I’m now heading south down the coast of Vietnam and will eventually end up in Ho Chi Minh/Saigon.
There’s a typical “backpacker” route, that consists of the same 5 to 6 towns that most people visit. I think it’s much harder to get around inland, unless you have a motorbike. All the towns along the coast are connected via train and/or bus.
My first stop along the coast was in the town of Hue. I took the night train from Hanoi (done with sleeper buses!), which was about 13 hours.
I was there for two days, but didn’t take many pictures to share. They have an old imperial city which was interesting, but not my favorite place.
I then took a short train ride to Da Nang, about 2.5 hours away. The ride was gorgeous, along the coast (South China Sea). I took one picture below (from the bathroom – only window that was open!)
The city is divided in two parts by a river, and connected by 9 bridges! There is the “older town” and then the newer side, which borders the coast, and is a bit more touristy. I read that during the Vietnam War, a lot of Americans would come to Da Nang for a little break.
When I arrived, I took a free walking tour. There are a few organizations in various Vietnamese cities that offer free tours by college students, so they can practice and improve their English. I was the only one in my group, so I got to learn a lot about her life, culture, etc.
My tour guide!
I just walked around a lot and explored today. With the humidity it’s about 100 degrees, which I’m not used to! There’s a great walking path along the river though, so I got a little breeze!
Da Nang and Hue are definitely both more industrial then Hanoi and don’t have the tourist facade that Hanoi had. It’s actually a nice change, as you really see the businesses, houses and stores as they are – not a “tourist” area and then the local’s part of town.