Hoi An

I spent 4 nights in Hoi An, and stayed at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort, booked through Booking.com.

I paid a little more, and upgraded to a deluxe double room with a pool view. This cost approximately £55 a night, with breakfast.

The hotel had a lovely swimming pool to relax by, and every day between 4-5pm street food was served down by the river.

 

Hoi An was the place I was most looking forward to during my time in Vietnam, and I’m glad I spent 4 nights here.

I arrived in Hoi An in the late afternoon from Hue on a motorbike with Dũng from Easy Rider Motorbikes Tour – read about my Hai Van Pass experience here.

I arrived in Hoi An on the back of a motorbike from Hue – see my post here. I checked-in to room 302 at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort and found dinner at a restaurant called Red Gecko, just a 4 minute walk from the hotel and right in the middle of the night market. The food at Red Gecko was amazing, and really cheap too. I had the crispy calamari for starters and a yummy sautéed shrimp with tomatoes, onions and chill served with rice and salad.

The next morning, I ventured across An Hoi Bridge and paid 120,000 VND for a ticket which allowed me to gain access to 5 of the 22 sightseeing places and streets in the Old Town.

First on the list was the Japanese Bridge.

On my way to the Central Market, I looked in the little gift shops which lined the streets selling beautiful handcrafted bags, clothes and souvenirs.

After walking through Central Market, I stopped off at Hoi An Roastery for an iced chocolate to cool off from the sticky heat.

I also visited Quan Công’s Temple, Minh Hu’ong Ancestor Worship House, Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and the Assembly Hall of the Cantonese Chinese.

In the afternoon I took part in a lantern making class hosted by The Lantern Lady. I found out about this class through TripAdvisor, and messaged the lady through her Facebook page. She replied very quickly and booked me in for 3pm. It cost 135,000 VND each to make the lanterns from scratch and it took a couple of hours. Hoi An is filled with loads of handmade lanterns, so I am glad I got to make my own one here.

Dinner was at Morning Glory II. I’d pre-booked a table here on the way back from my lantern making class as I was aware it’s a very popular restaurant in Hoi An – a Lonely Planet recommendation! A little bit more expensive compared to the other places I’d eaten at in Vietnam, but the food was very good. I had an amazing prawn curry, and came with a baguette as well as rice!

The next day I went on a Vietnamese cooking class. I booked this through Coconut Fragrance Restaurant & Cooking Class back in the U.K. and it cost 699,000 VND each. The owner, Huynh, picked me up from my hotel at 8:20am where I met the rest of my group for the day. We took a minibus to Central Market where Huynh showed us different fruits, vegetables and meats. I found this quite interesting as I was able to try fruits that we don’t get in the U.K.

After we collected our fresh ingredients for the afternoons cooking class, we headed to Coconut Fishing Village where we jumped on a bamboo boat and did some fishing and crabbing with the locals.

We then got off the bamboo boat just outside of Huynh’s house and started the class off with making our own rice milk, used in the pancakes, from rice that has been soaked in water and then grinded up to make milk. Huynh’s brother, husband and daughter helped us.

Making the rice pancakes for the spring rolls was really fun, and I was actually quite good at it – surprisingly!

We made pork and shrimp spring rolls, salad and Vietnamese pancakes. The last dish was a choice between pho or grilled fish, and I went for the grilled fish which was very tasty.

Huynh served us banana coconut sticky rice for dessert, washed down with some local beer.

Once the cooking class had finished, Huynh dropped me back off at my hotel and I spent the afternoon around the pool.

I highly recommend the Coconut Fragrance Restaurant and Cooking Class for learning how to cook local Vietnamese food.

I was still quite full from the cooking class, so dinner was a Bánh Mì from Madam Khanh – The Bánh Mì Queen. I got there just in time, as there was only a few Bánh Mì’s left! I had the mixed one – Thap Cam – for 20,000 VND and it was delicious!

I spent the evening walking around the Old Town for souvenirs when it started thunder storming. I went into the closest bar – For You Restaurant – where it had 2 for 1 cocktails so I drunk some Piña Coladas whilst I waited for the torrential rain to ease off before heading back to the hotel.

I had a spare day in Hoi An and didn’t know how to fill it. After lots of Googling, I decided to book a half day bicycle tour booked through Hoi An Village Experience. Cu picked me up from my hotel at 8:30am and took me to the meeting point where we picked our bikes up and started our “Farming and Fishing Life Experience” tour priced at 700,000 VND each. Although it was a biycle tour through Hoi An’s countryside, we didn’t get much cycling done. One of the stops was where a water buffalo was working by ploughing the fields, and we were able to give this a go or ride the water buffalo. I opted to just feed the water buffalo some grass.

When we were cycling through the countryside, we saw another bicycle tour and they seemed kitted up a lot better than the tour I was on; they each had new bikes and helmets – we didn’t even get offered a helmet on our tour.

We cycled to Coconut Water Village where I did another bamboo basket boat ride with the locals, and did some more crabbing.

We then cycled to Cu’s home for lunch and was served an abundance of food! There was also a cooking class taking place there.

After lunch, we cycled approximately 15 minutes (probably the longest we’d cycled in one go during the tour) back to the meeting point, and got transferred back to the hotel in a taxi.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this tour in particular, I would recommend a bicycle tour through Hoi An’s countryside.

I spent the afternoon chilling around the hotel’s swimming pool before heading out for dinner at Chips & Fish & Stuff as recommended to me by someone at the hotel. The fish and chips were a massive portion and very tasty! Priced at 170,000 VND, I thought it was very good value for money.

After dinner, I had one last walk around the night markets before heading to bed.

Next up: Ho Chi Minh City

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