At 14: 00h we took a bus to Hoi An, we engage in the same hotel the day before (48.000D / p). We stopped near the beach 20min Lang Co, where Paul took a dip. We arrived at Hoi An to 17: 30h and stayed at the Hotel Thien Nga (160.000D / hd c / b / c pool) (highly recommended). We took a dip in the pool and then went for a walk around the small town. Hoi An is a gastronomic paradise, with dishes that are not seen in the rest of the country. We dined on a tasting menu that included some specialties such as White Roses (prawns wrapped in rice pasta), Wonton (meat in the center of a crispy batter) and Cao Lau (noodles with broth, pork and crispy bacon bits). On the river bank there are numerous restaurants and many of them have cooking classes. In some of them they serve chilled beer barrel 3.000D

It is a charming and tourist population. Highlights some houses of the Chinese merchants who settled here during the time of splendor, its temples and a covered bridge built by the Japanese

Highlights of Hoi An town in Vietnam

in 1593, as a means of communication between Chinese and Japanese communities. The old part of the city has managed to preserve its streets have kept intact the traditional buildings of past centuries.

Hoi An is also surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, rivers, islands and paradisiacal beach. The next day, we rented a motorbike (80.000D / day + 10.000D / town) and go to the Marble Mountains (15.000D / p), five hills representing the five ritual elements, gold, wood, water , fire and earth. It is a place of very popular Buddhist prayer. They are about 20 km from Hoi An. It has 2 separate entries, you enter a sales and other and have to climb a lot of stairs and through the various pagodas, temples and caves. From above a beautiful view of the immense beach of China.

After seeing this magnificent beach from above, we could not resist the temptation to take a bath and went straight there. There are restaurants where good seafood on the edge of the beach eats. Then we went on the bike to others closer to Hoi An beaches. All beaches are virtually untouched and uncrowded, only there are a few resorts. It is the ideal place to enjoy the sea.

The day before were asking prices of some tours to visit Cham Island. Prices are not expensive (20 $ -1 day and 35 $ -2dias, including transportation, accommodation, food and snorkel) but decided to go on our own and try their luck, despite not having found much information on how to go, accommodation, permissions, etc.

We knew at 7: 00h he left a local boat to the islands from some river pier. We went a little early to look and was complicated because we asked people about us and ran to one side and others on the opposite side, plus lots of boats come and go elsewhere. Finally, we found our boat (5.000D / p) (the stop is in front of the restaurant Café des Amis). The boat departed after local people on the boat had loaded the bikes, bikes and all sorts of things, like eggs, baskets of fruit, vegetables, etc .. A few minutes later, when we thought we were heading to the islands, the boat stop beside the river where we waited another larger boat and we had to change from one to another (people and all cargo, which took its time). This time they charged us 50.000D / p (tourist price). We continue sailing down the river before reaching the mouth, stop the boat again to move more people and goods up and pass a police check on Cua Dai Tran Kiem SOAT, Don Bien Phong 260.

Suddenly, one of the policemen who were foreigners fixed (it was not difficult, were the only ones) and we started talking in Vietnamese. Luckily there was a girl who spoke English and helped us. We were asked a photocopy of passports to register our entry to the islands. Then we were told that we could not sleep in the islands without an invitation from a local, so we had to return on the same day and someone had to do responsible for us during the stay. At the end the skipper was responsible (thank goodness). At 10:30 h we arrived at Cu Lao Cham, the largest island and the only inhabited. There the girl spoke with the patron and told him that we were going to try to get permission to stay 2 days on the island. At 10: 30h the boat came to Tan Hiep (one of only two villages on the island, 2,400 inhabitants).

We went straight to one of the few guesthouses there and convincing a policeman (giving another copy of passports), we were under the tutelage of the lady of the guesthouse. We stayed there on Ngan Ha Guesthouse in Bai Lang. A 40m pier. (150.000D / hd c / b). (Very basic). We were told us to go anywhere we had to bring someone from the family (then check that is not necessary). They also warned us that we could not climb the mountains because the island is a military base and much of it is occupied by the army, hence much control to enter. There are signs of restricted zone around the island. In the end, all sorted !!

The islands are 20km from Hoi An. The largest is the only inhabited, but not very prepared for tourism. The services are very basic. There is only electricity from 18: 00-22: 00h. Sets at 18: 00h and the sun rises at 5: 30h.

After arranging everything to stay there a couple of days and leave backpacks in the room, we went to a secluded beach 500m from the village to freshen up. Towards a horrible heat and great bathroom we came.

In the guesthouse we hired a boat for a tour of 3 hours, touring the island and snorkeling (200.000D / boat). We came to pick up at 14: 00h and we were going, the captain and three girls on the island that were to be relatives of the captain, taking advantage of the trip came too. The island is not very large, has 8 beaches on the west side and east are all cliffs. There is a government program to protect the environment on the islands (corals and marine fauna), to prevent local fishing sweep away everything. There are several areas to snorkel and see coral and colorful fish. The coral is shallow and you can see even without diving into the water.

Before dinner we visited a pagoda year 1749, which was near the village. Inside there was a greater and nearly blind monk who invited us to a very rich company you while we were doing it until dark.

At night we do not rest well because the bed had no mattress and slept directly on a table. To make matters worse, from 5:30 to 6: 30h put the radio speakers that are heard in all the people, for everyone to wake up (even those who do not want so early). We tided because that could take advantage of more day. So we walked to some beautiful and secluded beaches. You catch out of town the only means that there is tarmac and 2.5 km this Bai Chong beach, which is accessed through a stream with a few steps down to the beach, which has a lot of palm trees and bamboo in some houses who they prepare the food when the tours arrive, but as soon we have to ourselves, with its white sand and clear waters. The guard who looks after the beach charged us 10.000D/p, can use toilets and showers.

Back we stopped at the beach closest to the people, and we were snorkeling at the foot of the beach with some coral and plenty of gorgeous, starfish and even anemones and clownfish colorful fish. At 11: 30h back to town just in time to take backpacks and catch the public ferry that was already waiting. We no longer back in control of the police had no problem and arrived safely Hoi An.

We squeezed a few beers on tap frost with grilled prawns and delicious papaya salad harbor front (we are very heavy but in Hoi An have the best cuisine of Vietnam). Then we bought a direct overnight bus ticket to Ho Chi Minh in an agency (formerly Saigon) ($14/p), we leave backpacks at the hotel, we took a shower (15.000D/p) and went to wander around the city 18pm until the bus came to pick us up at the hotel (we spent all night en route).