Everyone I’d spoken to that had already visited Vietnam had said that Hoi An was their absolute favourite. I knew that it would be a quaint old Japanese port with a wonderful ambiance but I honestly wasn’t expecting to be this blown away by the incredible Hoi An. After an extremely early wake and airport transfer, we checked into our wonderfully friendly Horizon Homestay and grabbed a quick lunch before a much needed restful afternoon. By the evening we were all set to explore the magic of Hoi An at night.
We cycled into town (our amazing Homestay offered the free use of bicycles-an absolute must while in Hoi An) and parked our bikes before walking into the ancient city. We walked mesmerized through the colourful lantern-lit streets. It was honestly one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve had the privilege of witnessing. We made our way past coffee roasteries and restaurants, all housed in ancient Japanese merchant houses, towards the river.
It held the beauty of thousands of floating candles and lantern lit boats. We hopped on a boat and were rowed through the candles, admiring the lantern-lined banks. It was honestly so magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful.
Our supper consisted of samples throughout the vibrant night market.. We tried banana pancakes, spring rolls, deep fried meat veg rice rolls, countryside rice pancake and the typical Vietnamese sandwich: Bahn Mi. Our first night in Hoi An was incredible and the rest of our stay here continued in a similar fashion.
We spent our first morning exploring the old town by light. We got lost in the character-filled streets, admiring the Japanese bridge, the merchant houses, the boat-lined river and the day market.
The rain then came down and we retreated into a restaurant to munch on the traditional My Quang and Cao Lau dishes and the best Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk.
Thankfully the rain cleared and we spent the afternoon cycling through the rice paddies of the Hoi An countryside towards the Palm village of Cam Thanh. Here we cycled along the quite river banks and found hidden bamboo basket boats in the palm fronds.
I absolutely adored the freedom of being on a bicycle in this stunning landscape. Getting used to the crazy lack of traffic rules in Vietnam was another story though! It’s a bit of a free for all and it seems as long as you hoot loudly you can overtake anyone anywhere and everyone else must just get out of your way.
For our next day we went on a tour to the My Son ruins. A site of ancient temples which were destroyed by American bombs during the Vietnam War. It was so hectic seeing the vast number of massive bomb craters right next to what were once prized temples. Incredibly beautiful all the same but very touristy.
In the afternoon we hopped on our bicicletas again and navigated the traffic out of the city and into the countryside. This time our destination was the Tra Que herb village. A very cute little farming village with neatly laid out veggie patches and serene farmers working the land. It was so peaceful and quiet and such a treat to cycle through.
We then cycled a little further to An Bang beach. The sea was rather churned up for us but with the palm umbrellas and deckchairs I can imagine its the place to be in summer time.
We had a stunning final evening in the magical lantern town and bid farewell to one of the most unexpected and wonderful surprises of our trip. Hoi An, you were an absolute treat and a place I know anyone would adore!
Today we fly to Ho Chi Minh city for our final stop in Vietnam before heading over into Cambodia and joining up with Luke! I’m beyond excited to see him again and can’t wait for the adventures Cambodia holds.