The Land of Buddhist Pagodas.
Pho‘ sure worth a visit – pun very much intended.
Vietnam, a true hidden gem of South East Asia. I feel almost privileged that I got to witness such a country. Rebecca and I stumbled across Da Nang in Vietnam by accident, when our trip to Laos didn’t go quite to plan. However, having studied the Vietnam war during my A Levels, I couldn’t wait to bring history to life.
Furthermore – what a blessing in disguise! I’m so excited to show you everything we got up to!
But firstly, can we please take in how crazy their currency is!? 200k notes? my God. This was bound to be an interesting trip and we hadn’t even boarded yet.
We flew into Da Nang Airport, but however stayed in a small village called ‘Hội An’ which we absolutely adored.
Hội An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town and cut through canals. Beyond mesmerising.
With bicycles and scooters as the main source of transportation, this village was hustling and bustling all day through. It was almost shocking to believe they didn’t use traffic lights!
The day market was filled with local produce, making Western countries question what organic really means!
However at night, Hội An transforms into a vibrant display of traditional lanterns, dance performances, lit candles floating down Thu Bon River and night market enthusiasts, something I had only ever imagined to happen in movies.
Filled with hundreds of restaurants and bars, Hội An was not short lived for food and drinks! Rebecca and I have always been so easy going with food, so trying new Vietnamese dishes was not a fear to us at all!
Our favourite was a dish called the ‘Mi Quảng Noodles’ – which is thick white noodles assembled with shrimp, pork, and egg. Sounds crazy, but I promise you.. it is amazing.
What shocked us most was how cheap everything was! You was able to buy a dish for 25,000 Vietnamese Dong, which is approximately 89p! – yes 89 PENCE.
Also, be sure to pay a visit to the reggae bar, Rebecca and I loved it there.
However, besides the beautiful Hội An, we began exploring the province and we couldn’t believe our eyes!
Our favourite activity had to be our visit to Coconut village.
Xã Cẩm Thành Village (Coconut Village):
Home to basket paddling boating! This was mine and Rebecca’s dream come true. We couldn’t believe such a thing even existed!
Baskets? floating on water? God! I’ve never seen anything like it.
We spent 1:30hr out at water and had the time of our lives! The fisherman let us row for ourselves, but that didn’t go too well.. we went round in circles in the same spot lol!
He also began making us jewellery, hats and ornaments out of coconut leaves, I mean.. I was left pretty speechless.
All in all, a fantastic day trip to coconut village and a must do if you’re in the province.
Monkey Mountain (Son Tra Mountain):
Monkey Mountain was a prominent observation base during the American-Vietnam War, locally known as the Son Tra Peninsula, the mountain is also surrounded by pristine beaches. Filled with Pagodas and temples, Monkey Mountain was beyond breathtaking.
Home to the tallest, Lady Bhudda Statue in South East Asia, I felt blessed to be in its presence. The stunning pagoda was built during the 18th century and houses a 67 metre-tall white statue of the Goddess of Mercy with 11 floors inside.
We were definitely blown away by its vast beauty.
Visiting Heaven and Hell – Marble Mountain:
Marble Mountains is a cluster of five hills, made out of limestone and marble. Each mountain is named after the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire and earth). They are located 9 km of Da Nang and is a pilgrimage site with caves, temples, tunnels and peaks.
The caves were absolutely amazing and had so much meaning behind it! We had a fantastic tour guide who made the experience that much more interesting and informative.
Our favourite moment was finding out the hand signal the Buddha is doing below, means “don’t be lazy, greedy and jealous” This was Rebecca and I’s motivation for the following week.
We even visited a Vietcong tunnel which I was over the moon about. I looked above the cave/tunnel and saw there were 3 holes.. to which I found out were caused by the American bombings once they discovered the tunnels! Those who studied the Vietnam war will know how iconic this is! History really did come to life for me during this visit.
The Marble Mountains are home to several Buddhist and Hindu grottoes. A stairway of 156 steps leads to the summit of Thuy Son, the only Marble Mountain accessible to visitors. This climb became known as the climb to ‘heaven’.
Once at the top, the view of Marble Mountain was so apparent! However, what was hiding beneath us was not so apparent. On our trek down, we climbed under the mountains to what was know as ‘hell’.
I mean, I think the pictures speaks for themselves! A thrilling experience to say the least.
And lastly, what’s so special about Da Nang is its coast line!
Giving you the best of both worlds.
My Khe Beach, Da Nang City:
Who knew Da Nang had such a beautiful beach! Becca and I spent a few hours on the beach to relax once all our adventures were ticked off our itinerary.
We had an amazing 4 days at Vietnam and cannot wait to come back!
I cannot recommend going to Hội An enough, we honestly felt like we were at home there, and we haven’t had that feeling in months!
P.S: We have a thing for leaving our mark in every country we go to!