Hoi An, Vietnam

It has been three months since the last blog post but my memories from Southeast Asia have not faded.  Since then, I moved to California to embark on a two year grad school adventure.  Although my time is scarce, I am determined to finish my entries from summer travels.  So now, in continuing with the website’s tagline, I will mildly attempt to share my adventure from Hoi An, Vietnam.

Hoi An was, without doubt, my favorite stop in Vietnam and for a variety of reasons.  Let’s begin with the beaches…  It’s only a 15-20 minute bike ride from downtown Hoi An to An Bang Beach.  I recommend using a bicycle or motorbike so you can enjoy the scenery along the way.  You’ll know you are close to the beach when you find yourself surrounded by rice fields:

Biking to the beach, Hoi An


Once you get to the beach, there’s a few things to keep in mind… You will be flagged down by multiple shop and restaurant owners to park.  If you have a moped then you may have to pay a small fee but if you’re riding on a bicycle politely decline the invites and find some free parking.  Walking down the road will take you directly to the beach but if you make a right when you come up to the restaurants lining the beach and follow the path to the end, you will be rewarded with an amazing seafood restaurant called La Plage.  The whole menu will treat you right but I especially recommend the clams:

Sautéed Clams @ La Plage
Playing pool w/ the locals.  Think they won this one.

An added bonus of La Plage is if you order some food/drinks you get access to the beach cabanas (headline picture).  When looking at the picture, the island off to the right is Cham Island.  There are many companies in town that will offer to boat you to the island for a day of scuba diving or snorkeling.  I did not have the chance to go but if you have a week in Hoi An, it might be worth the visit.  After spending the day on the beach, I recommend making your way to old town.

At night, Hoi An Ancient Town comes to life with lanterns, river boats and a winding night market.  It’s a charming town that has a little bit of everything.  Whether at night or during the day, a visit to Hoi An is not complete without a trip to the tailor.  Hoi An is practically famous for its tailor shops so do your research beforehand.  You can literally hand the employee a picture of a dress, suit or whatever and they will make it within days.  Prices range depending on quality so there should be options at all price points. And get creative!  They can customize any aspect of the outfit you have in mind. Below is a glimpse into what the shops look like.  At BeBe Tailor, you can venture to the back of the shop and see where the clothes are actually made:

Endless options at BeBe Tailor, Hoi An
Hoi An lanterns
Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An

No post is complete without a food recommendation and this is certainly no exception.  I am going to agree with Anthony Bourdain on this one and give a STRONG recommendation for Phuong Bahn Mi.  My expectations were so high I actually got two sandwiches and ate the greasy, sizzling pork while biking to the beach (doesn’t get much better than that).

A must in Hoi An!
Can’t go wrong with this spread of ingredients

As far as accommodation, I stayed at DK’s House.  It was a convenient location and just down of the street is the famous ‘Why Not’ bar. If you go to Vietnam you must put Hoi An on the itinerary.  It’s much less touristy than the popular Nha Trang and has just as good, if not better, beaches.  You can bike around the whole town or if you are feeling adventurous rent a moped and explore.  I slacked a bit on reading up on Hoi An’s history but judging by the architecture and charm, I’m sure there is much to be learned!

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