I could not have been happier to arrive in Hoi An – although the city life had been very exciting, Hoi An, for me, was the picturesque scenery and idyllic streets that I’d thought about and a drastic change to the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang. It was also my favourite part of my trip so far and I think most would agree!
We survived our second sleeper train to Hoi An from Nha Trang and had even become more accustomed to the sounds, speed and the swaying!
Breakfast was traditional Báhn Mì – essentially baguettes, which are filled with meats and were introduced by the French. You can get Báhn Mì pretty much anywhere in Vietnam, it’s super cheap and very filling!
Just walking to the café, you could already tell the massive difference between the city and Hoi An and if I were to return to Vietnam, Hoi An would be where I would head to!
The Ancient town is pretty damn beautiful – the colourful buildings decorated with lanterns and the roads lined with rice padi fields and water buffalo. It is also filled with their world famous tailors, who make bespoke clothing totally tailored to what you want.
After wandering through the streets, we then took a cycling tour through the countryside, with our first stop being at the house of the oldest couple in the area – aged 87 and 92 and married for 67 years! He was taken prisoner by the US during the war for 5 years, shortly after they were married, but she waited for him and have been happy ever since!
The whole tour, which was about 4 hours long, was really quite cool and also included trying rice and banana wine (more along the lines of sambucca than wine..), seeing water buffalo up close, and sailing along the river in bamboo boats! And even though I quickly realised that I hate cycling, the experience was pretty amazing!
Hoi An’s nightlife is also very decent and a good night of cheap drinking! Vietnam however seems to differ in that it’s nightlife is shut away by around midnight/1am, the previously packed streets become totally deserted.
Day 2 was spent at an Oodles of Noodles cooking class, which is run by an organisation that helps young people in poverty to start careers in hospitality, and they taught us how to make Vietnamese noodles from scratch! Definitely harder than it looks, and thankfully we did not have to cook our own lunch.
Hoi An was also the first place in Vietnam that actually had some sunshine, and we took full advantage of that and the hotel’s pool! And as a group of backpackers, we were all very impressed that our accommodation was the Bach Dang Hotel.
It was a short, but very sweet visit and after a fabulous two nights, we then set off on our 4 hour coach trip to Hué, the next stop on our itinerary and the very central spot of Vietnam.
Thank you for reading!