While traveling through Vietnam, Hoi An was up there on my list of favorite cities despite its ridiculously tourist nature. Hoi An is a city for princesses. It is a city where you can get almost anything for a dollar and a great place to spend a few days as a princess.
How to be a princess in Hoi An:
Get a pedicure or manicure. All along the river in Hoi An, you’ll find women asking you if you want a manicure, for just $1. If you are skeptical of the cleanliness, then go a little inland and buy one for a few dollars.
Get a massage. Again, throughout the city there are places where you can get a great massage for just a few bucks.
Rent a bicycle and ride to the beach. Guess how much it costs to rent a bike for a day? You guessed it. A dollar. Grab a map and head towards the ocean, it’s about 20 to 30 minute ride. The countryside is beautiful and is a nice escape from the cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.
Go on a Sunset river cruise. I’ve been told that Cinnamon Cruises is amazing, although you can also just hire a local boat for a few bucks right before you want to go.
Buy custom tailored clothes. It’s amazing how cheap and how quickly you can get clothes made in Hoi An. Fast enough that it makes me concerned with how they treat their workers. Despite my concern I did get a few things made while in Hoi An. I got a wool and silk coat, and two dresses. The coat was $35 and took less than a day and a half to make. The dresses were about $12. Nothing makes you feel like a princess as much as getting clothes custom fitted, and altered to fit you.
Eat delicious Vietnamese Food. Yum yum! My favorite place was Moon River. It’s right on the water and had such good food there that I ended up eating there twice in my very short time there.
Drink cheap and locally made beer. Sure the alcohol content is ridiculously low. But at 14 cents (yes cents) a glass who can complain?
Take a cooking class. I didn’t end up taking a cooking class in Vietnam and if when I go back I will make sure I do. I would be eating so much more Pho if I just knew how to make it. While there’s a lot of cooking schools online, most restaurants in Hoi An having cooking class and will charge you a lot less. A couple sitting next to me one night at Moon River were doing their class and they were having a great time.
Make a wish on a floating water lantern. Once it gets dark there’s women selling floating lanterns all along the river. While tradition says that floating lanterns help guide spirits, most people just make a wish as the float away.
Get entranced by the lights and lanterns. Walking through Hoi An I fell in love with the bright yellow buildings and the French influenced architecture. But when I saw it at night I realized why the city is known as the City of Lanterns. As the sun sets the entire city slowly starts to light up. My very blurry photos don’t do the city justice. It is so beautiful and has such a romantic vibe.
How to get there: Unfortunately both the train and the airport is about an hour North of Hoi An, in Da Nang. There’s a few different ways to get down to Hoi An from there. I took a public bus down from the train station for a few dollars (following this awesomely informative post on lonely planet to find it). Yes, they charge foreigners way more than locals, I’m okay with that, it took a way more interesting route than any other way of travel. Then I took a minibus back from my hostel to the airport on my way out (I think it was $5 or $10). You can also hire a private car for $15-20.
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