I could write forever and ever about Hoi An because I fell in love with the place. I wish Hoi An was closer to home and not 2 flights away from home, because I want to take everyone to Hoi An and see how magical it is.
Even though I have never been to Venice, to me Hoi An felt like the Asian version of Venice. Hoi An was the prettiest place ever and just had the most amazing feel about it, and you can tell why its the safest place in Vietnam which does not suffer from any crime. As part of the tour we stayed here for 2 days, and 2 days was not long enough, I wish we couldv’e stayed for longer, but oh well! However I do think we certainly made the most of the time we did have.
We arrived early in the morning on the sleeper train and got the bus straight to the hotel. We were staying at the Bach Dang Hoi An Hotel, which was my favourite hotel of the whole trip.
The hotel was a short but nice walk into the old quarter. Included in the trip we had a guided orientation walk of Hoi An and were shown around by the nicest guide called Hai. She was so friendly and I really enjoyed talking to her, she was only 22 and her English was amazing, not to mention how stylish she was! On route to the old town we stopped off at Madame Khan for a banh mi for breakfast. You can read all about this on the Vietnamese Food post coming soon. The orientation walk was great and we were told the key places to visit in the old quarter. You have to pay to visit the old town, its $6 for a ticket vali d for 3 days, and they do random spot checks of your tickets on entry. The ticket also included entry into 6 of the sites including the Japanese Bridge.
The tour ended at the tailors featured in Top Gear. Originally I wasn’t going to get anything, but the clothes were such good value I couldn’t resist. I ended up getting a dress for my friends wedding from Yaly (the tailors featured in Top Gear), and a jumpsuit and trench coat from New World tailors, which were the cheaper tailor – this was opposite the main Yaly store. It was a great experience getting measured, picking the fabric, style, cut, buttons etc to make the perfect garment.
We wandered the market and haggled for some bargains and then met up with the rest of the crew before hiring bikes from the hotel. We decided to bike to the beach which was a short bike ride away. The weather wasn’t very nice so the beach wasn’t very spectacular, we visited a bakery and then headed home. We were due back at New World at 5pm for another fitting so dropped the bikes off at the hotel and walked back to the old town. Here we used our tickets and visited some of the sites soaking up the culture. It was then time to head back to the tailors and wow its crazy how quickly they can make the items, a coat and jumpsuit all pretty much finished. The coat was nearly done just needed some finalisation and I requested the jumpsuit was made shorter and tighter at the legs.
We then went for dinner along the river where we enjoyed the local food called Cao Lau, it was noodles and pork and was delicious! It was lovely to eat sat along the river looking at the pretty lights. We headed back to the hotel to get ready for our night out. We had the drinks from the “beach party” in Nha Trang so drank them whilst playing some games around the pool and then headed into the town. We first went to a bar called Mr Bean Bar and then ended up at Tiger Tiger. The bars were full of backpackers and the music was amazing. However we spent a lot of the night ourside playing jenga with other backpackers! The bar/club shut at midnight so we headed home!
The next morning we met at 10am for the cookery class, you can read all about this class here
We then wandered around the town before we had to meet at 2pm for the bike tour.The tour took us through the rice paddys and through some small villages and was a great way to see the local Vietnamese life. We then stopped off at this house and it was explained to us that the oldest couple of Hoi An lived here, they are also quire famous and have been photographed by famous photographers. We were taken through their house and to their farm land where they were growing lots of plants. We then met the couple and to be honest a couple of us felt extremely uncomfortable, it was like this elderly couple were in a museum. There were people in our group going super close to them and taking their picture without asking and invading their personal space, and then we were all forced to have a group photo with them. I felt so sorry for the eldery couple and did not like the way they were treated at all. I personally think this elderly couple should be left to enjoy their life as a couple together rather than being treated as a tourist attraction. Having said that the couple seemed to be extremely happy and smiley and even moved so they could have better lighting on them for photos. Our friend Jess who spoke Vietnamese got chatting to the old lady which we thought was lovely, as she showed an interest in them. She also took the amazing photo below:
We carried on the tour and headed to our next stop which was a demonstration on how to make rice wine, this is very strong and none of us were brave to try it!
After the demonstration we then biked to where we were to get on the basket boats. I didn’t know what to expect with these boats but we sat in pairs with a local who took us in the boat into the bamboo and made things out of the bamboo for us – we had crowns, rings, glasses and even a souvenir grass hopper! The lady who took us in our boat was the friendliest and happiest ever – look how gorgeous she is!
We then biked to get the boat back to Hoi An, we were meant to then bike back to the starting point once arriving in Hoi An, but it was so dark when we arrived back and the bikes didnt have lights on so we got to just stay in the old town.
We had our final appointments with the tailor and we tried everything on for the last time and bought our bits! I was super happy with all my items! We then headed over to the other side of the river to the night market. We wandered down and had some street food for dinner and then treated ourselves to some donuts for dessert before enjoying an early night.
The next morning myself and Jess woke up super early and went and explored the old town one last time whilst it was still quiet. We got there are 6.15 just in time to watch the sunrise and it was spectacular. I think the best way to see a place is early in the morning and even better here because we could take amazing pictures without any people.
We met the group at 8am to take the bus to Hue and left my favourite place in Vietnam. I am sorry this post is so long, but there was so much to see in Hoi An, and I did warn you I could write and write about this beautiful place. I guess you have to visit now to appreciate it!