Sunday, 24 October 2010

Danang - Hoi An - Hai Van Pass – Hue - Son Tra Mountain - Saying Goodbye

Arriving in Danang, after our great hiking trip felt good!

We could unpack all our staff and we started to get the washing machine going :-)

John offered himself to get all our hiking boats cleaned, which was a nasty job! Thanks John, I really appreciated this!

In the afternoon we decided to get some motorbikes for rent for John, Jan & Annette. We walked along the My Khe beach promenade down to Tam’s Motorbike rental. We got two motorbikes for Jan & John! That was a start :-)

In the evening we met Tony for dinner in the Red Sky Bar and we managed to rent another bike for Annette from “Bread of Life”. Annette got an almost brand-new bike, which had a lot of power – it suited her very well!

Next morning we went for a traditional Pho for breakfast with Vu with a lovely coffee afterwards in our my favourite place :-)

Before we were heading off to Hoi An, I had to go quickly to the Vietcombank to pick up my ATM Card. Yes, I finally got a Vietnamese bank account ;-) And if you believe it or not but they have online-banking in English!

At midday we finally got on our way to Hoi An with four motorbikes. It was the test-drive for our long trip to Hue the next day.

Arriving in Hoi An, we had a stroll through the ancient town before we went for lunch.

Vu and myself went for a shopping stroll with Annette to get some dresses for her. John & Jan went for a massage. In the late afternoon we all got back to Danang. On the way it started to rain, so the first experience with raincoats on the motorbikes for my visitors. But no problem at all ;)

Thursday morning we all started the day with a good breakfast at “Bread of Life” before we drove to Hue. Vu decided to come with us in the last minute ;-) He was more than welcome.

Unfortunately it was a little bit hazy but it got better on the way. We drove up the Hai Van Pass and it seemed like everybody was enjoying it quiet a lot.

We took some great pictures and stopped on the top for a quick break.

Driving down the Pass and riding through Long Co went all smooth. Then all the trucks were back on the road, which drove through the tunnel beforehand.

We had to drive over two more passes which was sometimes a bit tricky as some trucks broke down and people repaired them directly on the road. But we all managed it fine and after around 3 ½ hours we reached Hue :)

The last time I was in Hue was with Nina in 2005 and I hardly could remember anything. There were a lot of new buildings and the only things I could remember was the big bridge and the Citadel. Even the food market where Nina and myself strolled through five years ago had moved ;) Oh well, life goes on…interesting to see changes as well.

We drove to our hotel first of all, parked the motorbikes and walked into town. Starving by then we set down for lunch. With new energy, we walked towards the Citadel and bought some entrance tickets – interesting experience there, as foreigners have to get their tickets at a different entrance then Vietnamese and the price is higher (which I do understand). Vu had to get his ticket first and then we went to the other entrance where we all got in ;-)

I like to walk through the Citadel. It is a very quiet place with a lot of history and we had lovely sunshine, which toped it all. I still remember in 2005 it was pouring with rain! We were so lucky once again.

We could still feel our sore legs from our Fansipan Hike with each step, but in the end we didn’t care ;)

What another brilliant afternoon it was!

John, Annette & Jan took a coffee break and I drove with Vu back to the bus station. We drove through bustling Hue’s traffic until we found the right bus back to Danang for Vu.

I drove back to the hotel and got a “Xeom” to the place where Annette, Jan & John had a coffee in-between. In the meanwhile John had met another guy, who offered him to drive us around the next day to some tombs and places outside Hue for two hours. We took his opportunity and arranged that he should meet us at 9am at our hotel.

We strolled through the streets of Hue when we met a Vietnamese English teacher in front of the supermarket, who persuaded us to have some dinner with him and his family in a nearby restaurant.

It was a lovely evening; interesting never the less even though we had the most expensive dinner since we travelled in Vietnam!!!

On our way back to the hotel we stopped by the DMZ Bar, where we had some great “Baby Guinness” :) Another amazing day in Vietnam!

After breakfast we were ready to drive around Hue. Our motorbike driver picked us up and we drove to different tombs, to the famous ancient bridge and through some stunning landscape. All this once again on our motorbikes! This was just great!

