Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Da Nang Trip Diary – Day 2

Day 2. We departed from hotel earlier than the day before (at 9.00 am), because we will go to Hoi An, just about 40 minutes drive from Da Nang. Our original tour schedule was going to Hoi An at evening only, and since we wanted to go shopping we asked the tour guide to let us stay longer in Hoi An. We didn’t want to miss shopping in Hoi An. They are famous for good tailor and leather stuff.

We had our breakfast too. Today, I tried Cha Ga (Chicken Roll) from traditional food corner. It tasted good. Don’t be surprised, I ate other thing too for breakfast, not only this, but this one is the local and interesting food to be noticed lol.

Cha ga (Chicken Roll)

On the way to Hoi An, we passed through resort area in Da Nang. This city also famous for its beach. There are many good resort along the beach line with beautiful beach. Me and my husband already decided, for the next trip here we need to stay at the resort and enjoy the beach. One of interesting place there is Crown Plaza Resort. It is a casino area, just like Macau. The tour guide told us that many Chinese people are coming here and gambling.

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On the way to Hoi An from Da Nang
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Hoi An new city

When we arrived at Hoi An, we directly went to old town. Once you enter Hoi An, there are many shops for tailoring and leather products actually, but the good one is located inside the old town (according to our tour guide). We need to buy entrance ticket, the price is 120.000 vnd/person. We only need to buy 1 time per Hoi An visit. For example if we buy in the morning then we go somewhere and come back at evening, we don’t need to buy another ticket. Or another example if we stay for 10 days in Hoi An (or Da Nang) only need to buy 1 ticket and we can go in and out many times. Cars are not allowed inside old town, only pedestrians and bikes. There are many shops inside the old town, and the most important thing is you need to bargain. The shops in old city of Hoi An open at 9.30 am and close at 8.00 pm.

We stopped at one of the good tailor, Aobaba. It’s a family business and very famous. They have good reviews on Tripadvisor as well. The price depends on what model you want and what material is used. I made an Ao Dai (traditional Vietnamese clothes) with lace material and full lining, and it costed me US $110. They can finish it in 1 day. If u go in the morning,  it can finish in the evening. Even if they couldn’t finished it (because of wrong measurement or anything else), they provide free delivery for Vietnam cities as well.

Aobaba tailor hoi an vietnam

After spending some time in Aobaba and chose the clothes we want, we finally moved to another point of interest inside old city. National Heritage House. There is no entrance fee. Once you were inside, someone from the family will come to serve tea and to explain the history of the house. By the end of the house, there is a souvenir shop.

These are the view behind the heritage house :

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Next stop was a leather shop named Misu. One of the good quality leather shop according to our tour guide. I ordered a backpack, customized model and size. Also can pick the leather I want to use. After all set, we did a price negotiation. Opening price was US $115, then I did some bargain to reach final price US $89. It can be done in 1 day as well, just like the clothes. I asked her how much is the delivery cost to send a bag to Ho Chi Minh City, and she said 200.000 vnd. I was thinking since I have her email, maybe someday if I want to make a bag, I can just send the picture and details to her. To make a customize bag, make sure you have the detailed measurement.

There is another shop that is good for leather. We walked pass by it, and it looks better than Misu. Maybe next time I will try making at this shop.

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We went for lunch at Goda restaurant. A Vietnamese restaurant. The foods were so-so. My favorite was crispy fried onion, so yummy!

After lunch, we continued our journey to My Son (world cultural heritage). The trip took around 1 hour. It is a good historical building, there are many temple tower but we only saw a few. My suggestion is take a tour guide if you want to go there. That way you can get more information and explanation about the site.

Our next plan was supposed to visit a vegetable farm, but it was raining so hard so we cancelled it and go straight to Hoi An. We needed to pick up our order and to see lantern as well. Hoi An is very beautiful especially at night, a lot of lantern in many color. Also, it’s busier in the evening. Many people will offer you to release a lantern in the river. We didn’t do it. We had that experience before when we were in Hue. Another thing is a fruit seller. When we were taking picture on the bridge, there was 1 fruit seller that came to us and asked us to hold on her basket. “For picture. No Money”. We took it. She even lend us her non la (traditional hat in Vietnam). After we finished, we gave all back to her and said thank you. She didn’t ask for money, BUT she asked us to buy her fruit, and a bit forceful. We didn’t buy any. Just said thank you and we walked away. Apparently, there are many fruit seller will do that. Be careful of your belongings. They might touch you when they offer the basket, but don’t worry. Just say no, and keep walking. I did feel uncomfortable with their way of offering things. There was one time when a fruit seller came to me, touched my shoulder and asked me to get her basket for picture. I said NO nicely a couple times, but she kept forcing and I got upset and raised my voice. Not a good one, but anyway.. they need to learn a limit in offering something.

