Well, it was a long, long day travelling from sleepy Hua Hin, Thailand to Da Nang, Vietnam.
The Vietjet experience
We set off at 7.30am to catch the comfy bus to Bangkok airport and arrived at our Da Nang accommodation at midnight with a couple of 3 hour + stops at both Bangkok and Saigon. I booked flights via Vietjet – as they were so well priced and given both legs were only 1-1 ½ hours, we didn’t really care about the comfort.
However, I had heard that they were renowned for delays/reschedules, which is why I erred on the side of caution and left a decent gap between flights. I’m glad I did as they didn’t fail in this regard. Both flights were delayed! Also, the 30kg luggage allowance I booked for each of us somehow didn’t “appear” on our BKK to SGN leg, so $160 and an hour later we finally were able to check in. I had noticed this when I first booked the flight a month or so ago, and called them in Vietnam to double check, and they assured me I had booked the 30kg luggage – so this pissed me off somewhat!
But, we managed to get the good old NutriBullet and computer in the country via carry-on luggage – and they were the two items I was mostly worried about making it through to the other end.
Costs in AUD:
|Visa letters (3 months single entry)||$192|
|Bus to BKK||$41|
|(Additional luggage) *unexpected||$160|
|Visa costs on arrival||$200|
Ohhhh, the coldness
It was a great shock to the system on arrival. Although we knew it was going to be a few degrees cooler than Hua Hin, we didn’t expect to feel it as much as we did. Each of us has only one light jumper and those jumpers got quite a work-out the first few days. Apparently it was unseasonal for this time of year. It’s starting to warm up more now though and only seems to be cooler of an evening. We’re not expecting to melt though like we did in Thailand this time last year.
Searching for a place to live
I was hoping we could stay in our initial accommodation, Viha Apartments, in Da Nang for a good week or so while we searched for a more suitable place to live as there seemed to be many rentals available on the internet and I wanted to check them out. Although the owners of this property were lovely, we were surrounded by construction AND the accommodation online was not as expected eg. I would never plan on renting a place with a shared kitchen. It was more like a boarding home and it didn’t appear like this online. I guess that’s what happens when you book somewhere sight-unseen. I’m so glad we only locked in for a couple of nights.
This is how deceiving the photos and description were – when Jim was helping me look for another place to live he informed me he’d found the PERFECT place – it was actually where we currently were!
And then, we discovered that the abundance of rentals on real estate websites, were actually NOT available and most places want you to lock into a 12 month lease, which is difficult for us to do given the type of visas we’re on.
Anyhow – we finally found a place and it was actually the very first place I checked out they day after arrival, but I had knocked it back because it was too small! In the end, we’ve gone back to it because of the great location and desperation to get into more long-term accommodation asap! It’s only a 3 minute walk to beautiful My Khe Beach (also known as China Beach) and there are little local food places scattered around us, as well as some great expat digs.
We’re now taking minimalism to yet another level. I’m sure Jim is quietly pleased with this and thinks he’ll have me down to living and travelling from a backpack soon! Sure hon – you can carry the Nutribullet in your backpack though.
- The beach/sand
- Exercise equipment along the beach
- Finding bacon in bulk for a reasonable price
- The freshness of fruit and vegetables, plus avocados are in abundance
- The boardwalk along the beach – similar to the path from Surfers to Tweed
- The wide paths – we can walk side by side for a nice change
- The price of just about everything: food, beer, hairdressers, nails, taxis
- Taxis are available at the corner of any street just about any time – they are all metered, so no need to negotiate
- How close we are to town if we’d like to go there – 5 minute taxi ride which costs about $3-$5, depending on what area we’re travelling to
- The friendliness and helpfulness of the locals and expats + the great expats Facebook page
- The equivalent of Cornettos here are less than $1 AUD! mmmmmm, but could be dangerous
- Rats…. gahhh!! You see them everywhere – especially at night
- The VND currency – waaay too many zeros
- Constant horn blowing – some really knock your socks off
- Not being able to purchase above size 44 men’s shoes
- Noisy construction just about everywhere – they’re expecting a boom
- Not having a handy 711
- Drinking water is more expensive than Thailand and I can’t find soda water 🙁
Beauty Salon LỘC
- Address: 65 Trưng Nữ Vương, Bình Hiên, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam (take the first left just after Dragon Bridge)
- Phone:+84 90 508 08 65 *appointments necessary
I’m not much of a beauty salon – high-end hairdressing kind of gal, but I really, really needed a scrub up. It had been over 12 months since my HCMC Hairdressing experience and I went to LỘC salon based on an excellent Trip Advisor recommendation by a self-confessed “fussy Gold Coast lady” – so I knew it would have to be good.
The experience was nothing short of an amazing and perhaps the best hair salon experience I have ever had. It cost around $45 AUD for a style cut, full head of foils, treatment, head massage like it was from the heavens above, and blow dry!
They gave the royal treatment and at times, there were 4 other people helping out Loc with my hair (surely it wasn’t that bad – haha!). I especially loved the laydown beds while they wash and condition your hair for 1/2 hour or so (which included a head, neck and shoulder massage). It was very relaxing and I think I actually fell asleep.
In comparison, my salon experiences in Thailand were on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Catching up with Gaye and Rob once again
Gaye and I go back to early High School days, at Toronto High in Newcastle, and we last caught up with Gaye and hubby Rob in Bali over a few drinks last year. We were chatting on Facebook just before our move and discovered they were holidaying in Vietnam at the same time we arrived and would be staying just down the road in Hoi An. So they decided they’d come to Da Nang for the day. Also, Gaye & Rob were kind enough to bring Jim’s birthday present from the boys over from Australia, as we couldn’t risk it arriving in Thailand before we departed – thanks guys!
We then decided to head to Hoi An ourselves to have lunch with Gaye & Rob the following day and had the most amazing fish and chips at the Chips N Fish N Stuff restaurant. Our driver got lost finding them and we couldn’t contact them either to let them know – glad they waited around for 45 mins for us to turn up! In the end it was a really nice lunch and afternoon.
Da Nang to Hoi An private driver transfer
Hoi An is about 1/2 hour from Da Nang. The first quote was in a taxi for 600,000 VND return, which is about $38 AUD. The second one was with a private driver for 400,000 VND (which included a 3 hour wait around), this is around $26 AUD. Certainly can’t complain about that!
With approximately 120,000 inhabitants, Hội An is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hội An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Contact for the private driver:
- Mr Hai Loc
- 0934 885 222
In pursuit of Phucs around Da Nang
Trivia: In Vietnamese, the name Phuc means “blessing” and is a popular male name. There you go – you learn something new every day 🙂
Newsflash on Jim’s Forex Book
With zero promotions of Jim’s book over the last week or so, we surprisingly discovered that it hit #1 Best Seller in Amazon’s Kindle “Online Trading” category on Thursday night. What a nice surprise! It’s starting to look after itself now.
We’d be happy to let family and friends know when it’s on a free promotion, so drop us a line if you or a friend would like it for free. All we ask in return is that a verified Amazon review is left as it helps with rankings. I’m now looking into having it turned into a paperback and audio book as it’s doing quite well.
Here’s the International Amazon link etc: