A Heavenly time in Hoi An, Vietnam

The service at the hotel we stayed at was great in Quy Nohn. They even went and bought our train tickets for our trip to Hoi An, as well as drove us to the train station. We were on the 3rd floor and the young man who worked there would run our suitcases up and down so we gave him a full size bag of M&Ms to thank him for everything and his eyes lit up. He practically hugged the bag of candy. It was so sweet. It made me wish I had brought even more candy to give to people. While they do have M&Ms in Vietnam, apparently the quality of the chocolate isn’t the same as it is in the US. In the future tho, I will bring candies that are wrapped so that it’s easier to share.

When we got to the train station we were overwhelmed. Tons of people and nothing in English. We finally figured out where we needed to go. There was an old woman who offered to go get food for us. We knew we were paying extra but oh well, was worth it to not have to navigate things. We stuck out like a sore thumb. We knew the train had come when the masses headed to the door. Luckily, we got cushioned seats for our ride.
Train to Hoi An

Unluckily the world’s most bratty kid was on our train and seated across from us. She would walk up and down the aisle and take people’s food and drink and if they didn’t let her, she would throw a huge screaming fit. She cried most of the time. Her mom just let her. She was a tiny terror. We were quite surprised because all of the kids we’d seen on the trip so far had been amazingly well behaved.

Nancy was sitting behind Su and I. We like to put the white girl in the back. But don’t fear for her, she found a new best friend. I believe his name was Steven. He learned English in school and was practicing by talking to Nancy. We told him we knew English also but he had no time for us. In Vietnam, Nancy was the exotic flower.

The peanut gallery didn’t shut up tho. We still had our say. We told her to get his number, he was cute and maybe he needed a green card wife but alas, he has a girlfriend.

Probably the funniest part of the trip was the girl in the photo below who had gotten on at one of the stops. She didn’t have a seat so she just crouched down in the aisle and proceeded to fall asleep on Su’s arm rest. Su, our resident germaphobe was none too happy about this but I had a good laugh. Luckily it was just for the last little bit of our trip. I believe the train ride was about 4 hours.
I tried to sleep but the screaming child made it difficult. Luckily we had Nancy’s conversation with Steven to keep Su and I entertained. We were really hoping for that love connection. They are now FB friends. Who knows what the future will bring.

 

Even tho we were going to Hoi An, the train only took us as far as Danang. A lot of people spend time shopping there and then go to Hoi An but we were ready to get going. We wanted to get settled into our room and relax. It takes about a 30-45 minute cab ride to get to Hoi An. Our room was bright and airy, not very big but still really pretty and white (until our dirty bodies got all over it). This is a good time to mention showers in Vietnam. Unless the hotel is westernized, there’s no actual shower or tub area. They have the shower head but the floors have a drain in it and the entire bathroom is your shower which is why most hotels provide you with flip-flops, because the bathroom floor is always wet,  so bring your own shower shoes!

 

We settled into our room then wandered out for food (naturally). Hoi An is an extremely cute walking town. The only time we took a cab was when we arrived. Other than that, we walked and sometimes we had no idea where we were going. The girls stopped at a tourist booth so they got a map and directions to where the market was. A market will always have good cheap food. I am a fan.

Street food Hoi An

As we were walking I saw a stand selling this, it’s like a crab pancake. Of course we had to get some. Surprisingly it wasn’t as delicious as I was expecting. The shells were a bit on the crunchy side but the big detriment was lack of flavor, it really needed a dipping sauce or at least some salt and pepper. Nancy didn’t even finish hers but you know I couldn’t let crab go to waste. We finally found the market and in the middle of it was a huge building full of all different kinds of food stalls. The sky opened up and I heard angels sing. Not only did we have a plethora of choices, the bowls of food were only a dollar. Cue the chorus! We ended up sitting at the first stand we saw, all of their food had pictures, it looked delicious and we were hungry!

Bun in Hoi An
Making our food.
It was well worth the walk to find it and we are going to be back! Can’t beat those prices and tastes great too!

Hoi An Vietnam

 

Walking around looking for food we would stop at the various salons to check out their shampoo prices so we had an idea of what the average cost was. We found one on the way back from dinner that had shampoos and blowouts for $6. Sold! She didn’t tell us that if 3 people bought a service that it would be 20% off. It was on the back side of the brochure. I made sure we got our discount. Of course, then we proceeded to tip generously, I just wanted the discount everyone else got.

By the time we were done, it had gotten dark. Hoi An has lanterns everywhere. It’s so pretty at night. It was really hard to get a picture that conveyed it properly.

Hoi An Vietnam

Hoi An Vietnam

One last coffee stop before we headed back to our hotel. We stopped in a cute little cafe. The girls thought they were ordering an iced coffee, their drug of choice in Vietnam but what they actually ordered was more like a coffee smoothie, they loved it! I ordered a passion fruit juice and that was a passion fruit smoothie, it was amazing! Hard not to drink it in one swallow. We definitely wanted to come back here again!

