The serene Da Nang & Hoi An, Vietnam

DaNang HoiAn

ABOUT VIETNAM

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Vietnam Dong

Visa: Not required for Malaysia

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GETTING THERE

Went there by Air Asia. The flight will take you from KLIA2 to Da Nang International Airport. If you are flying back from this airport, there will be no airport departure tax.

From the airport I went directly to Hoi An. There’s a shuttle bus and taxi but I took a taxi instead. Paid around 500,000 dong for the one way trip. The journey to Hoi An from Da Nang took around 45 minutes.

hoi-an

Hoi An is one of the city in Vietnam and it is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In my opinion, Hoi An reminds me of Amsterdam…an Asian Amsterdam or maybe Amsterdam would be a European Hoi An 😛 One more thing about Hoi An is that at night it will be brightly lit with colourful beautiful lantern (You can also buy lanterns there)

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at Thanh Van II hotel (currently known as Like Hoi An Hotel) and booked it through AirAsiaGo (you can also book through Agoda or Booking.com, etc. Booked it through AirAsiaGo because I’m using a voucher code so manage to get cheaper price). The hotel is located around 15 minutes walk from Hoi An Anchient Town, but if you are too tired to walk, you can use the free bicycle or take the free shuttle bus which they provided on hourly basis. The shuttle bus will take you from Thanh Van II – Thanh Van (located near Ancient Town) – Thanh Van II. On overall I’m very satisfied with my stay at this hotel. The staffs were very friendly and helpful, the room is clean and big (booked a suite), Wi-Fi connection was fast, etc. Below would be the image of the room I stayed in, the suite, and the hotel (taken from their website)

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GETTING AROUND

Most of the tourist in Hoi An walk or cycle. Most of the hotel provided free bicycle. If not, you can just rent a bicycle. There’s also a lot of taxi around. From personal experience, you may use Vinasun taxi.

SHOPPING

There’s row and rowssss of shops at Hoi An Ancient Town. You can buy souvenirs, silk, clothing, coffee (Vietnamese coffee taste really good!), etc. You can also get a tailor made clothes and shoes. Actually the whole area of Ancient town are mostly shops.

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INTERESTING PLACES

  • Hoi An Ancient Town: This is a must visit place in Hoi An. There are a lot of shops for shopping and monuments and museums to visit. One of the famous monument would be the Japanese Bridge.

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  • My Son: The second day in Hoi An, I took a day tour to My Son, which means beautiful mountain. My Son is actually a cluster of partially ruined Hindu Temples constructed by the king of Champa. My Son is perhaps the longest inhabited archeological site in Indochina, but it was then destroyed during Vietnam War. Too bad when I was there, it rains through out the tour so not much of a photo to share but you can try to goole. It is such a beautiful place. As for the whole tour, went to My Son by bus but took the boat back to Hoi An. It was a better choice since there are more things to see and enjoy.

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FOOD

There’s a lot of place to enjoy local or western cuisine. However if you are a Muslim, make sure to bring a lot of packed foods since I didn’t find any place selling Halal food and most of the restaurant sell pork. Since Vietnam is famous with coffee, make sure to try out their coffee, especially if you are a coffee lover like me. You can find a lit of coffee shops along the road.

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da nang

Da Nang is one of the major port cities in Vietnam and is situated on the coast of South China Sea, at the opening end of Han River.

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at A La Carte hotel and booked it through AirAsiaGo (you can also book through Agoda or Booking.com, etc. Booked it through AirAsiaGo because I’m using a voucher code so manage to get cheaper price). The hotel is very beautiful! Friendly and helpful staff, big and comfortable room, beautiful decoration and a lot of services you can get from this hotel. (Images below taken from Agoda)

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GETTING AROUND

You can get a taxi or just walk around. From My Khe to the city center is a bit far so taking a taxi is a good option.

SHOPPING

Didn’t find much place for shopping in Da Nang (or maybe i didn’t look hard enough). However if you would like to buy souvenir, coffee, clothing, cloth, etc., you may head to Han Market. The souvenir and coffee there are cheaper compared to Hoi An.

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There’s also a souvenir shop called Da Nang Souvenirs located opposite Novotel Hotel. The souvenir sold there are a bit more different compared to those sell at Han Market or Hoi An so you have ore choices of souvenirs to bring back.

INTERESTING PLACES

  • My Khe Beach – one of the beautiful beach in Da Nang (the hotel that I stayed in faces My Khe Beach). Too bad I was there during monsoon season so the sky is not as blue and its too cold for a dip at the beach or pool.

