Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hoi An

Hoi An is a beautiful old trading port about halfway up the Vietnam Coast. Again the French influence is clear, with beautiful old washed colonial buildings that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hoi An is also famous for its tailors and these guys are amazing. Take in a piece of clothing, a picture, a drawing, and these guys will be able to knock something up which is almost identical. They are also becoming known for shoes, and the same thing applies. There are over 400 of them in Hoi An and its quite daunting to have to choose one when you arrive. Each hotel has their recommendation of course - usually their uncle, cousin, or friend that they make a good commission off. It really is luck of the draw, and after passing on Lonely Planet's expensive recommendations, we decided to bite the bullet and go with the one recommended by our Guesthouse. It turned out to be a great decision as they had great prices, were really attentive to every specific detail we had, and gave us multiple fittings to make sure everything was A-OK. I got two tailored suits which fitted like a glove, plus shirts and leather shoes, and Lizzie went nuts getting all sorts done.

During the whole tailoring process we hired a motorbike and drove out to a nearby beach and fishing villages and just had a general look around. I am becoming more in love with this way of seeing a new place the more I do it.

The food in Hoi An was also amazing - they have their own local dish called Cao Lau - which is made from grilled pork, noodles, fried rice paper croutons and fresh herbs. Incredible. And of course with the French heritage so prevalent, there was no shortage of patisseries if we ever felt like a bit of a treat. Throw in a few more Bia Hoi's and cheap market food, and Hoi An was a winner.

We picked up our finished clothes and jumped on a night bus for Hanoi where we'll stay with Matt and Lindy - can't wait.

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