Hoi An: A beautiful old town, beautiful beaches and shopping galore!

Exploring the old town, relaxing by the beach, a very successful cooking class and lots of shopping

After an extremely long journey, consisting of a 4 hour bus between Da Lat and Nha Trang and then a sleeper bus, we arrived in Hoi An at 6am. Being unable to check in until 11am, I slept on a sun lounger by the pool until 9am. I then ended up walking into town to explore with a German girl called Sarah who had also been on my bus. We went for coffee and had a look around some tailor shops. Hoi An is known for it’s tailor made clothing with a turn around of less than 24 hours for some pieces. We headed back to the hostel to check in and have some lunch but hired some bicycles and headed straight back into the old town to explore. I loved cycling through tiny side streets having to navigate between street vendors. The old town is painted yellow and filled with many lanterns which light up the streets at night.

On our second day, Tilly, Lucy and I (along with Olivia who we met whilst canyoning) went on a day-long cooking class. We started off wandering through the morning market and buying fresh produce that we would later cook with. Once we had everything we needed we got onto a dragon boat which took us up the river. After 30 minutes we were transferred into what I call ‘coconut boats’ as they look like giant half coconut shells. We paddled further upstream before being dropped off at the location of our cooking class. We spent the next part of our day learning how to make fresh spring rolls (my absolute favourite), crispy pancakes, banana flower and shrimp salad and Bun Cha (beef with noodles although we made BBQ pork instead). We also turned out hands briefly to fishing. We each caught and fish which we released back into the river but not before our hands were sliced by the sharp fins as we removed the hooks from their mouths. I have to say that for me this was the least enjoyable part of my day. There was no skill involved with the fishing – we attached bait to bamboo sticks and everyone caught multiple fish – and so I felt like the whole activity was rather pointless and cruel to the fish. At the end of the day I said goodbye to Tilly, Lucy and Olivia who were headed to Hue the next day and I moved hostel to Under The Coconut Tree on An Bang Beach.

The next day I hired a bicycle and headed back into town through the greenest rice padi fields that you ever will see! I bought some leather bags and had them shipped home (even though this cost almost as much as the bags themselves)! The following couple of days were spent relaxing on the beach until I got sun burnt and had to retreat inside to the safety of the shade.

On my last night in Hoi An, I stayed with Paul and his lovely, extremely hospitable family. They have built a gorgeous home (Song Em Hoi An) on the bank of the river and have recently added a beautiful swimming pool which you can watch the sunset over the river from. I was able to preview the video that we filmed in Ho Chi Minh City. As usual, I cringed hearing the sound of my own voice especially now that I know I will never be able to say the word ‘excursions’ whilst being recorded. The video hasn’t been signed off yet so unfortunately (or rather fortunately for me) you cannot see me stumbling over my words just yet. I will begrudgingly keep you all updated on this.

On my final day, I went for lunch with Paul and his family before hopping on a bus to Hue. I would like to say a massive thank you again to Paul and his family for hosting me for the night. It was the first time since Bangkok that I have had a room to myself – complete luxury!

I hope you are all keeping well,

Em xxx