When we realised that covid is not going anywhere anytime soon we decided to go back to Da Nang. Ho Chi Minh is a big town, with a lot of traffic and what comes with it – noise. Our apartment in Saigon was big and nice but a big downside of living in the town centre is that most of the day it’s very loud. After two months there we were simply tired of it. Another factor that made us move was our bizarre visa situation.
Our tourist visa expired in September. Due to the covid situation, the Vietnamese government was extending tourist visas for everyone who came to Vietnam in March for free. Everything would be nice if not for the fact that it was extended on monthly basis. What is even worse we knew if our visa is extended for another month or not on the very last day of the month. That means we can’t plan anything beyond a month period. It is uncomfortable for us as well as for our hosts because most of them would like to know upfront how long are we staying. All we could do was to book a place for a month and hope that the following month nobody will take that place from us.
Anyway, we decided to go to Da Nang. We found a place in the same building we’ve stayed in before. Yes, it is a bit strange to go back to the place you already know but also very comforting because people around already knew us. All shopkeepers and restaurant staff greeted us like old friends and asked where have we been. It was nice. What wasn’t nice was the apartment itself, unfortunately.
The place was crawling with cockroaches and ants. It was truly disgusting. We couldn’t stay there and quickly started to look for another place. Our previous apartment was booked but available from the next month. In this case, we found a really nice small bungalow in An Bang near Hoi An. Nothing extraordinary but good enough for us and still close to the beach. We decided to spend a month there and come back to Da Nang if the visa gets extended next month too.
An Bang is a lovely small tourist village. The beach was 3 minutes walk from the bungalow we stayed in. Everywhere was a lot of small local restaurants, shops and tourist resorts. We were surprised to see a lot of tourists there but once again we realised we came to the place during some national holidays.
Bungalow in An Bang
Our bungalow had two small bedrooms, a living room and a bathroom. There was something you could call a kitchenette but there were no pots suitable for the electric stove that was there. In the end, we were only using a kettle and sometimes the fridge. We also had our own small private garden where we could relax at any time without disturbing others. It was our best decision to go there after Ho Chi Minh. So quiet we could listen to bird songs all day.
Two days after our arrival another covid outbreak hit Vietnam! That’s just our luck! Immediately all tourists disappeared, streets got empty, restaurants closed. Our host suggested she will bring us dinner to the garden from the restaurant opposite to our place. It was a restaurant run by her husband and since all restaurants had to be closed he agreed to cook only for us. We had a surprise dinner every day for a month and I swear I enjoyed every single one of them. We’d probably never tried some of those dishes if we were to choose from the menu. Here we didn’t have a choice and we ate a lot of local specialities we didn’t even know about. Unfortunately, we also don’t know the names of those dishes. Every day at 5 pm something new showed up on our garden table. That’s all we know.
Wildlife photo session
An interesting and fun thing about living in a village is that you get to see some of the wildlife. So we’ve had a lot of small tree frogs in the garden… and often inside the bungalow too. Like everywhere in Asia, there was a lot of geckos or small lizards everywhere. Our host was afraid we wouldn’t like that and said she can send someone to remove them from our place. We didn’t mind them though. In fact, we were happy to have them there because they were feeding on insects that we hate. Plus we could have a nice photo session from time to time.
We will definitely want to come back to An Bang. It is a great place for a whole family holiday. We were sorry to leave but we exchange phone numbers with the owners and promised to stay in touch.