Across the bridge is new town of Hoi An. To the right and on the left-hand side there is night market of Hoi An. There are lantern sellers here. I was tempted to buy one but after a long debate with myself (yes, sometime I did that..) I decided not to buy it. There are other stalls as well, selling many kind of cute stuff. It was raining when we were there, so we were kind of lazy to stroll and checking out each stall.

I heard that restaurant along the riverside is not that good so we tried the one across the market. We tried Quan Ca Phe Hue. Food was okay. Their banh xeo is good, especially the sauce.

On the way back to old city we saw the Japanese bridge again but this time with the lights on, very charming. Don’t forget to take picture with it as well 😉

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Before we reached hotel, I asked the tour guide to stop somewhere near the river where I can see Dragon Bridge. I really want to take picture of that bridge. And so she took us somewhere around dragon bridge’s tail. After I got back to hotel, I found out that every Saturday at 9.00 pm the head of the dragon will shoot fire then water as well. It was Sunday already, I missed it 😦

Dragon Bridge
Dragon Bridge

For day 3 (last day), the tour guide suggested us to wear walking shoes because we are gonna do a lot of walking >.< Good luck my legs and feet!

Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Da Nang Trip Diary – Day 1

This is it, the tour day. Started with breakfast at hotel. We got breakfast included in room rate so it’s very convenient because we didn’t have to go out to find breakfast. The food from hotel was okay. Many choices to eat. For the drink, you can get from drink counter or order ice coffee to the waitress.

We were supposed to meet a friend and her family today. She will be arrive at 10.30 am. While waiting, we decided to walk around the hotel towards river area. The view was really nice. Should go there at night or at least choose a hotel with this view. I heard the skybar in Novotel Hotel has the best view of the river, but I didn’t have chance to try it. The weather was really nice, the sun was sooo bright I felt really hot.

We walked back to hotel, and met our friend. The tour guide was already arrived as well. We introduced ourselves, talked for a bit and ready to go. The tour guide told us to bring warm clothes or jacket because it’s going to be cold on BaNa Hills. So we brought our jacket and ready to go for the adventure!

But before that, we had to have lunch first, early lunch at 11.00 am. The tour guide brought us to Apsara, a Hindu restaurant. They are serving vietnamese food, and it’s good. The menu was already been decided by the tour, so we only need to wait for the food to came out.

They were all delicious! Tummy full and it was time to go to BaNa Hills.

We arrived at BaNa Hills Mountain Resort after 45 mins driving, not so far from the city. We need to take cable car to reach the resort. The entrance fee for adult tourist is 550.000 vnd. For more details, you can check on BaNa Hills website. The cable car there got a guinness book of record certificate for being the longest and the highest cable car. It is 5 km long and 1.2 km high!

One cable car can fit 8 adults, so our small tour can get into 1 cable car together. Our tour guide said it can fit 10 adults, but as we sat in it we thought it’s not possible lol. The cable car moved quite fast! Even faster than the one in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong. It swing a bit too, maybe because of the wind. I was scared sometime when it swing. The view is really gorgeous, I can see mountain, river, waterfall, forest. Enough to differ my attention from the swing. Too bad it was raining half way to the top, couldn’t take picture nicely cos of the water on the cable car’s glass.

bana hills cable car

The journey took around 20 mins. Yes, it is long. If you are afraid of height or acrophobia, don’t look down. Ever. Just enjoy the view around, talking with friends or taking pictures.

Arrived at BaNa Hills, we walked through some kind of tunnel and when we reach the end of the tunnel.. *gasp*. It is europe! Very beautiful landscape, gorgeous building. Love it! I saw many couples in wedding outfit, shooting for pre-wedding pictures. Also, there were many people taking pictures with style. Well.. can’t help it with that kind of surrounding. We did it too! xD

First building we visited was the church. It’s a smaller version of Notredame Paris. It’s a real church, not just a decoration. We have to maintain the silence inside. Many people were praying as well.

