AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Hoi An: Trip to Mỹ Sơn


Posted on Dec 17, 2013

We booked a tour from Hoi An to visit My Son (pronounced me sun), $5 for the tour and $5 for entry. The ruins are about an hour and a half drive away, but we are getting used to spending hours on a bus getting to and from these kind of places. My Son is an incredible place, over 1,500 years old in parts and built using bricks with no mortar (a technique they can’t reproduce to this day). It is of the same design as Angkor Wat, but it is lot older. It was the main religious centre for the Champa people who came to South Vietnam around 400AD from the island of Java (Indonesia). The Champa people had their capital city in the centre of Vietnam and My Son was where they would go to pray. It laid forgotten in the jungle for a few hundred years until the French discovered the remains in the late 19th century. Luckily for us the temperature had dropped a little and it was in the low 20s making the tour comfortable. We had about 2 hours walking around the site in total, lead by our guide, who knew his history but also had a good sense of humour. We had a good half day on the tour and the only thing that went wrong was the camera failed on us. The lens (16-50mm) wouldn’t focus, leaving us to use the 55-200mm lens. Not the best situation but something is better than nothing. After getting back to Hoi An around 1:30pm we headed for the Indian restaurant (called Ganesh) just round the corner from our hotel. We had been hunting for it a few nights back and spent 30 mins wandering in a circle before giving up, we then walked past it on the way home and realised that we had not only walked past it earlier that night but we were only one street away the while time we were searching. So the next night we went straight there and found it full. Because of the grief caused from searching for this restaurant we decided to give it 30 mins then try again. An hour later it was still packed and no tables available. So in the afternoon we had almost 3 hours between coming back from My Son and getting the bus to the airport and we were determined to eat there. The place was deserted and remained so for the duration. The curry was excellent and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. As usual all the photos can be see viewed on Flickr. Posted from Ninh Thuan province,...

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Hoi An: Old Town


Posted on Dec 15, 2013

The old town of Hoi An is about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. There are a few houses classed as ‘ancient’ houses which were built by merchants in the 17th century. A few temples, meeting halls for the sailors and merchants, etc. Basically, all the buildings you would expect to find in a busy port with people from all around the region sailing in and out. Many Chinese and Japanese influences in the buildings. Hoi An, once known as Faifo, with more than 2,000 years of history, was the principal port of the Cham Kingdom, which controlled the strategic spice trade with Indonesia from the 7th-10th centuries and was a major international port in the 16th and 17th centuries. The foreign influences are discernible to this day. We visited a large ancient house of Tan Ky, a house which seems to be very famous, PMs and presidents from around the region have been shown around this house and the family still live there. Unfortunately all we could see were a few downstairs rooms, which still looked pretty good. We also visited the Phung Hung house and we were taken round by a younger member of the family, the 8th generation to live in the house. Although we had paid for the ticket the downstairs had an embroidery shop and upstairs had a small tat shop of the usual gifts (in Vietnam no opportunity to sell is missed). The house had some really nice looking features and was an amalgamation of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture. It was also large, the front would’ve been a shop front, the middle for daily life and the back was the kitchen. Upstairs was for storing stock. The Japanese covered bridge is the symbol of the town and a very important building. Built by Japanese traders in the early 1600s to link two parts of the city so they could trade easier. It’s very short. The Chinese communal house is very colourful and has a ornate dragon fountain say the centre of the small courtyard. It is winter here and many of the locals are wrapped up in jumpers or jackets, they complain they feel a  bit chilly. We’re here in T-shirts and dripping with sweat. It’s in the high 20 degrees and about 75% humidity. In the summer it can hit 40! Posted from tp. Hội An, Quang Nam province,...

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Hoi An: Bike Ride


Posted on Dec 14, 2013

Hoi An isn’t far from the coast, only a mile or so. Not surprising considering Hoi An was once one of the most important trading ports in south east Asia. In the morning we wandered around Hoi An seeing the ‘ancient’ houses, meeting places and temples but in the afternoon we hired a bicycle each (95p in total) and decided to head for the sea. The river splits a lot when it nears the sea so we had to take a bit of a detour to get to the sea. I had attempted to cycle along the river bank but we ended up seeing some interesting sights such as reeds been cut and dried, small villages and a very expensive part of town. It took an hour to do the 8 miles to the coast and about the same time to do the 6 miles back. Amusingly, it turns out that the road by the hotel goes directly to the beach, dead straight and easy. © OpenStreetMap contributors Download Posted from tp. Hội An, Quang Nam province,...

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Hoi An: Time to Pause

Hoi An: Time to Pause


Posted on Dec 13, 2013

We took the bus from Hue to Hoi An and it’s easy to tell that this is a top tourist destination. The bus was full to the point that they added little plastic chairs in the aisle to get extra passengers on. This was a tourist bus so everyone was western. The bus journey was OK as a compromise; the train only goes to Da Nang then we would have had to get the bus anyway. A 4 hour bus ride seemed fine and it hadn’t cost much either. It left only 30 minutes late and mostly worked. The suspension was knackered, a slight bounce would result in the back of the bus bouncing up and down for about 20 seconds. The engine was blowing black smoke and had no power, 20 mph on most roads and half that on slopes. The clutch really didn’t want to accept any gear and resulted in lots of grinding. And coming down the hills was a bad burning smell, the brakes obviously didn’t like overuse. (In Vietnam everyone seems to drive in as high a gear as possible, which means no power up hills, brakes on fire down hills, poor acceleration and lots of juddering. No idea why). Half way to Hoi An the bus pulled over and everyone was ordered off, the bus then drove away with all our bags on it to be repaired. Not sure which part was broken and when they brought it back I don’t know which part had been fixed either… I had a cold which was getting worse by the minute, so we ate immediately after checking in to the hotel then I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed. I got up to eat in the evening and we found an OK restaurant. Then back to bed. This morning I was woken to huge gut wrenching pain which resulted in a few trips to the toilet. This then got worse and a few sips of water had me dashing to the toilet again, until my stomach had nothing left. The rest of my afternoon was spent in bed. Annemarie on the other hand went out and wandered around Hoi An. She succumbed to the heat and humidity after a few hours and came back to the hotel to swim and cool off. The air con in our room is set to 23 and it feels cold compared to outside. By about 6pm I was feeling a little better so showered then went out to find food. To be safe I had a vegetarian rice dish, whilst Annemarie had a beef dish. This was...

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