At around noon we were heading back to Danang. We had some rain along the way when we were crossing one pass. It was pouring down, but we decided to keep going until Long Co to have some lunch there.

We found a restaurant by the beach with a nice view and took a rest. And the best part was still to come ;)

Well-fed we drove up the Hai Van Pass and we loved to lay us into the curves with our motorbikes :-) We had so much fun and it was an awesome feeling!

Back in Danang, we decided to go for a swim down to the beach. So great to swim again – I just love the sea!!

As Friday night was our last evening together, we decided to go for food with Mai & Tony and then head to the Seventeen Saloon, where they always play life music. We met Trang (a friend of mine) there and Vu was coming later on as well. We had a brilliant night and a lot of cocktails ;) This time we were not driving with our motorbikes, we decided beforehand to take cabs. What a night and the last one went to bed at 4am.

Saturday morning we all slept pretty long ;) Not really surprising after that night! As we all needed to recover we decided to go down to the beach for a swim and some relaxation. Then we made our way to Hoi An, where we had a lovely late Western lunch; Burgers & Baguettes! We picked up Annette’s dresses, which turned out really well :-) As Annette still had to pack, she and John were heading back to Danang whereas Jan and myself drove to An Dang beach in Hoi An.

This was the highlight of the day for sure! We had Mega waves and we had so much fun jumping into them ;) Back in Danang we all got ready to drive Annette to the airport. She was flying to Hanoi to go a trip to Halong Bay before she was going back to London.

First one gone :(

Jan, John and myself went for dinner and decided to go home after that. We had a lovely chat before we were heading to bed for another exciting day!

Weather was still great – a bit foggy, but the sun was on the way to break through, when we were driving up “Son Tra Mountain”. The mountain is also called monkey mountain as there are approximately 150 monkeys still living up there.

We had great fun to drive up there – the nature up on the top of the mountain is very special and it is just so peaceful. It doesn’t matter how often I drive up there, but I enjoy it every time! We stopped a few times in between to take some pictures and hoping to see some monkeys. Unfortunately we weren’t lucky this time!

At a stop on the top we even met some ex students of mine from DTU ;) Pretty funny – Danang is a small world.

Back on the beach road we decided to stop for some lovely lunch at the “U2” Restaurant with sea view. Tasty as usual, we had some beef skewers and “yellow” rice. Mmhh…so good!

We had another relaxing time on the beach and a swim before we had to return the motorbikes from John & Jan.

Back home the packing started, the last pictures were swapped from laptops to memory keys and we had a last beer together.

We picked a cab on the main road close to my house and drove to the airport. What a sad moment…!

The bags were checked in and we waited outside for Vu, who was picking me up from the airport to bring me back home.

Now it was time to say goodbye – once again! It was at least as bad as the first time back in Hanoi a year ago! Why is saying goodbye always so heartbreaking?!

On the back of Vu’s motorbike tears were running down my cheeks and I was glad I was not by myself.

Seems to me that since I am living even further away from home it is even harder to say goodbye to visitors. Guess it is, as you cannot just get quickly on a plane as you actually can in Europe, fly two hours and meet your friends.

Half an hour later my mobile was ringing and John was on the phone :-) “Our plane is delayed for two hours – we will go back to the Sky Bar having some dinner” – I almost couldn’t believe it and was speechless.

It was good that we were able to have another dinner together. It helped me a little bit to come down.

Thank you Annette, Jan & John for coming over to Vietnam to visit me! What a vacation we had and how much fun ;-)

Memories, nobody can ever take away from us!!!


  1. kerstin, i still remember the DMZ bar in Hue where I had a pizza before taking the overnight train to hanoi. And because there were 3 of us I tried my first bit of Vietnamese in the bar on the train - ba ba ba ba (3 beers) - oops - BTW when are u coming back - if ever??? Greg

  2. Hey Kerstin, looks like a really nice trip. Hope things are well with you. Some really nice pics (nice bottoms ladies ;-). Must come over soon to see you before my visa expires. Hugs, Nicole

  3. Hehe, I like your story Greg ;) I think a better question is "When are you coming back to visit Vietnam again?" ;) To be honest I don't know yet when I am coming back! I love it here.....let's see - time will tell.

    Nicole, when are you coming? How long it your Visa valid?