A QUICK GUIDE: 24 HOURS TO EXPLORE HOI AN IN VIETNAM
Xin Chao from Hoi An in Vietnam! I’m currently adventuring around this beautiful country with My Adventure Store and have fallen in love very quickly. The people are undeniably the kindest I’ve met, the food is ridiculously delicious and the scenery is like nothing I’ve seen before; one minute I am riding a bicycle through lush rice fields in Hoi An, the next, I am running across a hectic intersection in Ho Chi Minh City avoiding locals on their motorcycles. It’s incredible! Vietnam has been on my bucket list for a very long time and I am thrilled to explore Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi on this trip – Vietnam Explorer Journey Northbound Tour. Our humble group of 16 from the US, Ireland, UK and Australia are a hilarious group of people whom I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know. I have to be honest I was at first a little skeptical about embarking on a group tour with a bunch of people I didn’t know, but this was quickly thwarted. Travelling solo is amazing, but it is really nice to make new friends and travel with likeminded people.
So what did I get up to in Hoi An? A lot. Whilst we had a little over 24 hours to explore Hoi An in Vietnam this gorgeous city, I managed to squeeze a lot in. For this latest post, I thought it would be a great idea to share a photo diary and some suggestions of things you can see and do in 24 hours – if you have more time, that’s great!
BREAKFAST: Get out onto the pretty streets of Hoi An and enjoy a locally made Banh Mi, which is a French baguette made with various Vietnamese cold cuts, such as sliced pork or chicken, along with pate, cheese and a variety of other accompaniments, such as fresh chilli, coriander, lettuce and cucumber. The best Banh Mi can be found in the local Central Market, which offers an abundance of local produce, flowers, crafts, artwork and souvenirs.
YALY COUTURE: After breakfast, head straight to Yaly Couture to get something made. You can bring items from home to get copied in their huge selection of fabrics, or choose from one of there design catalogues, or you can bring a print out of an item you want made. It’s an incredible place and the tailoring is extremely low-priced. I brought a skirt from home, which I got copied in two different fabrics. Yaly also has a wide selection of their latest designs hanging throughout the store, so I chose one of their skirts in two different fabrics. The total price? $206! Selecting and measuring is very quick but you’ll no doubt feel a little famished and ready for lunch.
Address: 47 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An www.yalycouture.com
LUNCH: A trip to Hoi An is not complete until you have enjoyed a meal at Mermaid Restaurant. This local secret was the first restaurant to open in Hoi An. It also was the first restaurant to serve Western tourists when they were allowed into Vietnam in 1992. Owned by local legend Vy, he chose the location because it was close to the market, ensuring the freshest local produce was available to use in his highly regarded dishes. I recommend the fresh pork and prawn spring rolls, sautéed bok choy served with ginger and mushrooms, fried open wontons and the Vietnamese White Rose.
Address: 2 Tran Phu, Hoi An
COCOBOX: After lunch, it’s time for you to roam the gorgeous tree lined streets filled with French influenced architecture and colour. Make sure you stop by Cocobox to enjoy an afternoon snack from their surprisingly hipster menu – smoothies with dragon fruit, cacao, avocado, coconut milk, chia seeds, spirulina or soy milk. I recommend the An Bang Colada (Pineapple, banana, mint, rosemary and coconut milk) with a slice of organic carrot cake. Need to cool down? Grab a cup of coconut ice cream to go and head down to the river to explore the embankment.
Address: 94 Le Hoi, Hoi An www.cocoboxvietnam.com
DINNER: After a big day of exploring you’ll no doubt want to rest your weary feet. Head to Lantern Town Restaurant (next to Yaly Couture) for dinner and order the ginger stir fried beef served with red wine veal jus and steamed rice. After dinner you’ll need to pop next door to Yaly Couture and pick up your tailored pieces. Then slowly stroll down the cute lantern lit streets of Hoi An and make your way to your hotel.
Address: 49 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An www.lanterntown.com
VAN LOI HOTEL: With the tour, we stayed at Van Loi Hotel – and I loved it. It’s French Colonial style fused with a Vietnamese twist gives the pink building and lush swimming pool a very cool vibe. My room was spacious and of course, was air conditioned. Breakfast was also included and it’s location is second to none – not in the Old Town (which is really good because it can get quite hectic), just a five minute walk away.
Address: Cam Nam Village, Hoi An www.hoianvanloihotel.com
PHOTO DIARY: EXPLORING HOI AN IN VIETNAM
This post is in collaboration with My Adventure Store