July 16th (Mon)
With no real schedule mooted the night before, I just did my usual morning routine and went back to bed, since nothing was happening. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door and it was Thao. She hurriedly told us to pack up and check out right away. I was a bit thrown off since it was so sudden, but I was glad. Doing something than nothing is always better.
Hurriedly packed up, checked out, and we were all in the car in a flash. I, however, got out again, as I was instructed to direct Thao’s mom’s car out of the narrow parking lot, while motorbikes moved briskly along the narrow road. Don’t ask me how, but it worked out anyway.
We ended up at the roadside near the tourist place we were at the night before. We then traveled on foot and ended up at a food place that resembled a Singapore wet market. At first glance, it seemed like many stalls were selling the same food.
Hoi An food market
They did the ordering like usual, and breakfast was a mixture of Banh Beo, Banh Hue and Vietnamese-style dumplings. It was a filling and delicious breakfast, and I have grown to like Banh Hue, and am actually missing this food as I type. Also had soya milk. Before leaving, we also brought Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Dessert with Coconut Milk which we will consume later, it sorta feels like eating Tau Suan which is the Chinese equivalent.
Hearty Breakfast in Hoi An
Following breakfast, we walked back to the car, and spent some time in a shop where most of the stuff were hand-made and Thao’s brother brought some stuff like clothes.
We then headed to Vinpearl Land which was in Nam Hoi An (Nam means South) and was wedged between Hoi An and Tam Ky. It was actually a new place having only opened in April of this year. After around 30 odd minutes of traveling, we arrived at the theme park, and I learned that Thao’s mom would be heading back to Tam Ky and pick us up at night. I hurriedly took out the belongings that I need, and it left me flustered since it was so sudden. So I only took my passport, wallet, and my phone with me. The all-day pass inclusive of all rides and attractions cost 500k. We headed in and left our belongings in a locker next to the water park.
Map of VinPearl Land Nam Hoi An
Speaking of VinPearl Land, it’s like a huge park that incorporated a zoo, bird park, amusement park, water park, basically everything that you can think of, you can find it here. Because of the sun, Thao would have me carrying an umbrella most of the way for the rest of the day to shield her from the sun rays. I kind of like this arrangement actually.
We started with a visit to the 3D Trick Art Museum. I wasn’t much of a photo person, but they all took plenty of photos, and I was in a couple of group shots. Pity I didn’t take one with Thao at all, triple regrets. We then left and continued walking until we reached the River Safari, where we took a boat which would loop around a safari housing the animals.
I got to see Antelopes, elephants, giraffes, Bengal tigers, White lions, rhinos, swans, ducks, chimpanzees, monkeys, and etc, but it didn’t escape me to kind of feel sorry for them who were caged up, and I could have sworn that some of them actually had sad faces. Nevertheless, it is how is it. I also got to feed an elephant a sugarcane stem during a rest stop.
We then headed to the bird’s sanctuary next door, where it housed parrots of various breeds, and some of them were really colorful. They were all very calm and seemed very used to the sight of people around them. Some of them had a swagger to them.
Parrot among greenery
Parrot #1 with SWAG
Parrot #2 with SWAG
There was an indoor arcade place, but we didn’t play any, and just headed straight for the 4D cinema. It fell short of my expectations though, not enough thrills.
It was past lunchtime actually at this point, but no one seemed to be hungry. We headed into the Folk Island section of the park, where it showcased Vietnamese traditional arts like pottery, paper making, accessories, and more. This was followed by displays showing the different type of housings that different Vietnamese tribes stay in. Some looked like those traditional Chinese housing you see in television dramas, while others resembled how tribes lived in mountains, where you had to mount an inclined log to get into the houses. It must be really tiring for them back in those days, having to go up and down them daily.
