hoi an | a fairytale in vietnam
Updated: Aug 26
If I asked you to imagine Vietnam it's likely that you'll picture green rice fields, round straw hats, motorbikes and lanterns, and it's fair to say that Hoi An is the City of Lanterns in Vietnam. With a cacophony of colours and designs on each street, Hoi An fast became one of my favourite cities.
OUR FIRST DAY
Having arrived into the quaint city by bus late afternoon after our stops at Elephant Springs and Hi Van Pass, and with hours to kill before our group meal later in the evening, we decided to head on a little self-guided tour of the Ancient Town, though we were clueless of any popular attractions or the best places to visit.
Bottles of water in hand we set off at a leisurely stroll from our hotel, lead by our fabulous guides Jane and D, and paid our fee for our tickets into the Ancient Town (something that caught me off guard!). The tickets allowed us access into the Ancient Town for the duration of our stay, as well as providing us with four 'free entrance' tickets to some of the city's best attractions- well worth what we paid for the ticket.
Hoi An is a truly stunning city, with its yellow buildings and quaint shops hosting everything you could wish to buy: chopsticks with jade embedded into them, bowls made of coconut, tailored suits of varying styles and colour, and it was to a tailors that we headed as a lot of our group was eager to be fitted.
A few of us who weren't interested in buying tailored clothes decided to have a bit more of a wander through the streets, no direction in mind but knowing that to get back we needed to find the main bridge. With 7pm fast approaching we scrambled back to the hotel for a quick shower and change before having our evening meal at a local restaurant - lord knows I don't remember the name.
Today was a day for biking and boating, and was a day I was super excited for! After accepting the fact that no bike seat went low enough for my 5'3 height we set off for the countryside. Whilst Hoi An is a fairly laid back city compared to the likes of Hanoi and Hue, riding on the roads was still a harrowing experience.
Dodging potholes, motorbikes and buffalo, we sped along a main highway before taking a detour to a dirt path across a charming set of fields and homes that made for some amazing photo opportunities- if you could balance enough to take one that is, as we sure weren't slowing down!
We arrived at a little village, placing our orders for lunch and heading to the waterside to hop into our respective basket boats. Round straw hat and smiles in place, we posed for a few photos and set off through the reeds for a spot of crab fishing and water entertainment.
Once we'd finished our boat rides, we restocked on cold (bliss!) water and filled our stomachs before the games began. A few hilarious rounds of tug-of-war and hit the pinata later, we hopped back on our bikes and headed back to the hotel, though I somehow managed to hit every red light and get separated from the group a dozen times.
Since our hotel had a pool, and I'd been looking forward to this for the whole trip, a couple of us decided to spend the rest of the afternoon chilling around the pool before heading out for food and a couple of drinks.
Today was a free day with absolutely no plans, so a few of us decided to hire bicycles and head to one of the nearby beaches for a day of absolute relaxing and chilling.
The beach itself was gorgeous, and as someone who openly admits that she freaks out in the ocean, I did myself proud when I swallowed my (albeit ridiculous) fear and swam out to the warning ropes with the rest of the group, even though we were all fairly battered by the waves.
Two books and some food later, we hopped back onto our bikes and headed for our hotel. Those of us who were leaving the next day decided to pack whilst the rest of us chilled by the pool until dinner. We then headed to our restaurant and for a few drinks before a few of us went back to the hotel.
The next morning we said goodbye to the five of us leaving the tour and spent the morning exploring some of the more remote areas of Hoi An, buying art and eating cake before we got on the night bus to Nha Trang.
Whilst we didn't spend much time in Hoi An, it was certainly one of the more beautiful cities we visited on our tour, and it's one I'll definitely be back to visit.