Everything I love in life (amazing people, good food, cafes, ambiance, cute and quaint, picturesque places for perusing, and let’s not forget the beach) has been given to me in Hoi An, wrapped up in one big ol’ giant bow. Without a doubt, this place has easily made the top 5 list of my favorite places.
As once one of the most important trading ports in Southeast Asia, Hoi An has been well-preserved through the ages and is now one of Vietnam’s most popular cities with tourists flocking here by the droves. With its fusion of indigenous culture, mixed with the likes of the Chinese and Japanese, and a splash of French, it makes this place all the more unique, and gives the town an alluring charm and infinite character. I think I would be quite alright if I never had to leave.
My first day here there was so much to see and do. So I dropped my bags and hit the ground running. Well…not literally. It was more like a slow stroll. Since no cars are allowed in Ancient Town, people typically get around on bicycles, motorbikes, or by foot. You’ll also find cyclos on just about every corner, but this is more of a tourist novelty. You won’t see any locals using these. To get my first feel of the place I opted to walk. Besides, I consider myself a professional peruser (what is that? I have no clue, but it’s what I do lol), so it was a no brainer. I spent hours walking up one street and down the next, taking it all in…the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feels. It was all simply magical.
Hoi An is widely known for it’s tailor shops. You can find anything from casual clothing, to suits, evening gowns, leather bags, shoes, boots and so much more. You name it or can provide a photo of something and these tailors can replicate it, made-to-measure, for a fraction of the cost you’d find in the west. After being hounded by essentially every shop I went into (this is a tourist town, so it’s to be expected), I finally gave way to a very kind shop owner and was fitted for a dress. Surprisingly, it was ready the next day. Talk about service!
As the sun began to set, the town really came to life. Laterns lit up the streets and it seemingly brought even more people out. Realizing I hadn’t eaten since earlier, I found a cute little restaurant that sat on the river walk and enjoyed people watching and happy hour. Who doesn’t love a good twofer deal?!
After dinner, I perused a bit more before the rain started to come in. I slowly sauntered back to my hotel not particularly caring that I was getting drenched. It was as if nothing mattered at that moment. I was full. Not in the literal sense, but filled with joy and gratitude. I could deal with few raindrops and runny mascara if it meant I got to hold on to those moments just a little bit longer.
Hoi An, you have definitely stolen my heart.