Road to Little Hoi An – Episode I

000013“Hoi An”… one of the many destinations that I had always dreamed to visit, and finally I did it, and all alone again. One of my best travelling experiences ever, though the most tiring I didn’t really expect. If you read it through what I am about to share, you may rethink about the way you are going to get there – it can be fun or perhaps way too exhausting to do. I was on a long road trip crossing between 3 countries – Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, and hell yes, the road was so far…

In September 2011, my one-week journey started on one evening in Bangkok when I boarded an overnight 08:30pm VIP bus to Mukdaharn, the Thai border town in the Northeast to Savannakhet of Laos. The bus arrived at the station at 07:30 am in the next morning, and it was a bit risky episode here that I needed to plan well – once jumping off the bus with my Samsonite backpack over my shoulders, I gotta really catch the first bus to Laos, must not miss it (as I remember, the inter-country bus was scheduled to depart at 07:40am or 07:45am.) Fortunately, the bus from Bangkok arrived on time, so I got on the next bus right in time, just 10 minutes before. I took this first one, so I could be at the Savannakhet bus station before 10:00am for the bus to Hue, Vietnam. Looked like it was the only one schedule when I googled to plan my trip. Another risk here was that, the bus schedule was every second day, not on a daily basis. (I’m not sure about the current schedule nowadays, it might be changed.)

The first tip is, if you do not plan to spend a night in Mukdaharn or Savannakhet. All connecting bus schedules should be checked carefully first. But just keep in mind that it’s gonna be quite a tough ride, or maybe fun for most of you?

Everything went well as planned, anyway. Lucky me! Even luckier when I met 3 Thai people (2 guys and 1 girl) at the immigration, travelling the same way, so we ended up travelling altogether all the way to Hue. This long ride was not at all pleasant, a bit slow and bumpy, guess it’s the way Laotians drive, giving me a bit headache during the ride. Besides, the seat was so narrow and uncomfortable while the bus was somewhat packed with people, mostly locals. However, it took about a day, until we were there in the evening around 07:30pm. After getting off the bus, I almost threw up, and I just tried to think positively that I didn’t really eat much from the morning though.

The second tip is probably to eat enough before your road trip to Hue, or at least bring more food or snack on the bus. Be prepared for really, really long hours.

One night staying in Hue, sharing a cheap, spacious room with these 3 Thais, only USD20 per room per night. Their plan was a bit different from mine, as they would stay in Hue for 2 nights and move to Hoi An later. I bought my bus ticket to Hoi An for the next morning from a travel agent, Sinh Cafe… and here now I could happily say, “YEAH, Hoi An… I’m coming :)” – I couldn’t wait!!

000034On the next morning, I was up quite early around 06:00am, even though my bus wouldn’t leave until 08:00am. I wandered around the area, walked along the street, enjoyed the busy morning scene with people riding a bicycle or a motorbike, and sat 000035down at a small street tea shop to enjoy the moment and morning tea for a little while. The bus then punctually departed at 08:00am, and after 4 hours bus ride, it eventually arrived, and I was in Hoi An, I was really here. I was very excited and so ready to explore this little charming ancient town. The bus dropped people off right in the outer zone of the town, but still within a walking distance though. But firstly, I gotta find a place to stay. This part I didn’t plan it, thus I followed a few people to an international hostel, called Hop Yen Hotel, which turned out to be a crappy one. I got a single room, cheap price, but the room was not so ready, the bed cover was in a mess, and also dirty. I should have asked to see the room first before taking it! My worst pick! I didn’t feel safe during the first night at all.

Then my third tip is to ask to see the room before making your decision to take it. More choices are available in the same outer zone area, should you look for a low-priced hostel. Somehow, I have realized that I got what I paid for, sometimes it’s better to pay a bit more for something a bit better. I know it’s not a good idea to take the first choice, but I guess I was so dang tired on that day.

CSC_0142_copyrightComing up next, my stay in Hoi An, what to do and see, and a trip back home…

Stick around!


About pixomentum

Wantipa Patumanon, or Fang, is a Bangkok-based amateur photographer, traveller, and writer, as well as an English teacher. She is currently working for a wholesale tour operator based in Bangkok, and during her free time, after work and on weekends, she offers an English lesson to Thai people, both young students and adults.
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5 Responses to Road to Little Hoi An – Episode I

  1. This looks amazing! My Mum just got back from Vietnam and she absolutely loved Hoi An!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My buddy lives in Thailand now, He loves it there.

    Liked by 1 person

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