The trip to Hoi An (or actually Danang because the train doesn’t go to Hoi An) is the highlight of the train trip – the Reunification Express. It passes through an area where the mountains meet the sea. White crescent shaped beaches dot the coastline and the train cruises above the beach.
Well that’s what its supposed to be like. However we had rain, a lot of rain and wind, so the brown murky sea crashed onto the brownish sand in huge breakers. In areas the sea smashed against the huge boulders throwing water into the air.
As for the train I was in coach seats 1st class and the train was awful. The drink tray in front of my seat was busted so was in the down position most of the way. A local guy tried jamming a plastic cup in it to try and keep it up but that only lasted for half an hour or so.
The trip was only a couple hours so the pain was only temporary. I arrived in Da Nang train station and quickly found a taxi that I shared with a couple from Belgium I had met in the train station in Hue. The fare was 500,000 dong to my hotel in Hoi An however the taxi driver was pretty keen to take us to the Marble Mountain for some sightseeing where, I’m sure his metre was have stayed in the “on” position.
Hoi An though was a delight. French colonial building dominate the old town and there is a fantastic ambiance to the place. This is maybe due to the lack of motorbikes and cars cruising around beeping their horns. The quiet without that was great.
Also the food was fantastic. We found a couple favorites that were owned by the same person – The Cargo Cafe’ and Morning Glory Restaurant.
The meals we had at both these places were great – as good or better I can get at home at a fraction of the price.
I also did a cooking school at the Morning Glory restaurant. The first part involved taking a bike ride out to the herb gardens on the edge of the town. You ride past rice paddies and ducks enjoying their day to the small plots the locals work.
You then return to the restaurant and cook a Cabbage Soup with Prawn and Pork Dumpling, then a Rice Paper Rolls, Prawn and Pork Pancake with local herbs, Green Mango Salad and BBQ Chicken Skewers.
Also the area between Danang and Hoi An is being heavily developed with many resorts being built there along the beach. Also golf courses I noticed a Greg Norman course out of the window of the taxi. So this could be a great place to have a quiet vacation in Vietnam.
The privacy and quiet of a resort with beautiful pools and golf courses and on your doorstep a World Heritage Area with wonderful architecture and fantastic food. What more could you want?