Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An-- what a dreamy, delightful place. Historically a trading port, Hoi An sits on the banks of the Thu Bon River in central Vietnam and is a well-preserved example of an ancient Southeast Asian town. This was the first place on our trip where I felt perfectly content to do nothing but wander the town each day we were there. There is enough to stimulate your senses and keep you entertained. The heat will ensure that you take many breaks. Walking through streets of yellow two-story buildings covered in Bougainvillia and wooden signs and fronted by cyclos, conical hat-wearing women selling fruit, food stalls, and pedestrian visitors is enough to enchant and inspire. Add to an ideal ambiance the amazing food that abounds in Hoi An (separate post on that later) and the gorgeous beaches just a couple miles away and you've got the perfect recipe for my favorite town.

Hoi An has great shopping. After two months of no souvenirs, we walked away with a small painting, some jewelry, a pair of shorts, and a stunning hand-cut, pop-up greeting card, all totaling under $5. Hoi An specializes in custom-made clothing and shoes. While we did not partake in this offering, you can find tailors and shoemakers on every street and from what I hear, the prices are reasonable and the quality quite good. 

We were so pleased with our hotel (Thuy Duong) which was situated right in the downtown area and only cost us less than $9 a night! We did not expect to spend a week in Hoi An, but it's one of those towns that just feels comfortable and the price is right to just relax and chill there for a while. 

Here are some photos from our time there. 

{Enjoying one of my favorite meals from our entire trip at Bale Well. More about Hoi An food in a later post.} 

{In Vietnam, the street hawkers are relentless! They're constantly trying to get you to buy their goods. Brad was much more patient with them than I was. He would listen to their spiel and politely say no, while I would either ignore them or quickly say no, thank you, and walk away.}

We spent some lovely days at both Cua Dai and An Bang beach, both of which are an easy bike ride from the Hoi An city center. The water temperature at these beaches was perfect and the grove of coconut trees at Cua Dai provided the perfect natural shade for a lazy day at the beach. 

The beaches remain pretty quiet during the day, but just before sunset, the whole vibe changes when the locals start to gather with all their families and full on picnics for a dinner on the beach. The ocean fills up with Asians swimming in their clothes and the whole beach turns into a party scene. I was laughing so hard at this old guy who just passed out by the shore. Long day at work?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for this post! We're doing a SE Asia trip this fall and Hoi An is on the top of my list. I've only heard good things about it. Your photos made me even more excited! I looked up the hotel you stayed in and would be believe that for late Nov the rate jumps up to $50 a night! I guess we'll have to find another option. I can't wait to hear about the food!