The ancient town of Hoi An on the central coast of Vietnam was a great place for our tour to spend a few relaxing days.
The well-preserved town has a population of over 130,000 and the south-east Asian trading port dates back to the 15th century. The beautiful World Heritage Site has Chinese and Japanese influence from the days of trade.
As pretty as this town is during the day, it’s even more stunning when it’s lit up at night. In the centre of town a street is closed for traffic, making way for lots of stalls selling trinkets and handmade crafts. It’s fun visiting the bright lantern shops for a little bargaining with the stall holders.
We had some great meals in Hoi An. At Morning Glory they have a wonderful display of different ingredients for sale. There I had my first taste of fresh sugar cane juice which is very popular in Vietnam and quite refreshing on a hot day.
If you time your visit right you can also watch the girls making fresh rice crackers and lattice rice paper.
At Green Mango I had an amazing entrée with enormous red grapes covered in goats cheese and cashews. The host Mac is incredibly generous and also offered us shots of delicious macadamia and caramel vodka. I may have had a few too many.. woah!
One of the truly memorable experiences of our stay was a bicycle ride through the neighbourhood streets. The friendly locals called out ‘Hello’ and waved as we rode by. Here we saw lovingly tended farms full of fresh herbs and vegetables. I was amazed at these sesame seed plants.
After huffing and puffing around on bikes, we stopped for an afternoon snack. Our guide tells us that corn and sugar are boiled for some time to create this glutinous sweet treat. It’s interesting but not everyone in the group enjoys it.
We also saw a show of traditional music and dance which gave us a sneak peek into the rich history of the town. Hoi An is also a fantastic place to have clothes made which is done amazingly fast and for a good price.
Next in the Vietnam series – a cooking class in Hoi An. Vietnamese pancakes and cao lau!