The Beautiful Hoi An
With it's amazing character and beautiful lanterns, Hoi An turned out to be our favourite place in Vietnam by far. The ancient town is home to the age-old Japanese bridge and Chinese Assembly Hall, as well as stylish cafes with delicious menus (we even found brie!!) . We witnessed an amazing lantern festival, with hundreds being set alight and lowered down the town's river, where you can watch them floating through the night whilst eating delicious street food (Banh Mi is a crowd favourite).
|I was going to try and explain Banh Mi, but this picture does a much better job|
It is clear to see the French influence in Hoi An in both the architecture and food, back from when Vietnam was a French colony. I loved how lanterns were everywhere around the whole town, whether they were hanging up as decorations between buildings, floating down the river or in shops to be sold, they were just so beautiful.
We stayed in an awesome hostel called Tribee, with really comfy beds (finally!) and an easy bike rental for beach transport. The beach was quite a difficult ride away, it took about 40 minutes and was along a really busy road, which was manageable on the way there... but not so much in the huge rain storm we got caught in on the way back. We did manage to find shelter to take cover, but Vietnamese drivers speed up by around 100% once it starts raining and mopeds decide to take risks that a little English girl on a push bike might not expect them to. It was a very scary cycle back, which made us both wish we had got a taxi. It was however, extremely nice to be on a real beach for the first time (unlike Halong Bay), and we were able to see the traditional round squid fishing boats come into shore with their catch of the day.
|Freshly caught squid|
fell ill once again. At least I was able to know the signs straight away this time around and get myself to a doctor as soon as I started to feel unwell. It turned out I was not given strong enough medication when I got food poisoning back in Pai, and the bacteria had come back. Of course this would happen the one time in the trip I had decided to plan ahead and book our next 3 days transport and accommodation, which all had to be cancelled and therefore lost us quite a bit of money. This meant we were never able to do a long haul night train in Vietnam, however we changed our plans to do a motorcycle trip once I was better again so we weren't too upset in the end ;) The motorcycle ride was probably the coolest thing we did on the whole trip, so we were pretty happy the plan changed. Especially my boyfriend, who I felt rather sorry for, having to look after me being poorly again. Although he did go on an awesome cycling tour thorough the countryside one day I was ill in bed, so not too sorry. He got to have a go rowing one of the fishing boats, so I was extremely jealous :p
So, we stayed in Hoi An a lot longer than necessary, but a trip in Vietnam would not be complete without visiting this beautifully old fashioned town. As I mentioned earlier, it was definitely my favourite place in the country. My next post will be all about our awesome motorcycle trip up to Hue (don't worry, we didn't ride the bikes ourselves), and the jam packed day we spent there.