Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Two days in the gorgeous Hoi An

Hoi An was a stunner. All of our's favourite destination on this trip. Yes, Hoi An is becoming a tourist trap and was packed with tourists but, you know what? We were tourists. And we enjoyed it. It was amazing.
Hoi An is a World Heritage Sight and “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century” (says wikipedia). It is most well-known for its gorgeous old town and its lanterns at night time.

Our two days in Hoi An included:

  • Sightseeing the Old Town at day.

The famous bridge of Hoi An, also stars on the 20,000 dong note
The centre of the town was meant to be walking and cycling only. It was reality depending on the amount of police around.

Riverside path

As mentioned in the previous entry, these fanciest photos are courtesy of Steffy
Near our hostel. The old town is over the river.

  • Sightseeing the Old Town at night. 
Lanterns are Hoi An's trademark

On the way to Why Not?
Mary on her bicycle (the most traditional way of getting around)

  • Visiting the tailor. Hoi An is Vietnam-renowned (if not world-renowned) for its cheap tailors, so it was a must for me. After a long, long debate and contemplation, I settled on a casual turquoise dress (a copy of my polka dot one), a white top (a copy of my ancient, manky, stretched, ex-white one) and matching dresses for Hayzybobzykins and I. :)                                                                                                                                                          
         We went in at about 11am, and at 7pm we had our first fitting. Impressively fast work.

  • Lovely meals at lovely quaint restaurants
Wonton soup for lunch

Cao Lau - Best Food of Hoi An
White Rose - another speciality of Hoi An

Mary tried this street snack - basically softened crab. She says it was very srcumptious. I'll take her word for it.
The best meal, in all of our opinions, was one at Hong Phúc II-restaurant, a set traditional meal with all sorts of scrumptiousnesses, absolutely stunning. Very, very highly recommended! 

Hong Phuc <3

The starter platter of Hong Phuc - spring rolls, white rose, cao lau and crispy pancakey stuff

  • Buying a hat. I literally (well ok not literally, but quasi-literally) buy a hat on every holiday I go. One from Saigon, one from Thailand, two from Malaysia, and now one from Hoi An. I don't intentionally collect hats – I just always forget them, or just figure out it's less of a hassle to buy a new one than carry an old one about everywhere... But this hat buying was special, due to the special Hats Saleslady.

Quiz time! What is the best marketing method to selling a hat?
    a. Smacking your customer's bum multiple times
    b. Attempting to force a wetwipe down your customers shirt
    c. Squeezing your customer's nose
    d. All of the above
    Trying on hats
Aaaaaaand the result iiiiis, yes, d. All of the above. 

She was actually a nice lady, and I didn't feel pressurised into buying the hat, though her persuasion methods were not the ones I would recommend all people. I did feel a mix of smugness and embarrassment though when she squeezed my nose (seems a habit of the Vietnamese, I guess I have a special nose) which was, thanks to Dalat, very full of snot.

  • Visiting some cool old houses and temples. 

Courtesy of Steffy: Entering some fancy place

  • Visiting the ancient jungle ruins of My Son
In bus
My Son means beautiful mountain, and it was beautiful and the ruins were fascinating, however the HEAT was unbelievable. 

On the road to My Son
Usually they have 'elecic cars', ie. sort of golf-cart type thingies to take you up to the ruins from where the bus stops, but today all the other tourists had bagged them, so we got to walk twenty minutes to the ruins. I managed that quite happily, but, well, it was hot.
Them elecic car stealers
I can't think of many words that describe a situation as well as our My Son-visit could be described with the word stifling. There were momentary claustrophobic moments where you literally felt you couldn't breathe due to the H_E_A_T. So, I must say My Son was not my favourite moment, just because it was impossible to enjoy it properly due to this slightly tropical climate...
Even picture were a little bit of a forced ordeal at the end. "I guess we should take pictures while we're here..."

When I was lying on the grass dying and this dude was taking pics of me, highly amused
Stefan managed some cool pics tho:

  • People-watching.

Look closely... the little boy has a T-shirt of himself 
Motorbike taxi or taxi?
Those dudes I found interesting - a xeom (motorbike taxi) and taxi driver chatting but also both scouting out for customers... I needn't but look in their direction and I got both a "motobike, motobike!" and a "taxi?"-offer.
Canalside salespeople
Where motorbikes are not allowed...
  • Going on an evening boat cruise

 We were walking down the canalside, and decided none of us would mind saying yes to one of the mirriad boaters offering their services. We chose a very cute old man, who offered a decent price, and we were helped down onto the rickety boat which nearly capsized at each step we took on it.

Once we'd all got on it, we realised there was a bundle next to Mary – a bundle that moved. It was a baby. 

As we started moving, the baby became less happy, so after a few minutes of poor Mary being very confused if she should somehow attempt to help/entertain the baby, our gondola driver gave up the paddling of the boat, and picked up the baby. Next thing we knew, he had the baby peeing over the side of the boat. A surreal moment and we weren't quite sure where to look.
Happy post-pee baby on lap

But, all in all, a lovely scenic boat trip. We got our own lanterns as well due to my quality bargaining skills (hrm) which we then put into the water to join all them other lanterns. :)


Summary: A very lovely two days. I <3 Hoi An and I am definitely going to go back.

Next, we hopped into our rented car with rented driver, off to go over the Hai Van Pass towards Hue...

A bientot mes chérs,


  1. How much came out when she squeezed your nose?!? Sounds like a great trip! Zz

  2. Was it a large leaf underneath your Hong Phuc restaurant starter dish? Looked nice.

  3. I wonder about the baby's safety when he's grown a bit and starts walking... A very interesting experience, though. :)