This quaint town was exactly what I needed. I’m only sad we were not able to stay longer. Even 5 days is not enough to explore the rich history and culture of this UNESCO world heritage site.
The walls are a golden turmeric color, and the trees drip in colorful silk lanterns.
Although it seems one can not escape the honking of horns anywhere in Vietnam, it is noticeably quieter. (thank goodness) There is more space. More room for nature. We are both near the beach and surrounded by rice paddies.
We stayed at Zen Boutique Villas - a small boutique hotel, just outside of Ancient town. It was walking distance to coffee shops, as well as a gym that had a delicious juice & smoothie bar. I find it incredibly important to keep moving regularly, it helps keep me grounded while traveling so much.
One souvenir I treated myself to in Hoi An was a new tattoo! A sweet cherub now forever links me to this place I hold so dearly to my heart. We found an incredibly talented artist who was excited to work with us. His shop was clean & cool, and he was professional and priced very fairly. Check out his page here.
One of my favorite experiences was the cooking tour with took with Thuan Tinh Tours - I hope all these cooking lessons will turn me into something of an international chef! We were picked up at our villa at 8am, and shuttled to the local market to gather our ingredients for the dishes we would be cooking later. Our guide, Trang, was knowledgeable and offered us insights into each of the ingredients and vendors. We collected herbs and greens and noodles and protein and eggs and spices, weaving in and around the locals all getting their supplies as well.
We then took a peaceful boat ride down the river to their secluded private island where our food preparation was held.
These hats were a lifesaver under the hot Vietnamese sun.
We made 4 dishes in total - pho, spring rolls, crispy pancake (my new favorite dish) and beef and noodle salad - learned how to make rice milk from scratch, and I even learned how to flambé! It was equal parts terrifying and thrilling.
The food of Vietnam is an important part of their heritage and culture. You can taste the history and the passion for freshness and flavor in each unique dish. I highly recommend taking the time to immerse yourself in this way, it has proven to be more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
If you want to take the same class that I did - use this code for a discount!
WHERE TO EAT IN Hội An
Located down a quaint alley (let’s be real, all of the alleyways are quaint here), this sunflower yellow cafe is known for its unique coffee creations. I had the “Dark Soul,” an activated charcoal latte, while my boyfriend ordered the ice cube coffee. It came as a glass filled with coffee ice cubes and a vial of hot steamed milk which was to be poured over the coffee cubes until they melted.
this garden cafe is top rated in Hoi An. I tried my first egg coffee here, indulging in a coconut syrup and condensed milk sugar bomb. I don’t think I’ll order one again, but I’m glad I tried it!
According to Anthony Bourdain, this is the best banh mi in all of Vietnam, and he was correct! As you can tell from the absolute state of bliss I am in in the photo above, this banh mi was everything you want it to be. The bread was the perfect combination of crispy and soft, and the fillings surprised you with layers and layers of flavor.
This proved to be one of my favorite places to eat, as I insisted upon having a second meal here just the next day. The vermicelli wrapped spring rolls and the crispy pancake are dishes I will forever dream about. We ended up trying most things on the menu because the prices are so affordable and well everything was delicious.
I loved the french influence of this little cafe. We stopped here for an afternoon coffee, and by this time the temperate had risen enough for me to treat myself to a frozen vanilla frappe. It did not disappoint.
A farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of Tra Que herb village, offering a fresh take on local favorites as well as comfort food, like stuffed chicken wing (stuffed with herbs and sticky rice!) Their team works closely with organic farmers from local communities. We had dinner here and only regrettably did not return for a second meal at this beautiful restaurant during the day so that we could see its surrounding farms.
This is a town I could truly see myself not only returning to, but happily living in. There is everything that brings me joy, from a beach, to ample yoga studios, healthy and vibrant food, and infinite alley ways I could get lost in forever.
Hội An, I will be back for you soon.