We arrived in the city of DaNang, late at night and the entire hotel staff was waiting for us. We stayed at a small boutique hotel, owned and operated by a family, and they were so nice and accommodating. Matt was also happy to see our welcome gift.
Also, Pocky sticks for the girls. One of our favorite Japanese snacks.
The breakfast area was on the top floor, so there were some amazing views.
I had never seen, nor tried passion fruit until this trip. It is very tart, so you sprinkle a little raw sugar on top to balance out the tartness, and scoop the fruit out with a spoon. I'm hooked!
After breakfast we walked the town. It was much smaller and less busy than Ho Chi Minh City, with a more rural feel.
I loved that people actually did wear the pointy hats, just like you see in movies!
So, when the sidewalks are used for parking, where do you walk?
Yes, it's not everyday that you pass a t-shirt wearing monkey sitting on a scooter! He seemed to be posing for me.
We found our way to the river and Dragon Bridge. At night the bridge is lit up and the dragon is even "fire breathing" during festivals.
Why a Native American statue is in this town, in Vietnam, I've no idea. Very random, but it felt like a small piece of home, regardless.
We made our way to Han market, which sold everything you could imagine, and then some.
The vegetables looked amazing. I wish I could shop here on a regular basis!
Lots of dried fruit and candy.
These bins contained different types of fermented vegetables.
I really liked the banana booth.
There were rows, upon rows of fabric, shoes and clothing.
You could even get a custom made garment, ready in a few hours. In fact, custom tailor shops are very common in Vietnam, and very cheap!
On our walk back to the hotel, we stopped at this little café for....
Vietnamese coffee, of course! I am now officially hooked. And at a cost of about 75 cents (US) a glass? Even better!
Ella has always loved coffee flavor and would even sneak and eat coffee beans that had fallen out of the grinder in the grocery store, as a small child. No, she doesn't normally drink coffee, but hey, when in "Rome".....and she savored every sip!
I found that there were many creative ways to transport children in Vietnam. This little gal was standing on the seat.
We had a driver take us to a nearby area called Marble Mountain, because there was said to be great views of China Beach from the top.
There were lots of steps to the top!
The Marble Mountains hold many Buddhist sanctuaries, and there are also numerous tunnels and caves.
It is said that the mountain caverns housed a Vietcong hospital during the war, and that it was a prime location for spying on American troops.
This was the pagoda at the top.
And the view of China Beach below, was worth the trip.
The girls loved exploring the caves. This tunnel led to a huge cavern.
Further on up the mountain was another great look out spot.
And this was the view opposite China Beach. There were five marble mountains rising up from the ground, just like those on the horizon.
And, finally, China Beach. American soldiers were sent here for their R&R during the war.
We then drove from DaNang to Hoi An for the remainder of the day, and I fell in love! (It looks farther on the map, but was only about a 30 minute drive .)
Next up, Hoi An, Vietnam. A darling, ancient port town.