Shopping in Charming Hoi An, and Pool in Hue

Hoi An Travel Blog

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The river through Hoi An

It turned out that The Irish Three were on the same sleeping bus to Hoi An. We met on the bus to Nha Trang and decided to stick together in Hoi An. I ended up grabbing a room with Dave, while Rita and Louise got a room downstairs. The bus dropped us off a few kilometers outside of town so we had to hoof it to the center of town. The busses always drop people off at guesthouses that subsidize the bus company, a dirty practice, especially when the guesthouse is so far from town.

 

Hoi An is filled with classic French architecture and beautiful streets that feel more like Europe than Vietnam. As with many towns in Vietnam, tourism drives the local economy. Hoi An has earned a reputation for its lovely ambiance and unparalleled tailored clothing. Literally half the shops in town are custom tailors with countless examples of their work outside.

Japanese covered bridge and temple
This place is a clothing shopper’s wet dream. Inside the shops are stacks of clothing magazines, each filled with designs and outfits the shops are happy to reproduce. Point to a suit, hand-pick some fabric, get measured, and come back in five hours. It’s really that easy. A top-of-the-line tailored cashmere wool suit will run about $75, and a nice dress shirt will be under $10. The low prices on custom apparel extends to shoes, hats, dresses… anything you could possibly want.

 

With a new job around the corner and a lack of nice clothes, I decided to splurge and buy a suit. I was measured at 12:30, and the suit was ready at 5. It’s certainly not anything you’d find at Armani, but it aint half bad either. When I get back to the states I’ll see what my fashion advisor has to say about it. Dave also bought a suit, and the girls bought a few outfits each.

 

For lunch and dinner I tried a few of the local specialties, fried wontons and white rose. The wontons were meh, but white rose (a sort of dumpling dish) was quite good. There’s also a local noodle dish that’s only found in Hoi An, but that will have to wait until next time.

 

The next morning we hopped on a bus to Hue, where we had half a day to kill until the bus to Hanoi left. While we didn’t get to explore too much of the town, we walked around by the river for a while before grabbing lunch. The river has countless boats with beautiful and intricate decorations vying to offer tourists a one-hour tour. No thanks, but maybe next time.

 

The place we ate had the worst food I’ve had in Vietnam (Asia?), but it had a nice ambiance and free pool. Every square inch of the walls/ceilings/tables is covered in permanent marker, signatures and sayings and musings from other travellers. Not wanting to be left out, we took our turns between games of pool. “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

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The river through Hoi An
The river through Hoi An
Shooting pool in Hue
Shooting pool in Hue
Japanese covered bridge and temple
Japanese covered bridge and temple
Sleeper buss... de-lux!
Sleeper buss... de-lux!
Rita and Louise
Rita and Louise
Hoi An