The night bus to Hoi An was actually fine, even if I couldn't sleep that easily despite the lack of sleep the previous night due to too much boozing. The journey took a painless 12 hours, arriving in Hoi An at 7am to find that haven arrived an hour late the so called free hotel pick up hadn't bothered to stick around. I jumped on the bike of a motorbike taxi and headed to the backpackers hostel of choice - Sunflower. Despite being sleep deprived I had to wait until 12pm to check in so I decided to kill the time by exploring the town and finding coffee.
Not wanting to sit around in the hostel foyer all morning, despite wanting a few hours’ sleep I decided to go for a walk into the town to get some breakfast. I immediately got accosted by some women telling me she worked in a clothes shop (Hoi An is famous for lanterns and tailor made clothes) so since I had nothing to do I humoured her, out of interest, and went to her shop to see what clothes she could make. But being skint and on a budget, I made my excuses and left. Hoi An old town is a beautiful place that's a stunning mix of Asia and a quaint old European village. And every building decorated with the infamous lanterns known to this town. I spent time exploring the numerous picturesque streets and shops and consuming caffeine in the little French cafe - Cafe Les Amis on the riverfront whilst watching boats being loaded up with motorbikes, bicycles and people to take them across to the islands. The local market was teeming with locals buying their fresh foods and tourists bargaining for trinkets and souvenirs. Instantly I fell in love with the town. Walking around the town was great and was amazing to see how beautiful it all really was and wandering around the market place to see the range of goods being sold.
Once checked in, I met Beatrice who I met in Mui Ne, and we headed to a riverfront restaurant for the local beer - Blue Larue and constantly being interrupted by various locals selling handmade cards (which I bought and are pretty), nuts and bracelets.
Feeling a bit tipsy, we went back to find Alice and a few other girls to get a nice girly dinner. After this, walking through the town at night was beyond stunning with homemade lanterns lit up lining the streets and being sold outside most of the shops, all colours and all shapes and sizes. It felt like a town you wouldn’t want to leave.
The following morning, the hostel puts on a buffet breakfast...brilliant! I had befriended Victoria from my dorm, after breakfast Beatrice, Alice, Victoria and I hired some bicycles to go spend the day on the beach. The ride to the beach was beautiful with paddy fields lining both sides of the road. Once we got to the beach we parked up our bikes and started the long painful task of getting a sun lounger with everyone trying to rip you off and shouting you to come over to their spot. Eventually we found a spot that wasn’t too much off a rip off and plonked ourselves down for a day of soaking up the sun. Mid-afternoon, getting a bit bored of being in the sun; we cycled back with the stunning scenery on either side of us. That evening, Victoria and I went for food at a nice little place called Mermaid which was recommended to us, tasty food, and explored a small night market and soaking up the beauty of the town at night. We needed the night with ice cream and mojito, perfect.
The last full day in Hoi An was spent more or less just aimlessly wandering about and buying a few souvenirs, in particular a beautiful handmade turquoise lantern since we are in the home of these items. We also made sure we stuffed our faces continuously with make it yourself rice pancakes and desserts and somehow that killed the day. That evening Tom, who I last saw in Nha Trang and his friend Adam, who was also from the same area I lived, had arrived and checked in to the Sunshine hotel. So that evening we got a big group of eight of us out for dinner and drinks. We went to an amazing locals (hidden) spot for dinner where the staff put plates of veg, meat, rice paper and sauces down the table and you make your own spring rolls. A great social thing and we had such a laugh, before continuing the night at a bar where an intense game of jenga got under way with a free shot. Deciding to move onto another bar, some local lads recommend a ‘cool and lively’ bar to go to, so we all jumped on to a couple of scooters to head there. Oh dear! There was no one in there so for a couple of hours we made our own party which was hilarious before deciding to go and check out the ‘place to be’, the Why Not bar. The place was heaving with backpackers and we had a good laugh there and dance and drank until around 3am when outside the hostel we all decided to buy 2 Vietnamese baguettes, maybe it was the drink but they tasted amazing. Time to hit the hay.
Shame to be leaving Hoi An as it’s a great place, but fortunately Beatrice, Alice, Victoria and I were all moving on to Hue, with Tom and Adam following the next day.