After another long train journey, I found myself in rainy but picturesque Hoi An. The city has a great vibe, a lively waterfront and some great people watching. With over 2000 years of history, Hoi An has much to see but it is most well known for its tailoring, so every other shop was lined with rolls of fabric and samples of clothing they could make just for you.
After a quick stop for lunch, our group set out to explore the old center. There is much to see in the old center itself, with winding lanes and Chinese-styled shops. There is a river running through the old center, splitting it into two with numerous food stands and glowing lanterns which was particularly atmospheric in the evening.
After having a few garments custom tailored and shop-hopping for souvenirs, I wanted to see what else Hoi An had to offer. Here are a few of my favorite ways to spend time in my favorite Vietnamese city:
Exploring the Old Town
The entire old center is scattered with important temples and sites. Getting lost in the ancient twisting alleyways was an enjoyable way to spend a day. In particular, I loved the Japanese Covered Bridge (Chua Cau or Lai Vien Kieu), on the west end of Tran Phu Street (ticket required).
Our group spent a great evening with the Gioan Cookery School. The teacher was hilarious and speaks perfect English, which makes the class super fun. Price varies depending on number of students and number of meals.
Bike Tour in the Rice Fields
A half day bike tour through the rice fields was just what I needed to get out of the city. We saw incredible landscapes and the traditional way of life for many people. The pace of the ride was nice and easy and it was a great few hours.
Day in the Spa
After days of rain and shopping, I decided to relax in the spa for an afternoon. The prices were very reasonable and a massage, facial, pedicure, and manicure were a perfect way to revive and refresh. There are numerous spas around the old center, so ask for some local recommendations.
My Son Ruins
If you love ruins, then a day trip out of the city to explore the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son is a must! The ancient ruins are from of the Cham empire and only an hour long bus ride from Hoi An. The ruins are in a beautiful setting of jungle and open fields and there are numerous areas to explore. Make sure to hire a local guide for the full experience.
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For More Information:
Wiki Travel (Hoi An)
Wiki Travel (My Son Ruins)
Gioan Cookery School