Thanks to some good recommendations (i.e. Lonely Planet and TravelFish.org) we headed straight for Hoa’s Place, which sits just 100 meters from China Beach.
Immediately, we were greeted by the man himself, Hoa, who has been called “the coolest man in Vietnam.” When our cab driver asked him for commission (for taking us to the guest house that we requested he take us to!) Hoa refused and told us that we have to “watch out for bullshit” but not to worry because Hoa “doesn’t fuck around with that stuff.”
Once the cabbie realized he wasn’t getting any extra money, he drove away, and Hoa ushered us to some seats at his restaurant. He told us to “take it easy guys” and introduced us to his specialty, the “local burger.” The local burger is an avocado and bacon hamburger served on a toasted baguette and it is amazing! We stayed for three days and during that time we had three local burgers each!
Every evening, Hoa’s wife serves up a family style dinner for all of the guests staying at his place – for only $50,000VND ($2.50 USD) it was all you can eat of rice, noodles, stir fried beef, salad, spring rolls, tofu, and veggies.
The dinners are awesome because he makes sure that all of the guests mingle together and no one is left out. At first, Aimee, Nick, and I sat at a table all by ourselves, but before the meal started Hoa’s staff made sure we joined the big table where we could make some new friends and take part in the family atmosphere.
Of course the main draw for hanging out at Hoa’s place (besides Hoa himself) is China Beach.
small spherical fishing boats resting on the beach
China beach is a loooooooooong (30km) stretch of beach along Vietnam’s central coast line. The sea was a bit choppy and the water is a little colder than it was in southern Thailand and Cambodia, but it was refreshing and fun to jump around in and we practically had it all to ourselves during our stay.
Once their rice sacks were filled to the brim with their catch, they would pack their load on to their motorbikes and haul them off to the market.