One great thing about travelling the ‘backpacker’ way is that you always meet people who have been where you are going and are willing to share tips and opinions about places. Obviously these tips are relative as each person has different tastes and will like different things, but in Hoi An, all the tips we got were absolutely spot on!
We arrived in late afternoon after another less than comfortable open journey, which included stopping at the whim of every passenger and the driver. It even extended to make one of the many unscheduled stop to allow one of the Japanese girls on our bus to run into the bushes for a pee, to the amusement of everyone else.
The open bus once again decided to drop us off at hotel it must have had some arrangement as our pick-up from the hotel was not there. Instead of letting ourselves getting talked into taking a tuk-tuk to the hotel, we walked and we were immediately surprised at one thing: The lack of noise and chaos that we had found in Hanoi and Hue… It also seemed a lot calmer and friendlier and even though we had only been there for a couple of minutes, we found ourselves already “I liked this place!”.
Our hotel in Hoi An, was another of the great bargains we found during the trip. We checked into a massive room to leave our things behind and head out to look for a tailor so we can get us some clothes made. We had already received a good tip from the English lads on the Halong Bay cruise, but the hotel receptionist recommended the hotel owners own tailor, which we decided to check out to get an idea of costs etc.
The tailor recommended by the hotel, turned out to be much cheaper than the one the lads recommended, however the quality did not seem very high and the selection not great, so we decided to not mull around headed straight to the recommended one and immediately noticed the difference in quality, so we decided to get some clothes made.
Our attendant Lynn, was a real sweetheart from the get go and sat down with while we decided what to get. Raquel decided to get a few dressed made while I got a suit and blazer. We were quickly measured up and told to return the next day at noon for our first fitting. Raquel still wanted some boots made, so we headed of to a place recommended by Lynn before finally having dinner at around 9pm. We were so tired and hungry we were unusually quiet, so much so we got to the hotel and went straight to sleep.
The next day we decide to make an early day of it so that we could take advantage of this city we were growing to like so much within such a short time. The old town right in the centre of the city is remarkably, pedestrian and bicycle only, which makes a much more pleasant experience as you are not constantly dodging scooter and driven to insanity with the noise.
The city retains so many different architectural styles from Vietnamese to French colonial and the overwhelming use of timber somehow makes the city feel warm and welcoming. We walked around, taking our time to enjoy the city but the high temperatures and humidity did not allow us to e too quick about our relaxing walks.
After our noon fittings we headed our for lunch and more walking around the city before gave up on that pretty soon as the searing heat was plainly making us lazy to walk around, so headed back to the hotel to rest before going for our evening fittings.
The previous night while Raquel was being measured up, I walked out the shop to she check out the streets at night and was pleasantly surprised at how even more beautiful the old town is at night, so I told Raquel that we would go for some night time photography the following evening. I won’t be posting any photos of that walk here as I decided that I would dedicate a single photo essay post to that.
A very productive walk in which we got some more more souvenirs, was followed but a very good night’s sleep, which considering the full day we had, was much needed.
The next morning, after breakfast, we packed our bags, as it would be our last day at this great little haven from the typical Vietnamese chaos in cities. We went off for our final fittings of the great new clothes we had custom made. That was followed by picking up the boots Raquel had made, and here we our only problem with the custom made goods… One of the pairs Raquel had made, came out nothing like she had wanted and asked her, and despite the saleslady telling us she would sell them for half price, but we protested saying we would only pay for the two that came out right.
Surprisingly just when we thought a fuss would be kick up, she agreed and apologized profusely about the problem. Considering everything we had heard about the problems with people getting ripped off in Vietnam, we once again seemed to strike it lucky and did not get done over.
After picking up the shoes and having a good dinner, we made our way, together with the extra bag of luggage we had from the additional clothes, to the meeting point for the bus for another twelve hour haul to Nha Trang.
Hoi An, within minutes of arriving became our favourite town, city or urban area, whatever you want to call it, and that didn’t change when we left as we loved the place all the way through for various reasons but mainly for the perfect laid back feel to it!This post was on our days of the 18th, 19th and 20th of September **Practical Details** Hotel: Nhi Trung Hotel – Double room including AC, TV, Fridge and ensuite bathroom $20 per night (see our review of hostel here) Tailor: Yaly Couture – Good quality tailors with wide range of fabrics to choose from, which dictates price. (see our review of Yaly here) Suite (Medium Quality) = $185 Blazer ( Good Quality) = $80 Dresses (Good Quality) = $65