26th August – 3rd September 2014
Now, after the full on couple of months, and not getting the chill time I really wanted in Hanoi, this was my next planned chill out point. If riding a bicycle to the beaches, lazing by my lovely hotel pool, eating a massive delicious breakfast spread every morning, and buying dress after dress, all made to measure, constitutes chilling out, then I did a lot of it in the seven days I was in Hoi An! It was perfect!
My ride to the hotel did amuse me, yes he had my huge bag between him and the handlebars, with me on the back!
I booked a ‘dorm room’ at the Kiman Hotel and Spa, and got a twin hotel room to myself for the first few days, in an immaculate hotel with an awesome breakfast spread, a swimming pool, and free bicycle hire (all included in my £7 per night!) I really lucked out here!
Awesome breakfast spread!
There was even a mini bar in the room (of course I worried that this would be super expensive, but when I checked and found out the beer was only 36p a can, even on my backpacker budget I think I could stretch to that!)
The pool I loved so much!
Hoi An itself was definitely the chilled out vibe I was after, this is how I like my streets:
The town of Hoi An is extremely pretty indeed. All buildings are regulated in their style, and this has made for a quaint and beautiful little spot which in the evening lights up with lanterns hanging from all the restaurants and shops, and hundreds of candle lanterns that are floated down the river each night. Yes, it’s very touristy but that’s because it’s a beautiful place, that’s how places become touristy, so I don’t avoid places just because there are too many tourists there, you might just miss something good! Besides, you can’t help but have a warm glow inside whilst walking around the many lovely restaurants and bars along the riverbank on a warm Vietnamese evening. The beer at 11p a glass does a lot to help this too!
I took part in a cooking class with the hotel, which included a walk around the local (stinky!) market to buy the ingredients.
Hoi An has literally hundreds of tailor shops. It’s what it is famous for! On my second day I walked into one and looked at a dress. The lady in the shop said ‘would you like to try it on?’, and that there was the start of my dress buying frenzy that lasted the whole week I was there! I ordered two dresses on the first day, then I went in the next day to pick them up, and didn’t leave the shop until another order had been placed on the tailor’s table! This continued until I had to leave Hoi An, which was probably a good job or I’d have bankrupted myself! (In all fairness though these dresses came in between £8 – £11 each, and all perfectly fitted, not going to find this on Saville Row!)
I went on a free bicycle tour of Hoi An which turned out to be far more than I expected. We rode around the town, and crossed the river on the local ferry to the village over the other side. We got to see local people going about their daily business, and even got to have a go at rice paper making ourselves. We had a real friendly group of people and our tour guides, Xuan and Lok, were brilliant. They even set up a game of charades for us to play in teams, where the captions were hilarious and trying to act them out, even more so!
After a few nights on my own in the hotel room, another girl had checked into the room. We spent a couple of evenings out and did our own mini street food tour which was fun.
So, after a week of going to the beach, swimming 150 lengths a day in the little pool, riding the free bikes around town, and coming away with 4 dresses, 2 tops and a shorts and top set, I had achieved my intention of chilling out 🙂
A place I would definitely return to!