02.07.2016 – 08.07.2016
Oh Hoi An………..how we long to return, mainly to the unforgettable Nam Hai Resort, but to our incredible butler Ngoc, who made our time here perfect. The best way to celebrate Rechelle’s 50th Birthday (Sorry for revealing your age Mum). Hoi An is best known for its resorts that line the beach and the old heritage listed town. At night the old town comes alive with markets, along with the restaurants and shops that are open during the day. If we weren’t in the old town at a tailor shop, we were enjoying the spectacular Nam Hai Resort, more on both of these later.
In Hoi An, not to be confused with Hanoi (further north) or An Hoi (the town on the other side of the river to Hoi An), we had two planned activities. The first was a cooking class at Mrs Vu’s Cooking School (An Hoi). Our 4 hour long class was filled with a boat trip to the local food market and guided tour through all the fruit, vegetables and meat, a walk around the cooking complex to sample many different foods (including frog and pig ear) and a hands on cooking class.
The second was a Vespa Tour (see Monday Moment 28). We got to ride on the back of vintage Vespa’s while exploring the countryside of Hoi An and visit locals and watch them at work. I think collectively this was a favourite for the whole Edwards family. We loved every second of the Vespa tour. It was really amazing, zooming through the streets on the back of a vintage Vespa, passing through the country side seeing Water Buffalo at work, and enjoying lunch under a fruit vine.
There was one impromptu activity. We had been waiting for Nathan’s family to visit so we could take them for a massage. A first for all of them.
The old town in Hoi An is a UNESCO listed site, made up of three main streets that are full of well preserved French Colonical buildings. Amazing architecture. Take a step out and you are overwhelmed by custom tailoring shops. During our stay we went to the same shop (Bao Khanh Silk, recommended by our hotel) five times. FIVE. I think half of Micah’s bag was filled with our clothes. And we are still carrying more dresses that Bianca bought. She just couldn’t stay away. After you pick your style and your fabric, you are measured and the material is whisked away on a motorbike to be made. The next day you can return for a fitting. They keep your measurements on record to make buying more garments easier. Dangerous! The service provided was inexpensive and high quality and we would highly recommend our tailors. We can’t wait to try on all the dresses, jackets, pants and shirts when we get home.
Right, back to the Nam Hai. What. An. Experience.
A resort of the highest quality. We were lucky enough to spend our 5 nights in a private residence with 3 villas, a separate room dedicated to dining and lounging, private pool and a butler’s quarter. Our butler Ngoc was first class. She tended to our every need and booked everything. For Rechelle’s birthday week, we were treated to luxury. We enjoyed cycling around the resort (felt like the Von Trapp’s), especially to breakfast or tennis, having dinner by the beach, afternoon tea and the constant top-ups of Mojitos. It was a great time to spend as a family, we loved it and will hopefully go back one day very soon.
After saying goodbye to Nathan’s family, we had one more night in Hoi An, and were soon hit with the sad reality of backpacking. We were back in a cheap guesthouse and the power went out for a few hours during the night, which meant we ended up sitting by the road with the host family eating coconut icy poles. An experience in itself. In saying that the whole of suburban Hoi An lost power that night and our host family were so accommodating, they even gave us bottles of water and a pack of biscuits for our bus ride when we left. So sweet.
OUR FAVOURITE BITS
- Our personal butler, Ngoc, during our time at the exquisite – Nam Hai.
- Buying tailored clothes. We recommend Bao Khanh Silk, but there are so many tailor shops around.
- Walking through the old city.
- Vespa Tour of the country side.
- Taking Nathan’s family for their first massages!
- Cooking class at Mrs Vu’s – included a food tour and market tour.
- If you need any clothes here, the tailoring services are quick, cheap and great quality. Most hotels or tuk-tuk drivers will give recommendations if you need. We used Bao Khanh Silk.
- Visiting the beach while in Hoi An.
- The Nam Hai. No words.
- The best time to visit the old town (centre of Hoi An) at night, it’s much more vibrant.