23.04.2012 - 27.04.2012 37 °C
Hoi An didn't feel like Vietnam at all, it felt more like France. The buildings were all cute and old and the streets were small, the food was amazing and the weather was great. We loved it! Definitely my favourite place in Vietnam so far. Hoi An is the place in the Vietnam Top Gear special where they get the crazy suits made; there are so many tailor shops in the town it's unbelievable! It was so difficult to resist buying everything I wanted. I do regret not getting any shoes made though
Pretty Hoi An by day and by night
We arrived on the bus from Hue in the afternoon and didn't really do much for the rest of the day, just had a wander around the old town. When we were walking along by the river in the evening I heard someone shouting my name in a Vietnamese accent, I ignored it at first as I assumed they were shouting for someone else, but it got louder and louder so I turned around. Turns out it was Lia and Matt (who we met in Hanoi), they got a waiter to shout after us! It was good to catch up with them and we arranged to meet for dinner and drinks the next night.
We'd booked to do a cooking class today which started with being taken to the market to buy everything we needed. There were six of us and we all had to pick one dish to cook and then we would all share the food afterwards. It was great going around the market with Van, our teacher, because she told us about all the foods and got us to try things we'd never had before. She did make us wear traditional Vietnamese hats though!
At the market
After we'd got all of our food we went back to her house and she went through all the preparation and cooking with us. She was such a good teacher and the food we made was so delicious. I had made a chicken coconut curry (I even made fresh coconut milk!) and Stephen made the traditional dish of Hoi An, Cau Lao, which is marinated pork with brown wheat noodles. We were so full after lunch!
Stephen cooking his pork with chopsticks
We met Lia and Matt for dinner in the evening, but I didn't eat much as I was still so full! Afterwards we went for drinks at a bar nearby, played lots of card games and attempted to play pool but some other people were hogging the table all night!
In the bar the night before Stephen had said he was going to rent a motorbike and go to the Marble Mountains which were about 30km away. Matt and Lia said they would get and bike and come with him, and before I know it I was convinced to go along too on the back of Stephen's bike. So we paid out $4 for a day's motorbike rental and off we went. It actually wasn't so bad, Stephen found it fairly easy to ride as it was an automatic and I just held on tight! We stopped at a beach along the way, had a swim and did some sunbathing and then continued on to the mountains. They were fairly impressive and there were lots of caves inside them with various Buddha's.
At the top of the mountain
We went to the beach again on the way back and had some lunch at a nice place with big sunbeds and a pool table. It was so nice that we decided to all go back in the evening and have dinner there too!
Lia and Matt were getting the bus to Nha Trang the next day so we said we'd meet up with them there as we'd be there at the same time (unfortunately this never happened though because we were staying at opposite ends of a very long beach ).
Today was another relaxing day of doing nothing - for me anyway! After the best breakfast ever at a place called Cargo Club (so cheap, so delicious, and so much food!), Stephen rented a bike and cycled all around the town and to another beach.
Breakfast at Cargo Club (what was on my plate was Egg's Benedict but I gobbled it all up before I took the photo!)
I just sat around and wrote some of the blog and went shopping! I got two dresses, one just off the shelf and one tailor-made. It was a bit of a pain as I had to keep going back to get it refitted as things weren't right about it, and they ran out of the white material I wanted so I had to go for black, but in the end it fitted well and I think I paid a reasonable price
In the evening we had some locally brewed beer before another delicious dinner. The local beer is so cheap here - 12p a glass!
We were booked on the night bus to Nha Trang in the evening, so we just spent the day chilling out on the beach at Jaspa's Beach Club. The beach club was really just a restaurant/bar on the beach with some sunbeds on the sand and more big beds on some grass. It looked really posh but drinks were still cheap (not quite 12p though!).
Jaspa's Beach Club
The night bus, as expected, was terrible. Luckily we got a 'bed' by a window, but they were very short and not particularly comfortable. As usual, Stephen couldn't stretch out because they are made for Vietnamese people who are tiny! We were told there would be three beds across the bus but they'd squeezed in four. I was also right in front of the toilet which stank I just thought about the fact that in 12 hours I would be back on a beach!