so 12 hours on a sleeper bus braught us to Hoi An, they really should be re-named uncomfortable, loud, bumpy buses, very little sleep actually takes place. We arrived in Hoi An veerrry sleepy and in abit of a daze, so when we got off the bus and a lady started her big long script about her hotel and a free shuttle bus to go and see it we just went along with it all with no argument. The hotel is a good 15 minute walk from town which we actually like, we like having the excuse to have a good few walks in the day, walk off all the scrummy food we have been eating, more on that later!
So the hotel has a pool and the price included a buffet breakfast, really nice hotel. Considering we are on a really tight budget and supposed to be trampy travellers we still manage to get really good fancy places to stay. The first time we have had a hotel with a pool and the weather was grim for the first two days, by the third day it brightend up enough to actually make use of the pool though so that was good.
Hoi An is amazing, its just the most beautiful and special place, we both really really love it here. The old town as its called is the main area, its a series of small streets full of cute little shops, cafes and restaurants. All the buildings are really old and are all painted a yellow colour and have a very french style about them with big wooden doors and shuttors. The streets are lined with lanterns, they are everywhere and at night when they are all lit up its such a beautiful sight, big balls of bright colours hanging from every window, door, lamp, the streets are lined with row after row of them and there are loads and loads of shops that sell them so they are full to the rafters with these bright coloured lanters. All I could think when I was walking around was how much my sister Hannah would love it here! Hannah if you ever make it over this end of the world again (which Im sure you will) you have to come here, its like your perfect place! The town is full shops selling handmade everything, from gorgeous shoes in any colour and they will make your size and colour for you if they dont have it, and gorgeous bags, little trinkits, just loads, if you were here on a short holiday with a load of spending money you could have a field day and come home with so much gorgeous stuff, its so tempting to buy everything but we simple cant afford it and would never have enough room in our bags, its very sad :( although we may have found a little room for two lanterns, yay!
Dress makers are constantly coming up to you, on our first day when we didnt know anything yet we had a lady stop us in the street and was making convo for a good ten minutes before she told us she owned a dress shop and could she take us there, I guess we didnt expect it from a woman, its normally the men you know are after something but here its all the ladys, so now when we get a very friendly lady asking how we are and where we're from I just have to say 'no dresses today' and they just smile and move onto the next person. The dresses in the shops are lovely, and you can have one hand made for you, you get to chose the fabric, the design and they will measure you up and have it made in a couple of days, like I said its such a shame we just cant have it all!
Street food vendors are everywhere, on our first day we met a really lovely, smily lady who wanted us to try her food, she kept calling after us whilst we were walking by and said we could try some for free, things are never free in asia but we sat down anyway. It was tofu that didnt look or taste like tofu, she put some in a little bowl and it kind of looked like angel delight but slimy...sounds vile but it was actally quite nice! she poured some liqued brown sugar on and some ginger and it was delicious, she gave us a big bowl to share so when we asked how much she said 20,000 which is about 60p, we didnt have any small money only a 50,000 thinking she would have some change but when she saw that 50 she couldnt of shoved it in her pocket quick enough! she then started getting another big bowl of the stuff and kept offering more....she made a good lot off us that day!
The town is really busy, its a huge tourist attraction and there are big groups of people on tours, you really have to watch where your going, if its not the massive groups of koreans your bumping into its the kids selling bracelets and then theres the motorbikes weaving in and out and then the really sensible people who stop right infront of you taking a photo! In the evening is when this place really comes to life, masses of food vendors, selling dougnuts, peanut candy, sweetcorn, popcorn and then there are the litle kids and old ladys with trays full of candles in little lanterns that you can buy and then send down the river for good luck and then you have the koreans.....being korean. We went to see a traditional arts performance on one evening, it was really fun to see, they had a band that played traditional music and girls doing different dances, it was really low budget and had a home made feel about it so we kind of felt like we were at a school play but it was still really good to watch. We have both said that coming here its like we have seen Vietnam for the first time, not a beach resort and another big western city but the real Vietnam with all its delicious food and beautiful things to look at and see. Even away from the town its beautiful, we went for a bike ride and there are bright green wet rice paddies everwhere where you can watch the farmers at work with there little pointy hats.
We stayed here longer than planned just because we love it so much and I will be sad to leave, its taken number one place for favourite town over Luang Prabang in Loas, and thats saying something! Off to Hue tomorrow, just 3 hours...so in reality thats probibly about 5 hours. Its funny how much 10 hours north can make a difference to the weather and temperature, its very much like england where we are now, its grey alot of the time and drizzly sometimes but when the sun makes an appearence its nice and warm, not scorcheo like down south just a nice english summer heat. The further north we head the cooler and clouder it will get, its actually quite refreshing to be in a cooler climet, and when we head up to Haylong Bay and it gets really wet and grim it will just feel like a holiday in Wales so we are actually looking forward to it...and anyways we only have 17 days until we are back to Thialand, YIKES its all going so fast!!!!!!!!!!