The bus ride to Hoi An was beautiful passing through the Vietnamese countryside and coastline. We passed China Beach, a gorgeous beach stretching into the distance. We also made a stop at another bunker used during the war.
Approaching Hoi An we went through a really developed coastal town with new high luxury beach side hotels being built everywhere. Some of the famous golfers have huge developments here too.
Our hotel in Hoi An was very nice with the rooms overlooking a pool. Hoi An itself is a very beautiful town. Strolling through the markets and along the river side was beautiful, particularly in the evening when the colourful lights create gorgeous views and reflections on the river.
We walked around the town and afterwards since it was so hot, we spent a couple of hours of our free time by the swimming pool.
Our group meal in the evening was at a restaurant called Green Chilly. The Italian trained chef welcomed us and served us a mixture of Italian, Vietnamese and Mexican meals. I had a lasagne and it was delicious since the pasta was nice and fersh. Heidi had a traditional Vietnamese dish called Cau Lat, which is almost like a soup with the ingredients like vegetables and meat but none of the liquid.
Today we hired a bicycle (complete with basket and bell) from across the road from our hotel and cycled 15 minutes through the beautiful town and countryside. Our destination? The beach! It was a very nice palm fringed beach and we sat on a lounger under a shade and had a very nice beach day!!
In the evening we had a Vietnamese cooking class. I don’t think it was as elborate as the one in Thailand but it was very enjoyable nonetheless. We made some delicious dishes too, which we shared with our group later. Doing the class was us, Bridget, Paula, Mark (our guide) and Michelle as well as two very friendly kiwis Matt and Anna. They are doing a similar circuit to us so we may meet up with them in Beijing as we are there at the same time.
We made tons of shrimp and vegetable spring rolls, which were delicious. We barbecued a delicious fish stuffed with lemon grass, garlic, chilly and ginger. Finally chopped a chop stick in half vertically to act as a skewer and we rolled beef on to it. This was then marinated in more lemon grass, garlic and oil before being barbecued. It was amazing!
In the evening we strolled around admiring the lights and the colourful lanterns that adorn the town.
We also stopped by a delicious bakery come cafe come restaurant that made delicious cakes. We had a chocolate mousse cake and a chocolate truffle cake!!
Another beach day! Since we enjoyed the gorgeous beach so much and the weather these last few days was so hot and sunny we cycled down again stopping by a lovely river side restaurant for a drink. Cycling was a bit hair raising at times due to the motorbikes and other cyclists that seem to suddenly ride towards you but generally it was really enjoyable and it was nice getting some exercise.
In the evening we went to a restaurant where Andrea and Tonia were also doing cooking class and had invited us to share their creations. They also made some lovely food. A very nice fish stew, shrimp salad and some nice noodles. Plus Mango Lassie served in huge jugs so 4 of us could get stuck in at a time. Lassie is like a milky yoghurt and makes great smoothies.
We had some desert back in Green Chilly with Rhonda and Michelle. I had snickers tart!
Lots of the others in the group were still in the taylor shops. Hoi An is famous for having lots of clothes shops which make any sorts of clothes tailored specific to your size. We didn’t really have space in our luggage for loads more clothes so we gave it a miss. We’re glad we did because the group seemed to spend a long time in the shops getting measurements and alterations done.
Our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) was delayed by a couple of hours so we checked out late from our hotel. We used our spare time to have some lunch from Cargo (the cake shop) and sit by the pool before heading to the airport and catching our flight. It was a much better plane this time and although it was delayed by a few hours we were soon off to our next city.