lively. They greeted us with enthusiasm and taught us some Vietnamese greetings. We settled down to order local food for lunch. The lunch was par excellent. We had a great lunch and enjoyed the great service too.

Next we walked out of the restaurant to explore the hotel’s vegetable garden. All the vegetables served in the restaurant came from their homegrown vegetable garden. The garden was well kept and one of the restaurant’s staff escorted us into the garden and gave us a quick tour. She explained to us the different vegetables grown here and helped us take pictures as well. So the restaurant here served organic vegetables from this garden which was very good.

We then walked past the swimming pool with hotel guests enjoying their cool dip on a hot day. We didn’t join them because we had a spa treatment session in the afternoon. The swimming pool looked inviting with sufficient deck chairs around the pool.

Further indoor from the swimming pool is a very nice and cool bar. The deco is very nice and catchy with brown wall decorations full of books. If you need a place to chill for some light reading, this might be the place for you. There are interesting books available to peruse as well.

Back in our room, we rested again and watched TV. Wifi was fine so we caught up with events and chatted with friends and children back home. The room is very spacious. It took a while for air-conditioning to take effect. Anyway, the room was good and the bed very comfortable.

Treatment at Pandanus Spa Hoi An

Finally, it was time to walk to the back of the hotel for our spa treatment. Once we reached Pandanus Spa Hoi An, we were warmly greeted by the owner. We sat down to chat with him for a while until we were called to go for our spa treatment. The masseurs were professional and the treatment was very good. Our aching bodies were given some great treatment and cooling down under the summer heat in Vietnam was necessary. The price was very reasonable as well. It was a really good experience indeed.

We returned to our room after the spa treatment. Another shower was in order to wash away the residual oil left on our body. It was another time to rest for a short while before we head back to the ancient town to explore. Soon, sunset was approaching. We could see the sun at the far end from our room balcony.

So we left Hoi An Sincerity Hotel again. We didn’t want to cycle back to ancient town again. It would be very crowded at night and the bicycle would become a hindrance instead of a convenience for our night tour around town. We got into a taxi and told the driver to send us to ancient town near the market side.

Night Tour at Hoi An Ancient Town

In about ten minutes, we arrived and alighted. There was still daylight but getting dark soon.  The whole place was getting crowded as well. Some tourists came in tour buses and were crowding at some street entrance. We walked down to the market and approached a stall holder to buy some rice papers for spring rolls. Initially, she quoted us a ridiculously high price knowing we were tourists. We told her we had bought rice papers before and we knew the price. So she gave us a more down to earth price and we bought some rice papers from her.

Next we began our night tour of the ancient town. The sky was turning light blue and the heat was coming down. It was a lovely stroll on the streets. Lanterns were lit and shoppers were thronging the streets bargain hunting for clothes, bags and souvenirs. Restaurants were open and ready for diners for the evening meals.

We walked on and headed towards the middle near the river. By now, the sky was turning to a darker shade of blue. Shops and restaurants on both sides of the river were lit. The whole place was very charming to say the least.

Wedding Photo Shoots at Ancient Town

On the river, wedding couples were having photo shoots. It was an interesting sight. Near the Japanese Bridge, another couple was having their wedding pictures taken as well. The bridge was lit up in green and then turned to purple and other colours. It was no doubt memorable for them and fun for us to watch as tourists.

At the main bridge connecting both sides of the river, it was so crowded with tourists and locals and it wasn’t easy to get through the crowd over to the other side. It was a full moon night so many people were out here enjoying the ambiance of what this romantic ancient town had to offer. Crowds of people were everywhere.

Hoi An Ancient Town Across the River

The water features on the river were nicely lit up. The river was an awesome sight at night. It was so enchanting. Lanterns were all over the place. We crossed the beautifully decorated and nicely lit up bridge over to the other side outside the ancient town.

Restaurants were quite packed and doing good business. Night market was ready and lively. Those shops selling pretty lanterns were crowded with shoppers and admirers. This was really the place to be in the evening.

By now, the night was in full swing and completely dark. The full moon was shinning so brightly. Happy people were everywhere. Lanterns structures were attracting crowds. This was new as we didn’t see this new structure along the river the year before. This new addition to the park was great as locals and visitors busked under the enchanting lights for picture moments.

Activities were everywhere with story telling and games as well. We took our time to stroll through the streets enjoying the ambiance of this lovely ancient town. This was no doubt a happy place that brought many happy people together for dining and shopping and to chill the evening away.

Dinner at Hotel Royal Hoi An

We walked on and left the ancient town towards Hotel Royal where we had dinner the previous night. Over this end, it was quieter as we looked back towards the ancient town full of lights and life. This charming place was certainly a tourist magnet for a long time attracting tourists from all over the world.

Soon we arrived Hotel Royal. This five star hotel was lovely as well. We entered the hotel lobby and exited through the back for a quick walk around the swimming pool. A lone musician was entertaining guests having dinner by the pool. This was another very lovely and romantic venue for a nice dinner. However, we preferred to dine indoor under air-conditioning comfort. It was so hot and humid during summer and we couldn’t resist cooling down under air-conditioned environment.

The same wait staff attended to us. They recognized us and we had local dishes again for dinner. The meal was very delicious and the service was great. As Accor Plus members, we enjoyed 50% discount for dining. So this dinner was a bonus indeed. The restaurant was nevertheless very quiet. Most visitors would probably preferred the noise and the charm at the ancient town for an unforgettable dining experience.

Evening at Hoi An Sincerity Hotel

After dinner, we left Hotel Royal and hopped on to a taxi and returned to Hoi An Sincerity Hotel. The friendly staff smiled and greeted us by names. We noticed they take note of hotel guests by names and attend to them in very personal ways. Hoi An Sincerity Hotel was a good hotel to stay. This hotel is pretty new. Hotel rate was very good when we booked early via agoda.com.

So back in our room, another shower was in order. We had to drink plenty of water to keep ourselves hydrated during summer in Vietnam. The heat and humidity were something to manage touring Vietnam during this time. Watching TV and chatting with children became the usual activities at night.

Visiting the ancient town in the day and night brought out different experience and enjoyment. Cycling to the ancient town was fun but we had to be careful of road traffic. Shopping was great too especially the prices for the items we purchased. The massage at Pandanus Spa was heavenly. Hence our second day in Central Vietnam came to an end. We would be changing accommodation in Hoi An the next day where we would be staying at a villa nearer to the seaside. More excitement to come the following day.

Continue to Day 3

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