Hoi An is a city on the central coast of Vietnam that is known for being a well preserved Ancient Town. The areas has some amazing beaches along with Hue being a day trip away.
On the 29th December we left Hanoi and flew to Hoi An. We had a 9am flight and decided to skip breakfast and get something in the airport. This was a huge mistake as there was nowhere to eat in the airport (its one of the two main international airports in the country!) so we had a very unhealthy breakfast of Pringles. We arrived in Da Nang airport and were collected by our hotel for our 40 minute drive to Hoi An. The drive through Da Nang was interesting. The outskirts of the city was a construction site of would-be casinos, a Vietnamese Vegas. There was a large convention centre and a fun fair that looked more depressing than fun. It didn’t seem like there was much to do in Da Nang but apparently it was the tech hub of the country. I’m sure that visiting Da Nang in 5 years time, it will have a totally different feel.
We arrived at our hotel and sadly it was raining, but we relaxed for a while before heading into Hoi An, a really well preserved Ancient Town. We strolled through the streets where the old buildings housed tourist shops selling everything from handbags and magnets to tailored suits (which the town is well known for). I decided I wanted a new wallet so I got to treat myself, along with some funky elephant pants – which are now PJ’s as I would look stupid strolling around Dublin in them.
We stopped off for some lunch in Morning Glory, where we got a Vietnamese steak sandwich and some spring rolls. The food was unbelievable, and the queue of people waiting to be seated was nothing but a good sign. As our starter and main course was so good we decided to get dessert, the Hoi An Waffles – which did not disappoint. Two three course meals with soft drinks and a cocktail came to under 20euro. We kept walking through the small streets lined with old historic buildings, stopping in at random shops before coming to the market by the water. We did some shopping in Hoi An (scarves, wallets etc.) but we didn’t have any time to visit any of the tailors which the city is known for. Before heading back to the hotel we stopped into Dive Bar for a drink, which had a great atmosphere and better cocktails. I think you could also organise boat trips here to see the beautiful beaches that lay outside the Old Town, but sadly we had no time to check them out. After a shower (and watching Discovery’s Naked and Afraid for an hour – which we got hooked on during our trip) we headed back to town for some dinner in Good Morning Vietnam, an Italian restaurant in the heart of the Old Town. Dinner here was fine, good pizzas but not as goof as Morning Glory earlier in the day. After dinner we walked back through the streets along to the waterfront, which was lit up with lantern houses. The town at night looked gorgeous, although very very touristy.
The following morning we had a quick swim in the pool before heading out for the day. We walked around one or two of the old monuments and temples which were beautifully decorated and extremely well preserved, along with visiting the Japanese bridge in the town. We strolled back to the market, where we could go inside and see the food stalls. Next we made our way to Palmarosa Spa where we booked in for a 90 minute massage, which was the highlight our of trip to Hoi An. 90 minutes later we were ready for a nap and decided to get some lunch in an Indian restaurant close by which had been recommended in our guide book. Ganesh looked more like a shop than a restaurant from the outside and as we walked in the chefs sitting at the back started to shout as us, we took no notice and sat down. We ordered our food and I decided to try some Da Lat wine, which wasn’t very nice so I stuck to normal wine. The food was served in really funky dishes which looked cool. I kept noticing a waitress at the back of the restaurant looking over a table and laughing which made me curious – as I thought it was either a dog or a child that had her attention. A while later I decided to head to the bathroom I kept an eye out behind the table, where it turned out the chef was asleep on the floor all tucked up in a table cloth. Next we headed back into the Old Town for another stroll around – we got some entertainment out of the extortionate prices asked of Sean for a wallet (after the initial ask of 40e we got it for 16e). We stopped off somewhere for a drink, were not too sure where but we sat out on the small balcony upstairs to do some people watching. After our Indian we were stuffed for the day but decided to check out an ice cream place that was getting great reviews on Trip Advisor. It was a disappointment so we went for a drink and another walk through the Old Town. As we walked back over the bridge towards our hotel I decided to get a lantern to release down into the river. My lantern, called Louise was followed closely by Sean’s until both got stuck to the side of a boat.