Hello, What’s Your Name?
A three week adventure around Vietnam.
Okay I’m going to say it, go out on a limb and just be done with it, no embarrassment or blushing, no pillow talk. Simply put: Hoi An is pure, unadulterated travel porn. There I said it!
I’m so in love with Hoi An that I’m going to use every clichéd saying under the sun; It’s the perfect mix of old world Asian charm, home to some of the most tantalizing gourmet Vietnamese food and the perfect place for romantic strolls under glowing paper lanterns that light the barmy evenings. Everywhere you look children play along the quiet alleyways and as you stroll along the river you are gifted with glimpsing insights into artist’s studios, ancient homesteads and a way of life long forgotten. Your senses are carried away with the aromas of simmering broths and incense sticks to a faraway place, all helping to suspend you in a sultry evening of everything you dreamed Asia to look like, plus everything you didn’t.
Needless to say I think Niki and I really liked Hoi An. After a dramatic entrance and Niki collapsing, we ended up spending 5 amazing days here, just wandering through the museums and temples by day and strolling the along the river at night in search for the best dinner and of course dessert. It’s very easy to put on a few kilos in Hoi An, in fact my beloved told me I should “buy some fat pants” today. I blame Hoi An!
Here are a few recommendations that are well worth the visit.
Cargo Club: Neo Colonialism is still well and truly alive is this amazing bakery come cafe come restaurant. I knew about the Cargo Club well before we arrived in Vietnam. Its name is legendary on the travel circuit and anyone who has been to Hoi An has certainly eaten themselves in to a slow death with one of their many, many, many pastries, desserts and gourmet delectables they have to offer. My brother’s girlfriend highly recommends the Tiramisu and I would have to agree! Needless to say, Niki and I had to be rolled home every night after we would finish here. Come to think of it, there were a few lunches that we need to be rolled home from as well.
Secret Garden: Sort of defeats the purpose of telling you about this secret restaurant, however it’s a gem. I’ve always found my favorite places are down quiet alley ways that aren’t as popular with tourists, however this place is on the way though. Hands down and I surrender, this place had the best Vietnamese fusion in all of Vietnam and the restaurant is beautifully placed within an Indochinese setting. Yes its expensive compared to South East Asian standards, but the servings a big, the staff are beautiful and the food amazing. The free samplers you get at the start are indescribable.
Phu Quoc Hotel: Another best of moment goes to this great hotel. Recommended in the Lonely Planet it’s a 5mins bike ride to the Old Town and has spacious modern rooms with room service, free breakfast, swimming pool, cable (hey I’m on my honeymoon, I can watch TV on my holiday), the most friendly staff and free internet. I’ve paid more for less in Australia and the flowers the gave us because it was our honeymoon was a nice touch.
Rule No. 10 of being married – Never tell your wife a second helping of dessert is probably not a good idea, apparently women have a dessert stomach?
Now for my last suggestion and one of my favorites. Wait for night, than head into the old town, cross over the bridge and head to the lantern quarter of Hoi An, it truly is a kaleidoscope of colours and characters. Anyway what an amazing 5 days! I nearly killed Niki three times and I have only been married for 2 weeks, which so far makes it about a 30% chance when she wakes up that I’m going to some how endanger her life. It is definitely worth a stop in Hoi An and arguably the number 1 destination to visit in Vietnam. Tomorrow, we are off to Hue and the cultural heart of Vietnam.