Where we've been this week: Hoi An, Danang, and the Phu Quoc Islands
Before I get to the exciting stuff, I know you're wondering, How do the bathrooms work over there? Well let me tell you. Most of the bathrooms have been decent- flushing toilets, toilet paper provided but has to be thrown in the garbage NOT the toilet, and soap (which all smells surprisingly good as Fay could attest). But the public bathrooms all have signs like the one below. How many people are standing on toilets that they need a sign for it?!?!?!
We have only encountered one squatty potty and it was at a public restroom in Hanoi. If you don't know what I mean, let me tell you it's not fun. There are 2 foot placements and a hole in the middle to do your business. However, as a girl/woman it's almost impossible not to get your pants wet so it takes some acrobatics. Fay was not a fan of this style of toilet and luckily we haven't encountered it again.
On the other hand, the hotel bathrooms are seriously the nicest ones we've ever been to, like anywhere in the world. The bath tubs are deep and luxurious (better than the ones we have at our house) and the showers are all rain showers. We're not even staying at 5 Star places. They just know how to make you feel clean and pampered in Vietnam! Ok enough about bathrooms. Let's get to some of the weeks highlights- there are many!
I left off last week with our first night in Hoi An. We stayed a few more days and got to explore the old city more, which has gorgeous architecture inspired by the Chinese and Japanese. There were a lot of tourists and touristy shops which made it feel less authentic but still cool. The nights we were there were full moon celebrations and then Vietnamese Independence Day so that all may have added to the crowds.
We took a boat ride on the Hoi An river with lanterns lit everywhere. We then released a candle lantern into the river with a wish we each made. Very beautiful way to see the city by water!
David and Fay got clothes handmade, which is a thing you do in Hoi An apparently because it's cheap and they make a lot of silk in the area. Fay designed her own traditional Ao Dai (Vietnamese dress and pants) and adores wearing it around. David got a tailored suit that actually fits his body so everyone was happy.
Our hotel was near An Bang beach so we explored the beach a little bit. However, the waves were pretty intense and it was windy so we swam mostly in the calm hotel pool. We definitely enjoyed other parts of the beach. We ate some seafood at oceanside restaurants, saw lots of tanks of fresh creatures ready to be boiled/cooked/fried, and found our favorite ice cream shop/bakery. I really liked the area we stayed in outside of the city. We could ride the hotel bikes around our neighborhood without risking our lives (too much) which was our favorite daily activity.
Fay sat on the back of David's bike. He had to pedal hard with his knees almost to his chest since they don't make bikes big enough for tall white guys here.
My favorite event of the week was a cooking class with a local woman named Xuan (Spring in Vietnamese). She picked us up on a bike, rode us to the Hoi An main market, then took us to a local farm run by various families called the Waterwheel. We made traditional Vietnamese food that was the best I've had here yet! Plus she was the sweetest woman ever!
Fay wasn't a huge fan of the market- there was a lot of raw meat and live sea creatures the next aisle over and I think she got sick from the smells.
We got to ride our bikes through the rice paddies. It smelled so good and our guide explained how important the crop is for the Vietnamese people. She also explained the process of picking it, drying it, and storing it which we got to see part of since it was ripe when we got there.
Chefs being silly, then getting down to business. We made 4 dishes- they were called 3 Friends, Papaya Salad, Tofu in tomato sauce, and Bahn Xeo (a sizzling pancake that was so tasty but we could barely eat it we were so full!).
At last we had to say goodbye to Hoi An. It was a sad one since we really liked the place we stay and the vibrant town. But we only moved 30 minutes North up the road to Danang. However it felt like a whole other planet! It's the 4th biggest city in the country and has a beach and mountain culture. Our hotel was a block from the beach and it was beautiful! Below is the sunset on our first night.
Our hotel had a pool on the top deck of the 16th floor. Fabulous views and chill vibes. I felt hip even at 43! And I didn't break a hip jumping in the pool.
When we arrived in Danang, David's face looked like he was turning into a werewolf and it was time for a shave and a haircut (2 bits!). So Fay and I decided to join in the grooming at a salon nearby. Her hair was getting long and kept getting tangled with all the sweat and swimming. So she chopped a few inches off and I got a trim. The shampoo and conditioning before the cut came with an AMAZING neck and upper back massage. We got to start that trend in the US! We were all happy with our new dos.
Post trimming and haircut pic! Fay refused to get in the pic with us. She wanted a selfie. Her need for independence and making her own choices is growing everyday.
On Sunday night, there was an outdoor market near the Dragon bridge and every weekend the bridge shoots FIRE! We of course had to see all of that. So we trooped downtown, about 10 minutes away, to check out the market, get some food, and see the Dragon bridge.
We also found out there is a dragon statue shooting water across from the Dragon bridge. Danang had such a magical feel to it. All of the millions of tourists there would agree!
The bridge changed color like a rainbow, then at 9pm it shot fire for 10 minutes. Then water for a few minutes. Spectacular!
Danang was a short layover but we all agreed we could've stayed longer since we really enjoyed the beach too. The water was calmer since it was in a bay and more relaxed than An Bang in Hoi An.
David and Fay were splashing in the East Vietnam Sea and we weren't terrified they'd get swept away.
Danang wasn't promoted as much as the other cities but we all agreed it should be on everyone's list of cities to see in Vietnam. I find that each place we go is my new favorite spot!
Next destination: the Phu Quoc islands. They belong to Vietnam but they are closer to Cambodia. We took our first flight since our big one from the states. It went smoothly even though the airline was called Bamboo Airlines. The plane was luckily made of metal!
In just two and a half hours we arrived at Chensea Resort which is in the Gulf of Thailand. It was rainy and windy but that didn't stop Fay and David from jumping in the pool and finding a magical golden pegasus which Fay named Goldie.
Our room is beautiful and has a veranda with a built in tub that we all enjoyed after the cool rains. It's now our second day and I'm typing on the veranda (who says that?!?!) listening to the ocean waves and feeling the breeze. Yet another magical place!
Vietnam is stealing my heart! Until next week...
(As always, if you want the full albums of pictures with videos and such, send me a message via Wix, WhatsApp, text, or email. It all works! This country has the best wireless! Cambodia next week may be a different story.)