Hoi An – A town full of tailors

Hoi An is one of the places that we have arrived at on the same day as we departed from the previous city which is quite unusual for us.

It’s about a 4 hour bus journey from Hue and one of the things that Hoi An is famous for is the amount of tailor shops in the city.

The main part of the town is also UNESCO listed. The old town sits alongside the narrow Thu Bồn river. The buildings are no more than two or three storeys high and most of them are yellow in colour with wooden fronts. Most are also bars, restaurants, cafes and shops. To look at, it looks like an old fashioned European town.

Hoi an

Initially, there isn’t really a great deal to do in the area. When walking around, you will regularly be stopped by a local and be asked the same questions.

Where are you from ?

When did you arrive in Hoi An ?

How long are you there for ?

And finally, do you want to go and look in their shop ?

Most of these people are tailors and I’ve heard that they are very good ones at that. A while ago, we were talking to someone who had been to the town and showed pictures of a designer dress and had a very similar one made for them.

I think the same applies to suits, shirts etc for men.

As we’re away for a year, carrying a suit or dress around until we head home would end up with the itmes in a bit of a mess so that was a good excuse that we gave to the sales people. They countered and told us they could arrange to send any items back home for us.

After that, we just said no and usually had a bit of a laugh with them about why we didn’t want more clothes. Such as our clothes were already very nice and that we had enough clothes already.

There’s more than just tailor shops though. As most people know, a river or beach on a sunny day is the place to be so you can sit in the one of the cafes and have a drink while watching the world go by.

That’s what we did on the first day, happy hour meant that a mojito cost approx 75p each.

Hoi An is a fairly small place so you can walk round the old town but out of town there are some beaches and a 300 year old farming village.

On the second day, we went to An Bang beach. We walked there as the map suggested it wasn’t very far. In the heat, it was very far. Very very far indeed but the walk there was nice enough.

The first part just takes you through the hotel and shop lined streets. Then you pass by Hoi An theatre, some fields with buffalo in them, rivers with guys fishing using bamboo rods.

When we arrived, we found a sunlounger on the beach and proceeded to lie around doing nothing for the next few hours.

The next day, we hired a bike for under £1 each for the day – for that price, they were ok. They could move forward and got us to where we needed to go to.

We cycled to nowhere in particular and passed a herd of goats that were wandering around on the middle of the road. I think it must have been their usual place to be as the cars, bikes and lorries passing didn’t seem to mind them being on the road. They just moved round them.

The goats seemed happy enough as well.

There was a bit of rain that day too. It was strange rain as it was quite warm. After a short time of cycling in this rain, you were completely soaked through but weren’t cold. The feeling of the rain was similar to being under a warm shower, while cycling and wearing clothes.

Later, we stopped for lunch, the sun came out and dried us. Which was very nice of it.

From there, it was back to the hotel for a wee bit of time in the hotels swimming pool.

That night, after dinner, we found another pub with happy hour. Happy hour lasted for about 5 hours and for just over £1, you got 2 drinks.

Needless to say it turned into a very happy hour. The music at the pub was good too, the pub was lively and busy. In this trip it’s been unusual to find a bar like this.

When we left the pub, there was a woman selling bread and it was dark so we couldn’t really see what was on it but there ended up being laughing cow spreading cheese, some veg and an egg. Trust me, it was much better than it sounds.

Due to the late night and not the excessive alcohol consumption, the next day, we didn’t really do very much at all. I spent a fair bit of time building this web site and that was about it really.

We did destroy the breakfast buffet though. We’re also pretty certain that the hotel might change their policy on offering breakfast for all guests.

Hoi An is difficult to explain but a lot of people who have been there, say that you could easily spend more time there. I completely understand what they mean.

We’re of to Nha Trang tonight but that’s because time is running low on our Vietnamese visa and we have to head south to get to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) to cross into Cambodia.

Hoi An has been great and I would recommend the place to anyone who is planning a trip to Vietnam.

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