Hoi An and Da Nang at Night – Vietnam Gets Better

Readers who have been following my trip through Vietnam probably know that I wasn’t impressed with Ho Chi Minh.  Usually, I love big cities.  New York and Paris are two of my favorite places.  While many people skip Lima and head straight for Cusco, I spent a few days there and loved it.  However, nothing about Saigon was appealing.  This all changed as I headed North, and while Hoi An is VERY TOURISTY, I believe it is for a reason, the place is beautiful and a joy to walk around.

The day started with a ride on a Vietnamese basket boat.

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While my previous boat rides on the Saigon river and Mekong were disappointing due to the pollution and lack of scenery, this was in complete contrast.  In Saigon, the water was so polluted, and it looked like everything was being dumped into the water that I was worried about getting splashed, this was a beautiful and relaxing ride.

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Next, a stroll through Hoi An.  A couple of things stood out about Hoi An:

  • the yellow buildings
  • the beautiful lanterns everywhere
  • the LARGE number of tourists

However, while I generally do not like crowded touristy spots, I believe that Hoi An is a must see for any trip through Vietnam.

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I had a delicious lunch at Hai Cafe, which included a beef salad – the beef grilled outside, the dressing perfectly balanced, and the herbs and vegetables extremely fresh and tasty.   I had other local dishes like Banh Xeo, everything was good.  I noticed that the kitchen, prep, and bathrooms were especially clean and everything well organized.

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Very fresh and tasty greens
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The chef grilling various items
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Delicious salad
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notice the very well organized prep on the back wall

In the evening, the lanterns light up and gets even more beautiful.

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For dinner, we ate at La Maison Deli in Da Nang.  A few of the dishes that were good were the beef sausages wrapped in la lot, and the chef’s pork.  We also ordered a chicken dish that was dry and overcooked.  Overall though, this is a good place to eat.  Very clean and modern.

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beef sausages wrapped in la lot – as with many dishes in Vietnam, you eat this wrapped in rice paper and fresh herbs, then dip in Nuoc Cham

After dinner, we strolled the city.  Danang is beautiful at night.  Many buildings and bridges light up.  Compared to Saigon, it is very clean.  While there is still some garbage thrown on the street, it is a relatively clean and modern city.  We walked across the Dragon Bridge which was beautiful and worth doing.

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Overall, this was a great day.  Hoi An and Danang are two beautiful Vietnamese cities definitely worth checking out.

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