Of Pho and Rice Paper Rolls

Of Pho and Rice Paper Rolls, a travelog for a change.

The port city of Danang is a convenient stop for groups touring between Hanoi and Ho Chi Ming City. But it can be a worthwhile destination by itself if you include visits to the World Heritage town of Hoi An and the ancient city of Hue. Hoi An is just a 30 minutes drive south of Danang while Hue in the north takes a good 2 hours to get there. Bach Ma National Park an hour inland is a great birding destination for highland species.

Went there to jiak hong for a week early last month and was surprised by the temperate weather (read cold), rich historical and natural diversity there. Here are some snapshots of the people and places from the trip. Our thanks to Dang Tien Hy for showing us around Hoi An and Hue.

Dragon Bridge

We chose the 3 star Vanda Hotel right next to the iconic Dragon Bridge. This area is lined with hipster cafes, pastry shops and the in place for the young. The surprise was the $3 taxi transfer from the airport. the cheapest ever!

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Entrance to Thien Phuoc Dia Cave, next to the Marble Mountains, a must visit in Danang. The vast interior houses the deities, statues of Buddha and shrines.

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This simple BBQ place is voted as one of the top ten places to eat in Danang. A fresh seafood and meat meal with beers for under $10 per person. Unfortunately your hair and clothes smell like smoked chicken after the meal.

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Not only you can buy and eat just about everything at the Han Market, you can also get a shampoo and blow dry.

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They have elevated the Civet or Luwak coffee to Weasel grades 1,2,3.

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The Thu Bon River that runs through the Unesco town of Hoi An. Across the waters is the landmark 18th century Japanese Bridge built to connect the different communities on both sides.

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A photo of a photo of Hoi An under water. This happens almost every year. The waters can reach up to the first storey.

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Front paddle drive, a Vietnamese woman at home on the river.

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Homes transformed into quaint rustic cafes in Hoi An.

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Up market Vedana Resort and Spa with lagoon view backed by a green hillside is half way between Danang and Hue. Good Feng Shui!

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Tourist enjoying a photo opportunity moment at the sand spit a the Dam Ha lagoon.

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Walkway into the classy Pilgrimage Hotel and Spa at Hue. It’s ancient wooden architecture is set against lush greenery. My kind of stay.

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Hue has one of the smallest Botanic Gardens I know.  Even the taxi drivers cannot find it.

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View of the Perfume River from top of the pine forested hill. Plans are in place to build proper tourist facilities to turn this into a tourist spot.

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Rice fields dominate much of the countryside around Hue. Vietnam is one of the rice bowls of Asia.

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit, a common winter visitor to Vietnam, one of the few birds I managed to get on the sensors.

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A popular seafood restaurant with the locals and tourists by the side of the Dam Ha lagoon. The prices here is a fraction of what you pay in Danang.

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