Hoi An, Vietnam
We flew from Hanoi into Da Nang on a quick 1-hour flight on VietJet Air. Our hotel, the Cozy Hoi An Villas, sent a car to pick us up at the airport. It was about a 40 minute drive from Da Nang to Hoi An. We flew in at night so we went straight to bed in our cute little boutique hotel room.
A Walking Tour and Boat Ride in Hoi An
In the morning we ate breakfast at the hotel before setting out on a walk into town. We were very pleasantly surprised by the absolutely adorable town of Hoi An! The weather was also warm, which is what we had planned for and what we were hoping for. Seriously, it might be the cutest little town I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Everything is built and maintained in French Revolutionary style and most people get around town by walking or bikes. The pace is much slower and more relaxed, especially after coming from the chaos of Hanoi. We toured a cute little temple in the center of town and ate some tasty street food. Hoi An is the king of awesome alleys and a true photographers paradise! We walked down many tiny streets and wandered the maze of alleys for most of the afternoon.
In the afternoon we at some incredible food and took a boat tour on the river that runs through town. The boat ride was a major highlight of our time in Hoi An because our boat captain was amazing! He spoke absolutely no English other than to tell us that his name was Ho Chi Minh. He had a very long wispy beard that he would stroke while giving a huge grin every time anyone tried to take his photo. We made sure to specifically choose him to be our captain, he was quite the character.
For dinner, we went to a highly recommended restaurant in town. Unfortunately it had a Vietnamese name that I cannot remember for the life of me. This was one of the best meals we had the entire trip and was traditional central Vietnamese food.
Hoi An Day 2
We decided to rent bikes from the hotel this morning! Yesterday we saw so many people exploring on bikes and it looks like a blast! Cute red bikes made us feel like we fit right in with the rest of the tourists. We rode back into the center of town and re-explored the alleyways by bike. We also walked through a market.
Biking Through Rice Paddies
In the afternoon we got directions from the front desk on how to ride to the rice paddies just outside of town. The map they gave us was absolutely terrible and we ended up riding back and forth lost for about 2 hours. I guess it was a great way to explore the outer reaches of the town but it was also a lot of work. After several hours of random riding around we stopped in the middle of town at a café to rehydrate. We were resigned to the fact that we would never find the rice paddies but once we got our blood sugar up we decided to give it one last try.
When we finally found the rice paddies we were greeted by a local farmer sitting atop a water buffalo on the side of the road. We stopped so I could take some photos and the farmer beckoned us over to get closer. They continued to invite us over and allowed us to pet, feed and even sit on their buffalo. They were so friendly and we shortly realized it was because they were going to ask us for money . It is always a little disappointing when you think someone is just being super nice and then you realize they want money. I did however appreciate the photos so we paid them a small tip. We kept riding a little further down then the rest of the tourist and got to see more water buffaloes, birds and a gorgeous little pond!
Dinner and A Mysterious Darkness
For dinner, we went to an adorable café right on the river where we could sit outside. There were tons of people out around town and it looked like they were setting up for some sort of festival or concert. We had a fantastic meal full of passion fruit, which is prolific in Vietnam! We had it every chance we got and would have happily overdosed if that were a thing. Afterwards we walked into town to get one last Banh Mi at this great street food stand we had found the day before! We were leaving the next morning and needed a Banh Mi fix to get us through the next flight.
On the way back we noticed people with lanterns and restaurants and hotels were turning out their lights. We had to walk and ride our bikes back to our hotel in almost complete darkness, which was a little intimidating. There was a big concert on the south side of the river with tons of people wandering the streets. When we returned to our hotel the lights were out there too so we asked the front desk what was going on. It turns out that the whole town was celebrating “Earth Hour” so they had turned all their lights off for 1 hour in recognition of global warming and the Earths health. Everyone headed out into the streets during this hour to listen to music and presentations about the Earth. How cool!
Hoi An was my absolute favorite part of our trip to Vietnam. We had the best food of the trip here and the weather was much improved from Halong Bay (read about that here). The cute style of the buildings and the alleys were just the cherry on top!