So after 10 hours on the sleeper train sharing with a family of Vietnamese above us we arrived into Hoi An pretty shattered. Hoi an is definitely Vietnam at it’s finest. The beaches are paradise, there are working water buffalo and rice paddies all around, miles of vibrant green in every direction, all viewed from bicycles which we took out for the day. As you can see from the video, the roads remained pretty manic and it wasn’t perhaps the safest mode of transport but it was definitely a highlight of the country.
As impressive as the day time is, visiting An Bang Beach for instance, what really makes Hoi An special is the night scene. Every single evening, thousands of lanterns are displayed in the ancient town and can be seen from miles away. You walk through a floating world of these multi coloured displays to find your restaurant and then have dinner while you listen to the locals play music and perform shows, it was genuinely stunning. We went here both nights of our stay and have also decided Vietnamese food has surpassed thai food for us!
Our final domestic flight came after the short but brilliant stop in Hoi An. Another standard early start to the airport, accompanied by a strange Vietnamese breakfast and we made it to the capital Hanoi! We can’t quite believe that this is our last major stop before our return home but have made the most of our time in order to squeeze as much in as possible. This included a trip to Hoa Lo prison which was used both in the French colonisation of Vietnam and the American war. The prison still contained the guillotine used to behead revolters and all the cells on ‘death row’. It also displayed the actual sewer that over 100 prisoners managed to escape from (how grown men fit through those spaces is crazy). We also took a trip to the women’s war museum which showed the impact and contribution women all over the country made during the brutalities of the war.
I cannot believe I am writing this but our final activity of the incredible four month trip is a visit to the world heritage site ‘Halong Bay’ on a one night two day cruise on a ship called the Dragon Legend. The boat is one of a very small number who are allowed to travel around the unexplored ‘Bai Tu Long Bay’ which is off the beaten track from the hordes of boats which now saturate mainstream Ha Long Bay. We feel this will be a special way to end the trip and the pot noodle dinners are not a particularly difficult burden to bear. We will let you all know how it goes and include it in the final blog before we make our way back to home soil.