One of my favourite places in Vietnam was Hoi An. We happened to visit just before their New Year so lots of preparation was being made for their celebrations. I must say, they put England to shame! The magnitude of colours and materials that covered Hoi An was amazing. Their high level of attention to detail and traditional style oozed elegance and charm that only the locals could achieve. However, from what I’ve heard it’s not just this time of year the place looks this wonderful and that is part of its magic.
We found it relaxing and easy to spend time just sitting by the river in The Old Town and soaking up the atmosphere. I loved walking alongside the river and watching the locals at work on their boats. At one point the port was one of the biggest in that area so it has a center spot in their history. There are loads of boat trips you can take which we didn’t do unfortunately. But the tickets are so cheap and from my experience in other Asian towns you learn lots and it’s a great way to see the place. Whilst in the Old Town it’s worth visiting any temples that you come across, albeit they are mostly small but still beautiful. There are also lots of cafes and restaurants that sell traditional Vietnamese food and food specifically from Hoi An.
We stayed at a hostel called Nature Homestay. I would highly recommend this hostel! The room was massive, clean, was in a great location, fair price and had free bicycle hire. We ended up using the bikes so much more than we thought. At first I was apprehensive as the roads are choca from vehicles (mainly scooters) and I’m not a confident rider but I’m so glad I tried it! We managed to get to so many places we wouldn’t have seen and for free. It definitely made such a difference to our experience of Hoi An and I recommend it to everyone (who can ride a bike).
Shopping and markets
There are sooo many shops and markets in Hoi An. I thought the markets were very similar to the night markets in Thailand which literally sell everything and are never ending. You can spend hours looking even if you don’t intend to buy anything. And then when you do, you’ve got to haggle which I couldn’t get used to. Vietnam is famous for their tailors which are crazy cheap. I didn’t buy any tailored clothing or shoes but their shops always looked full of people choosing materials and the materials are beautiful. I think it’s something I would have been more interested in if I were on a holiday and not backpacking.
While we were in Vietnam we got unlucky with the weather which meant we didn’t have a full on ‘beach day’. I’m a massive beach fan! Growing up near beaches has meant I have to get a beach fix every now and again so I was excited to find out we were just a short bike ride away from one where we were staying. We didn’t have time to check out any others but if I ever go back I would love to visit more and hopefully it would be sunny.
I really loved this place not only for its beauty and the amount of things to do but because of its relaxed, traditional charm. During the evening myself and my boyfriend really enjoyed getting dinner and drinks and just watching the world go by. In the Old Town lots of the restaurants have balconies that look out onto the river and this was really romantic and just reiterated why I wanted to visit Vietnam.