Where everyone knows your name

We took the train up to Hoi An via Da Nang, number SE08. Pretty much our benchmark for most experiences is, “nothing can be as bad as India”. So in comparison this train was ok, the Cockroaches were tolerable however Paul did not mention the mice until we were well clear, despite the pleas that I could feel something around my feet. But, it took a couple of hours to realise why all the bags were hanging up and people had their feet off the floor. We get back on this train on Sunday to continue to Hanoi, a mere 17 hour journey, we can’t wait..

We arrived around midnight and took a taxi to Hoi An where the extremely kind hotel staff opened the restaurant for food despite the staff sleeping on the floor. The staff are very attentive and everyone knows your name which was slightly disconcerting at first but is a nice touch. Check out the swan display we had in our room upon arrival. There is nothing bad to say about our hotel, which might be a first and they have been brilliant at sorting out new train tickets and our cruiser motorbike for riding up to Hue.

Hoi An is a relaxing experience, very much a stop for middle class westerners, or maybe the Islington set. Just outside the main town there is a whole stretch of luxury resorts along the beach, and a lot of people get bussed in. We are staying in the middle so it’s a short walk to the old city. The old town is a UNESCO heritage site due to the efforts of a Pole who campaigned to have it preserved, which they duly have. The architecture is beautiful and most unusual it reminded us of China with a touch of French. We have managed to get a whole new wardrobe made courtesy of the numerous tailors which are everywhere, fingers crossed we won’t come back looking too Miami vice.

People seem to come for the day or just a night but we have used it as a base to explore the surrounding area. Lots of food options and bars have kept us occupied. We return to Hoi An on Saturday as we are off to Hue on a motorbike adventure.

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