18.03.2009 - 19.03.2009 30 °C
Arriving in Hoi An, we immediately liked the city. Hoi An is a huge tourist town famous for their tailors, it is also one of the few cities that was relatively unharmed by the war and as a result has alot of colonial style buildings with small streets and alleys. The whole city is only like 1 square mile so we wandered around until we found a hotel, surprisingly, lots of hotels were full and we ended up having to follow a motorbike guy to a hotel which ended up being really nice. It was reasonably priced and even had a pool! We decided to walk around the city for a bit and get some dinner. We just love this city, quaint little streets, lit up by lanterns and restaurants. There were a zillion places to choose from but we stuck with a place we had seen in the book, Cafe 96. We thought the food was great and the atmosphere, right on the river, was great as well. We saw they offered cooking classes and made a mental note to fit that into our schedule.
Our first full day in Hoi An was a lazy one, we basically just wandered around looking at shops and taking pictures. Nate bought a couple of t-shirts and a bathing suit. We stopped for lunch and drinks and had a really nice relaxing day. To finish the day off, we decided to eat at a restaurant on the river, we sat on the balcony and ordered a bottle of Dalat wine (Dalat is a mountain village nearby). We ordered a set dinner which had 5 courses, it was the perfect lazy dinner for a peaceful day!
Day two in Hoi An we decided to be a bit more active, we rented bicycles for the day and decided to go to those cooking classes we had thought about earlier. We biked around for about an hour and then headed to Cafe 96.There was nobody else in our cooking class so it ended up being a private lesson. We did all the cooking, including cutting up the veggies. First we made some vegetable spring rolls, we made a ton of the them and ended up frying half of them and steaming the other half. After cooking them, we sat down and enjoyed our handiwork, they were awesome of course. Next we made a pork and papaya salad (supposed to be shrimp but we subsituted due to my allergy), this was a cold salad that was very simple to make but had a great flavor, we will be cooking this alot when we get home. Finally, we cooked our main course, lemongrass mackerel grilled in a banana leaf. Again we did all the work including fanning the flames of the tiny grill we cooked on. All the effort was worth it, we ended up having a great meal, we were both stuffed and we also had a really fun afternoon!
To work off some of our meal, we took a bike ride to the nearby beach, it was the first beach we visited in Vietnam, it was gorgeous but we couldn't linger long as we had a bus to catch. WE got back to the hotel with plenty of time to spare and ended our time in Hoi An with a Long Island Iced Tea by the pool.
We got on the bus and discovered that it was half seated, half sleeper. Since we had a 18 hour bus ride ahead of us to Mui Ne, we were really glad we got the sleepers! The bus took forever to get going, stopping for a break every 2 hours or so until midnight, we both slept pretty well and arrived in Nha Trang around 6am, about half of the passengers got off here, we had time for some breakfast then back on the bus for another 6 hours! The ride was nice, we slowly left the tropical region and entered a more desert landscape, we had been unaware that Vietnam had landscape like that. The highway followed the coast for a long time and our anticipation grew for our beach vacation!