Everyone will tell you that Hoi An is one of their favorite places. Everyone is correct. It is a beautiful ancient town on the coast that has many old canals. The cobblestone streets canopied with lanterns that light up in the evening are out of a storybook. The town has many high quality and quick tailors. The regional dish is Mì Quảng, which is a delicious pasta. There are Hindu ruins built by the Champa people called My Son. I list all that to simple say that it lives up to the hype.
We stayed in the Sunrise Premium Resort outside of Hoi An. It was a great resort. The rooms were modern and very comfortable. It was a 10 minute ride into town and I am so happy we decided to stay there. I needed to catch up on my sleep and this was a lovely sanctuary. The pool was perfect and looked out onto the ocean. The breakfast buffet was good. They had anything you could imagine. I tended toward the fruit salad and pho.
There was a sign next to the bread display that read “Keep Calm and Don’t eat the decorative bread.” That was both funny and disturbing. I kept imagining the incident where some famished Australian family tore into a shellacked baguette, while the staff stood aghast wondering whether to stop them or not. Yikes.
On our first day we explored the town and found ourselves at the Ba Ri Tailor shop. They were the first tailor we saw, but after we walked around and visited a few others before we returned to Ba Ri. We liked the saleswomen and the shopped lacked an air of pretension that some of the others had. Being fitted for clothing feels like a movie fashion montage scene and I am embarrassed to say everything I bought. Here is what I walked away with:
- 2 – 3 piece suits
- 1 – 2 piece suit
- 2 – chinos
- 2 – long sleeve button down shirts
- 2 – short sleeve button down shirts
Afterwards, I went down the street and had a pair of shoes made and a pair of sandals made. Was it too much? Maybe, but they all fit me extremely well and everything cost ~$700.
While Spencer, Holly, and Samer got to use the dressing rooms, I changed in the open. Hoa (my tailor) positioned a mirror to hide me from my friends, but forgot to realize my body was exposed to traveling backpackers on the street. Some nice tourist has the memory of entering Hoi An to see its splendor and looking right into a tailor shop to see some big fat American in his underwear shimmying into a pair chinos. It was a hell of a scene.
After a long day of shopping, Holly and I decided to go to a spa. We went to the La Luna spa outside of the old city. She had a neck and shoulder massage followed by a deluxe pedicure. The upcoming caving expedition would destroy all evidence of that pedicure. I opted for the 4 handed massaged and a standard pedicure. The attention to detail was incredible and the massages were sublime. While we walked out a family came in and the staff gleefully yelled, “baby massage!” when they saw the mother carrying an infant. We think they were joking.
We had dinner in town that night and walked the alleyways enjoying the ambiance. Hoi An is pretty during the day and gorgeous at night. When the lanterns are lit it feels likes something out of a movie.
On our second day in Hoi An, we stopped by the tailors to try on the clothing and then left town to visit the ruins of My Son. We hired a guide named Happy Harry to take us and he was a lot of fun. Unfortunately it started to rain while we were at My Son, so we were not able to explore the ruins as much as I liked. It confirmed my desire to plan a trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia as soon as possible. Harry is a sweet and quirky guide, who makes you laugh when he starts singing a song at the most random times.
Next: Driving from Hoi An to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.