To be honest I'm not really blown away with Hoi An. The old town center - while still retaining some of it's charm - is full to the brim with tourist shops - most of them selling clothes.
|It looks better in my pictures|
The majority of the restaurants here are also catering to tourist's tastes - with almost every menu offering pizzas, pastas, burgers, etc. To find some proper [James - reads as cheap and tasty] Vietnamese food you have to head out of town a little bit - not far - until you find the usual plastic chairs on the curb side filled with locals. Even still - it's pricier than anywhere I've been so far in the northern regions of Vietnam. Think 40,000VD for a meal instead of 20,000VD for dinner. 60,000VD+ if you dine at a tourist spot.
The next day, I fight the strong powerful urge to rent a motorbike and instead rent a bicycle.
My gooch hates me for it.
The beach is only around 3km away so it doesn't take long to get there on the single geared bike. Heading for the closest beach to Hoi An, I bargain the bike attendant down to 1,000VD to park the bike as he doesn't seem to be getting much business today.
The prick park attendant tries to charge me 10,000VD but I give him the 1,000 that we agreed on and ride off. I say prick now - but interestingly enough I've become used to this kind of behavior. Constantly people are trying to make an extra buck - you just have to be firm yet polite, not budge, and don't let them get their way and they eventually back down. Quite often after being approached by someone who tries to rip me off I give them a cheeky "I know what you're trying to do" smirk - and more often than not I get a knowing look back.
The beach itself is quite nice - complete with the requisite beach umbrellas, sun beds, and a compulsory drink purchase that I guess Europeans know and love.
|Real men use beach towels on the sand.|
After chilling for an hour or so, I set off down the cost to find Cua Dai beach which a road sign has said is only 3km away. A kilometer down the road there is another sign saying Cua Dai is 6km away and that confuses me a little bit. I manage to ride straight past the beach and further down the coast. It's amazing and sad that there is nothing but construction along this coast. Resorts, hotels and villas - all halfway finished, their concrete walls towering over the ocean. In parts, construction is happening on the beach - the engineers are trying to divert the beach itself and turn it into a private resort's own little slice of paradise.
Eventually I reach a dead end and a river, so I turn back and sit on the beach for a while. It's much the same as the last beach - but more crowded - which could be good thing or a bad thing. It depends how you like your beaches.