My best friend comes to Vietnam: Part 1.

Me and Munji (right), exploring the ancient town by night. Everything looked so pretty I wanted to bring it all home with me. Sadly I was travelling with hand luggage ONLY!

When I went home in May, for a short 10 days I was a little sneaky. I persuaded one of my best friends she should do some travelling in the six-week summer holidays she gets off from her job as a school Teacher. I told her all about the incredible adventures I’d had in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and how much she would love it. I told her stories about crazy, unforgettable AND forgettable nights out, cultural experiences you couldn’t find anywhere else, and tales of countless friendships I’d made during my travels. She was instantly sold.

To be fair, I don’t think she needed much persuading. I mean, what else is there to do in Wolverhampton for six weeks right? (No offence to my family and friends who still live there 🙊)

Flights booked ✈️

So with her flights booked we rose a glass to celebrate, said our farewells and would next see each other in Asia in three months.

Those months flew by and before I knew it we were reunited again. In the week leading up to Munji’s arrival I wrote up an itinerary. It was pretty thorough and detailed to say the least. Perhaps a little optimistic, but I wanted her to experience as much of the country as possible. So with 10 days to play with the plan was to spend a few days in Hanoi, Sapa, Hoi An and Phong Nha. Not in that order, but it covered a little bit of everything, from the bustling city life of Hanoi, lush green rice terraces in Sapa, to culture in ancient Hoi An and even squeezing in a bit of outdoor water activities in Phong Nha. I couldn’t forget the water activities for a pro swimmer like me 😂

But even when you plan everything, it doesn’t always go to plan. So after Munji missed her initial flight to Vietnam (tequila to blame), we now had just 9 days to cram in everything! We re-worked the itinerary as we travelled, and not pre-booking any accommodation in advance turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

[Travel tip #1: make plans and have a rough idea of where you want to go, but don’t stress if things don’ work out. Unexpected adventures are usually more fun anyway.]

So after a rather pleasant evening alone in Da Nang, I woke up, had breakfast, a fresh mani & pedi to kill some time, and before my nails even had a chance to dry Munji had arrived in the city. Losing a day meant having to rework the itinerary so we sat down and quickly thought it was best to head straight to Hoi An that day, instead of spending another night in Da Nang, where to be honest wasn’t the top of our agenda anyway.

“We’ve lost one day, we need to make a POA! But first, let’s get the espresso martinis in.”

We booked an Uber to take us straight to our hostel in Hoi An which worked out cheaper than an organised tour. It cost around £10 for the 45 minute journey which I thought was pretty decent for budget and convenience. The long drive also meant we had plenty of car time to chat away and play catch up with each other’s lives! Oh what a very eventful catch up it was as well.

Here’s a little video of our Hoi An highlights. Scroll further down for more things Hoi An.

Things we did and LOVED in Hoi An:

  1. Explored the night markets.

    2. Enjoyed a romantic gondola ride.

    3. Wandered through the ancient streets by night.

Our love for 🍍’s may have become a little obsessive on this trip

4. Sailed in coconut boats.

5. Fished for mini crabs.

Hey there tough little man 🦀

6. Put our cooking skills to the test.

7. Rented bikes and rode around the town.

I think this was after we got off our bikes 🚲

8. Visited temples.

*** Sorry no temple pictures available. ***

Here’s a picture of Me and Munji shopping at the market instead.

Accommodation:

Before this trip I don’t think Munji had ever stayed in a hostel. One of the main things I wanted her to do was experience some sort of hostel life. If not for the great atmosphere and a place to meet cool people, but to prove that there are some decent, CLEAN hostels. We stayed at Hoi An Backpackers. It was clean, modern and even had a pretty cool bar and outdoor pool! I think it’s fair to say I made my point 😏

Other things to do (if we had more time):

  • Go to the beach
  • Beach some more
  • Read a book on the beach
  • Get brown-er on the beach – if that’s at all possible 🤔
  • And finally relax at the beach

(Can you tell I’m missing the beach? 😬)

But on a more serious note, Hoi An is renowned for it’s abundance of tailor shops. You can’t walk down a street without seeing one. In fact, I read somewhere that Hoi An has the world’s highest concentration of tailors anywhere! They’ll make anything from smart suits and evening dresses to casual tops and bottoms, for very reasonable prices too!

Thoughts on Hoi An:

It’s beautiful. An elegant, charming, romantic ancient town. Perched on Vietnam’s central coast, the history along with a mix of eras and influences is reflected for all to see though it’s architecture. From the colourful French colonial buildings, to Vietnamese tube houses and Chinese wooden temples and shophouses.

It’s fair to say Hoi An is the most beautiful little town I’ve visited in Southeast Asia. One day just wasn’t enough time, so I’m sure I’ll be visiting again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! The next one will be part 2 of Munji’s Vietnam adventure where we explore the famous terraced rice fields of northwestern Vietnam, Sapa.

Many people say Sapa has become too touristy and is now ruined. Click subscribe below and you’ll find out exactly what we thought of the green tourist hotspot when the next post drops on the blog later this week.

With love,

Maya

❤️

Current location: Blogging from this cute little coffee shop

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