Before I launch into a lengthy description of what may possibly be one of the most beautiful cities I've ever visited, let me just tell you something really important and exciting.
I. Got. My. WEDDING DRESS MADE HERE!!!!
It's officially happening now. I have a dress, so there is no backing out!
I think I will dedicate an entire post to the making of the wedding dress another day (probably in 6 months when I can show you pictures) so we'll skip over it below, but just in case you are curious...
- It's perfect
- The ladies who made it were amazing to deal with
- I had it made at a place called Yaly Couture (in case there are people reading this who are thinking of doing this) which I would highly recommend
- Josh HASN'T SEEN IT!!! I'm not sure how I managed that, but I did...including me carrying it around in my backpack for the rest of our trip!
This dress has a story!
So clearly, I have great memories of Hoi An for this reason alone, but even without the dress, it was one of my favourite places!
The city itself is separated into old and new quarters and has canals running through it. The Ancient Town is absolutely beautiful - tiny streets lined with lanterns and heaps of little shops.
Tailoring is a huge part of the city and there are hundreds of shops - we went to Yaly on the recommendation of our guide and it was a great choice. You know what I had made, and Josh had a pair of pants and a couple of really nice shirts made.
We ate some fabulous food in Hoi An - the local specialty Cao Lau, a pork based noodle dish, Bahn Mi and my favourite favourite - Vietnamese iced coffee - coffee mixed with condensed milk and poured over ice. It doesn't sound like it should work at all but it did. I LOVE a good iced coffee and this was the best I've had. Poor Josh had an epic noodle bowl that was ruined by a huge piece of chili that caught him off-guard!
The second day we were there we went on a bicycle tour. We took the bikes out into the country (yay!) through rice paddies, past duckling farms and lotus flowers and to a huge commercial (I say that lightly) herb & vegetable garden.
We got to meet the couple who live on and run the farm and have for many years. The man was 92 and the lady in her late 80s. And they still worked as hard as they ever have and were so in love!
The gardens were immaculate and not a weed in sight. They are all watered, weeded and planted by hand and there were things growing I had never even heard of.
We carried on, stopped for a morning tea break and I had my first coconut!! Yuuuum! We were then taken on these little bamboo boats that looked SO unstable but were actually amazing - our guy made us little hats out of the reeds.
We looked cool.
After 15kms on the bikes it was back to the city with sore butts in time for the finals fittings on our clothes which were all perfect!
On our last night I went to a Vietnamese cooking class. It was so great! We learnt how to make rice pancakes, spring rolls and a green papaya salad - we were given a cook book with the recipes which I am super excited about making and sharing with you guys!
Other than this, we spent our 3 days in Hoi An wandering the streets, looking at the markets, drinking beer and just getting to know some of the people on our trip.
It was a beautiful city and an unexpectedly successful trip, coming away with my perfect wedding dress and memories of another beautiful city.
And an overwhelming desire to decorate my entire garden with colourful lanterns!