Hoi An - Wonton Soup & "Same Same but different!"

Trip Start Nov 16, 2008
Trip End Feb 07, 2009

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hoi An -  Wonton Soup & "Same Same but different!"

The night bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An was certainly an experience for both us with the smallest of beds to fit into, the bus driver driving like a loon and throwing the bus round the tight corners plus one of the locals proceeding to take a wee on the bus outside the locked toilet door....nice!! 

We finally arrived in Hoi An early in the morning being and were dropped off at their favourite  hotel with touts ready to try and persuade us to stay in their hotel....driver is on a commission then!

We grabbed our bags and bucked the trend to head off for another hotel called Phouc An and managed to get a great deal for $15 a night just outside the main town.  Hoi An is full of character and class and wasn't even touched in the Vietnam war.  Quaint riverside houses and a bustling river full of long boats and fishing boats Hoi An is definitely a great place to visit with lots of things to do.   Trips to the local Marble mountain, cooking courses, jet biking in the sea, trips to the beach and of course.... the retail therapy that is on offer here.

If you are looking for a new suit or few shirts to stock up your business wardrobe then this is the place for you.  You can get everything from the best Hugo Boss suit to the latest pair of Nike trainers here and of course they are all made to your requirements and cut to size within 24 hours.  All you need to do is turn up with a few pictures and away you go.  Better still, they have all the latest catalogues and cat walk pictures for you too choose from.  Of course all the branded stuff is imitation but it is made to the exact specification of the real thing but  for a fraction of the cost.  Suits start from $35 and go to about $165 and trainers are a steal for about $10.  Of course you are haggling with the vendors to get the best price and they have that famous quote which you can see on many T-shirts all over Vietnam...."Same Same... but different".   The Vietnamese seem to use this quote for everything...  Order a coffee and you get an iced coffee with condensed milk ..."Same Same... but different"..... ask for a size large and they bring back a medium.."Same Same.... but different"......Haggle down by $5 dollars and they'll try and up it another $3 dollars.."Same Same...but different" !!  So funny to hear and see!  We both ended up buying a few things including some bamboo soup bowls and a piece of artwork along with the odd piece of clothing here and there (lots in Mish's case!!)...  Hotel phoned up the local postie to come to the hotel and pack our box and send home which made our lives even easier.

The one thing that is definitely not "Same same... but different" is the food and the wonton soup in particular.  Food in Hoi An is known all around Vietnam with local specialties like White Rose and Cau Lao and both are really scrummy.  But it was the wonton soup that we both fell in love with and Cafe 96 (which is flooded out 2 months of the year due to it's river location) served up the best we have ever tasted.  We inquired about their cooking course but they refuse to teach people on how to make the soup as it is a secret family recipe which is only passed down through the family.  Booooo!

3 days of retail therapy over we both decided it was time to head up to the capital city Hanoi and perhaps take a trip to the famous Ha Long bay which is a world heritage site with thousands of limestone islands formed more than 10,000 years ago...... how does one know it was 10,000 years ago ?!?!
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