Trip Start Aug 31, 2008
47Trip End Apr 30, 2009
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A lot of the places wanted $30 a night (even when they had signs up listing room rates of 150,000 dong), but I found one a few hundred meters down the street called Hoa My Hotel (201 Ly Thuong Kiet St - firstname.lastname@example.org) that had AC cooled rooms for $12/night.
Despite sleeping quite well on the bus, both Lisa and I were still quite tired and were soon sleeping until we heard a knock on the door shortly after noon. Our new room was ready, so we moved our bags into the new space and were very happy to see what a nice room we had found for $12//night. We were on the second floor directly above reception and the spacious and clean room included towels, toilet paper, hot water, tooth brushes, soap, Wi-Fi Internet, a fridge and a TV with lots of English channels. The balcony was a nice touch to make this seem like really good value.
As I was playing around on the Internet, Lisa decided to explore the town with the camera. The central, old part of Hoi An is a Unesco World Heritage site so she decided to head that way. Before she got to far into the old town though she was stopped by an official who asked her for her ticket. Tickets to enter the old part of town are 80,000 dong for a day, although of course this is only for Western tourists. Lisa decided to wait until I would join her and headed back to the hotel. We found nearby restaurants where I had a not-so-great duck dish for 50,000 dong and Lisa found a chicken noodle dish for 30,000 dong. The prices for food seemed to be more expensive here than the other places we had been in Vietnam so far.
We slept very well at the Hoa My Hotel as they had the most comfortable bed and pillow that we had yet run across in our six months of travel. The next day we woke up and decided to see the old part of Hoi An and brought the camera and video camera along. This time there was nobody even at the ticket booth so we proceeded to walk around the town for free. As far as we could tell there was only one place to buy tickets and more than a dozen ways of entering the old town, so it isn't exactly a difficult chore to escape this payment if you want to save some money.
Hoi An was an international trading port back in the 17th century and many of the buildings around the old part of town date back to this time.
Our first day in Hoi An was rather disappointing and we decided to buy our onward tickets on that day, only allowing for a 2 night visit in the city. This turned out to be a poor decision, because after our second day in Hoi An, we both wished we could spend some more time there. Besides having a great room and awesome and affordable food and beer, the old town had a lot of charm and great shopping as well. The friendly Hoi An locals at Mrs. Nhi food stall (31 Nguyen Thai Hoc St) and Uncle Dong's right down the street actually tried to undercharge me (before I corrected them), which was a refreshing change to seemingly normal Vietnamese practices.
If I had more time in Hoi An, I likely would've ended up purchasing some tailor made suits to send home. There are dozens of these tailor shops operating around Hoi An, but unfortunately the first one I checked at offered their cheapest suits at over US$200. After talking to a couple from the UK, whom were pretty knowledgeable about clothing, I found out that reasonably nice suits could be purchased for around US$75. He said that he had bought a few for 50 pounds sterling each, and although they were not 1000 quid suits, they would've been a couple hundred pounds at home in England. He laughed how some people expected top of the line suits at such cheap prices and explained that he felt that he had gotten great value for his money here. I guess I should've looked around a little more before giving up on buying suits in Hoi An.
On March 6th, after spending two nights in Hoi An, we caught a bus to Hue around 14:00 (although it was supposed to be there at 13:30). The tickets cost us $4 from our hotel, which was probably $1 too much but was very convenient since they picked us up right at the hotel. It was a three hour ride from Hoi An to Hue and the bus stopped at a restaurant around half way. We spent most of the trip chatting to an experienced Dutch traveler that was going on to Laos that same day. He told us about how he had been ripped off by the police in Thailand twice (1,000 baht each time) and Cambodia once as well (another 1,000 baht) on his journey. It made Lisa and I feel quite good about ourselves as we have managed to avoid any major rip-offs through the first six months of this trip.
Where I stayed
Hoa My Hotel