The third city on our trip was Hoi An—a beach town in the middle of Vietnam, about halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Like Ha Long Bay, Hoi An is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During our two days in Hoi An, we explored the ancient town, relaxed on the beach, took part in a local cooking class, went on a bike ride through the countryside, and even rode water buffalo!
While we were in Hoi An, we stayed at a gorgeous resort called the Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa. It was nice to spend some time just relaxing on the beach sipping cocktails with my mom. The resort had an AMAZING breakfast spread, too, and if you know me you know that I love breakfast food.
On our first day in this beautiful beach town, we learned about all the different things you can buy in the local markets, such as fresh herbs, noodles, fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. After stopping by the market, we went to Brother’s Café Restaurant, where we learned how to make some traditional Vietnamese dishes, such as fresh spring rolls.
After learning how to cook various dishes and enjoying them as our lunch, we proceeded to the center of Hoi An where the ancient town is located for a walking tour. During the tour, we visited a former merchants’ house which was built using a combination of Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese architecture. We were also able to explore some of the different markets in the area and buy some postcards.
We got back to our hotel around 2pm that afternoon and spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach before having a nice dinner.
The next morning, we got up early to go on a bike ride around the countryside of Hoi An with our wonderful tour guide Hau. It was so nice and peaceful to ride around the different farming areas of Hoi An. We were able to see local people working on their crops as well as a duck farm and a giant herb garden (featured image).
One of the more eventful moments of the bike ride (and our whole trip in general) was hopping off our bikes and climbing onto the backs of water buffalo. My mom and I noticed two other foreigners climbing on the animals, so we asked Hau if this was something we could do. I was all for it and was so shocked when my mom decided she was going to do it, too. The local farmers helped us get up on the water buffalos and then took us through the water. It was pretty goofy being on these animals. There were flies all around them and were a little smelly—we definitely needed a good shower upon returning to the hotel. Hau was able to capture some great pictures of us, as you can see 😉
If you ever get the chance to go to Vietnam, I would highly recommend spending a few days in Hoi An. We were only there for two days and I wish we could have stayed a little longer. It was just a nice break from being in a big city. I liked Hoi An so much that I have even considered moving there for a year to teach English, but we’ll see if that actually happens 😛