We arrived in the afternoon after a short 5 hour bus ride form Hue. We were given a list of hotels in all price ranges, luckily we were dropped off outside the one we had picked. The room was $15 which included breakfast and the use of the swimming pool at the sister hotel, so we took it. Our first impressions of Hoi An were good it felt a lot more relaxed and quiet with not too many motos.
We settled in and then went in search of lunch, the hotel staff were really friendly and pointed us in the direction of lots of restaurants by the riverfront. We picked a cafe just over the river on Hoi An Island. We sat upstairs which had to best views of the river, the area was clean and very laid back. I choose fresh spring rolls and Wayne had a Vietnamese noodle soup, both were nice and really filling. We wanderd along the riverbank and then over a small brigde to get back to the main area. We then found our way to the market which had a really stong smell of fish. Apart from the fish there were fresh fruit and vegetables on sale. Further through the market there were more stalls selling clothes, jewellery and souvenirs. Once we were out of the market we decided that we would take a look in a few of the many tailors shops. Hoi An is famous for its tailors, they can make any type of garment usually within a day and they can copy a design that you like, which makes it a perfect place for shopping. The only problem are that there are lots to choose from and then there is the added problem of deciding which material you want. We already knew what we wanted making so we just tried to decide on the material and get rough prices. As there was such a choice of shops we decided to wait until tomorrow and consult out guidebook for their recommendations. Once back at the hotel we got our swimming stuff together and walked the few doors to the sister hotel for a swim. The pool was set in a courtyard and as we got in it started to spit with rain, we managed a nicfe swim none the less. In the evening we did not need to walk far until we found an Indian restaurant we both knew then that was what we would be having to eat and it was really tasty.
Day 2 - After our breakfast at the sister hotel we packed our stuff up as we had found another hotel around the corner it was slightly cheaper but had a nice courtyard pool and wifi. Our search for a tailor began, we only had to walk across the road until we found a recommended tailor Wayne ordered two shirts, he had brought a shirt out with him and asked if they could copy it, there were more than happy to do this. I also had a pair of black linn trousers that I wanted copying and the original fixed into a cropped pair of trousers. All of this was no trouble so we ordered it would cost us $30 and we could pick it up the next day. For lunch we went to a cafe by the river, I ordered a vegetable soup, but when it came out I could not eat it as it had pineapple on urgh. We strolled through the narrow streets in search of another tailor and then we found Mr Xe, a small eccentric little old man. Mr Xe had quite a nig shop with all different types and colours of materials, he agreed to make us a pair of shorts each. We picked our material and then a design from one of his stacks of catalogues. Mr Xe then measured us up and told us to return for a fitting tomorrow morning. We left his shop really pleased and stopped off at a cafe for a coffee and a crepe, we sat outside and watched the people of the narrow streets it was great. In the evening we headed to the riverfront, we went to a nice restaurant and sat upstairs so we could watch the street. There were even some people fishing below us with some bamboo rods. We ordered a set meal which included a prawn cocktail, white rose a small Vienamese dumpling. Wayne had a pork dish and I had tuna, egg and noodle baked in a banana leaf, this was followed by fresh fruit I am addicted to Dragon fruit. We stopped at a couple of bars on the way back.
Day 3 - We woke late and went to pick up the shirts they were pefect and needed no alterations. We stopped for a greasy English breakfast and then headed to Mr Xe's. My shorts were fine but Wayne's were too big, this was no problem and Mr Xe said he would alter them and we could collect them in a couple of hours. We headed back to the hotel and had a lazy day!!! For dinner we went to Treats bar and I had a plate of noodles and Wayne had pasta it was not too tasty!!!
Day 4 - We found out that we had $400 worth of travellers cheques stolen, but god knows where. We always have everything on us, but we must have left them in one of our hotel rooms at one stage. The strangest thing is that some cheques were left and also all of the cash that was with them. As they are insured we had to call American Express to arrange a refund. The hotel charged us £30 for a 40 minute call, but we needed to get it sorted, which is was and we could pick up the replacement in Nha Trang our next stop. We had some breakfast, scrambled eggs and toasted sandwiches and decided to head out of the town. We hired 2 pushbikes and went 4km to the beach, the ride was fairly flat so not too strenuous! There was a bike park just at the entrance to the beach and we soon realised after walking onto the sand that we should have brought our hammocks, there were plenty of trees to hang them to. There were people sat all under the palm trees in the shade as it was quite a warm day. We rented sun loungers and headed for the sea, it was warm the beach was lovely and clean and best of all not too busy. On the ride back to town we stopped at one of the cafes by the river, it was a lovely setting and a nice break from the ride. In the evening we headed back over the river to Hoi An Island and found a nice restaurant where we ate curry while watching the geckos run across the ceiling.
Day 5 - Our last day in Hoi An, we packed our bags and left them in the hotel lobby for the day until we left for Nha Trang. We had a late breakfast I choose Museli with fresh fruit, yoghurt and honey it was delicious and I should try eating it more often. We then wanted to look around the shops as there were lots of souvenirs that we wanted to send home. We wandered the streets and the market and came away with a big box of stuff to post. We ended up with 2 silk lanterns, rice paper paintings and a range of bamboo goods, plates, rice bowls, a vase and a wine bottle holder. We also had extra to carry - 2 silk sleeping bags, we thought they would come in useful for cold bus journeys. We took our box up to the post office and sent it home via sea, it should take 3/4 months. We had an early dinner as we had to be at the bus for 6pm. Wayne opted for Bangers and Mash and I had a Hoi An speciality, fish with fried onions and baked in a banana leaf with some rice.
Next Stop the beach at Nha Trang!