Monday 27 October we had a slow start in busy Saigon with coffee at Sozo, where we spent quite a few hours in the last few days. It is a stylish place with good coffee and free internet, run by disadvantaged Vietnamese. Therefore it is the perfect way to help the underprivileged in this country, by supporting them in making a living. The remainder of the day was spent on a train journey to Nha Trang.
When the opportunity to do 2 dives for USD 40 (incl. everything) presents itself, it is to be taken. Hence we got up early on Tuesday to dive the South China Sea. It turned out to be 2 of the longest dives I did so far, although I was not too impressed with the coral and visibility. I guess I got spoilt a little bit by my dives in Australia and Egypt. There were some interesting fish though. As soon as we were back at the hotel the rainy season started, with long torrential downpours and very short dry intervals. That pretty much cancelled the plans for the rest of the day, as temples are just not very fun in the rain.
To save some precious daylight hours, we took the night train from Nha Trang to Hoi An, arriving there early Wednesday morning. Because it was not raining at the time, we booked a tour to the Cham ruins of My Son. However, at the ruins it kept raining cats & dogs, and the nice little path through the forest alongside the temples was knee-deep with water at certain places. The jungle did not seem very happy to give up its treasures that day. In between some showers in the afternoon, I explored the Hoi An Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Thursday morning we took a bus to HuÃ©. It turned out to be one of the overnight sleeper busses, with 3 bunk beds next to each other. Weirdest bus I have ever seen, pretty comfortable though. In HuÃ© we explored the Imperial Enclosure in the Citadel in the afternoon.
South-East Asia is really easy to travel in. In every place where we arrive people are waiting at the bus or train station, touting their accommodation. When the price, location and facilities are alright (they usually are), we take them up on their offer, and otherwise Lonely Planet has plenty of alternatives (although guidebook-listed places seem to be a bit pricier). There are plenty of restaurants around with good, healthy food. And getting a bus or train for the next day is usually no problem. Only for the bus to Laos today we needed to go by a few traveller’s cafÃ©s to find one leaving tomorrow.