Hoi An: The Story

This is the second time I had to write this, as the iPod Touch for some reason did not save the first on the WordPress App. That, combined with the overcharging experience I have had today, has made me angry, so this is the greatest text you have ever read and you will like it

Happy thoughts, happy thoughts… think of Hoi An!

Hoi An was fantastic fun! Getting there was a bit rubbish as I said. I was taking a daytime bus, but it was still a sleeper bus and I was relegated to the back seat AGAIN. It seems the person next to me as well had a BO problem.

However, when I got there I got a good vibe from the place. The sun was shinning, it was a town rather than an overblown city like I’m used to. I did a runner from the bus as they were trying the hard sell for their hotel. I wanted none of this, although the LP did say it was OK. I made for my first choice, the Green Field Hotel. However. when I finally got there after getting lost, I didn’t get a good feeling and couldn’t negotiate a discount. I walked back to town, but then broke of the the rules of scam avoidance, I let the mototaxi take me to his recommended Hotel. The scam alarm bells sounded instantly, once I got there the driver hung around (to ensure he gets his kickback), then they wouldn’t show me the room that I would receive. After I insisted they did, but by that point I decided TripAdvisor had to be consulted before I was staying. A quick read of it on the hotel computers and I turned for the door. The place had loads of bad reviews and reports of theft without damage to locks (i.e. key had been used). I straight up walked out.

I checked into the LP Mid-range choice, the Phuoc An, after negotiating a $5 discount to make the rate $20/night. Worth every penny! Aircon, sat tv, huge bed, small balcony, free breakfast, bath which could fit about 4 people in it, reasonably priced mini bar (most are in Vietnam, same price as the actual bar), leaf shaped pool, restaurant on sight with a decent discount for guests, spa if I wanted it (I didn’t). Fantastic.

I was roasting hot so I headed for that pool, and quickly discovered that it had massage jets, which the staff turned on for me as they brought me a beer to the poolside! Ah!

After that I hit the tailors. Hoi An is known for its tailoring and cloth trade, and it’s the place that the Top Gear guys got their suits made on the road trip. I had to try this! I eventually decided to get some shorts tailored to my specification to start with. Camouflage material, pockets, buttons, drawstring exactly as I wanted, made to fit!

I then went sightseeing a bit, found a 10000 dong fresh pineapple which I like, then went back to the hotel to get dinner. 5 course meal for $6! All Hoi An specialities, delicious, especially the Wonton Soup and the Spicy Chicken hotpot! I then went barhoping for a while and saw the Lanterns on the River. I’m gutted I didn’t have my camera.

The next day I headed for the beach. I slapped on some factor 25, loaded up the backpack and got a free bike from the hotel there. Look at the photos in the post beforehand, it was fantastic. I rented a sun lounger for 20000 dong and had drinks brought to me if ever I fancied them. Lunch was a fresh crab that actually grossed me out a bit, and was hard to eat. The sea was fresh but not too cold, stayed mostly in the shade and kept the suncream on just to be safe. Surely I would avoid sunburn?

Wrong. Once back at the hotel it was clear I had been burned baddly. My shoulders where my backpack was took quite a bit of the brunt (guess it wiped off the suncream). I had to get 129000/£4’s worth of aftersun lotion and apply liberally after a dip in the pool to cool off. Damn.

I went to check out my new shorts and had some alterations done, then ordered some formal shirts too. Dinner was at Cafe 43 which was great! As cheap as anywhere and the food was fantastic, plus they do fresh beer!

The crazy night story starts here if your skipping to it 😛

I went bar hoping that night and this time did get talking to another solo-travelling Brit called Marcus. We got on well and went to a few spots we both had found, however, most of the night was spent at the Before and Now, where we got talking to a tour group around our age. Bear in mind drinks are not expensive either

The next thing we know, we are all jumping into the bar’s free minibus to it’s beachside club. This place was awesome. Conservatory style, in the middle of no where so we can make as much noise as we like, pool (snooker kind), pool (wet kind) and buckets (vodka, redbull and pineapple) for 85000d/£2.50. Everyone very friendly and a great atmosphere. Drank quite a bit but kept having water to stop me getting too drunk. Eventually about half the folks who had gone to the club jumped in the pool, I also joined the hardcore few who went to the sea. There is nothing quite like having a chat to folks in a club when your only wearing your boxers and are soaking wet, and that being completely fine with all concerned!

We just scrambled onto the last free bus home, having been in the pool only 1 minute beforehand! This Transit was packed with like 25 people and one guy kept trying to climb out the window onto the roof!

That had to be one of the most bonkers nights I’ve been on. I started the evening knowing no one and by myself, by the end I had an evening that was rivalling a massive party at a private chalet in a rich ski resort if you knew the right crowd. Great fun!

The next day I woke up at 11 having missed the free breaky. Realising I would have to wear long sleeves and jeans all day to give my skin a break, I decided it was pure chill out today. Went and collected the perfectly fitting shirts, one of which would also do as a casual shirt as well! Then did a little sight seeing in the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Old Town.

After that it was mostly a day in the pool, emailing home and planning my next move, Nha Trang (but I didn’t do that very well unfortunately).

After a curry at the local Indian place (that wasn’t that great but a bit of a taste of home) I went out to the bars again, with a quieter night in mind. I met up with Marcus and we did more story swapping and getting the cheap drinks in, but I had to call it a day at 11, as I was up at 7 to get the train to Nha Trang.

I thought I would get the local bus but eventually just went “sod it” and organised an air conditioned taxi from the hotel to the train station, where I picked up my prebooked tickets. Problem though, I paid $30 for this trip and it could have been had for $15. Nuts.

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