Our coach trip back to Saigon from Vung Tau for onward flight to Da Nang was broken for our mini “11th of the 11th“ Remberance Day ritual by the roadside. Simply drove thru Da Nang which from humble status, in 20 years has become VN’s 3rd largest city of 1 1/2 million – now VN’s IT centre with very modern city offices, factories and warehouses. The recent APEC conference of world leaders (incl ‘the Donald’) was held amongst the coastal array of golf courses and luxury beach resorts here.
Three nights / two full day’s a little further down the coast at Hoi An staying in another 5-star hotel : life is good. Hoi An old town is also good, very good. It’s architecture offers a blend of ancient Chinese / Japanese / Portuguese / Dutch / French influences, with a 300 year history as a major trading centre now classified by UNESCO. Fortunately the old town was spared any fighting and damage during the recent war, and offers a great shopping and dining experience. At this time last year the old town experienced major flooding. To date, Hoi An is my clear standout VN holiday destination.
On a parking lot next to our hotel, early each evening there’d be an influx of tourist coaches appear, only to disappear again by 10pm. A quick tally one evening was 23 (see pic). I’m told these are all Chinese and Korean tourists brought down from Da Nang for a splurge on the excellent local seafood. Also the photo of my SVN RF “Aussie mate” from Baria, and a lovely lady cold drink seller.
My distant memories of enjoying sun / sand / briny at Vung Tau 48 years ago were now trumped in a big way by the more typical Aussie beach conditions on the coast between Hoi An and Da Nang. Warm, but refreshing water temperature – pure clean seawater – light sunshine warming the skin – a gentle sea breeze – just a bit of flotsam, but inevitably much more jetsam littering the sand dunes. A very enjoyable immersion & enough ocean swell for some body surfing. This was adjacent to the beach the Yanks new as ‘China Beach’.