29 November 2016

5 THINGS TO DO IN HOI AN

A Mini Guide to Hoi An
Hoi An is a wonderfully, peaceful town doused in culture and beauty. You will find colourful lanterns streamed across the streets, bright flowers flourish over buildings and intricate patterns are laced across buildings. Among the quaint streets, you'll discover Chinese temples, the Japanese bridge and French Colonial buildings; allowing for the charming, historic town to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a haven for bespoke clothing and the perfect retreat for those wanting to unwind. 



1. Visit the Temples
Hoi An is flourishing with history and you'll find an array of temples to choose from. My favourites were Tan Ky House and Quan Cong Temple but there are so many more to see around this beautiful town. As I was out there I heard that visitors of the Ancient Town were actually required to purchase an entry ticket. Since becoming a World Heritage Site most of the money is reinvested into the renovations, upkeep and staff of the sites. I was unaware of this while I was out there but the tickets are only a mere 120k VND / £4 and it lasts for ten days with entry to all sites, so if you do find yourself being asked for a ticket, it's quite a little price to pay to enjoy this town in all it's glory. 


2. Watch the town light up with lanterns
In the evening, the town comes to life with lanterns, reminding me so much of my favourite Anime film Spirited Away. The riverside is the best place to be at night, to see couples placing lanterns into the water and catch a wonderful, atmospheric view of the Ancient Town.


3. Find a Tailor
This is one of the best places with an overwhelming amount of tailors to choose from. There are shops that offer the service and also a market place, which personally, I found quite chaotic and hectic. There's a choice of how to get your clothes made, whether you want to bring a design with you, find a design from the catalogues they have or like I did - pick a ready made outfit and ask them to recreate it in 3 different fabrics with little tweaks of my own. I did this at 7pm and my clothes were delivered to my hotel at 7am the next morning for £30! They are capable of anything, from evening gowns, dresses, suits, you name it, they'll create it, all fitted perfectly for you. 


4. Explore the Markets
There are a couple of markets to be found in Hoi An. The Central Market is most popular during the day and we found ourselves bewildered by the size and variety of stuff. One minute we were walking past vibrant fruit stalls but within a second we were in a maze of shoes, which, because we're in the land of bespoke, you can get a pair of shoes made to order too. I had a pair of Birkenstocks made for less than £15! Then in the evening, the wonderful night market comes alive. It's a perfect place to stroll down, trying new foods and calculating how many lanterns you can bring home in your suitcase to recreate a bit of Hoi An back home.


5. Take a Sunset Boat Ride 
One of the first things you might notice about the Ancient Town is the river that runs through it. I spent so much time around the river, whether I enjoyed lunch overlooking it or watching the couples float past setting lanterns down. One thing I really wanted to do before I left here was to take a boat ride down the river at sunset. It had been raining all day and as soon as it cleared, I hopped on with two friends. It was so peaceful and serene drifting down the river - a perfect way to end your day. 


Has anyone else been to Hoi An? What else would you add to this list? 
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