In addition to Hoi An’s charm and history, it’s a superb and centrally located jumping off point for numerous archaeological and natural wonders and a variety of day trips.
For some background on our travels, read up on our Asia backpacking adventure in 2012.
On our third full day in Hoi An, the rains let up enough for a day of venturing out of the Old Town to see some of the area’s sights by bicycle. Fortunately for us (and our budget) bicycling is incredibly inexpensive: We paid 40,000 dong for our two bikes (about US$2.00), however, a bicycle “parking” fee at the beach set us back another 50 cents later in the day.
We were given a map by the folks at our guesthouse, who suggested that we do a loop out to the nearby beaches and rice paddies. We headed due north, ambling by immense fields of rice and across a picturesque river before stopping at An Bang Beach for a rest and an iced coffee by the sea.
Fishing boats, big and small, against a palm-fringed backdrop, crossing a river/inlet on our way to the beach.
After Thailand, An Bang was a bit underwhelming, but marginally idyllic, nonetheless, with its rows of thatch umbrellas by the sea, white sands and lapping surf. The weather remained overcast and breezy for most of the day, with the occasional sun-break and temperatures hovering just around perfect.
This area of Vietnam is known particularly for the fishermen’s continuing use of traditional round basket (thúng) boats.
After An Bang Beach, we get back on the bikes and head down to Cua Dai Beach, where we initially parked our bikes near a tree only to return to find that they had walked off. Thankfully, it was two local expats who had gone to the liberty of hiding our bikes behind some bushes from the authorities. Turns out, bicycle riders had to pay to park in the area, and those bikes not in compliance are confiscated, even though there are no signs to the effect in the area.
Cua Dai Beach was nice, but not jaw-dropping, certainly not this particular time of year. The chilly wind and amount of clothes people were wearing made it feel like the Oregon Coast in fall instead of the tropics.
We rounded out our day riding around the eastern lagoons, when at one point we were stopped in our tracks by a long line of ducklings at one point fallowing a woman on a scooter. Just your typical day in Hoi An, I guess…