We flew in from Saigon to Da Nang, one of Vietnam?s major ports, situated on the coast of the South China Sea. From the airport, we immediately hopped on the bus to Hoi An, stopping only at China Beach, said to be a popular destination in Da Nang during the summer time. I was not impressed. From there, we continued along a well-maintained road bordered by the ocean side and granite mountains on the other side. I noticed lots of construction activities by the ocean side, new hotels being built, including big hotel brands such as Sheraton. I also noticed what seemed to be newly planted palm trees. At the end of the highway, the road narrowed sandwiched between large expanse of rice paddies. I saw bikers around the narrow road and a few tourists taking pictures of the women planting rice and the water buffalo.
Hoi An is famous for the best Banh Mi, so our guide suggested that we try it for lunch. Our bus suddenly stopped in front of a vegetarian restaurant, but our guide led us to a street food vendor two blocks away. After getting my sandwich, I went to a nearby store to buy a can of soda. I never thought that a sandwich would taste that good. I wished I bought two sandwiches and did not drink that coca cola. Our guide was good at downplaying everything, except when it came to food. He said Hoi An was a small town and our hotel was not like the four star hotel we stayed in in Saigon, and it only had two floors with no elevators. What I found was not what I expected, of course. I typically don?t talk about the hotels or places I stayed in in my travels, but I was really impressed with our hotel in Hoi An. It was a boutique hotel with well-appointed interior, dark wood floors, a breakfast/reading nook and a balcony, a bathroom with separate rain shower and bathtub w/shower. (Okay, I?ll get to the real highlight soon)
But first the ancient town.
Hoi An is famous for its well preserved ancient town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was one of the most i...