Hoi An, Vietnam
Saigon is in the south of Vietnam; and Hoi An (Da Nang airport) is towards the center of the country. Flew from Saigon into Da Nang using Jetstar Pacific Airways. This is a low cost carrier where you pay for every bag and for meal/drink on the plane.
However, very efficient and timely. Cost for this 1hr and 15min flight was $65 pp one way. At Da Nang, got a Taxi to see the My Khe beach in Da Nang, as it was rated by Forbes to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world. See pics. Nice wide beach with white sand, and lots of people in the water. I still think that Turks & Caicos has the best beach.
Arrived in Hoi An in the evening, and discovered this place is a huge tourist trap; It is a nice old quaint town, with plenty of well preserved buildings. Also has hundreds of locals selling tourist trinkets and souvenirs, and hundreds of restaurants. Only reason to visit Hoi An is to get custom tailoring done from the over 500 tailoring shops.
So tried out 2 places that seemed reasonable, and got them to make 1 shirt each; tried them and they were both very well tailored and fitted very well. Cost was $13/shirt including the fabric and labor. So ordered more, including shirts, pants, jacket.
Then found the Hoi An Cloth Market, where we were told the lower cost materials (cloth) would be found. To our amazement, we found that there were many tailors here, all willing to do the same work and provide shirts etc for less than the shops we had used (In the market, custom tailored shirts were available for $10, including the fabric). Shoe shops also abounded, and were willing to do custom leather shoes for around $20-$30 a pair. Was shopped out by this time so did not go for this.
I needed a haircut; saw a barber shop with 4 barbers sitting in their barber chairs, doing nothing. So went in. The barber wanted $4 to do my hair, but I thought that because they were all not busy, I should be able to get a better deal. Negotiated the haircut down to $2, told them that since I have less than half the hair of a normal person, $2 was reasonable. The barber agreed . The barber also offered to do ear wax cleaning for me; decided not to do this.
There are many places here that sell “fresh beer” which is the term for a microbrewery beer. These are quite cheap; as low as 15 cents a mid-sized mug of beer. The fresh beer is very light so easy to consume a decent quantity. So had lots of beer. They had some local specialties in food, and tried them; and generally enjoyed the food. Dinner cost us about $8 – $20 for 4 people including beer.
The local market was interesting; with all kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood, many of the fishes still thrashing around. Pics below
Hoi An was nice, but too much of a tourist trap for my liking.
Going to Hanoi City next