Thursday, 16 July 2015

Hoi An

We spent five glorious nights in the wonderful town of Hoi An. This really is such a pretty little place full of lanterns and candles floating along the river. It's made up of lots of little backstreets with restaurants, souvenir shops and also clothes making vendors. Every budget can be catered for in terms of food and accommodation. The area is bustling with people every evening and the atmosphere is electric.

We flew from Hanoi on Vietnam Airlines to Da Nang airport in around one hour and for a cost of around £70. We were then collected by Hanoi Transfer Service (who were brilliant in advance of our trip and on time for the transfers) for £24 return for the 40 mins journey in each direction.

We spent our days either lazying by the pool or cycling the 20 mins ride through the rice paddies to the beach where loungers were available along with all types of food and drinks including whole coconuts for 50p! The water was warm and the beach was packed but clean and with a great vibe. The ride back at sunset was simply magical!

On one morning we chose to set out early and take a cooking class through Red Bridge Cookery School for 32 USD each. The day started with a welcome drink in their restaurant followed by a picturesque journey up the river in a motor boat. The scenery was lovely and this continued as the back drop to our lesson. Our teachers were great fun and we learnt a lot. The only disappointment was it appeared to be more of a demonstration and tasting as opposed to actual cooking.

We learnt to cook:
  • Rice paper 
  • Fresh Rice Paper Rolls of Shrimp
  • Crispy Hoi An Pancakes with Shrimp, Herbs, Bean Sprouts & a Peanut Sauce
  • Seafood Salad with mixed Vietnamese Herbs served in Half a Pineapple
  • Vietnamese Eggplant in Clay Pot
  • Food Decoration - Pineapple Boat, 3 Colored Flowers & Vietnamese Hand Fan
The food decoration was the best part, most of the group were totally useless but those that made a cucumber into a fan or a tomato into a rose was pretty impressive. As part of the day we were also split into small groups and taken around the Hoi An market. This was great to see the market in action and the locals working on their individual skills.

The evenings is when Hoi An comes to life with an array of bars and restaurants. We had two favorites. Try Morning Glory and make sure your hotel phones ahead to book as this place is very popular. We seriously over ordered here but managed to consume everything. The food here is amazing and authentic and with two large bottles of water we managed to spend £15 per couple, which is a total bargain! Another great find was Brother's Cafe. The food wasn't quite as good and it's quite a walk out of town. However, the setting is gorgeous and romantic in a beautiful garden with the river on one side all lit by lanterns and fairy lights. Try an array of salads here as they were genuinely great. Dinner with water and soft drinks was around £35 per couple so this is a more expensive Hoi An option.

Finally go and get yourself some Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguettes with BBQ pork, pate and salad) for lunch. There are loads of great places selling them in Hoi An so ask your hotel to point you in the right direction. Four baguettes, three waters and a beer was around £3 so it's no wonder we became addicted and could not stop going back!!!

Hoi An is a great little beach side town with amazing food and nightlife. Do not hesitate to add this picturesque area into your Vietnam holiday!