18.11.2013 - 21.11.2013 27 °C
Hoi An has been my favourite stay in Vietnam so far! Partly due to the fantastic town and the improved weather, but mainly due to the lovely family we stayed with. We chose Camellia Homestay as it had such good reviews on tripadvisor and were so glad we did, they made us feel so welcome and the house was beautiful. It was nice being a little way out of town too as we were closer to the beach (although it had been pretty wrecked by the typhoon!) and out of the busy town centre.
Our first day in Hoi An we borrowed bicycles from the family and cycled to the beach - although as per my above comment and the below photograph, it was a bit of a waste of time.
We then cycled the lovely scenic route along the river in to town for some delicious food at one of the hundreds of restaurants that fill the town. Exploring the town by bicycle is really fun, but the next day we instead decided to up the excitement by renting a moped! Like the other cities and towns in Vietnam everybody uses them, but in Hoi An, although still fairly hectic on the roads, it's a much better place for us tourists to use them!
We rode the moped 25kms North to the neighbouring city of Danang, getting a suntan along the way. Our aim was to reach the famous Monkey Mountain (aka Son Tra Peninsula) but as Ben had to be back for his suit fitting we only had time for a quick bevvy on the beach!
Hoi An is famous for its many tailors and is THE place to go in South East Asia for the service, so Ben decided to indulge on a fantastic hand tailored suit. We chose BeBe tailors as they're voted top on tripadvisor and were the only tailors the homestay would recommend! They did a fantastic job on Ben's suit, not settling until it was just right. The service was excellent, and cost a fraction of what it would have cost at home - happy days!
There's so many restaurants in Hoi An, which is great for food lovers (like us!) but it also makes it difficult to chose! Our favourites were Cafe 43 (really cheap, delicious food - chicken curry is great), Enjoy Hoi An (45 different flavours of icecream says it all!) and Morning Glory (more expensive than the others but so worth it). Hope this helps if you're due to visit!!
Shoppers will also love Hoi An as there's so many little streets lined with shops selling all sorts of stuff, from clothes and jewellery to hand painted coconut shell bowls. Ben bought me some of these bowls as an early birthday present, along with some beautiful hand painted traditional lanterns.
Along with its reputation for great tailors, Hoi An is also famous for its beautiful lanterns. At night the streets come alive with the different hues, giving the whole town a romantic feel. You can also buy a floating candle to watch meander down the river - once most of the tourists have done this the whole river looks so pretty!
All in all, Hoi An is the place to go if you're looking for amazing yet suprisingly cheap food, and, with its various cultural sites too (The Japanese Covered Bridge being the main site to see, although I have to admit it didn't wow me) has lots more to offer than just beaches and shopping (as good as the shops and markets are!). I would have loved to stay longer!