it was supposed to be so easy - just take the midnight train from saigon to danang, then grab a cab to hoi an. the guidebook said it should only take us around 16 hours, that's 15 hours by train and 45 minutes by cab. it took us 40 bloody hours.
the train journey was very relaxing, until we woke up the following day and saw how bad the weather was. the rain wouldnt stop and we passed by some heavy floods. oh boy.
we also saw loads of cemeteries/tombs. in their culture, living near a cemetery is considered bad luck so in a countryside like what we passed by, cemeteries are isolated from the villages.
16 hours later, we arrived in danang. we looked for a cab together with a british guy we met on the train who was also on his way to hoi an. got a taxi for 15 usd which was not bad since we can divide the fare into three. we again passed by a lot of flooded areas but we still arrived in hoi an town in less than an hour. the street to our hotel though was flooded - the driver was telling us it was neck-deep so we had to look for other hotels but everyone was fully booked already. they had one advice to us - go back to danang. so thats what we did, but even in danang the first few hotels we checked were either flooded or fully-booked. we were wet and hungry and homeless. we found an ok-looking hotel after sometime and i have to say our taxi driver was very kind, he was very helpful and didnt overcharge us or anything.
so we got a very nice room with a big bathroom for 22 usd. and a tv and a nice view of the grim weather outside. we were happy for about 10 minutes until the power died. power was like that until the next day but its still ok because at least we were safe. it was also very hard to get a meal because of the damn rain but we managed to get a pho(soup) outside the hotel, which was not good at all. first meal we didnt like in vietnam, and first time i saw jay in a very foul mood. we were able to get a couple of delicious pao across our hotel though so jay brighten up a bit after a while.
the next day, weather was still bad. we were bored but didnt want to go out and get wet so we just watched tv and slept. by 12 noon though, rain suddenly stopped and when i called phuoc an hotel in hoi an, they said the flood has subsided in some areas and they got a spare room(25 usd for a twin room) for us so right there and then, we packed our stuff and waited for our cab(12 usd).
i guess the lesson here is dont give up :). weather will clear up after some time so just wait it out, after all hoi an is a unesco world heritage site so its worth the trouble. and never ever feed your starving brother a no good pho.
coming soon: hoi an
where to stay:
xuan hung hotel (22 usd for a twin room)
56 phan chu trinh street, danang city
(84.511) 843 333
in hoi an
phuoc an hotel (25 usd for a twin room, much cheaper on a non peak season)
31/1 tran cao van street, hoi an town
how to get to hoi an from saigon:
taxi from pham ngu lao to train - 40,000 dong
upper soft sleeper - 1,184,000 for 2 people
taxi from danang train station to hoi an town - 12-15 usd
we didnt have enough time to get the tickets from the railway tourist services so we bought our tickets from TNK travel agency just below anan2 hotel(pham ngu lao), i think they charged us 12 usd
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