Drifter came to stay with us for the second time. He has spent time in the Danang area and was asked to be a destination expert for the website Trip Advisor. He and I give travel advice on that sight and it was our good fortune to be able to travel together to Danang and Hoi An. Besides having the opportunity to visit friends that live in those towns, it also offered the chance to see and report how the destinations had changed over the past few years. I was to be in Saigon at the time, but I postponed the trip so I could Accompany Drifter. So begins another adventure of discovery…….
We arrived at the airport to have a driver waiting for us. The driver had been
sent by the Mango Hotel, a newly built hotel only a block off of China beach. All around was the construction of more hotels and other businesses. Drifter and I rented motorcycles and I spent the afternoon driving around the city in the rain and the cold to get a feel for the place. I was surprised by the amount of development that was going on. In the past, Danang was a city with very little to see and do. Very few tourists would visit except to pass through on their way to Hue or Hoi An. Now Danang is posed to become one of the hot spots in Vietnam. Almost the entire length of China beach is now lined by large
resorts or construction projects, as are some of the other main arteries heading into the city. Danang is also sponsoring some large and glittery events such as world fireworks competitions and the like. All of the glitz and glamour suddenly jogged my memory to an old documentary that I had watched about the creation of Las Vegas……. Hmmmmm…… Sure enough! There are casinos in some of these resorts… maybe all, I do not know. At the moment they can only be utilized by foreigners and Visiting overseas Vietnamese. Many people here have always wondered what all of the construction is all about without the tourists to support it. This may be the answer.. Danang may be poised to become a new Las Vegas of Vietnam. My experience in dealing with the people was pleasant. Nobody tried to overcharge me because I was a foreigner, and they were happy and helpful.
There is also much more going on in the city now. Overall I was left with a good impression of Danang and how far it has come. It is a bit of a shame about the loss of the many many kilometers that were china beach. The American military base still sits a darkened concrete testament to days past, however, across the road is a giant modern resort. Danang is being transformed into a high energy tourist destination. I will be interested in returning in another year or two to see the result of all the activity.
Drifter and I met up later for the 30 km bike ride to Hoi An. We decided to travel via the highway that followed the coast line. The entire coastline from Danang down to the marble mountains was endless resorts with no sign of access to the endless sandy coastline of just 3 years ago. We reached the marble mountains and were stunned by another new addition to the natural beauty. Obscuring the mountain view is a giant elevator shaft for people not fit enough to make the climb up the stairs. Oh my goodness!!!! What an eye sore. I talked with a couple of locals that live in the neighborhood and they were very bitter that it was built. I cannot say I blame them.