Had a nine days Lunar New Year (Monkey) Holiday in the beginning of February. Many people went back to their home town. My hometown was a bit far away, so instead I went for a trip for three days to Hoi An and Da Nang.
Most of the time was spent in Hoi An as Da Nang was more of a travel hub due to its airport and connection to Ho Chi Minh City. Hoi An is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – an old and small town characterised by old buildings, narrow walking street, handicraft, local food, river cruise, an old Japanese bridge, and some temples and pagodas. The place is beautiful and peaceful (though it has a huge crowed of tourists) and would be perfect for a one or two days visit.
To reach there with plane one will have to take a taxi/bus from Da Nang’s airport for around 40 minutes and 350.000 VND. On our last day we stopped halfway between Hoi An and Da Nang to check out the Marble Mountains, which is another tourist attraction. This stop turned out to be surprisingly interesting as the mountain was filled with temples, caves, temples caves, mountain climbing, temples on top of mountain peaks, and more. We actually rushed through the place but did not have enough time to see all as we were on celebrate the Monkey New Year from the Monkey Mountain, 15 min north of Da Nang. Expected a nice hike up hills to the monkeys, but was turned down by a big parking lot, tons of people taking pictures, a temple complex and a massive buddha statue. You may please skip the Money Mountain. Also note that during Lunar New Year most of the famous places to eat in Hoi An and Da Nang are closed, it could make you a bit sad.
One of Vietnam’s most iconic attractions, Hoi An’s Japanese covered bridge dates back to the 18th century and is a beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture. It is claimed that it was created by the Japanese then living in Hoi An as a way to reach the Chinese quarter across the water.
Typical street in Hoi An. You get the ladies selling fruit wearing rice hats, including a guy who can bring you for a crazy ride around town on his tricycle.
On the other side of the Japanese Covered Bridge. Perfect place to park your bike. We also had ice cream here. Home made it said. Still not sure.
Numerous of boutique coffee shops and restaurants around. +90% western foreigners in all of them even if the majority of the tourists are APAC born. My investigation has not come further than this.
One of many beautiful streets to walk around.
If you go to Hoi An you will run into the river sooner or later. You will see people going around in small boats and think “That looks pretty nice, but I am too boring for that”. Then later in the evening an old cute lady will persuade you to join for a boat ride and put lanterns into the river. You can put as many lanterns as you want, pay for them and put a lot into the water, like 5, or 40.
The weather in early February is normally bit cloudy, rainy, and cold (think 17 degrees Celsius at night), but luckily the sky got a bit clearer the last night and turned into full sunshine and close to 30 degrees Celsius the day after.
The main walking street in Hoi An. Think we walked up and down some 20 times in two days.
The Japanese Covered Bridge once again. Normally one have to pay an entrance ticket to the bridge and other historical buildings, but during Lunar New Year everything was for free.
Lantern picture. Reminds me of my old IKEA rice lamp from the late 80s.
Yay! On a small boat cruising around the river while the old cute lady gentle paddle us around to take pictures and throw more lantern into the water. Even if tourist trap, it is still worth it.
Not the Japanese bridge but another (Japanese?) bridge that connects with a small island. Some things to do on the island: they have a night market, a non-night food market, and bars for foreigners.
Same bridge again.
Walking across the bridge together with other people. Good times.
There is room to try local food cooked on the street.
As always in Vietnam the hotels are of high standard in comparison with the price, including ours.
New morning guest.
To the right – coffee shop near the hotel.
Famous temple in Hoi An. Selfie time?!
Oh yes. It was selfie time.
One of many pagodas to visit. Also lots of flowers.
Looks historical? It was historical.
Lady drying the fresh noodles.
Happy tourist rooming around Hoi An together with her private tricycle driver.
Ok. So the most famous shops for Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette breakfast food) were all closed. Instead we tried this guys secret recipe, which was not good.
More local snacks including some deep-fried banana and shrimp pancakes (to the bottom right)
Coconut ice cream!
Root faces laughing at tourists buying overpriced stuff.
More info about the mysterious Japanese Covered Bridge: The entrances to the bridge are guarded by weathered statues: a pair of monkeys on one side, a pair of dogs on the other. According to one story, many of Japan’s emperors were born in the years of the dog and monkey. Another tale says that construction of the bridge started in the year of the monkey and was finished in the year of the dog.
Old lady asks us if we would like to go for yet another river boat cruise.
Vietnamese kid playing on her mom’s smart phone just before the authority steps in to stop all the fun.
Not same kid but my proof for my cold weather statement.
Came too late to the fish market.
Just a couple of more black and white pictures.
Our favourite souvenir shop was also closed.
I know. It looks soooo nice in Hoi An.
Last day. On the way to Da Nang while passing by this guy and his friend.
The Marble Mountains! All of the (5) mountains have cave entrances and numerous tunnels, and it is possible to climb to the summit of one of the peaks. Several buddhist sanctuaries can also be found within the mountains, making this a famous tourist destination. Only 1 out of 5 mountains are open for tourists.
Up on the mountain and yet another pagoda.
Cannot come up with anything to say about this picture. Instead I can reveal that my favourite NHL team as a kid was Detroit Red Wings.
Cave/grotto entry (there are numerous of them)
Just another day in the cave.
This is another of those NHL captions where I won’t write anything about my favourite team. Yet, the wall painting is eye-catching.
I love Marble Mountains.
A good day for a swim.
And here we have to Monkey Mountain excluding monkeys but including the mega big buddha statue.
No monkeys but still Ok happy.
Found a nice pagoda that I could not asses if was being built or restructured.
Finally, the Dragon Bridge in Da Nang.