Through the first part of our trip in Vietnam all we heard was about how great Hoi An was. Of course we had to go and see for ourselves. Hue, also known as the Ancient Town, is absolutely adorable, easy to get around by foot or by bike, famous for the lanterns that light up beautifully at night and for custom made tailoring… and also has a beach. What’s not to love?!
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon on a bus from Hue. As always, the bus dropped us in some random location in town and we were swarmed by people offering us rides. However, this time it was only motorbikes. Not a taxi in sight. After some negotiating we might have made a slightly bad decision and piled onto a single motorbike. 3 people. 4 bags. 1 motorbike. The driver promised to go slow. We arrived in one piece and trotted in to our adorable hostel – Paddy’s Hostel and Bar. It’s location is close to the beach and about 5 km from the old town (main part of town), but they offer bicycles for free so that came in handy! We decided to extend our stay to six nights, caught up with friends from earlier stops and much more…
We spent Saturday night wandered Old Town Hoi An and seeing the city lit up by beautiful lanterns all over. We were in awe of the lights, the laid-back vibe of the town and all of the beautiful shops with dresses, leather goods and more.
We visited 2 different beaches on 2 different occasions. The first was riddled with sand bags to avoid erosion of the beach and pretty crowded. Then our hostel hinted at a better beach further down the road, so we checked it out and were lucky enough to find loungers, umbrellas, food and no sandbags!
We went to a tailor and leather shop and got some custom made goods – dresses, shoes and leather purses! We stopped off at the post office after our final fittings and sent the dresses and Kerry’s bag back to the states where they will arrive… in a couple of months? We aren’t quite sure.
We vastly improved Kerry’s biking skills (no panic attacks anymore) and both became very skilled at navigating Vietnamese traffic and intersections. Read: We got comfortable pulling out in our bikes or walking out in front of dozens of motorbikes and cars and letting them swerve around us.
We met up with friends we met in Halong Bay and also made new friends!
We drank free beers, buy one get one free beers, normal priced beers, played cards and pigged out on all kinds of great food, including amazing Indian food. We went to a market one night and had some yummy Vietnamese food!
In Hue, we also ate more Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) than anywhere else, and found this one street cart to be the best we have tasted!
We made the most of the hostel’s great pool and spent ample amounts of time relaxing it after the beach and on our final day after checkout.
Hoi An was as wonderful and charming as everyone had described to us. With successful beach outings, delicious meals, nights out on the town meeting other travelers, and new tailored dresses and handmade leather goods, we feel like we experienced all that this Ancient City had to offer, and more! Next up, we have another long bus ride to get us to the beach town of Nha Trang.
~ Kerry & Jenny