Beaches, lunar festivals and tailors for the well heeled. Head to Hoi An for Vietnamese sun, sea and food. Sitting on the coast between north and south, it staggers any weary travellers journey.
WHERE TO STAY
The Nam Hai | Slicker than James Bond’s silk underpants
There are a myriad of hotels and resorts springing up around Hoi An but there is only one that counts. The staff know what you are thinking long before you do. Stay in your own villa and pad down the beach for breakfast. Take a splosh in the Olympic sized infinity pool on the way. It doesn’t get better than this.
Điện Dương | Quảng Nam | +84 510 3940 000
WHERE TO EAT
Morning Glory | The real deal
Owned by the omniscient Miss Vy. Proper Vietnamese food in the thick of it. Steamy, lighting out of the Quiet American and smells that will tantalise your taste buds long before the food rolls into view.
106 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street | +84 0510 2241 555
Mango Mango | Cocktails and Fans
Run by celebrity chef Duc Tran in a prime riverside spot. A modern twist on traditional Vietnamese with the added bonus of some killer cocktails. The bike ride there was a glorious idea. The cycle back was a wobbly one.
45 D Nguyen Phuc Chu | +84 510 391 0839
Miss Vy’s Cooking School | Walk the Walk
You will respect a spring roll and all the other Vietnamese specialities that are produced a lot more after this morning. Fun, clever and interesting, Miss VY isn’t just the Don of Hoi An, she’s an Auree pin up. Independent, beautiful and business-like, just the way we like them. You will sample lots of Vietnamese food and knock up some specialities. Including apparently the soup of all soups to win a mother in law over. Good luck.
Plunder the Streets | And get garish
Hoi An is one big merchants back yard. You will get all the tourist traps but if you want a dress knocked up or something a little outrageous, the sky is the limit. Send the man in your life off to look around one of the hundreds of old Chinese quarters while you dig into the pattern books.
Japanese Bridge | Incense River
Hoi an is stuffed full of Japanese and Chinese architecture. Grab yourself a museum pass and you can take in the town houses of Hoi An and visit the Japanese bridge over the river that winds its way through the centre of the old town.
The Lunar Festival | Candles by night
Held once a month, plan your trip around this. The streets are flooded by candles and lanterns, the river is awash with floating candles and there is a procession through the town. Touristy (yes) but utterly glorious and you can’t help but get swept up in the romance of it.
The Nam Hai will hijack your purse (or hopefully HIS wallet) but that doesn’t mean you can’t get that linen dress or jacket pressed to perfection. And Auree loves a deal. Slicker than an F1 Pit Stop Crew, there are more laundries than Aladdin had access to – so pop into town for a spruce and a cocktail while you wait.
Hit the pool by day and head into town late afternoon, unless you’re training for a desert marathon as the heat is heavy and the pool is cool.
And when they say the food is hot. It’s HOT baby.