Hoi An

Heading south, we got the bus to the beautiful Hoi An, which was a South-East Asian trading port dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. Hoi An exudes it’s charm to present day.

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The bus was a bit shit, luckily we were only on it for around four hours, and the final destination justified this well.

Hoi An, which literally translates to “peaceful meeting place” is a quaint city on the Vietnamese coast. It is famed perhaps for the abundance of multicoloured glowing lanterns that hang from trees, buildings, lines across the streets, and down the Thu Bon river…

Hoi An is also famous for it’s textile and shoe making industry. Tailors and dressmakers line the streets offering custom garments, and a huge variety of fabrics. Shops encourage you to bring magazine clippings of your ideal suit or dress, and aim to match it with precision. Custom made shoes are also on offer, or you can buy them off the rack. Garments are usually ready to pick up within a day or two, just ready for your next stop on the trip…

Thus far, my iPhone camera has risen to the photographic challenge of taking great photos. In Hoi An, iPhone, you failed me. The low light conditions rendered it impossible to capture a decent photo at night, when Ho An truly shines. I suggest googling Hoi An to see how stunning it is once the sun has set… In fact, just click here, I’ve done the hard work for you.

During the day we hired bicycles and rode around the streets, checking out temples and the market.

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In an attempt to assimilate with the locals I decided to stop and buy a traditional Vietnamese hat from a roadside vendor. I chose one with a blue ribbon that you wear tightly below your chin to secure it on your head. This was a mistake.

Mid bike ride and half way across a fairly busy bridge, my tightly secured pointed hat malfunctioned. A gust of wind blew it forwards, thus I was cycling dangerously with a hat for a face and a severe visual impairment. Luckily nobody was hurt, I pulled over and tied the hat to my bike and put a cap on instead.

Across the bridge I stopped again after seeing a sign for a haircut. I needed a haircut, and indeed received one from two women, who swapped half way through, neither of which spoke a word of English. After instructing them on what to do, it didn’t look half bad.

Back to the market, where I was taught how to make Vietnamese vegetable rice rolls…

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First I added an opened rice cake onto a sheet of crisp rice paper, and added bean sprouts. I topped this with mixed green salad and rolled the rice paper sheet up into a parcel. Lastly, I dipped the roll into a soy based sauce, which softened the rice paper, and ate it!

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At night we set candle lanterns down the river…

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Courtesy of this lovely lady…

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We spent afternoons at the two beaches, with some Americans, Ally and Mike, staying in the same hotel. We cycled there which took around fifteen minutes…

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The sun set and that afternoon we headed to Mui Ne on a sleeper bus!

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