My journey to Hoi An the city of lanterns was more than both my previous bus journeys combined but after a 12 hour evening/night bus I had arrived. The bus stopped dropped off the street across from where my hostel was it was only a 2 minute walk one block over before my bags were off my back and I was relaxing on a comfortable sofa. I was staying at Tribee Kinh and this was the same hostel Alex, Ollie, Rachel and Katrina were staying.
I bumped into them as they were coming down for breakfast where I also met Hayden and Jordan, two brothers from Australia they had also met along their travels. As their plans for the day were pre-arranged I used the morning to take a walk around the old city and get a spot of breakfast.
The city itself is on a river where you can spend hours walking through all of the side streets. Yellow buildings cover this area and a vast amount of lanterns hang all over the city, which light up after dark. I sampled a local dish for breakfast called Cao Lao, this made with pork, noodles and local greens in a much thicker broth you find in Pho that I sampled in Ho Chi Minh City.
As it was still a few hours before I was able to check in I returned to the hostel and hired a bicycle. The map the hostel provided me with had a map on the back of it that would take me around the old city before moving onto the outside areas of the city where I would pass rice paddies, local villages and eventually come to the beach before returning to town. The bike journey was very relaxing and took me past some lovely photo opportunities. Apart from getting a puncture on the way home that was easily fixed at a local motorcycle repair shop for £1 and enjoying some more Pho I returned to the hostel for check in.
I had already pre arranged to meet the group later that night for the night market bike ride. I took a nap for a couple of hours before meeting them all in the hostel common area and we set off in a group of 20-25 for the night market tour. We would be stopped at 4-5 market restaurants sampling some of the local foods as well as a few beers. Trying to guide around the traffic was enough fun in itself. We sampled all of the wonderful food on offer before finishing sat on the lakeside where the tour had finished.
Upon returning to the hostel we all congregated in the hostel common area for a few beers and got chatting with many of the other guests. Most of the others went to bed but I stayed enjoying a few beers with Omri who I met in the hostel previously and a couple of Dutch guys. The night concluded at a Reggae bar called One Love after Bob Marley and the three of us enjoyed a few more beers, pool and human sized Jenga.
My second day in Hoi An was very similar to the first. It started with late morning lay in before sorting out the motorbike hire for our group trip from Hoi An to Hue (I will cover this journey in a different blog post). The weather wasn’t particularly great so we were all at a bit of a lose end to be honest but once it started to ease it was back on the bicycle for another day of enjoying Hoi An. The route was much similar to the one I had taken the day before with a few slight diversions as I don’t think I followed the correct route yesterday. It certainly was a lot more fun cycling together and of course we had yet another puncture this time it was Hayden’s turn but luckily after gaining a translator to help us that was quickly resolved.
The rain was torrential at times so the poncho was used for the first time on the trip but still came back to the hostel later that evening soaked through but still with smiles all round. It was an early departure the next day and early evening consisted of a warm shower and packing the bags yet again before meeting back in the common area for a meal at what is considered the best Indian restaurant in Hoi An. The food was spectacular, a vindaloo cooked to my favourite level of spice and plenty of sides to accompany it. Yet again a perfect end to another fantastic city.
The next morning would be a new experience for everyone. A 130km motorbike ride to Hue on the world famous (Thanks to Top Gear) Hai Van Pass and you could see the excitement at check out on everyone’s faces. Lets Go!!!