Days 52-56 – Hoi An

Waking up on my sleeper bus journey from Da Lat, I arrived in Hoi An at around 6am, ignored the locals trying to charge me to take me to my hostel and walked the 15 minutes using Google Maps.

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Wakey wakey Chris

Once at the hostel,  I sat down and chatted to another girl that had just arrived from a sleeper bus, and one that was leaving early for her next destination.

And I met some of the lovely staff at Phuong Le Villa.

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Money (left), Kimmy (centre) [Picture taken from their site, not my own]
Little did I know at this early stage of my stay that they would be some of the funnest hostel staff of my entire trip. Throughout my stay I was forever teasing Money and Kimmy whilst having beers in the evening. Great fun, more on that later…

Immediately after arriving it was apparent there was a power outage in Hoi An, and with it being really hot outside, I just relaxed for a little while inside, talking to some of the other guests. One of the guys I met was a Palestinian man called Rami who loved Hoi An so much I think he ended up staying for 9 or 10 days? Both being hungry, we ventured out to explore Hoi An and decided to try some of the local food.

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‘I’ll have, err, one of those please?’

At under 30,000 Dong (~£1), it was pretty cheap and filling, and we were certainly the only foreigners eating in this small shop.

All in all, during my stint in Hoi An, this was one of the more normal foods I ate, considering I ate Mexican taco’s, at ‘Hola Taco!’, and the traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich.

In the afternoon I then decided to venture into the old town…

The Old Town

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One of the most picturesque places I went to in my travels. I loved the vibe of Hoi An. I loved the little café’s, the charming shops, the river running through, and despite sometimes a large amount of tourists it still seemed relaxed to me.

Just chilling in one of the little cake shops
Just chilling in one of the little cake shops
The cakes were sooo delicious
The cakes were sooo delicious (and cheap)

One thing Hoi An has become particularly famous for is the abundance of cheap tailoring shops. They appear to vary in quality but if you do your homework right, there are some cheap suits on offer. Just don’t go taking ‘recommendations’ from your hostel, taxi driver or basically any local. They’ll be in it for a hefty commission.

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One of many tailors in Hoi An

I’m actually surprised to say, despite my love of clothes (anyone seen my wardrobe lately?), I managed to avoid spending my money in the tailors. I figured, i’d either have to transport a suit for the next 50 days, or pay postage to send it home. I heard there was a ‘Sea-Mail’ option that takes 3 months to deliver and is cheaper but hey, I don’t want a suit to have a better foreign trip than me!

More images from the Old Town I took…

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And at night…

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The Hostel and The People

If anyone reading this is going to stay in Hoi An, I highly advise the hostel I stayed in; Phuong le Villa.

Why?

Well its quite social but chilled at the same time. The small area near the reception has a bar and lots of chairs and there were evenings where we got all the chairs together and all chatted. I met tonnes of people.

I didn’t hardcore party here (though there were lots of nearby bars to do that), but I had good evenings from eating nice food to going to a pub with fellow travellers and watching the football.

There were 2 English peoples that stayed in my 6 bed dorm that were a great laugh too, I even got a lovely note from one of them left on my bed, so sweet!!

 

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And then there was the staff… 🙂

I was constantly messing with Money and Kimmy on reception, Kimmy insisting everything about the hostel was ‘5 star’. Sweet girls that worked really long hours with only 2 days off a month!!

One of the days they took this picture of me sitting by reception with their hat…

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Contrary to my t-shirt – this definately wasn’t Cambodia…

And well, somehow whilst joking around it ended up all around the hostel…

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It was printed a few times. Making it’s way into a wanted poster in the hostel. Suddenly I was; ‘Lost – Last seen in Hoi An, May be dangerous! He lost his mind, somebody looking for him’

It ended up printed for the rather confused kitchen staff too. Oh and…wp-1469542993680.jpg

Somehow on the desktop background of the hostel PC?

Having seen the conversation they had about me on Facebook Messenger, and the fact they had taught me that khùng meant ‘crazy’ in Vietnamese, I think they thought I was slightly bonkers…

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Undoubtedly they all made my Hoi An stay amazing!

An Bang Beach

An Bang beach is about a 20 minute bicycle ride away from Hoi An’s Old Town. I hadn’t originally been too bothered about checking it out but the opportunity arose when a snorkelling trip i’d been scheduled to go on was cancelled because of the weather. Instead of the van dropping me back at the hostel I asked to be let out at the beach instead!

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It wasn’t the best of weather at the time, and I wouldn’t say it was a great beach but I always love walking along the beach.

There was no-one around either so I had some lunch, walked around and when a flag was washed ashore, I just went around writing things in the sand as you do haha.

Cham Island Snorkelling

So after the first day was cancelled due to weather, my snorkelling was rearranged for the following day. I was to be taken in a van to the harbour and then off to explore Cham Island which is not far from Hoi An.

Soon I was chatting away to the other people in the van and my fellow snorkellers. Let me rephrase that, soon I was adopted for the day by a lovely Australian family. There was mum and dad, and I now had a different brother and sister also for the day.

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Getting ready to set sail.

 

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The interesting anchor in use.

After our guides introduced themselves on the boat, offering free water and snacks, we soon headed off for the approximate hour journey to Cham Island. Aswell as talking to my new family – (‘mum’ was making sure I put on lots of sun cream as it was hot),  I talked to a French guy and his Vietnamese girlfriend, and then got my wet suit and flippers ready.

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Nearly there…

We got to near the island, and were given 2 x 1 hour sessions to swim and snorkel around.

The snorkelling itself was fairly disappointing because there weren’t many fish. If you love looking at coral however then this is the snorkel trip for you! The snorkel equipment was also a lot better than the junk I was given in Thailand though this wasn’t much consolation.

I did have fun swimming around a pretty island and jumping off our boat with my ‘brother’.

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After some on-island lunch, we were given some free time on the island. So we lazed in hammocks near the beach.

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And having had some meaty debates about Australian, American and British politics with the family in the shade, it was time to get the boat back to Hoi An.

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Goodbye Hoi An

For all the days I had been in Hoi An, i’d pestered Money and Kimmy on reception at the hostel to take me to some karaoke. I had to let Vietnam hear my not so great voice after all.

It was my last night and so they actually agreed to it. So with a few people from the hostel, we went to the nearby karaoke…

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Unfortunately it was closing so my Hoi An karaoke dream was delayed indefinately. Instead, we headed out to get a big group meal and beer. I clung on the back of a motorbike for dear life.

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Putting my amazing chopstick skills to use

I was really quite sad to see the end to my Hoi An adventure. I mean it didn’t stop me teasing Money by pouring some water on her head at the meal but i’d made loads of friends and I really enjoyed the Hoi An vibe. It’s definately somewhere I hope to return to one day.

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