We have spent the last 2 days exploring the city of Hoi An, and I think it is safe to say that this has so far been one of our favourite cities. We arrived by car around noon on Wednesday, and had lunch at a beautiful riverside restaurant picked by our guide, Du. We shared delicious spring rolls and these little fried pouches of pork, ginger and carrot called moneybags before enjoying traditional Vietnamese entrees. Our afternoon was spent with a trip to the tailor where we all (besides Gen) got measured and sized, had our pictures taken, and got to pick out the fabric for our hand-made clothes. It was quite the experience!
Our guide took us through the streets of the old quarter of Hoi An to the Japenese bridge and the market place. The streets are lined with beautiful, hand-made, colourful, paper lanterns; it is almost magical. Our first dinner in the city was at a restaurant with unbelievable desserts from a patisserie, before an exploration of the night market lit up by lanterns overhead and the paper ones floating on the river. I wasn’t in Hanoi for the amazing night market a few days ago, I am told that this one did not really compare, but the weather has been sunny and gorgeous so we have no complaints!
Du led us on a bike tour yesterday of rice fields, and agricultural farms that were perfectly lined in rows all done by hand. We were laughing that even if it was our full-time job to tend to the gardens, we would never be able to make them so impeccable. Not a weed in sight!
We biked through more rural villages in 26-degree sunshine to the edge of a river where we loaded our bikes onto a boat and got a water tour of the fishing boats and water coconuts. Just before lunch we got to ride in basket boats that were perfect circles directed by a Vietnamese guide who gave us the pointy rice hats to wear before making us each crowns and rings out of bamboo leaves.
Lunch was riverside again, which seems to be the pattern, and I am not at all complaining because who doesn’t love eating next to a quiet body of water? We got back on our bikes and came back to the hotel for an afternoon of sunshine by the pool. The tailor had us back to try on our clothes at 4pm, only 24 hours after we first tried them on! With a few more alterations to make we did some browsing of the market and some pretty darn good bargaining if I do say so myself, and dinner was at a cute little place called “Streets” which employs and trains street kids to cook and serve. We went back to the tailor for a final fitting, and Gen got a floral hand-made romper, before heading back to the hotel for the evening. All of us had a bit too much sun so we were wiped out by bedtime!
Mom enjoyed a cooking class on Friday morning while the rest of us lay by the pool, and I did some school work via FaceTime back home with some classmates, before our last lunch in Hoi An! Looking forward to Cambodia, but will definitely miss the romantic atmosphere of a city lit by paper lanterns. Until next time Hoi An!