I arrived in Hoi An, a city about a half hour from Da Nang, on Saturday. I’ve spent the last three days seeing a variety of sites around the city.
One of the places I wanted to go was the Golden Bridge. It’s about an hour from Hoi An and according to what I’d learned doing my research the place is elbow to elbow with tourists arriving by the bus loads with tours from Da Nang and Hoi An. So….I hired a private driver for a 5:30 am pick up that would get me there before the first cable car heads up the mountain at 7am. I wanted to be on that cable car. And I was. I rode up with some employees and this was my view. The Golden Bridge is at 4,000 ft. (Sorry for the water marks on the glass but the attendant wouldn’t wipe it down as it went around the bottom of the lift.)
Yes, it was a little foggy.
The Golden Bridge is part of an French entertainment center similar but a lot smaller than Disney World. I wasn’t interested in coming to Vietnam to see a Disney World but I did want to see the Golden Bridge. This is why.
The Golden Bridge appears to be supported by two sets of hands. Due to the fog you couldn’t see but one at a time. By being there before most tourists, I got a fairly uninterrupted view.
There were three photographers shooting wedding pictures there, too.
If you strain a little you can see another wedding couple in the background. By 8:15, the first buses were arriving and the crowd began to thicken.
As I started back down at 8:30, the cable cars were full and by 9:00 or so, I’m told the bridge appears to be elbow to elbow with people taking pictures of themselves. It seems like many people are more interested in a picture of themselves then they are of what they came to see. “Here I am in front of (pick a place) then they are in the place itself.”
The driver cost me $50 ($10 per hour for five hours) plus $32 to get into the theme park to see the bridge. Not a bad deal, at all.
I also spend a couple of evenings wandering around the night market and photographing the lantern boats and a lighted bridge over the river.
A lady floats a candle-lit lantern into the river.
I’ve eaten 90% of my meals at street side places like these. The only restaurants I’ve been in in Vietnam are as part of tours or when I was on a cruise.
Another excursion took me to My Son (pronounced…me son) Sanctuary. This is a Hindu temple and surrounding buildings built around 400-1300.
According to my guide, it was bombed during the war. As an aside, at home, it was the Vietnam War…here, it’s the American War. As one reader ask, “What do the Vietnamese think of America?” According to a few I’ve talked with since being ask that question, I think the answer is that it’s been such a long time ago that it doesn’t bother them any more. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit with anyone of that era. Most of the young people that I’ve encountered are too young to remember it or are also in the tourism industry in some form or other, and aren’t going to speak negatively about Americans who are spending money here. The general feeling I have is that they were angry for some time but it’s been so long ago that they’ve largely put it out of their minds. I’m not sure if that would be true for those my age who fought in that war from either the United States or Vietnam.
I’ll have a little more to say about this after I visit Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on my next stop.
Back to the My Son Sanctuary. This place is similar to Angkor Wat in Cambodia but a lot smaller. A couple of interesting construction points. If’ you’ll notice, the bricks have no mortar between them yet they are said to be connected. Also, the tight shot of the sculpture brick, they assembled the brick, smoothed it, then carved out the designs.
Also, there’s one image here of sanskrit.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I landed in Da Nang. From what I saw, Da Nang is more a coastal resort city. I saw multiple luxury resorts on my way to Hoi An. Similar to golf resorts in North Carolina coastal areas or beach resorts in Hawaii or Florida. Its a much more modern city than Hanoi. The roads both in Da Nang and here in Hoi An are good. There is lots of develop in the works with cranes and construction sites everywhere.
Today is my last day in Hoi An. I’ve enjoyed it here. Tomorrow I fly to Ho Che Minh City for my last few days. Sunday night I leave for New Zealand.
I covered a lot in this post. I hope you enjoyed the information and the images.