After doing the motorcycle day trip in Da Lat, I knew that I wanted to see more of Viet Nam from the seat of a bike. Touring Viet Nam by motorcycle is a “thing.” Lots of people (mostly guys) come here, buy a cheap bike from another traveler who has just finished his trip, and head on up (or down) the country on two wheels with their packs tightly strapped on the back or in saddle bags. One day, I will learn how to ride a motorcycle and do this trip myself. But for now, if I wanted to see the country by bike, I needed to hire a driver. Fortunately, this is easy to do, as there are dozens of companies (Easy Rider is the most well-known) that organize just this type of thing.
I looked into doing an Easy Rider tour from Hanoi to Sapa, but it was extremely expensive ($135/day). So, I emailed the boys from Easy Rider Da Lat (the same guys who took me, Natalie, and Lauren on our day trip) and I got some quotes for about half the cost of Hanoi-Sapa. The catch was that I needed to get myself back down to central VietNam. So, on May 21, I flew from Hanoi to DaNang, a beach city just north of Hoi An.
DaNang is actually the biggest city in Central VietNam. (You’ve got Hanoi in the north, Saigon/Ho Chi Minh in the south, and DaNang in the middle). I only got to spend one day and night there, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a wide, clean, white-sand beach with no waves. The water was clear and refreshing, unlike the murky, cold water just half an hour south at An Bang beach (nearest to Hoi An). It’s a very pretty beach. It’s not touristy either… at least not with westerners, but who knows how many Asian tourists were there.
On the day I spent there, I went to the beach around 11:00am on a Sunday and there was NOBODY there. I found out later that it was a mandatory voting day in VietNam, which I was told is a complete farce because there is only one party in VietNam (the Communist party), and they have complete control, so the votes don’t make any difference. Most young Vietnamese people don’t even bother to vote. Hahaha… sounds familiar, and we DO have a choice (kind of)! Also, Obama was in VietNam that weekend, which was apparently a really big deal. Someone told me it was his first visit to VietNam (but I haven’t confirmed that so don’t take my word for it). I guess he spent a day in Saigon, a day in Hanoi, and a day in DaNang.
But who cares about Obama?! I’m sure he didn’t enjoy DaNang as much as I did! I chilled out on the beach for hours with my Kindle. It was lovely. I was also the target of a fly-by shooting… a photo shoot, that is. A drone narrowed in on me for five minutes while I was laying on shore. It was hovering really close to me, about 15 feet or so directly above me. My range of emotions went like this: surprised/WTF, then flattered, then awkward, then annoyed. Five minutes of camera time in a bikini feels like an eternity, people.
I also really loved the hostel I stayed in: 1812 Boutique Hostel. It was only a few minutes walk to the beach. It was beautiful, clean, offered free breakfast, had good wifi, and the staff threw a BBQ on the night I was there. I highly recommend it if you’re ever passing through or staying in DaNang.