Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An, Vietnam
After a bit of a mission which included: mini bus to Nha Trang, a few hours waiting around, getting on the night bus with two excessively drunk English guys, 12 hours later we arrived in a rainy Hoi An.
We travelled from Da Lat to Hoi An with Viet Nhat travel company, we booked it through our hostel; Backpackers Paradise and they were very helpful.
Hoi An is in the middle of Vietnam on the east coast, it was originally part of the Silk trade route and is still known worldwide for its amazing tailor shops and beautiful handmade designs.
Our hotel Sunflower Hotel offered free pick up from the bus stop which was great as it turned out there were about 9 of us being picked up from the night bus and at 7am it is hard to process anything, let alone after a 16 hour+ journey.
We couldn’t check in for a while but the hotel offers great communal showers by the swimming pool and a great buffet breakfast at 60,000dong-this is normally included in your night’s stay.
All refreshed and clean and joining forces with our Aussie girls; Jordan and Lauren we all headed into Hoi An to explore. The rain had cleared up quickly and it was lovely and warm. We bought a ticket at from the tourist office just next to the Japanese covered bridge for 120,000dong each. This allows you to enter the old town and access to 5 out of 22 old buildings. The cost of the ticket also supposedly goes towards restoration and upkeep of the old town. Please choose your buildings carefully as we didn’t realise the ticket only included 5 places!
Hoi An Ancient town is crammed with little French style houses. These are slim and long and are primary made from wood with a stone or marble base. These building have withstood years and years of flooding and have also been tested recently by the floods.
We needed a bit of pampering after neglecting out feet for a few months so we wondered down to Lavender Spa close to our hotel and highly rated on TripAdvisor. It was a good price for a decent service! We also managed to visit a local barber and Luke and I got our hair trimmed. Luke also got his ears cleaned which is a massive thing in Hoi An and apparently Vietnam is famous for its ear cleaning technique!
At night, Hoi An reveals its true beauty. The streets which look pretty in the daytime, look spectacular at night with rows and rows of glistening lanterns create a magical atmosphere.
We booked a trip to My Son ancient ruins through the hotel which cost…. We were collected at about 8:30am by coach and it did the rounds of the town collecting more people before we set off. The journey takes about 1 hour and half but it feels quicker as you pass gorgeous rice paddy fields and scenery on your way.
As our tour group consisted of two coaches, it did seem very busy at the ruins. You would definitely get better photos if you went by yourself and early, but you need a guide to explain and get more out of the visit otherwise it just looks like a crumbly old temple. We managed to hang back a few times and get some pictures with less people and selfies sticks!
On the journey back you were offered boat or bus and we opted for the boat. It was aptly referred to as the Titanic as we weren’t allowed to move as it would ‘unbalance’ the boat! There wasn’t much to see but it was a nice change to access the town by water.
As this day was my birthday, we had booked a nice restaurant called Cargo Club. Joined by Jordan and Lauren there were 6 of us for dinner and I can truthfully say this was one of the best meals Ben and I had had since travelling. The food was delicious, the views were atmospheric over the water and we were in great company. I great way to spend my first birthday away from home and normality. I did manage to speak to all of my family on FaceTime too so it was a perfect evening.
We hired bicycles from a tourist office across the road called ………. They were cheaper than the hotel bikes at 20,000dong, and in much better condition. They also have a handy lock on the back wheel which we hadn’t seen before. We cycled 15 minutes down to the beach which was on the same road as our hotel. The beach is quite nice but there are massive sand bags on the shore as the waves are quite strong. We were told that the beach is much nicer just north of the main beach.
We attended a cooking class and taster session at Vy’s Market. We booked it through Morning Glory Cooking School and it cost $25USD. The market itself is in a covered building and it is a bit like a food court with traditional Vietnamese food vendors. For us the two hour session was just right and we made a few dishes ourselves to try which included: Banh xeo, fresh spring rolls, banana leaf dumpling and green mango salad. We were also filled up with other tasty treats throughout the start of the session. We would definitely recommend this experience for a short intro into Vietnamese food.
Banh Mi Queen– Amazing baguette sandwiches and range from 20,000dong –free wifi
Banh Mi Phuong-Rivals of Banh Mi Queen but just as delicious and range from 20,000dong- free wifi, although it didn’t work
Cargo Club– Spectacular food! Mid-range to high prices but one of the best meals we have had our whole time travelling. Great service-free wifi
Coco Box, Hoi An Rostery and Bistro– delicious smoothies, juices and cakes with a gorgeous view of the river- free wifi
Bale Well– authentic Vietnamese food. You get a set menu for 120,000dong and it includes rice paper rolls, spring rolls, meat satay and the famous banh xeo
Vy’s Market– Vietnamese style foodcourt-free wifi
Nu Eatery– amazing high-end Vietnamese food, in a quirky little house down a little alleyway near the Japanese covered bridge-free wifi
Sky Bar, Corner Corner– good drink offers and social atmosphere, they also have jenga and shisha-free wifi
Irish Bar– a bit expensive but has live music and nice atmosphere, big range of hot drinks-free wifi
- Free hotel pick up from sleeper bus stop (Sunflower Hotel)
- Hoi An Ancient Town Pass– 120,000dong pp. NOTE: you can only enter 5 out of 22 listed building so choose carefully
- Lavender Spa– two pedicures and foot scrub 370,000dong
- Ladies haircut (dry cut) 270,000dong
- Trip to My Son from the hotel –you pay 150,000dong for entry ticket at My Son
- Taxi to town from Sunflower Hotel 45,000dong
- Bicycle hire for one day 20,000dong per bike
- Morning Glory Cooking Course- Vy’s market, 2hour taster session $25USD