Something I found that resembled Taiwanese comedian 張立東
After an eternity in the Folk Island, it was decided we will have lunch. We already ate the Mung Bean Dessert at some point during our extended stay in Folk Island. As we were walking, I decided to take the chance and held Thao’s hand. She had been holding my arm all this while, while I held the umbrella up. But the holding hands part didn’t last long, and maybe it was a sign that things were falling apart. But I didn’t know back then.
Heading back to the main street with eateries, we headed into Lotteria which is like a Korean fried chicken restaurant. After queuing for an eternity, we were told that they didn’t sell rice dishes, only fried chicken which would be difficult for me with braces. I could sense the huge disappointment in the air, I felt really guilty at this point. They decided to have banh mi instead, and because I can’t have that either, I ate two big muffins and an orange pound cake. The awkward feeling in the air was so tight like a string, as I ate in silence with Thao by my side, and she must have felt boring, the other 3 sat at another side. I was really full from eating so much in such a short period of time, feeling really stuffed with sugar.
After 10 odd minutes which felt like an eternity to me, the awkwardness was finally broken as we left the shop. The other 3 decided to go to the Water Park, and I would have loved to join them although I didn’t have any swim trunks on me since everything was so rushed, and I didn’t want to have to buy swimming trunks here. Having only learned swimming just last year, I haven’t been to a Water Park in my whole life, and I would have loved to do some water rides. But with Thao saying that she was not going, it meant that I could spend alone time with her, so I passed on the chance to go to the Water Park. Another time I guess.
So it was just me and Thao at this time, and we were off to try the rides. I couldn’t remember the order of the rides we took, but we did get on most of the thrilling ones. But here it goes. First, on the list, we went on this Desert Twister roller coaster, which was like the usual roller coaster ride like in an action film set. It was quite fun and thrilling, but it ended really quickly in a flash. Thao, however, looked really scared at the end of it all.
Next were two stomach-churning rides called Fast and Furious, and Upside Down. Both were really wild rides which would flip you 360° in the air, and stop for a few seconds. It was quite a thrill for me as I dangled my arms and legs in the air while being flipped in all directions possible, but Thao’s face was all white like her fair skin. It was so horrifying for her that she screamed “stop” in Vietnamese for one of the rides to stop ahead of the scheduled run, and it did stop ahead of time. While I was pumping with adrenaline at this time from the thrilling rides, I was also quite nauseous actually after consuming my hearty lunch less than 30 minutes ago, but I didn’t really show it on my face because of my ego.
Next up was Swiss Tower which only I went on it, as Thao was scared and just looked on while holding an umbrella. Mixed emotions, as this was a good adrenaline rush for a few seconds, but doing it alone without Thao beside me. I did this before at Leofoo Village in Taiwan, so I knew how it felt. After going up to 80 meters as advertised, it plunged down and ended in a flash. Probably because when you have done it before, it doesn’t thrill anymore.
Then we tried another roller coaster called Lost Valley, which was similar in concept to Desert Twister, and offered the same thrilling ride which also ended pretty fast. Thao was just as scared as before and then mentioned that this was the end of any more rides. Lol.
As we were wondering what’s next, Thao mentioned that the operator told her to go for the second round on Upside Down. Thao, however, did not want to go another time, and politely said no. So we headed back to the Folk Island, for a performance as Thao said.
Traditional Vietnamese Folk Dance performance.
So we hurriedly sped there on foot, and just managed to catch the folk performance that was already in the middle of their performance. Thao was all into the performance, while I was kind of tired and just sat down on one of the wooden logs, and watched in silence. It ended after around 10 minutes, and it had quite a good crowd. Thao said that there was a water puppet show at 6, although there were a good 20 minutes to go before that.
We then headed to an open field, where we could partake in some traditional Vietnamese folk games. The first one was swinging a bundle and throw it into a circular loop perched in the air, needless to say, we did not get one in after a few throws, and sort of gave up. Then we proceeded next to a giant swing, where we faced each other, while the operators swung us back and forth. It was the closest I got to Thao, as we swung back and forth, like a mini Viking Ship ride, and I was kind of tempted to kiss her, but I didn’t of course.
