I took my first of many overnight buses in Vietnam from Saigon to Nha Trang, where I was looking forward to lazing on the beach and chilling out. If you’re looking for a highly touristic, seaside resort town in Vietnam, this is the place to be. But it had sun and beach, so I was happy. I also got to have a relaxing day at the Thap Ba Hot Springs and Mud baths and a fun boat trip around the islands close by.
Next destination was to Hoi An, a city with a deep heritage of culture and trade. The Old City of Hoi An is also Unesco protected, and is beautifully pictutesque both during the day and at night. You can spend your days at the beach, or walk around the Old Town, adorned with Chinese lanterns, and enjoy some shopping and $0.25 draught beer near the Japanese Covered Bridge and Quan Cong Temple. At night, the town looks completely different as it comes alive under the city lights, with street vendors selling delicious food and various souvenirs. You can even light a lantern and drop it into the river, through the swan boats passing by.
Unfortunately I only got to spend about two days in Hoi An, as I took the opportunity to motorbike through the Hai Van Pass from Hoi An to Hue. Even though the weather was less than ideal (spoiler alert: it rained) the journey and views were spectacular. We stopped in De Lat on the way to see the Marble Mountains, where several Buddhist temples have been built into the caves.
Once in Hue there wasn’t much to see, unless you’re a real history buff. We walked around the city and saw the Imperial Citadel, as well as the numerous Tombs of the Emperors along the Perfume River.
Next stop: Hanoi!
Mellow Yellow rating: 💛 💛 💛 💛
(Nha Trang is very skippable if you’re short on time, as is Hue if you wish to go straight from Hoi An to Hanoi)
Traveler’s tips: best hostel in Nha Trang is Tabalo, althought they’re not on Hostelworld (you can also book buses and boat tours directly through them). No night out is complete without a visit to Why Not bar. I stayed at Sunflower hostel in Hoi An, good location outside of the Old City, buy they have a great pool and shuttle buses to take you to the Old City at night. You can pretty much rent a motorbike anywhere to drive to Hue, and they ship your backpack for you ($15 in total). The road is very driveable from Hoi An to Hue, the bus takes around 4 hours and it took us about 7 hours including the stop at the Marble Mountains.