Mandy and Glen's Journey

  • 00:00, 01/01/1970
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Mandy: 9th - 12th October

We arrived at our hotel in Danang. I'll never get tired of saying that word! .....Danang! (Smile) it was called the Orange Hotel which, as Glen pointed out, is a strange name considering the history. (agent Orange chemical spraying by the American troops in the 60/70's)

It was another newly built hotel and was perfect. Everything was spotless and the staff were wonderful and almost as attentive as 'Julie' but not quite as good at speaking English thankfully and more spatially aware. So apart from bringing us iced lemon tea and cold wet cloths on arrival, and every time we went out and returned to the hotel since, they left us alone once they had asked us where we had been....... They were amazed how far we walked. I say they left us alone but as we entered the lift each time one, two or sometimes three of them stood there and waved and smiled to us as the lift doors closed. (chuckle) it was as if they hadn't seen a white person before and they couldn't get enough of us!

These flowers and Swans (not live Swans! made out of towels) were on the bed when we checked in to our room. Now the last time we had flora and fauna similar to this on our bed was in the Maldives!!! (But this room is only £17 a night rather than the £17 per HOUR we were paying in Maldives!!) But we didn't care about that, or the single red rose....... it had a kettle!! (Smile) we were happy.... Such things have become important to us.

This is not a 5* star hotel but a 3* hotel with staff who are just proud of their hotel and welcoming beyond belief. The other morning one of the staff we have been talking too each day nearly hugged and kissed me as we went to the restaurant for breakfast but managed to restrain herself and just touched my arm lovingly. They are such gentle and warm people..... (since writing that I have been hugged and touched by female staff and female owners in various street food type cafés, it is quite strange)

We loved Denang, it was a breath of fresh air... literally as it was windy there at first rather than heavy and humid. But mainly because it had open areas, large roads and not much traffic, a long wide promenade along the Han river and another along the sea front and with Mountains behind.... the views were wonderful. We could walk along peacefully and safely for miles and did so to the amazement of the people there who either use bikes, motorbikes, taxis or cyclos.

Usually men in Vietnam have taken up all of the pavement left after the motorbikes parked on them but in Danang there was still lots of space for us. (smile) The men play some sort of Chinese Chess game, dominoes and cards everywhere in Vietnam and they draw a crowd....while the women are working of course!

The new Dragon Bridge across the Han river.

This actually 'breaths' fire and spouts water on certain nights of the week!


Buddhist Linh Ung

Bai But Pagoda and the 67-meter-high statue of the Bodhisattva of Mercy on Son Tra Peninsula

This statue was HUGE! and wonderful to visit on such a perfectly sunny day with clear skys


Looking out across the South China Sea


View across the bay to Denang

Such a beautiful day (ahead of typhoon Nari due to hit in a few days time)

Rice noodles drying on the pavements!!! We have seen harvested rice drying on the road on the way to HaLong Bay but these were noodles ready to eat!! I have no idea how I managed to enjoy my meals here! Must have been with the help of the cheap local beer we were washing it down with!!! (Wink)

Rice drying on a main road (and in to the distance) somewhere between Hanoi and HaLong Bay near to rice paddy fields. Can you imagine what would happen if people did this in the UK.

We went to a food court in one of the small malls as it was cheaper and it had a panoramic view over the river. Most restaurants along the water front charge extra becuase of the view so it was a good find we thought. We looked at the menu and saw Frogs, Goat, Eels, whole little Pigeons (cooked but served sat up on the plate like it just flew on to it!!) Turtles (whole small turtles served on the plate but ready cut into pieces if you know what I mean) and Snake Head Fish whatever that is! Oh and chicken feet of course! I didn't want to take photos of all of these dishes in case they noticed me doing so but I did manage to take a photo of this delicious dish!..... Who needs to go on 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here!' Just come to Asia!

One day we had lunch in a lovely coffee bar, it had big comfy sofas (instead of tiny plastic stools) and looked sort of Western although the waitresses couldn't speak English so it was a nice balance. We had noodles and rice and chicken etc and iced coffee. (Not like you imagine but we are getting used to it!) When I looked at the menu in more detail afterwards I noticed a drink 'Birds nest and white fungus' it was good to be reminded that we are in Vietnam, but really who drinks and eats this stuff?

All of the cafes and bars we have been to are reluctant to give us knives but are more than happy to give us free glasses of green tea even if we are just looking at the menus for another time or just taking to them briefly. (without milk of course) it doesn't make sence surely as it stops people from ordering and paying for other drinks.


The fabulous 'China' beach (as the American Troops called it) with the Son Tra Peninsula(Monkey Mountain, again nick named by the troops) in the distance, you can just about see the white Lady Buddha. The beach had white 'squeaky' sand and not a soul in sight except for fisherman. Amazing.

We stood and watched the fishermen and women slowly bringing this net in and waited with excitement as they pulled, what we thought was, a huge haul of fish in. The men looked over and smiled as Glen had raised his hand to them with his fingers crossed in hope of a good catch.... but after all their effort all they caught was this small bowl of fish.

I've resisted the sunshine and a little chilli joke here, well almost resisted!

This 'do it yourself' BBQ cafe was highly recommended to us. It was full of young locals plus a table of tourists from Japan. All the BBQs were burning our eyes and the owners insistence on helping us cook our meal caused me much anxiety (turning over my raw chicken which I had already turned! and then putting the chop sticks that had touched the uncooked chicken on our plate of salad!!!) but he was so nice and the experience was well worth it.

We could hardly see across the room the smoke was so thick!

We understood why most people were sitting out on the street!

We ordered Pork and Chicken but Mum, as you will be reading this from a printout (and therefore not able to click on and enlarge the menus) here is what else we could have chosen!Duck Tongues, (waste not want not!!) Jellyfish, Frogs stomach (for those not feeling very hungry, chuckle!! We saw two young guys eating this!), Cow tendons (didn't think they were edible ....Dad?), Cows tails (I never liked oxtail soup when I was a child!!) mixed intestines (from which animal I am not sure!). I ordered French fried potatoes but they never arrived, I don't think they stock them as they don't get asked for such bland and boring food often here. Instead the owner suggested we ordered Banana flower salad, I thought that sounds nice (and safe!) but it came with chopped (unshelled) shrimp on of course! And some raw looking chicken like meat...... Glen of course thought It tasted delicious and wasn't bothered what it had in or on it! (Smile)


Glen had an interesting conversation with the owner about all sorts, including the imminent Typhoon heading our way, with the help of a translation website on the owners iPhone.

The owners daughter and her friends.


The lovely staff at the Orange hotel


Written : Mandy and Glen