Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Hoi An

We were dropped off at a hotel called 'Vinh Huy Hotel' and bartered a double room from $10 a night to $8. We searched for over an hour, seeking out cheaper accommodation but couldn't find anything below this price. Aaron, Jason, Luke & Josh found a room for $10 between the four of them at the 'Hop Yen Hotel' but for a double room they wanted $10 a night. The room they shared was small but clean, the shared bathroom was also clean and there was 'on demand' hot water.

We returned to the Vinh Huy Hotel and booked for the night. The room was a decent size, the bathroom was clean but the rest of the room had filthy walls, a smashed mirror and a very old rusty fridge. All this didn't bother us but for $8 a night we felt it was over priced.

Our room at Vinh Huy Hotel

We then asked to book the room for the next 4 nights but were told that the room was only available for one night, and so we searched for 2 hours later that evening for another room.

Everywhere we looked at started from $17 a night and a lot of places were fully booked. When returned to our hotel to ask if there had been any cancellations for the following night, we were then told that told that we could stay but that we may not be able to stay the next night.

Basically, because we had negotiated the price down to $8 a night the hotel wanted to see if they could fill up the hotel and our room by charging new tourists $10-$15 a night. Meaning we didn't know if we were coming or going!

Due to the this and the bad attitude of the staff we checked into the hotel next door called 'Hoa My Hotel' for $12 a night for a double room. It was a little over what we were used to spending but the room, although smaller, was nicer, quieter and the staff were friendly and easy going.

Our room in Hoa My Hotel

We all hired mopeds on the first day and had a quick look at the beach. It was far too cold and windy to relax there so we headed into the town area and came across the ancient old town. The scene that greeted us were intriguing buildings, busy markets and quirky restaurants and i was excited to explore the rest.

Head to the market for cheap street food and fruit. Make sure you barter when buying fruit and gifts.

It was a full moon during our first night and the river area was packed with tourists. Many local families were selling lanterns made from brightly coloured paper with a burning candle inside. Once you buy one you have to make a wish first before floating it down the river.

The atmosphere here was wonderful and the pretty lanterns gave off a warm and happy vibe. Quickly this was interrupted by heavy rain, and the riverside was soon left deserted as people fled back to their hotels for cover.

The people of Hoi An are very religious and so these shrines were in or outside every shop

The next few days we hired bicycles instead of mopeds as we had enjoyed the old town so much the previous day that mopeds were not needed. We paid 20,000d each for and had to return them by 9pm that evening.

A lot of our time was spent riding around on bicycles, going from one river front restaurant to the next and watching the world go by whilst enjoying our first taste of sunshine in almost 3 weeks.

For free pool, board games and good food try 'Voulez-Vous' located on the Hai Ba Trung road. Although it's positioned on the roadside and it's over our usual budget, the food here was really tasty and  well presented.

A worker in the rice fields

Hoi An experiences terrible flooding during the rainy season.  You can just about see in the photo how high the water came in during November of last year

Photos from above and below were taken in one of Hoi Ans' Ancient houses

The famous 'Japanese Bridge'

Just one of the lovely places we ate at on the river

 Hoi An is one place in Vietnam that you should not miss. It has got to be one of my favourite towns so far, I fell in love with all the ancient buildings and the laid back atmosphere. It is a little crowded with tourists but try not to let that put you off. Had the weather been warmer/sunnier I'm sure i would have enjoyed a couple of days on the beach too.

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