Hoi An is a beautiful city. It has a perfect mix of things to see and do with the beach just 3km from the city and the city itself offering great shopping, picturesque streets, ancient sights and markets. There are farming areas just outside the city which you can easily access to see farmers working in the rice fields and animals like water buffalo that you can walk right up to. Also the food is excellent.
We had an amazing time in Hoi An. Each morning we woke and had breakfast on out hotel balcony then we rode push bikes out past the rice fields to An Bang Beach where we sat under little huts on sun beds spending hours going between the perfect blue water when we became too hot then resting again on our sun beds.
After the beach each day we rode back to our hotel and just down the road was this amazing Vegetarian restaurant called Minh Hien that sold very cheap, fresh and delicious food. We went to this restaurant at least four times during our stay and tried almost everything on the menu. An example of what we had and how cheap it is (all for only $10) one pancake with rice paper rolls and herbs, Hoi An special noodles, Tofu soy paste salad, tofu and mushroom clay pot, steamed rice and a large bottle of water. Almost all the restaurants in Hoi An serve lots of vegetarian options which made my time there very easy. Also in the streets they sell lots of snacks like coconut and sweet potato cakes, red bean steam buns, roasted peanuts and fresh fruits.
After lunch each day we would then have a swim at our hotel pool and after freshening up we wandered into town to watch the sunset and enjoy the evening walking through the streets that are lined with beautiful old buildings and lanterns. It is a great place to walk around because between certain hours no traffic is allowed in the ancient town so it becomes walking streets only. This is a nice break from the usual dodging of traffic and blasting horns. Also from the speakers throughout the town they play music so you can wander through this beautiful slightly European but distinctly Oriental looking place with magical lanterns everywhere listening to Chopin. Lovely.
Hoi An is famous for tailor made clothing, whipped up in 24 hours. I had a bikini made for me which cost about $30 and it fits perfectly. There are so many beautiful dresses and I would have loved to buy more however I have to be careful with my luggage because I will have to carry anything I buy for the next six months so this is a very good deterrent. They also can make shoes, leather goods and bedding all made to order, custom designed. I think one day I will have to return with some girlfriends for a week of shopping!
The fresh food markets are very good here too with lots of amazing vegetables and fruits on offer. Its a nice option for a snack rather then eating nuts or a full meal. The prices are very cheap as well. I have a favourite fruit that I was eating in Hoi An called Rose Apple. It’s like a cross between a pear and an apple. Here is a picture:
We had a very relaxing beautiful time in Hoi An and I have to say this is my favourite place in Vietnam (with Ha Long Bay a close second). I could spend a month or more in this city just relaxing, hanging at the beach and eating delicious food. It is in a great position too, being central Vietnam you can easily visit Da Nang for the day (about 45 mins away) and then choose to go either North or South with lots of cheap transport options available.
Oh and we were given our daily fortunes one day and this was Evans:
We have been making out way South and continued this route, next stop Ho Chi Minh City (Siagon). We decided to fly considering it is such a distance...away we go!