Then we played a balancing log game, where we had to walk from one end to the other. I thought I could do this, but I barely got a few steps in before I fell off it. Thao didn’t make it likewise. The guy staff then tried doing it but didn’t make it either, lol. The female staff however made it through, and it awed me that it was really possible to do it.
Finally, we got to the last station, where you had to be blindfolded, while holding a club, and you had to follow directions from your mate while being distracted to walk ahead to hit hanging stuff a distance away. Thao did the game first and managed to hit it once.
I was up next and managed to do it successfully all the time. But strange enough, they made me do it again and again, about 6 times I think. It was because I was supposed to hit it once, but I was swinging it all the time until I found the thing to hit it. It was a hilarious scene I figure to them, and me. I only know what I had to do after 6 tries, Lol.
After sweating it out through the games, we then headed to the water puppet theatre place, where there was no one initially, but the place filled up once the show started. Thao left me there alone for quite some time before the show, as she needed to poop, and it was here that I felt that Thao was keeping her distance away from me. I was found out I guess.
Thao’s brother and Thao’s friends joined us after the show begun, but I couldn’t really get the whole show since it was in Vietnamese although they did introduce the title of the scene in English. After around 30 minutes, it ended, but most of the crowd had already dispersed.
One of Thao’s friends was actually scared stiff of the rides, so she just sat down on a bench to wait for us. Thao and another friend of hers went off to try some ride which I never know what it was. She was getting disillusioned with me, I feel. I took the Swiss Tower again, with Thao’s brother. Thao’s brother tried this ride before in another VinPearl Land, but this was much higher. Anyway, the ride was over in a flash, and I didn’t feel much of a thrill.
The last attraction of the day at VinPearl Land was the Musical Water Fountain show which was like the one back home in Sentosa, offering an epic experiential fusion of the latest multimedia effects, including 3D projection mapping, state-of-the-art lasers, robotic water fountains and giant water jets, pyrotechnics. We were running late for the show, so the 3 of them headed to the washroom, while I and Thao rushed off to catch the show. We sat together for the show which lasted around 30 minutes, and it was quite a spectacle.
Following the end of the show, we headed to the exit where Thao’s mom was already waiting, and the other 3 soon joined us as we departed in the direction of Tam Ky (?). Actually, Thao had earlier told me that I probably have to book a hotel room in Tam Ky. While I didn’t think much then and just agreed to everything she says, it was probably right on second thinking. It just wasn’t humanly possible to head to Da Nang, as it was just not on the way. It was crazy for Thao’s Mom to drive me to Da Nang, and then back to Tam Ky so late in the night. I was like the odd one, sticking like a sore thumb, so I forfeited my hotel payment in Da Nang.
Another thunderbolt then struck me as Thao revealed on the way back to Tam Ky, that she, her mother, and her brother had agreed that I could stay in their home for the night. So no hotel stay in Tam Ky for my last night. Was looking forward to going back to Le Dung Hotel actually. Thao’s mom brought some grilled corn so while everyone could eat them normally, I had to sadly peel them one by one and throw it inside my mouth. Stupid braces! After around 30 minutes, Thao’s friends got off 1 by 1, as I saw them for the last time.
Forfeited – Stay in Happy Day Hotel (Agoda) 34.62, Standard Double – The costliest accommodation that I had booked, and the best as far as I can see from online photos and reviews. I even had to make full upfront payment before the trip. Alas, it was not to be.
Upon reaching home, I realized that I had no towel for showering, had been using the ones in hotels. Thao’s brother then got on the motorbike and drove off to somewhere nearby to get towels for me, since there was no shop selling them in close proximity. I was so grateful but I didn’t really show it much. Thao was already in her room, so I was by myself for most of the night. I took a quick shower and then slept in Thao’s brother room.