Cultural Paradise - HOI AN
Hi, Britney here!
We are changing it up a bit! From now on we are going to state who, out of Damien and myself is writing. That way you can relate to us on a more personal level. We also wanted to make our blog posts easier for you to read and navigate. So we are creating a streamline process of bullet points that we believe get straight to the point for you! We'd like to share as much information as possible with you. Please, any feedback or content you wish for us to talk about, let us know by commenting below!
Today I wanted to share with you guys my FAVOURITE city in Vietnam. Below, you will find all the reasons why!
- How to get to HOI AN.
Hoi An was our third stop in Vietnam. We made our way there from Ninh Binh via the sleeper bus. For what should have been a 14 hour trip it took a gruelling 16 hours! It wasn't too bad considering you get a comfy, reclining seat all to yourself. Which makes it easy to doze off. The down fall of this bus is that it really smells! Every one is made to take off their shoes before hopping onto the bus. So you get a lovely concoction of bad feet, urine and body odour. To make your trip more comfortable, I would suggest packing a light scarf to cover your face with.
- PRICE? From Ninh Binh to Hoi An via the Sleeper Bus it will cost you approximately 379,400 Dong ($22AUD) per person. Alternatively you can get the train which I believe would be the more comfortable option. There is supposedly a restaurant cart so you can get up and walk around. The train is supposed to take 16 hours, but at least you know that it will run on time. The buses are always incredibly late and not to mention they drive like crazy!
- Where to stay?
We had planned for 3 nights in Hoi An. The first nights accommodation we stayed at a hotel called HOI AN WHITE VILLA. It was lovely and modern with a pool and they did a great breakfast. The downfall to this was that it was 2km out of town. In other countries this hasn't been a problem as you can get tuk-tuks everywhere. But not here in Hoi An. There is a lot of bike rentals, which is great but the short 2km bike ride into town in 35 degree heat was not cool!
For our second and third night, we chose a place in the centre of the Ancient Town. It was called LONG LIFE RIVERSIDE HOTEL which is located opposite the river and neighbouring many cafes and restaurants.
- Hoi An White Villa was 552,024 Dong (approx $32AUD) for a standard double room, including breakfast. We were lucky enough to get a last minute discount of booking.com and paid $22 for the one night. Bike rentals here will cost you 20,000 Dong ($1.15 AUD) for a full day.
- Long Life Riverside Hotel was 586,908 Dong (approx $34AUD) for a standard double room, including buffet breakfast and free bike rentals! We booked this hotel last minute so this is a discounted price. Their normal rate is around $50AUD per night.
- For the budget travellers. We have heard a lot of talk about this place, LAZY BEAR HOSTEL. For a double room you are looking at paying 454,000 Dong per night ($26AUD) or for a shared 4 person dorm you're looking at 181,600 Dong per night ($10AUD)
- What to do in HOI AN?
- Eat the street food at the night markets! Honestly it is so good! Of a night time, Hoi An comes to life. The street markets are thriving with people and food carts at every corner. From fresh fruits to sweet and savoury pastries. Ice cream and Banana pancakes to grilled rice paper wraps and of course you will find the weird and wonderful foods that you may only dare to try! Not only is it all super cheap but it's also an insight to how the local vietnamese eat and make a living.
- Hire a bicycle and get lost! We enjoyed riding around all the colourful back streets of the ancient town. Scooping out little cafes and lunch spots. Talking to the locals and pretty much just pretending like we lived there. We visited here in the month of June, so it is extremely hot! Especially after riding/walking around all day, we had to have 3 cold showers a day just to cool down.
- Get something tailor made! This actually wasn't a part of our plan but once we saw how great the quality and price was, we knew we would be stupid not to! At the end of our 6 month trip we will be re-locating from Sydney to London, so this was a great opportunity to get our hands on some tailor made suits and winter coats. After sussing out the competition we settled with a company called KIMMY'S (store 2, which you will find on the river). They were a little more expensive than the other tailors but well worth it for the quality and attention to detail. They also have a Tailors Bar upstairs which served everything from fine scotch to beers and cocktails! For a mens 2 piece suit, over-coat, business shirt and 2 ladies winter coats, we paid $500AUD. You can find cheaper but we are more of a quality over quantity type of couple.
- Where to eat and drink?
Let's be honest! We love happy hour and we love to eat! We are normally a bit more adventurous with our restaurant selections but here in Hoi An we returned to the same place 3 nights in a row! It was that good!
To eat, you must try Vy's Market. They have a never ending selection of foods, set up in doors with an outdoor market-like vibe. The menu comes out on an iPad (very tech savvy) and the service was very hard to fault. You will pay extra here, although it is definitely not outrageous.
To drink, we became locals at MANGO MANGO. They are 2 story, with a lovely balcony overlooking to river and street markets. Their cocktails were TO DIE FOR and that's why we kept returning. I am a sucker for Margaritas and this was the only bar that seem to do them perfectly!
- How long should you stay?
We had 3 full days in Hoi An. Which was enough time for us to get to know the place and really enjoy it. There are more 'touristy' things you can do here, that we didn't do. Like take a walking tour around the city or go on a country-side bike tour. You can find many places to do a cooking class. There is also scuba diving trips to Cham island. This is just a few other options... So as you can see there is plenty to do and you may want to stay for minimum 4-5 days depending on your preferences.
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