Hoi An is indeed one enchanting ancient town and we really enjoyed visiting it. As much as we don't feel like want to leave this town, we had too as we're pressed by the time. Before proceed to the next city which is Hue, we decided to do few sightseeing along the way from Hoi An to Hue. And once again, we engaged to hire private transfer with VM Travel Hoi An which previously did private transfer from the Da Nang Airport straight to our hotel in Hoi An.
I can't deny that by taking private car, it would be more costly compare by taking public bus which only costs approximately US$9 per person but because my mom was tagged along for this trip, I want her to feel comfortable and at the same time, experience the enjoyment too. Another advantage of taking private car is flexibility, where we can stop at any place we want to. We decided to stop at three places - My Son Sanctuary, Marble Mountains and Hai Van Pass before reaching Hue.
My Son Sanctuary
Our private tour began at 9am, where the driver picked us up from Homestay May Trang, our lodge in Hoi An. From there, it took almost an hour and 30 minutes to reach our first pit stop - My Son Sanctuary. Built by the Champa Kingdom, My Son is a cluster of ruined and abandoned Hindu temples. The temples are dedicated to worship God Shiva and it is regarded as one of the prominent Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia.
My first impression on My Son is that it looks almost similar to Angkor Wat of Cambodia but of course, the latter one is much more impressive and magnificent because largely of My Son complex was being destroyed by US carpet bombing during the Vietnam War. Not just that, My Son is also often compared with other historical Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia such as Bagan of Myanmar, Borobudur of Indonesia and Ayutthaya of Thailand. In 1999, My Son has been listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Entrance Fee: VNM150,000 per person (approx. to RM27). Guide is not included.
Opening Hours: 6am to 5pm
Next, the driver drove us back to Da Nang for Marble Mountains. Marble Mountains are cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble. Before heading up to the mountains, we saw plenty of shops making and cutting stones and sculpture which they are well-known for. As for the price, we don't even bother to ask at all as we're not interested at all. But of course before heading up, we decided to satisfy our hungry tummy first by having lunch at the nearby restaurant, or else we don't have the enough energy to climb up the hundred flight of staircases.
Dotted across the mountain, there are vast of caves, tunnels, religious sites and peaks waiting to be discovered. Hence, it is advisable to wear proper and comfortable walking shoe as I found there are numbers of uneven staircases.
A stairway of 156 steps leads us to the submit of Thuy Son, the only Marble Mountain accessible to the visitors. Here, we enjoy a wide and spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding area and the rest of the marble mountains.
Entrance Fee: VNM40,000 per person (approx. to RM7)
Opening Hours: 7am to 5.30pm
Hai Van Pass
Before reaching Hue, our drive pass through Hai Van Pass. It claimed to be one of the most scenic coastal view in Vietnam but unfortunately, it was gloomy weather on the day we arrived and therefore our photo can't justify how impressive this place was.
Our private tour also includes Lang Co Bay but we decided to skip this and continue to Hue instead. By the time we arrived Hue, it was almost 7pm. Our driver dropped us right in front of our hotel and he suggested us to write a positive review about him - which I forgot to do so until now. The driver was indeed friendly, kind and funny. However, the only thing we didn't enjoy throughout the tour is that all the places we visited are not impressive enough. It's kinda boring and not interesting to us. Probably I've seen too much things recently. Not sure it's a good or bad sign anyway.
This custom itinerary costs us US$99 which include:
- Pickup from our hotel in Hoi An
- Visit My Son Sanctuary and Marble Mountains
- Transfer via the Hai Van Pass
- Drop us right in front of our hotel in Hue
But excluding entrances fees and meals. So if divided among four of us, each of us pay roughly around US$25 (approx. to RM100) for a day tour.
Date of Visit: 16th January 2018
[Credit To: My Son Wikipedia]