Since we had been wandering all afternoon we got a little turned around. Good thing the coffee shop peeps were so friendly when we had to walk back to them to ask them where we were supposed to go.

Check out Nancy’s burn, that was from our day on the scooters and is why we didn’t go to the beach at all while we were in Vietnam. Just means, we need to go back to the Nam to hit the beaches!

It was slow going the next day. It’s the first day we had where we didn’t have to travel or meet up with someone, which meant the girls slept in. My body clock had been out of whack since the moment I landed, I would wake up anywhere from 4:30am to 6:30am. So I read while they slept. Then I went back to sleep and woke up and they were still sleeping. At 1pm it was time to get them up and get them moving.

We headed back to the market to eat but we were looking for a specific dish. Hoi An is actually a foodie town and has a couple of dishes that are only made in Hoi An. One is Cao Lau: I believe this is a recipe that only 4 families have in the town. The well water is the secret to their noodles. They are chewy, udon-like noodles that are topped with pork slices, herbs, crunchy noodle pieces, pork broth and chili jam. When a city has a specialty, we have to eat it!

Cao Lau Hoi An Vietnam

It was amazing! The crunchy noodle pieces were so full of flavor, as was the rest of the dish. I’m so sad that you can only order this in Hoi An. I wish we were in town longer so we could eat this dish again!

There was another lunch lady we saw yesterday who we said we would eat at but she didn’t have Cau Lau so we had to hide from her. She busted us, we do sort of stand out, well Nancy does. We met a girl from Brazil at lunch, she was traveling all over Asia by herself, we were very impressed. I think she was going for 6 weeks, we were jealous also.

After lunch it was spa time. We are making the most of the cheap services in the Nam! We picked our spa based on tripadvisor reviews. I think it was called the Hoi An spa but don’t quote me on that. Everything was on the menu and we went a little crazy. We got a spa package that was a mani/pedi, 60 minute facial and a 90 minute body massage. We also added on eyelash extensions and at the last-minute we threw in a shampoo. Tomorrow was a travel day and we wouldn’t get our shampoo in then. All of that was about $63! We were in there so long that it was dark by the time we came down from our massages. They had us put paper underwear on during the massage, I really wish we has pics of it, it was funny. Even tho it was past closing time, they let us add on our shampoos and didn’t rush us thru. It was a heavenly way to spend the day.

Due to the fact we got such a late start to the day, the coffee shop was closed when we went by. We were all disappointed because those drinks were fantastic and we wanted more.

For dinner we stopped at a place that had great tripadvisor reviews (they post outside the restaurant their starred reviews, same as hotels, tripadvisor is huge internationally and was a great asset to us) and even more importantly, they were still open. It was a small place but still had some tourists sitting around eating. We ordered hot pot fish, papaya salad with shrimp, squid and white rose dumplings, the other Hoi An specialty dish. Again, it’s a 120 year old family recipe and the well water is the reason the shrimp dumplings have their chewy texture. Another Hoi An winner!

white rose dumplings Hoi An Vietnam

We felt totally safe wandering around even tho everything was closed. A day and a half is not enough time to spend in Hoi An. It’s not very big but was just a fun, beautiful, different town. We loved it! Hopefully we will be back.

Leiha

I like to eat, sleep and experience the world, one meal at a time.

8 thoughts on “A Heavenly time in Hoi An, Vietnam

  • April 7, 2016 at 10:20 am
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    Food so yummy!! I suppose I don’t mind sharing my seat with others every once in a while, LOL!!

    Reply
    • April 7, 2016 at 11:05 pm
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      LMAO you’re getting kinder in your old age!

      Reply
  • April 7, 2016 at 11:58 am
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    Awww Su was so sweet for not pushing her head off the arm rest and tipping her over or spritzing her with sanitizer. I would have been going ape fuzz.

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    • April 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm
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      I almost fell over laughing. Of all the people that could happen to.

      Reply
  • April 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm
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    Ok, Vietnam has never been on my bucketlist but after reading about your experience, I want to go! With those prices I would be at the spa everyday. A massage a day! Can you imagine!?

    Reply
    • April 7, 2016 at 11:04 pm
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      It was never high on my list and now I can’t wait to go back. Let’s massage our way thru the Nam (and this time you’ll be receiving instead of giving!).

      Reply
  • April 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm
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    I am exhausted just reading about our time in Hoi An. How did we do all that?
    I laughed when I saw the picture of Su and I with the drinks. Would you believe I re-applied sunscreen to my legs twice and my face 4 times? Cant say I didn’t get any color on the trip.
    Hoi An is kind of like what I imagine it would be like if Disney designed a town in Vietnam. Clean, safe, beautiful and tons of great food. I also learned that just because other tourists are white does not mean they speak English. 🙂

    Reply
    • April 10, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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      LMAO we slept thru half of our time in Hoi An!

      Our sunburn patterns were quite interesting.

      A perfect description of Hoi An.

      Reply

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