Second visit was the temple. A lot of stairs, a very good exercise but also tiring. There are many places in the temple site. We went to all of the places there. My favorite is the high tower on the left side, where I can see the whole park and temple site from above. It was a very nice view from the tower (if it’s not foggy).

Next visit was Fantasy Park. An indoor game center. Everything here is free to play. Except for Wax Museum, or game with prizes. Entrance fee for wax museum is 100.000 vnd per person. It is not madame tussaud. The quality of wax is okay but still can’t match madame tussaud.

After that we tried a 5D attraction. The story was about cowboy. We sat on a horse saddle, put on 3D glasses, and held a toy gun. After waiting for some people to came in, the movie started on screen. We can shoot on the screen and get a point if hit the right target. The saddle also moving like we were riding a horse. At the end of the show will have the highest score and top 10 scorer with picture of the person. Quite fun experience.

Our tour guide hurried us to see flower garden, even after we said we didn’t want to see it. So we moved to exit and on the way we saw a Dinosaur park. We decided to take a look. It was a small area full of dinosaur statue. They made it pretty good though.

After exit the fantasy park, we saw a cable car ride on our right-hand side. I wanted to go but they were closed already, due to maintenance. It was nearly closing time for all attraction as well. They were closed at 5.30 pm, all of them except for restaurants. That is why our tour guide hurried us to go. We took a cable car again to the train station.

bana hills cable carbana hills cable car

We need to take train / funicular to flower garden and paid for 70.000 vnd per person. Last train to go back from the garden is at 5.30 pm.

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Arrived at the garden after 1 minute funicular ride. We saw many people on the line to go back from garden to the peak. We were the only group that came to the garden at that hour (It was 5.00 pm). So.. we walked faster to see around the garden. There are old wine cellar, that was used before by French family. We saw the gardens. It’s like a miniature of Versailles (a very small version of it though).

Took some pictures then went to secret garden. It’s a maze.. we were a bit lost inside, but fortunately we could go out fast enough.

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Next we went to see the temple. There is a big Buddha statue, and if we go down the path we can reach the monk area. Yes, real monk lives here.

We hurried back to the funicular to take us back. Noone else around, only us. This is the first time I become the last guest in a place lol. When we arrive at the station, the plan was taking a direct cable car to entrance area but they were not operating anymore, already on a break. We need to go back to the park area and take cable car from there.

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I thought last trip to entrance was at 9.45 pm but why were we in hurry?! Apparently they are closing the cable car at 5.30 pm for maintenance and to relax the wire. They will open again at 7.00 pm, so if we missed the 5.30 cable car, we need to wait til 7.00 pm there. That was why we were in hurry. We were the last guest to leave the park at that time.

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Going back to the city took another 45 minutes. On the way we were thinking about where to eat. We wanted to eat somewhere with river view because it’s really nice at night. Many ideas were coming from tripadvisor and foursquare, but we still not sure which one is good, so we decided to ask the tour guide. She recommended a restaurant, seafood restaurant. At first we thought the restaurant has river view, but it’s not. When we asked her where is the river view, she said “You can’t see river from here, but they have a show inside and good seafood”. Okay..so she only got the “good restaurant”, while we asked for “good restaurant with river view” lol.

Since our stomach already really hungry, we decided to try it out. Their price is quite expensive, but some of the foods are good. From our table, we could see the small stage where singer and dancer are performing. We could feel the local atmosphere, but the restaurant itself doesn’t look local. It is very extravagant design. From the entrance to dining tables is quite far, and we need to passed by a bridge as well with many marble statues.

After dinner, we headed back to hotel. Sore body and legs. Time to use the spa voucher. We made the appointment first via phone (recommended to do so). The spa is on 4th floor of the hotel. For complimentary spa (which we did), we can choose between leg relaxation, shoulder neck back massage, or shoulder neck head massage. The massage lasted 30 minutes, and it was a good massage! This is the first time I felt sleepy while getting massaged, and not in pain.

That was all for first day, happy tummy, happy legs, happy me ^^.

View from my room
View from my room
View from my room
View from my room