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  • Ba Na Hills – a mountain resort with indoor theme park

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  • Marble Mountains (didn’t manage to visit but saw it on the way to Hoi An)
  • Han River Bridge & Dragon Bridge (picture credit to Philips)

Philips lights Vietnam’s iconic Dragon Bridge in Da Nang with sustainable LED lighting solutions (b)

  • Monkey Beach

FOOD

There’s one halal restaurant in Da Nang called Mumtaz. It sells nice and Halal Indian food. Throughout the 3 days in Da Nang, I ordered food from there and ask for delivery, which is very convenient!

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Medan, Indonesia

medan

Went to Medan, Indonesia for a short holiday with beloved family.

ABOUT MEDAN

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

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GETTING THERE

Went there by Air Asia. Manage to buy a reallyyyy cheap return ticket during promotion. Only RM110 for a return ticket!! Previously planes will land and depart form Polonia Airport but now they have changed to a new & bigger airport, Kualanamu International Airport. However this airport is a bit further from the city compared to previous airport. I didn’t know there’s an airport departure tax that need to be paid before leaving but lucky they accept RM!! So if you want to go to Medan, make sure you save 75,000 Rupiah for the airport departure tax and not spend all of your money for shopping! 😛

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ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at Grand Sakura Hotel. Booked a room from Agoda.com at a very reasonable price. Actually I have booked a deluxe room but they are nice enough to upgrade my stay to an executive room for FREE!! Thank you!! The room is quite big but too bad I didn’t get wifi inside my room, so I just sit on the floor outside my room 😛 Breakfast is included. The food they served are all HALAL. There’s not much of a choice for breakfast but as long as there’s food, I don’t really mind. If breakfast is not included when you do the booking, it is OK. Just pay 35,000 rupiah and you can enjoy all the food. It’s really cheap!! Location of the hotel is ok but not good. You need to get a taxi or just ask from the counter for a driver to send you to wherever you want to go. Other hotels which was recommended would be Madani Hotel (because of the location i guess) and Garuda Plaza Hotel. Here are some photos but I got it from their website instead of taking it myself 😛

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GETTING AROUND

Paid ‘supir’ or driver to go places around Medan when we were there but he is a VERY lousy driver & it is NOT cheap to hire him! He was recommended by someone we knew, who is originally from there so that is why we still paid him for the rest of our stay there. I will not put up his contact here because I WILL NOT recommend him to anybody! The hotel we stayed in provided car rental + driver service. I guess other hotels also provide this service so you may ask the counter if you do not have any contact to drive you around town. You can see the rate for a car+petrol+driver provided by Grand Sakura Hotel (it’s around half of what we paid for!) in the picture below.

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SHOPPING

  • Pasar Ikan – ‘Pasar Ikan’ means fish market. However they DO NOT sell fish! 😛 You can find lots of fabrics, souvenirs, clothing, hijab, telekung (for Muslim) & a lot of other things here. The only problem we encounter was there are sellers following us everywhere we go & try to sell us things that we do not need. It is really annoying & uncomfortable so we only spend quite a short time there

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  • Ramayana – A few level shopping mall with cheap stuff. Really cheap!
  • Medan Mall – This is an air-conditioned shopping mall but also connected with a market which sells fruits, vegetable, fabrics, clothings, etc. Went here several times (since we are not so sure where to go..plus the tour guide & driver that we had..hmmm). There’s also a place to eat halal food; KFC & Es Teler 77 (try the es nangka. love it!) There’s also a department store inside which is called Matahari (which means sun in English). Price are quite cheap especially those that was on sale. The colourful wedges below is only around RM15 after 75% discount!

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  • Pasar Petisah – A market that sells a lot of clothing, fabrics, shoes, etc.

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  • Sun Plaza – a modern & big shopping mall!

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  • Bakery – If you are in Medan, make sure to buy the layer cake. It’s damn delicious & cheap!!

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INTERESTING PLACES

Maimoon Palace

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Oldest Mosque in Medan

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You may also go to Lake Toba (do spend a night there) or Brastagi.

FOOD

Do try the Nasi Padang (I’ve tried Restoran Garuda). It’s awesome especially the SAMBAL! I ate a lot & I mean A LOTTT of sambal! 😛

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If you go to Es Teler 77, try the Es Nangka. I LOVE IT! It’s just ice with condense milk & jackfruit but it taste awesome!

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