Having just arrived in Da Nang, the city of golden bridges and few people speaking proper English, we decided to do something cultural. “Marble Mountain” – some kind of marble hill, overlooking the city, adjacent to the marble market where you can literally buy anything made out of marble.
The place was fantastic, but the humidity was whipping hardcore that day. Just being outside we quickly turned into some kind of sad, wet and stinky creatures. And the +35 C temperature… so as you can guess, we very quickly stopped looking presentable in the photos.
At least the advantage of black-and-white photography is the fact that you don’t see how red your face is.
It is also quite remarkable how much more resistant the locals are to this weather – you will never see them drenched in sweat, they are somehow just glowing with their bad-teethed smiles, or maybe their hearts just beat in a different rhythm… who knows.
Not without a little bit of suffering, we made it up and touched upon a few temples, went down to a cave with a massive Buddha, fought with some kinky and loud Americans for the scenic outlook… watched the sunset, which was not really memorable in comparison with the state of our shirts’ moistness.
One thing worth mentioning about climbing this mountain was that I was very, very much happy that it wasn’t raining that day because all the stairs are made out of marble stones and it was quite a miracle that nobody broke any limbs on their way. Those stairs were not steady, straight or safe. But if they were also wet, this whole adventure would have probably had a nasty turn.
Sadly, most of those temples were too dark for photography, but definitely worth the visit alluring the tourists with foreign burning incense sticks smells and candle-lit figurines with the donations.
We didn’t invest in any marble goods and came to the decision that the rooftop swimming pool was a necessary visit after the profound sweating in the mountains.
Danang seems like a new city full of construction, young people and shiny bars and restaurants. But in fact, it dates back to 102 AD, so not so new in the end. There are more than a million people living there, but it doesn’t feel as crowded as other big cities in Vietnam, though also can get quite loud.
Danang has a beautiful coast which felt quite deserted where we were. It was heavily used by Americans during the Vietnam war times to unload the new-arriving soldiers…
In just 30 minutes drive from Danang, there is an absolutely stunning little city called Hoi An – meaning a peaceful meeting place. It looks and feels like an old-school Asian settlement with plenty of small temples, bridges and lanterns all over the place.
Most places would want a small payment to enter, but it is usually only 1 dollar per person. What can you seriously buy in your home country for 1 dollar? Here, you can literally touch the history. We visited one home where the Chinese guy told us he is the 6th generation living in this place since 1690 (and he was like 85 or older) and his house was made out of beautiful dark wood with lots of intricate carvings… not comparable to the kind of places we live in of course.
Went to have a late breakfast in an awesome restaurant called Cafe des Amis.
The owner is playing mahjong with his friend. This guy (on the right) was a chef in Paris and made friends with a few french celebrities from the 60s and 70s. Their music still plays in his restaurant every day. And I must say I never had such a tasty tofu meal as in this place.
These are the street vendors taking a break just outside the restaurant. If eating inside is too fancy for you, you can always grab something from these guys, or from one of those mobile cafes where everything is on one scooter – the stove, the serving station, the seats, the umbrella… what else do you need?
Gotta say, I loved this little city. It was a delight for a photographer to be there, and I shot a whole roll of film just in this place.
Ah, what a good coffee they make in Vietnam, so dark and so flavourful. We bought a bag of the most expensive coffee in the world for the price of 3 dollars… but for some reason, it just doesn’t taste the same at home.
There are plenty of tourists in Hoi An, but it never feels too crowded.
You can also take a boat cruise, which I believe is a nice thing to do, but we didn’t have enough time for that. Hopefully, with our next visit, we will plan it better.
You can also cheaply make any kind of outfit in the clothing factories in Hoi An. The choice of materials is quite extensive and the prices are way below your expectations.
Hope you enjoyed a little trip around central Vietnam with me… and stay tuned for the continuation of this party as we go to explore the nightlife of Da Nang.
If you missed the first part of the Vietnam adventures, you can find it here:
Hustle and Bustle of Saigon, Vietnam.
Vietnam part 2: Mui Ne, Train Adventure, Why do We Play Flip Cup?
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