This section from Da Nang to Hoi An is the fifteenth instalment of my bicycle ride from Yunnan to Cambodia – if all goes according to plan. Titled “Slap the Belgian!”, it is simultaneously published on, where you’ll find a map with the itinerary and many other bicycle diaries by me and others. I hope you’ll enjoy.

Da Nang Panorama
Panorama from the bridge

We wake from our nasty Da Nang hotel beds moody and tired. The night had been noisy and the beds seriously the worst I’d slept in since I slept in a corn field on my very first bike trip. After a slow morning ritual including a mediocre bún (rice noodles, thin wiry kind), we say good-bye to Linh and head towards Hoi An.

Having done pretty much every Da Nang bridge during yesterday’s food binge, I decide I want to retrace my steps over the northernmost San Francisco-like bridge. I know it gives some spectacular views over the harbour and the sea on the other side, but it isn’t much to the liking of Tu, whose mental and physical energy levels still seem exhausted.

Boats at Da Nang harbour
Boats at Da Nang harbour

When we turn south on a strip of road that borders the beach, everything becomes a little easier again. The strong northern wind helps us ahead greatly and we only have to deal with butt pain and difficult knees. The first time I’d ridden from Hoi An to Da Nang, I’d taken the Asian Highway AH17, a large but fairly quiet road lined with shops and food stalls. It also carved through the Ngu Hanh Son (五行山, five-elements mountain), a large marble deposit with temples built on top.

This time around, I want to see something different so I take the road that sticks more closely to the ocean. This also reveals the access elevator to the Ngu Hanh Son, but I forgot to take a picture.

Family of boats at Da Nang harbour
Family of boats at Da Nang harbour

We stop somewhere on the road for ice coffee and some more noodle soup and then head straight to Hoi An. Apart from beach resorts and golf clubs, there really isn’t much interesting to see today, and I’d recommend riding the AH17 unless you have splendid weather and you want to make several swimming stops.

At Hoi An, we rent a room at one of the cheaper hotels on Ba Trieu street. At only 10 USD, it’s a bargain for this tourist hot-spot, but we quickly found the quality lacking: beds uncomfortable, air-con not working properly and therefore plenty of mosquitoes in the room, a mouldy stench and noise from outside thrown into the bargain.

Hoi An shrine to ancestors
Hoi An ancestral temple

So we go on another food binge. I remembered the Indian restaurant Ganesh to be a good choice, and even though they almost doubled their prices, it still is worth a recommendation. My understanding of “spicy” has changed, though. With almost three years in Yunnan, I feel medium-spicy doesn’t do it for me any more.

Tu’s knee is playing up now, and we sit around with an ice pack for half an hour to reduce the swelling. We’re probably going to stay another day tomorrow.

Lanterns at Hoi An
Lanterns lanterns lanterns

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