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Central Vietnam (2018): Da Nang

We booked private transfer from the travel agency nearby our hotel. Some of the travel agencies charge US$40 whereas we found one that charge us for US$38 for a smaller car. The journey from Hue to Da Nang took almost two hours and 30 minutes.

In Da Nang, we settled down in two different hotels. Wondering why two? Because I wasn't decisive with my choice when planning for this trip and in order to play safe, I booked for our last night stay in Da Nang first. Just when I about to add additional night on the respective date I want, it sold out. Completely all sold out. No choice for that and to avoid from walking so far away especially when dragging our luggage around, I made up my mind just to book the other hotel nearby with the one which I booked earlier.

The first hotel we stayed is Happy Day Hotel. A very basic and simple hotel that facing the Han River. Inexpensive and very close to Han Market and Dragon Bridge within walking distance. But to be honest, it wasn't my favourite type. 

Da Nang Happy Day Hotel

Date Stayed: 17 - 18 January 2018 (1 night)
Room Rate: RM114 per night for a superior double with city view and breakfast is included (Booked from Agoda)
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Central Vietnam (2018): Hue Beaulieu Boutique Hotel & Imperial Citadel

The private transfer that we engaged from Hoi An to Hue dropped us right in front of Beaulieu Boutique Hotel, which is the hotel we stayed when in Hue. From the moment I stepped into the hotel, I can notice almost the whole place including the room and bathroom are manicured in blue and turquoise colour. Oh boy! I'm instantly loving this place already. Not just me, even my friends and my mom also fall in love with this hotel and how we wish we could stay longer but unfortunately we just stayed for a night only - too bad! 

2018 Vietnam Hue Beaulieu Boutique Hotel  02
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Central Vietnam (2018): My Son Sanctuary, Marble Mountains & Hai Vân Pass

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.

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 Son Sanctuary 01
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Central Vietnam (2018): What I Ate In Hoi An

My previous post on How To Get From Da Nang Airport To Hoi An Old Town.


Now, let me share with you of what I had when I was in Hoi An for two days. There are few of Hoi An specialty dishes which are particularly famous for and I think anyone who plan to visit here you should give them a try cause you won't able to find these food in any other parts of Vietnam. 

Cao lau 

Things to Eat in Hoi An - Cao lầu
This is the signature traditional food of Hoi An and only exclusively available within this ancient town. Cao lau comprises of thick rice noodles serve with slices of barbecue pork, pork cracking, lettuce and bean sprouts. And what make this dish to be so special? The tale behind this noodle is said to be made using water from an ancient well in Hoi An, namely Ba Le well. There are more I love to share about Cao lau but I think you can get more info from Google, right? 
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Central Vietnam (2018): From Da Nang to Hoi An Old Town

I'm quite dilemma actually; whether to continue to blog my old travel backlogs, or just to ignore them. Guess I defer it first, and will continue to blog about them later when I have nothing more to share with. 

So now, let me share my first ever trip for this year - a trip to Vietnam. Why Vietnam again?

I heard a lot about Hoi An and those who went before will eventually comment this place with one word, "Beautiful!". That's cause me so eagerly to scout for cheap fares and I glad I managed to secure the fares within my budget last year, which was not more than RM300 for a return ticket.

At this period, there is no direct flight to Hoi An from Kuala Lumpur, hence you need to fly in to Da Nang first. And so far, AirAsia is the only airlines that flying directly from Kuala Lumpur with 7 flights weekly.

2018 Vietnam Da Nang 00
#1: Flying with AirAsia to Da Nang
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Otaru, My Favourite Spot in Hokkaido

I've been to Hokkaido twice.
The first time I went was during end of winter and the second one, during the autumn a year later. 
Both seasons have their own distinctive sense of beauty and charm, therefore it's hard for me to justify which is the best season to visit Hokkaido.

Among few of the top destinations I went in Hokkaido, Otaru has always been my favourite spot.
Twice I went to Hokkaido, twice I went to Otaru as well. Hence I decided to combine and simplify my two visits into a single post instead.  

