Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hoy! Hoi An, Vietnam.

I was recommended a vegetarian restaurant & place to stay by a Dutch guy on the booze cruise. After walking in circles for about an hour, while being offered tailor made suits by ladies on bicycles, we finally found the restaurant. We ate here 19 times & even did a cooking class. We have been meaning to do a cooking class since India but it just never happened.

Stuffed Tofu BBQ in a banana leaf. Made by us :)

Making Creme Caramel

Really cool Manga comic books. But none in English. 

The food here really is brilliant. I can't recommend Minh Hien enough. They sell Bia Hoi also known as fresh beer for 3000 VND (Vietnamese Dong) this is 8p. 8p!!!  Over the road from this restaurant there is another place which sells the stuff for 6p a glass if you buy three. We have both been looking forward to getting some of this fresh beer since I first heard about it before our travels. Hoi An is the first place I have seen it being sold. The beer is brewed daily, then matured for a short period and once ready each bar gets a fresh batch delivered every day in plastic jugs. It is a very light refreshing lager and for 8p a glass! I later read that Bia hoi, because of its informal production is not monitored by any health agency. The Russ & Cat health agency gives it the thumbs up :)

We arrived in Hoi An by night bus from Little Moscow & arrived at our hotel (The one that was recommended by the booze cruise Dutch guy) at 7am. The room was ready & the nice hotel manger let us check in straight away & gave us breakfast. I love it when that happens.

So after breakfast we did a little a laundry & then headed out in search of Minh Hien. At dusk we headed to the old town. Its really really cool down here & was only a twenty minute walk from our hotel. But! They don't sell Bia Hoi anywhere. So after taking in the sights we headed back to our part of the town & back to Minh Hien for more amazing vegetarian food & lots of fresh beer.

The next day we rented archaic bikes and cycled to Cua Dai Beach which is 5km away. The saddle sore would suggest it was 50km away. The ride was fun & the beach was ok. Started off pretty warm and for the first time in ages the sea was cold. For so long the seas that I have swam in have felt like baths. In the afternoon it became overcast & then this eery fog covered the sea & then the beach. Visibility was reduced so much that you could no longer see, only hear the speed boat with the attached paraglider.

On the way back it was rush hour. Hoi An is a quiet peaceful town when compared to the other places that we have seen in Vietnam but it still has it's rush hour. This made the ride more exciting and of course a little more dangerous. Catherine lost her bottle when a taxi was overtaking an oncoming car & veered a little too right. Falling from her bike & into a bush. Luckily it was a very soft bush. I heard her scream & ran back to help her. She didn't need my help. She was fine. 

Located on the banks of the Thu Bon River is Hoi An's Ancient Town. It costs about £3 to enter. Its worth a look & the walk is fine enough but the Japanese bridge that is kind of the main attraction needs a little TLC. We had fun walking round and taking photos.

Hoi An Ancient Town is a UNESCO world heritage site. 
Here is what UNESCO have to say "Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. It's buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site"

We both really loved it here and the initial three days we booked was quickly extended to five. Our favourite place in Vietnam so far easily.

While sitting in Minh Hien one night we were handed a flyer for VOLCANO CLUB. 80,000 VND which is about £2 for 9pm-3am open bar. We thought one night we would eventually try it out and even if it was terrible we haven't lost anything. The night came & we hit up VOLCANO CLUB (which just happened to be over the road & 5 doors down from our hotel). It wasn't terrible. It was 60,000VND and we were in there drinking until 6am. We met loads of fun people & had an ace night. Some Vietnamese were in there celebrating their birthday with a two tier birthday cake. Whether this a Vietnamese tradition I do not know but rather than eating the cake they would grab hand fulls and just like a snowball fight throw it at each other. People were covered. As I write this, I am wearing the top that I wore that night which still has white frosting stains on the back. I probably need to do some more laundry.

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