Since our Homestay was located a few minutes outside of Hoi An, we used the free bicycles provided to get into and around the city of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bike ride took about 10 minutes, leading through rice fields until we got to the city, there we continued on to the old town, located down by the river.
As soon as we got off our bikes, we were approached by the first few vietnamese people. They were all very friendly, asking where we’re from and telling us about some people they know in Germany, then helped us to find the ticket shop for the 'ancient town ticket’ - and then they requested to come check out their tailor shop. Hoi An is famous for it’s many tailors, so we had also considered having something handmade before we came here, but we hardly had enough time for that. After the first five or so attempts by people to get us into their shops we decided that we didn't want to give it a try. It’s really hard deciding which shops are actually good - we read about quite some problems people had with the quality of some shops and we didn't have the time or nerves to really look out for a good one.
The ancient town itself is really beautiful, and would be even more so if it wasn’t stuffed with shops of cheap kitsch souvenirs and tailor shops with creepy mannequins. Pretty much all buildings are painted yellow, with dark wooden beams and doorframes, and many buildings have plants growing up the sides. When we visited, they bloomed in a beautiful pink that fit perfectly with the colorful houses. Very picturesque.
We spent the whole day roaming around, ate the local specialty “cao lao" at the market and rode our bikes around the outskirts of the town, where we ended up having some real vietnamese iced coffee at a little coffeeshop (where the icecubes sure didn’t look like the storebought variety - I am fearing for the worst for our digestive system…)
In the evening we had Banh Mi (Sandwiches) at Bánh mì Phượng. It's obiously a well known place, there was a pretty long queue outside. We liked the food there very much, and it was also very cheap (20.000 Dong ~ 0,80€), so definitely worth a short waiting time in our opinion.
At night the whole city is lit with small lanterns, and little paper lanterns with candles are put on the water of the river to float away. Everything is illuminated in a warm light and it's very beautiful. We enjoyed walking through the town, but skipped the main roads where the streets were crowded with other tourists. That way we had a really nice, calm evening. Afterwards we walked over the night market and had a beer, then rode our bikes back home through the dark - there were not too many lights on the road through the rice fields, but we made it home without any problem.
We then reviewed our plans for our next destination and decided to add another day to our stay in Hoi An so we could have a day at the beach before making our way to Hue.
If you'd like to see more pictures of Hoi An, you can check them out here.