From Phu Quoc island we flew to Hoi An… Well actually we first had to fly back to Ho Chi Minh and then from there flew to Hoi An because there’s no direct flight. So a bit of a mission, but not too unbearable as the first flight was only 1 hr and the 2nd 1hr 20min.
Our flight from Phu Quoc was with VietJet and as mentioned in my previous post, every single flight we had with them was delayed. This meant that it was a mad dash to make our connecting flight to Hoi An which we had booked through Jetstar. Luckily the Jetstar team were absolute rock stars and got us on that plain even though there were less than 10min left ’til take off. (Jetstar = yay! VietJet = nay!)
We had heard that Hoi An is kinda like the Cape Town of Vietnam. Quite cosmopolitan, coastal (so you can still chill on the beach) and with a big foodie scene. It’s also got a beautifully preserved “Ancient Town” which was declared as a UNESCO heritage site back in 1999. So yeah, many reasons to check it out…
We stayed at the Royal Riverside Hotel (which we booked through booking.com). The room cost about R665 per night (so that’s only R332.50 pp), which we thought was a score. I mean just look how pretty it was:
The “river view” may not have been as sexy as we had in mind…And it was ever so slightly out of the way. But on all other fronts, this hotel did not disappoint. Awesome staff, awesome amenities, great breakfast and a very sexy pool area. #High5ToThat
We certainly weren’t complaining…
On our first night there it was a little bit rainy, but we decided to do some exploring regardless (it’s still hot as hell at night, so the rain was actually quite nice). We had some dinner in a very casual little spot, not the best food but the vibe was really cool.
And then we did a quick look around and stumbled upon more pretty things…
We finally settled at the “Mr Bean Bar” (An Hội, Minh An) for buy-1-get-1-free cocktails. There’s basically this entire row of bars right next to each other, competing for your patronage. They place English speaking representatives outside who try and lure you in with their special deals for the night. We chose the Mr Bean bar because it seemed to have a nice vibe and wasn’t as packed as some of the other spots.On day 2 we explored the Hoi An Ancient Town. One thing they do try to push is purchasing an Ancient Town entry ticket for 120 000 Vietnamese Dong (or about R75), but we soon realised that you don’t really need it. It gives you access to enter 5 historical sites, but to be honest, we didn’t really feel that they were worth it. You’ll maybe get one or two nice photos, but you’ll see enough of Ancient town by just roaming the streets (which is totally free). After some exploring were were lured into the Hoi An Cloth Market (Minh An, Hội An) by a lady who convinced us to have some tailor-made items done. Our hotel had actually recommended a fancier place, but just having a very simple dress made there would have been the same cost as going to Zara or Top Shop, so didn’t feel worth it. But at the market you can barter and strike much better deals, it’s just a bit more of a gamble. I decided to go for a cute little summer dress which I picked from their catalogue, and then I also had a cocktail dress made from a reference photo I had on my phone. The result? I’d say definitely stick to items from their catalogue. If they’ve made something a few times, they can churn it out with their eyes closed and it’ll look great. Go for something custom and things get a little shaky. I loved my summer’s dress so much I had a second one made. The cocktail dress was a little off and I’m going to try have it altered or I’ll just give it away. But I am glad that I at least gave the tailor-made route a try. Next time I’ll be better prepared. Now let’s talk food. When in Hoi An you HAVE to try something called “White Rose“. Made from translucent white dough and filled with spiced minced shrimp or pork, the dough is bunched up to look like little white roses, like so: For some of the best Indian you’ll ever have, you also have to try Ganesh. Was soooooo good…
And for a good Green Curry, the Thai Market is pretty nice too:
On our final day we chilled out on An Bang Beach. It’s not quite as pretty as the beaches we saw on Phu Quoc island, but it certainly hits the spot.
Just a tip: Avoid the restaurants that are situated right on the beach. The service is horrible and the food even worse… Do not be fooled by the view (like we were)…Overall we really enjoyed Hoi An. It’s a fun place with lots to see and do. I would definitely recommend adding it to your Vietnam must-see list.
Next week: Vietnam’s capital city – Hanoi!
PS. If you missed parts 1 & 2 of my Vietnam series, click here