While in Nha Trang I realized I was cutting time close to finish my trek up the coast of Vietnam. I last minute booked the night bus to head up to hoi an. I knew it was a sleeper bus but I didn't quite realize the seats were actually thinner reclining beds. It reminded me of the night bus from Harry Potter. for a 12 hour bus ride it was actually quite pleasant. Traveling at night allows you to make most of each day.
I arrived in Hoi an at 6am and couldn't check into my hostel until early afternoon. Most hostels have a safe place to put your bags while you wait.
As soon as I left my hostel I knew this place was something special. These colorful buildings and lanterns strung across each street reminded me so much of the quaint streets I fell in love with in France. Which makes sense because the town is based on french colonial architecture.
The weather threatened of rain so I wanted to see as much as I could, while I could. I made my way to the Japanese bridge and on the way stopped for a delicious Vietnamese coffee in a cute little alley way. After taking a few pictures of the bridge I spent HOURS walking around. I stopped at shops, had a little breakfast and just took in the area. Hoi an is known for its hundreds of tailors who make custom suits and dresses. ANYTHING you want you can get here. I had a few ideas in mind since its so hard to find something to fit my height at home. I popped in an immediately was greeted with enthusiasm and professionalism. Fabric on fabric lined the walls with mannequins in sample dresses and suits in front. I showed them what I want and immediately picked out the fabric. We took measurements and I was set to come back the following day for a fitting. I went to one other store and got fitted for two pairs of pants that are popular in asia due to the light material but I again could not find any long enough.
I still had a little over an hour till I could check in and I had a very productive morning. I walked by a few spas and decided it was time to get my pamper on. 20% if you could prove that you arrived the day before. Ill do you one better.. I arrived 4 hours ago. In I went. It vietnam they are very much into the feet. Most places make you remove shoes before entering the bathroom and the bedroom is an absolute no no in most hostels. They washed my feet first and brought me to a room with 5 massage beds but I was the only one. Unlike western spas where they leave the room allow you to undress and come back they waited for me to undress right there. Very well, on the table I went. My massage was wonderful. One of the better ones Ive ever had. My masseuse at one point was standing on my table elbow deep in my back. Much needed after almost 10 days of backpacking.
Finally I checked into my hotel, had a shower and met up with an aussie I met in Nha Trang. Jon had met Katie and Annie who are from England in Ho Chi Minh City. Together we played cards, ate pho and had draft beer for hours. When our tab came the beer was 30,000 dong which equates to 2.70 USD. Highway robbery I tell ya. And the pho was the best I had so far.
After dinner we decided to head across the river to where most of the lantern shops were. It was absolutely beautiful to see them making the lanterns have them hanging all over the shops. They even were lighting some and sending them down the river. I was falling in love with this town. The next day at breakfast the girls told me they motorbiking from hoi an to hue and catching the overnight train to hanoi from there. I was just planning on taking a plane right to honoi but their idea sounded better. We planned that trip then went to rent motorbikes so of the girls could practice.
I am so glad I learned to motorbike in crazy nha trang because hoi an was a breeze. For 4$ USD we were off for the day. We went to the beach, relaxed for a little bit and decided to get lost before heading back to town. We found our way to a hidden beach and then a quieter beach where were ushered to sit and have a beer. EVERYWHERE in Vietnam they sit in those plastic red chairs with tables that are usually what the US would call the “kids table” These are outside restaurants, street corners, on the beach. Not as comfortable for us americans but you kind of forget about it when you're drinking a cold beer watching the sunset amongst new friends. We went back to town so I could go to my final dress fitting and have dinner for our last night in hoi an.
We ate cau lau, a pork and noodle dish only found in hoi an. The restaurant was right on the river. After dinner we played cards at a local bar called Tiger Tiger. This was most definitely a party bar. Tons of backpackers, great music and free hookah. They also were selling balloons filled with laughing gas that a couple of youngin’s were participating in. The kind of thing that SOOO wouldn't fly in the states. We tried to make it back at a decent hour as we had to arrive wake early for the full day motorbike tour. Man, did i love hoi an. I would have spent more time here if I had the chance.
Next blog is about the most AMAZING day motorbiking from Hoi An to Hue.
Thanks everyone for following and enjoying my adventures!