Hue to Hoi An Top Gear Style: The Final Adventure

So we’ve all seen stunning images of places in Vietnam such as Halong Bay or Sapa, but it’s not often that ‘Hue’ is highlighted as one of the cities with pristine beauty. Hue is an city which is just north of the middle of Vietnam. It is known for its ancient landmarks such as tombs, temples and pagodas. I remember coming here as a 16 year old and thinking it was the most boring place on earth, so I’m not really sure why I decided to take Jason here. I guess I assumed that being a kid on a family tour, I was never going to have fun in a town like Hue, oh how things have changed!

We decided that for our last few days we’d have to make the most of every spare second that we had. So the first day we took a motorbike tour visiting the ancient sites of the city. Second day we rented a scooter and drove to what was supposed to be Bach Ma National Park (according to Google maps), but somehow ended up in a small village blocked by roadworks. Whilst we never arrived at our intented destination, the journey was absolutely spectacular with views of tree-filled mountains, rice patties and lakes. Unfortunately on the drive back, we were caught with a flat back tyre. Thankfully the moment we realised we just so happened to stop in front of a mechanics who were able to patch up two punctures in the inner tube for 20,000 dong (AUS$1). The bike felt better that it ever did … for about 15 minutes….then it all started rattling again and we realised the tyre was flat once again. We drove as slowly as we could to get to the next mechanics and managed to get there without causing any further damage to the bike. After about 20 minutes, the mechanic completely replaced the inner tube for a nominal fee of 80,000 dong (AUS$4) which really did the job.

The third day was what we were really looking forward to. The TOP GEAR TOUR from Hue to Hoi An on two cruiser motorbikes driven by our guides. This is actually the same route that the guys from Top Gear took and I’ve got to say, it was definitely one of the highlights from our entire trip. I can’t begin to explain how beautiful the scenery is, so just look at the photos and imagine it being 10x more beautiful than that! With the wind in our hair and adrenaline running high, we really felt like we were on top of the world. We made a stop at the Elephant Waterfall to have a swim, the water was perfectly cool, we felt like we could stay there for hours. The entire tour lasted from 8.30am-3pm and covered quite a few other attractions including: Hue fishing village, Insence and Conical Hat village, Marble Mountain, Da Nang’s China Beach and Nam Van Pass peak. Honestly I cannot recommend this tour highly enough, and for $50 each including lunch and entrance fees, I think it was well worth it.

Arriving in Hoi An we were reminiscent of our time there in 2010. Hoi An’s Old Town is a UNESCO heritage site and is lined with French-influenced buildings, most of which house tailors, souvenir shops or restaurants. Every corner you turn is picturesque so its very hard not to constantly take photos of everything. The only down side is that there’s not much shade so the heat is extremely intense. I felt that walking even for 5 minutes resulted in me sweating a litre! Aside from that, Hoi An is incredible. The beauty of this town is eccentuated most at night when all the colourful lanterns are lit up and tourists are releasing paper lanterns down the river. All the reflections off the water are just incredible, we could sit there for hours just admiring the view. We decided to visit one of the restaurants we visited last time we were there called ‘Streets’. Its a restaurant which trains up street kids in the field of hospitality and equips them with skills that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to have. There were enjoyed an array of local specialities included Lau Cau (flat riced noodle dish), Mi Quang (vermicelli noodle dish) and White Rose dumplings, all were incredible!

The next morning we took a bicycle tour with a company called Heaven and Earth bike tours, and with over 900 positive reviews, the only thing we were worried about was the heat. We rode the bikes to the dock where we then loaded the ferry up with our bikes and joined the locals to the island. There we were introduced to a variety of local trade stores include a boat-building yard, hand-woven grass mats and shell mosaics. We were also lucky enough to try out the round fishing boats which are much more difficult than they look, I had to be rescued by the 62 year old pro who made it look effortless. We crossed over a floating bridge onto another island where we eventually had a delicious home cooked meal of chicken and rice. All up the tour went from 8.30pm to 3pm, whilst we were exhausted by the end of it, we were thoroughly entertained by the guides and everything we experienced.

So, its been exactly 100 days since we left Australia to go on our adventure. Time has absolutely flown. We have learnt so much about culture, religion, history, but most importantly, we have learnt a lot about ourselves. Being together everyday for such a long period you’d think we’d want to kill each other by the end of it, but in fact it drew us a lot closer. We never thought we’d have as incredible an experience as we did and are so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to do it. If you ever get a chance please do yourself a favour and travel! Not just to the islands and resorts, but to the countries which take you out of your comfort zone and really test you. Thank you to everyone for your support and interest over the last few months, its been great!

What next? We’re back home in Melbourne for 7 weeks, will be working for 5 weeks then will be making our big move to London. Oh and did I mention my sister will be having a baby girl during that time 🙂

So thats it from us … for now

Til next time
Ann & Jason xo

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