Hoi An Stories and Tips

I Could Live Here

Tailor-made skirts Photo, Hoi An, Vietnam

I am not a shopper. When it comes to clothes, I really can’t be bothered. So it was to my surprise how much I loved Hoi An. This river town is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, otherwise known as "ancient town." You could spend days wandering along the narrow streets, where every turn is picturesque and a supply of charming restaurants beckons you.

Things to do:
Shop! After all, you are in THE place to get tailor-made clothes. Even if you may not have any intention of buying clothes, shops after shops display its fashions and after awhile you can’t help but think, "Yes, I should own at least one silk dress with embroidery." The process is quite efficient and straightforward: 1. Pick out what you want. 2. Choose the color from various rolls of fabric. 3. Get measured. 4. Come back in a few hours. 5. Try on your clothes to make sure of the fitting. 6. Have adjustments made. 7. Take home your purchase.

You’ll notice a range of well-established, more upscale shops versus smaller shops. If one place can make a skirt for $12 and another place says $25, then that’s the difference between 100% real silk and not. Bargaining happens but not by much (no more than a $5 drop) at the quality tailors.

Bike ride! For $1 a day, you can pedal to your heart’s content. It’s a wonderful way to see the town without battling typical city traffic. I booked a bike tour out in the village islands, and it was a bit too quaint for me. The most fun was winding my way through the busier parts of town and into the street market.

Eat! Cao Lau is the specialty food of Hoi An, where the water used for its noodle dish comes from the town well. I could not eat enough of that stuff, and other local dishes (i.e. White Rose) are also worth trying. In the two days we were in Hoi An, there was simply not enough time to try all the cute restaurants that dotted the town. We went to each place twice because we loved the food so much, and there were still many more that we missed out on.

This is one of those places where I would return to over and over again.

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