Day 255: November 22, 2018
We woke up and took a Grab car in to Hoi An from our Airbnb near the beach. We found a place to have breakfast then walked up the street to Yaly Couture. This tailor was suggested to us by our GAdventures guide.
We went in and said we wanted to order some clothes. We were both assigned a lady to help us. They brought us catalogs to look through to pick designs. Danny picked out a nice suit with a vest. I started out looking at blazers then moved to blouses and dresses. I picked out some designs and talked through what I liked. We then went and picked out fabrics which was pretty tough. I found it hard to imagine what the article would look like in the end. Next the lady, Sally, took my measurements. I ended up getting two blazers, a long sleeve blouse, a tank top and a dress. Because I ordered over a certain amount I received a free short sleeve blouse.
We paid a 50% deposit then left feeling confused if we would like what we had purchased. We walked around the ancient town which was very beautiful. We browsed in the shops and enjoyed the lanterns hanging in the streets.
We ended up returning to a tailor we had passed earlier that had a very nice dress outside. I asked the price and it was very reasonable so I agreed to it. Then I also ordered a jumpsuit since finding one is always impossible for my long body and short legs. She took my measurements and I paid for the items.
We continued our walk to a food market. We ordered a traditional Hoi An dish, cao lau, which was noddles, pork, lettuce, herbs and crackers with a sauce. It was pretty good and super cheap.
After lunch we decided it was time to head back to the Airbnb. We changed into our swimsuits and walked down to the beach. It was way more windy than we expected making the water very choppy. Instead of swimming we walked along the beach then sat watching the waves.
We returned to chill for a bit in the Airbnb then went up the street to a hotel restaurant for supper. There were lots of friendly doggies around the streets to pet. When we returned to the Airbnb we went to bed.
Day 256: November 23, 2018
We were up early and tried to get a Grab car into Hoi An. Apparently, we were too early as there were no cars available. Up the street we saw a taxi so we walked up to see if it could take us. The driver was just getting ready to wash his car, but agreed to take us into Hoi An.
We arrived at the hotel where our day tour was picking us up. We walked up the street to try to find breakfast, but nowhere was open that early (it was just after 7:00 am). Finally, we went into a hotel that said they could make us breakfast. It was basic, eggs and bread. We paid then walked quickly back to our pick up point.
The tour van picked us up on time then we picked up a couple other groups of people and started our drive into Da Nang. Our first stop was Linh Ung Pagoda which means “the Buddha blesses you”. The location was called Monkey Mountain by the Americans due to the monkeys located there. The pagoda was built between 2006 and 2010.
The highlight was a 67 m tall Lady Buddha statue facing towards the sea. She has an image of Grand Master Buddha on her crown. Her one hand shows she is meditating and the other is holding a bottle of holy water used to save the world. Her bare feet are standing on a lotus flower. Underneath the flower are clouds because she is flying in the sky to help people around the world.
We returned to the van and drove to a marble statue carving place. To make a Buddha statue it takes four months of carving and one month of polishing. From there, we walked over to one of the Marble Mountains. There are a set of five marble and limestone mountains named after the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire and soil.
We visited Mount Thuy (water) which has Buddhist and Hindu caves. We went up the elevator then climbed steps to enter the temples. There were many different statues of Buddha around. One relief showed the four holy animals of Vietnam: dragon, unicorn, tortoise and phoenix. Some of the caves had holes in the roof from bombs during the war.
We continued down to Am Phu Cave which is considered hell. Buddhists believe you go there to confess your sins and then you can ascend to heaven. There were scary sculptures looking like demons. After looking around hell, we climbed a steep staircase up to Heaven. At the top was a view out across the water to Da Nang.
We returned to the van and were taken to Hoi An for lunch. After we returned to the van and drove out to My Son Hindu temples that were constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries by the Cham people. The temples are dedicated to the god Shiva. My Son means “beautiful mountains”.
Linga and yoni are what was worshipped inside the temples representing the male and female characteristics. The temples were very interesting to walk around. There were many towers which had windows. Then there were sets of a meditation house, a gate and a main temple. Only monks would enter the main temples.
We returned to the van which dropped us off in the centre of Hoi An at 6:00 pm. We were late for our fittings, but it seemed all right. We tried on all of our clothes and our ladies marked off where things needed to be taken in. Danny looked super spiffy in his clothes.
Next we went to the second tailor and I tried on my other clothes which looked amazing. Danny kept commenting on how awesome they looked. It’s been so long since I’ve worn nice clothing especially something fitted. Danny then decided to get a wool jacket made. Then I decided to get one as well. Earlier in the day I had noticed a hotel in my only pair of pants left so I also ordered some pants.
After we had spent more money we went up the street for supper and celebratory drinks. Then we walked up the lanterned streets. At a bridge we bought lanterns and took a boat ride. We placed the lanterns in the water and made our wishes. What a magical place!
We walked some more, but an announcement in the streets said the tourist hours were over at 9:30 pm. We hadn’t realized there was a closing time, but we were almost ready to leave anyways. We took a Grab car back to our Airbnb then went to bed.
Day 257: November 24, 2018
We slept in a bit then walked up the street to a hotel for breakfast. Danny called his parents when we returned then we caught a Grab car into Hoi An. We tried on our clothing one last time for final adjustments. They had to do some touch ups to the button holes so we arranged to pick everything up later.
We went to a family restaurant for lunch then did some wandering through the streets. At 3:00 pm we had massages booked. We both came out with very sore calves; apparently we had both been tight there. We chatted with the receptionist who had brought us tea after our massages. Then we returned to pick up all of our clothing purchases.
We had supper at the same place as the previous night, but ordered Vietnamese food instead of pizza. This included white rose (dumplings), wontons topped with salsa, spring rolls and a green mango salad. After we returned to the Airbnb and had a fashion show with all of our clothes before bed.
Day 258: November 25, 2018
Our host arranged a driver to take us to the airport in Da Nang. After not being able to get a Grab car the previous morning and it being a 40 minute drive we thought that was the safest route. We said good bye to the quiet neighbourhood and were driven to the airport.
We checked in and went through security. Then I called home as everyone was together for a birthday celebration. It was so nice to see my family. I can’t wait to give them all huge hugs when I get home.
We had pho for breakfast and waited for our flight to Hanoi. Danny received some messages from work that made him a bit anxious. It’s hard being so far away and not able to just handle things.
Our flight from Da Nan to Hanoi took just over an hour. At the airport we took a Grab car to our Airbnb. It is a very nice space with lots of room, perfect to relax. In the buildings was a Korean restaurant with plates of food on a conveyor belt which we thought would be fun. It ended up being a hot pot. We had so much food brought with it. We were getting worried about price, but it was actually a buffet with a set price.
After lunch we walked up the street to a supermarket. It was actually legit too. We were able to buy enough food to make a couple of meals which we haven’t done in what feels like forever. I also found enough ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. I have been craving to make them since forever. I couldn’t find baking so Da or powder and I had to use oat flour, but they were edible.
For supper, Danny made a Greek salad and we watched a part of a series about the Vietnam war. I was starting to get sleepy so I went to bed and Danny stayed up a bit longer.
Everybody was telling us how amazing Hoi An was to visit that we were almost prepared to be disappointed. We were not disappointed. Hoi An is spectacular. The streets are wonderful to walk through and I loved ordering clothes. I kept wanting to get more and more. The atmosphere is very laid back and everyone in the streets is super friendly. It is definitely a place we want to return. Now we are in Hanoi for a couple of days.