In order to get to Hoi An, you have to fly into Da Nang. We arrived about 9:30am to a very small airport and immediately were outside looking for a cab. Now knowing the hassles with meter taxis we insisted on a flat rate and ended up catching a ride with a dude from the states. Really nice guy who was travelling post divorce. He had been to Vietnam some 15 years earlier and was amazed at how it had all changed. He was a very knowledgeable guy. Told us all sorts of facts about Vietnam. But maybe a little too chatty for a 30 min drive!
Sue and I were shocked when we got to our hotel. It was a lot nicer than we had anticipated! We got all checked in and walked by a fabulous looking pool to get to our hotel room. Our room looked right on to the pool.
Town was only about a 5 minute walk so we hoofed it along the main street and into the main town area. What struck me about Hoi An was how cute it was. Lanterns strung up everywhere. Old buildings. The streets not super busy.
We were pretty hungry so we grabbed an early lunch by the river and planned our attack. The most amazing thing about Hoi An is the amount of tailors that work here. There are more than 500 tailors that work here so getting clothes made for you is the thing to do. We had a few places that had been recommended to us so we started there. At Yaly Couture. So we might have gone a little crazy here. Over the next hour, I worked with one person who helped me choose fabrics and designs for all the items I wanted. Once we had our list all finalized, we were measured.
We were told to come back the next day for our first fitting. That easy. And that quick of a turn around? Amazing!
We walked all around town that until later afternoon. Went to a few different tailors and ordered a few more things. It was starting to be hard to keep track of all of the different ones and what time we had to be at each the next day. Thank goodness for their business cards with maps on them!
So many great things to see in Hoi An. The Japanese Bridge as pictured below was built in the 1600’s as a way for the Japanese community to connect with the Chinese community.
Some other sites as we walked about town. Love all the colours!
We went back to the hotel for a little nap but decided on a swim instead! The pool was freezing but the weather was warm so we laid out for a bit after our dip and had an afternoon cocktail before getting ready for dinner.
We chose Mermaid Restaurant for our first nights meal. A little restaurant in the old town that had been recommended to us. We had to try the Hoi An specialty “White Rose” and was not disappointed. The food was incredible and probably the best meal we had to date at this point. If you ever go to Hoi An, you must try this restaurant!
As we were walking around the town at night we ran into Caley and Kyle, our friends from Halong Bay. Just happened to walk by them so we all went for a drink together. We exchanged email addresses so we could meet up with them in Nha Trang our next destination. It was an early night. I know, again. Seriously, we are not much parties when we travel. I would rather get up early and maximize the day than be hung over all day. But we did manage to party it up a couple times during our travels. The funniest part about staying out a little late that night was that by the time we got back to the hotel, the gate was up and there was noone to be found. It must have been 11pm or something. We did see a security guard inside but didn’t want to scream at him so we ended up climbing over the gate. When we asked the next day what we should do, they said we should call them and they would open it up. Um… with what phone?
The next day we took the hotel bikes out for a spin. Big mistake. They were so old and broken down that mine broke half way through the morning and I literally almost fell off the bike. A scary moment. We ditched the bikes then and just walked around. Ended up walking them back later. Some sites along our travels.
We then on a bit of a wild goose chase for this lunch place called Bale Well. We knew it was in an alley way between two streets but couldn’t find it. After we asked about 5 people and after walking for about 30 minutes we finally found it. This place was supposed to be the “safe” version of street food. It is a set meal and so they immediately started bringing over all the fixings. We had no idea how to eat any of it, so we asked. They showed us the various steps on how to put it all together. Best. Meal. Ever. Seriously amazing. But so much food. We stuffed ourselves! Not to be missed if you are ever in Hoi An.
The afternoon was spent in fittings for all our clothes. They were definitely shaping up. I couldn’t get over how well everything was made in such a short time. I found some more things that I wanted to get made as well so set up some fittings for the next day and booked a private tour to My Son. We took the crappy bikes back to the hotel and got some new ones. We had heard all about fresh beer so we had to go try it.
One glass of fresh beer was 4000 dong which is the equivalent of 20 cents. Totally ridiculous. And good beer too! We sat on the patio and just enjoyed the view!
After a couple glasses of fresh beer on a patio overlooking the river, we made our way back to the old town for dinner. Our choice for that night was unoriginal. We went back to Mermaid Restaurant. It was too good to pass up another meal there. After dinner was a donut at a street vendor and walking around town. I loved Hoi An at night when all the lanterns were lit up!
As we were heading back to the hotel, the bikes broke down again. We tried to explain to the staff at the hotel the danger of letting people use these dangerous old bikes but they didn’t seem to understand us. So if you stay at Hoi An Pacific Hotel, I highly recommend you rent bikes elsewhere!
Our My Son adventure started at 8am the next morning when our private tour guide and driver picked us up. We drove about an hour outside of Hoi An to My Son. For those that don’t know, My Son is the site of Hindu ruins that worship the god Shiva. A lot of the ruins were destroyed by the US during the Vietnam war. Restoration has taken place however what is amazing is that the construction techniques used to create the temples in the first place, can’t be duplicated. You can tell what has been restored vs what is original and let me tell you the difference is incredible. The restored parts look like they were done by amateurs!
We were excited to get out and see the ruins so but we begun our tour with music and dance of some of the locals.
Our guide was so informative and I was so grateful for having him. Walking around on our own without the histroy would not have been as impactful.
The location of My Son is in between two valleys and is so lush and green. It was wonderful walking around even though it was quite humid out.
We finished our tour and got back into the car to make our way back to Hoi An for lunch. As we were driving we saw this…
I am not sure if it was a good thing or bad thing that they were still alive. All squished up like that. Our guide said, she most likely was taking them to the market to sell. Poor piggies.
We ended up on the river for lunch which was all a part of the tour. A 4 course meal for $7. Love Vietnam for the cheap meals that you can get!
After lunch it was all about picking up our clothes. We were so impressed with the service we got at Yaly. You pay more for getting your clothes made but they are made so well and look fantastic. My overall haul in Vietnam: 4 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 2 winter coats, 1 top for around $400. All tailor made to fit me. Of and I forgot one other thing I bought… One bag to fit everything I bought into. 🙂
Our last dinner in Hoi An was at this cute little family run restaurant. I can’t remember the name of it but the food was amazing (as usual). We strolled through the streets of Hoi An one last time before heading to our hotel for an early night. We had an early flight to Nha Trang the next morning.
Final thoughts on Hoi An. One word. Amazing.