Otaru is situated on the northwest of Sapporo and it takes 30 minutes by rapid train or 45 minutes by local train along JR Hakodate Main Line. The first train leaves as early around 6am and the last train is at 10pm. Hence, it's possible just to do a day trip without considering to stay one more night, unless you feel like want to. 
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2018 Istanbul, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia (Sneak Peek)

The longest holiday ever.

Began with the national election day on 9 May, and continued with 10 and 11 May declared as public holiday. Then, started my trip on 12 May and by the time I return back to Malaysia, I realised its public holiday in conjunction of Wesak Day and 30 and 31 May are the state holiday. Looks like throughout the month of May I had been working for 6 days only. 

Where I went in between? Istanbul, a ticket which I bought last year where once again, I stumbled upon a great deal from Singapore Airlines. And this ticket was bought like two days after I returned from my trip to Europe last year. Yes, I'm a proper sucker for bargain and how could I ever resist for a great deal especially from the world's top best airlines. I always want to experience Singapore Airlines but never got the chance to come across cheap fares until my friend from Mytravelmatez shared in his Facebook page. Now you know how I always managed to grab such a great deal. Fast fast follow his page! 

Initially I plan to cover few Balkan countries like Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania but at the end, I decided to narrow down my list and just visit both the first two only. 

2018 Day 2 Turkey Istanbul Hagia Sophia 1

Why don't just cover the whole Turkey only? Few people I met actually asked me the same question since I'm flying in into Istanbul, the capital city of Turkey. Well, I promised two of my friends that we will travel and visit Turkey together. Hence, I will wait for them to make this dream being realised someday. Hopefully they don't fong fei kei me (break this deal/promise in Cantonese).

After staying a night in Istanbul, I booked a ticket to Sarajevo, the largest and capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina and stayed there for two-good nights. Unlike like what I did last year, this time around I decided not to make my trip so rush, or so called a "touch-and-go" trip but instead trying to spend at least for 2 sufficient nights in each city I'm going to visit. 

2018 Day 3 Bosnia 07 Sarajevo Bašcaršija 2

From Sarajevo, I took train to Mostar and in Mostar, one of the things anyone shouldn't miss is the Stari Most (literally the Old Bridge). This arch bridge was once being destroyed during the war time but sooner, it was rebuilt and reconstructed with the contribution established by UNESCO.

2018 Day 5 Bosnia 01 Mostar Stari Most

After spending 4 days in Bosnia & Herzegovina, I left to Croatia and met my travel blogger friend, Jeff Chuah who will be joining me for the 8 days trip around Croatia. We managed to cover and visit Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik, Zadar, Plitvice Lakes National Park and Zagreb. 

Dubrovnik - The King's Landing. This place is well-known for Games of Thrones and Star Wars shooting place. 

2018 Day 9 Croatia Split
Split, a town on Dalmatian Cost of Croatia is popular for its beautiful beaches and the fortresslike complex at its center. 

2018 Day 11 Croatia Zadar
Zadar, European best destination in 2016.

2018 Day 12 Croatia Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park - This place is the main highlight of the trip. I was totally blown away by this place cause it looks alike heaven on earth. One word: Magnificent!

2018 Day 14 Croatia Zagreb
Ended our trip in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia.

From Croatia, I flew back to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. Initially I have long list of places to see but at the end, I can't help myself...

2018 Day 16 Turkey Istanbul Grand Bazaar
By going to Grand Bazaar and bought quite number of these. They're are so pretty that it's hard for me to resist.

I spent my last day in Istanbul by doing shopping, shopping and shopping. Perhaps I had enough of the sightseeing activities and give myself an excuse to do last minute shopping. What a lame excuse!

Overall for my trip, the total damages I spent is less than RM6,500 which including airfares, hostels, transportation, food and drinks, admission fees and etc but of course, excluding my shopping spree. Eagerly to know more about this Balkan trip? Stay tune for my upcoming posts! I will try to update my blog frequently. 

All the above photos shot with Huawei P20. I'm so lazy to bring my Sony NEX-5N camera around lately.

P/S: This humble blog of mine hits 2 million pageviews. Thanks to the blog readers for making this happen. 😊😊
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