The night train was an adventure we had been looking forward to, Ramsey especially, as we hoped to do the whole trip over land. With Irene from the cruise in Ha Long Bay telling me a minor horror story about some German girls who had all their belongings stolen on a train in Europe, I decided to invest in a chain and a couple of locks to act as a bit of a deterrent to any budding thieves. But to be honest there isn’t much to report from the night on the train as I slept like a baby the entire way, waking up at 7.30 with a couple of hours to take in some scenery before arriving in Hué. We had been worried about who would be sharing our cabin, but our fears subsided as two girls from Brazil and France joined us an hour into the journey.
After a coffee and breakfast outside the station we headed to the hotel. An attempt by the cab driver to rip us off, welcome drinks and fruit and then up far too many flights of stairs to the fifth floor where our room was located. Upgraded room I should say, as we had two huge double beds greet us upon opening the door. We had a lovely lunch at the Mandarin Cafe, where we also bought our bus tickets to Hoi An and ended up buying a photo taken by Mr Cu, the owner, who sure was a good business man! We finally made it to the famous Citadel late in the afternoon and spent some time walking around it using the guide book we found at the hotel to give us some context about what we were looking at.
In the evening we headed to a vegetarian restaurant. Despite saying it closed at 9.30 we found them packing up the restaurant and mopping around us as we ate at about 8.40. Needless to say we felt a tad rushed, although the food was delicious. We were out of there at 8.58 slightly baffled at how quickly dinner had happened.
In the morning we were getting picked up and taken to Hoi An on a bus that would stop along the way and take the scenic route along the Hai Van Pass. There was slight panic as we were still waiting for an t-shirt that had gotten lost in the laundry we had had done, which meant the staff at the hotel told the bus driver to come back. It soon turned up and when the bus came back it was full which meant we had avoided driving around all of the other hotels picking people up. We were slightly disappointed that everyone on the bus was much older than we had expected and didn’t look half as fun as those we had been with in Ha Long Bay, but thankfully this trip was only a few hours! We stopped at a cute little bridge, a French fort for a view over the city of Da Nang and Marble Mountain with its hidden caves and pagodas which were surprisingly enjoyable to explore. By the afternoon we were dropped in our hotel in Hoi An and greeted by the most friendly owner, Daisy.