Once a riverside village and trading port, Hoi An is now definitely a tourist town. While it has an air of irreality, the town still exudes character and charm.
I’m sure there are sights to see in and around Hoi An, but I can’t say we managed to fit them in. We spent our time relaxing and exploring – we wandered through the little cobblestoned streets and stumbled into art galleries and shops. We stopped at cafes for great eats, coffees and cocktails. We spent time at the beach, swimming and reading.
As for the shopping, Hoi An is famous for its custom clothing. There are hundreds of tailors and shoemakers dotted throughout the town, making it very difficult to identify good quality. Some of them are just storefronts, outsourcing the tailoring to a factory somewhere, others are handling the work themselves. In any case, you can very easily spot the copies of everything from Burberry to Zara – the Next directory has a very different use serving as a great source of inspiration for these tailors!
We made the rounds of the recommended restaurants, all which were amazing. Providing a welcome respite from the touts, Miss Ly, just around the corner fro the market, is one of the oldest in Hoi An and is a great place to try some of the local specialities. Morning Glory had us queuing for a table, but it provided another great chance to try some more of the local street food dishes from a clean kitchen. Cargo Club may have an international menu, but their play on Vietnamese fusion, the patisserie coupled with the relaxing river view from the terrace makes it a perfect place to dine. We also took a cooking class at Hai Cafe, and gained some insight into the herbs and spices in Vietnamese cooking as well as an appreciation for the effort and preparation of this spectacular cuisine.
There is also a bit of nightlife in Hoi An – a place for all the tourists to wander to as the locals sleep early. We checked out all of the bars in the city, but found ourselves back at Before & Now for three nights in a row!