MY TEN BEST
Nail Art, Five Senses Spa
Waterwheel Organic Farm Cooking Class
FIVE BEST THINGS TO DO WITH A VISITING FRIEND
Hoi An Silk Village. This is worth visiting just for the gardens, lotus ponds, old traditional buildings and photo exhibition alone. The tour costs around $5 per head, and is the silkworm 101 class, everything from egg to the finished product. The coffee shop on grounds also sells civet (cat poop) coffee. Try it, silky smooth, pun intended. The shop selling the silk is quite expensive.
My Son. Take a private tour very early in the morning to beat the crowds in the buses. The trip to My Son goes through rural villages where we saw chilies, corn and rice all laid out on mats drying in the sun. Visit the new free museum to learn everything about the site and then wander around. Photo opportunities everywhere.
Silk painting at Papillon Noir. I have had a lesson in dry and wet silk painting, and make your own scarf or piece of cloth to be incorporated into some clothing to be made. I made my friend a Christmas present scarf, and was mighty pleased with the end result, despite having approaching zero artistic flair. Although most of the lesson is conducted in Vietnamese, therefore a lot of sign language going on, it makes for a great take back home present.
Reaching Out Tea House. Almost a zen experience for me. For those who have done a Japanese tea ceremony and appreciate authentic décor, superbly crafted china and glasses this is the place for you. Another good place to chill out, and watch the world go by, or read a book.. All of the plates, glasses and china can be bought at the Reaching Out Craft shop around the corner and serve to highlight the whole experience (for me anyway).
Hidden Beach. The ultimate place to chill for the afternoon and watch the colors of dusk arrive. For the cost of a drink or two you can have a banana lounge in the shade. There is a new massage shack attached to the restaurant where you can have a massage while listening to the surf.
AND HERE’S MY FIVE OF THE BEST!
Best coffee: Faifo Coffee
The newest addition to 11 Coffee in An Hoi. In the old town area in a superbly renovated 3 story building. The absolute best, hottest, tastiest and smoothest coffee in town, along with cakes from the 9 Grain Bakery. Sit at the front window ledge and watch the tourists wander around like Browns Cows, or sit on the top story and see the magical rooftop view of the old town.
Best Cooking Class: Waterwheel Organic Farm Cooking Class
Get picked up by guide and pushbike to the farm. Dress up as farmers and dig and plant your own little vegetable patch, before cleaning up and having a cooking lesson, eating lunch and learning how to make rice paper. Finish off with a ride on a water buffalo. This day is a huge laugh and more importantly photo opportunity for happy snaps to remember your holiday in Vietnam.
Best for nails: Five Senses Spa
Once a week I get my nails done. This is pure indulgence and is the only way to stop biting the nails. I love this place because they never try and upsell, and are quite happy to have you spend on only what you want. They also do a very relaxing massage.
Best for souvenirs: Reaching Out Craft Shop
Without a doubt the best souvenir shop in Hoi An. The inside of the shop is a joy to wander around, everything is so artfully displayed, the crafts, jewelry, embroidery, sewing are all very professionally made. Shopping here is a delight. We have also gone out the back to see the disabled youths manufacturing the items. I want to buy almost everything in this shop.
Best bicycle activity: Catch the bike ferry to Cam Kim Island. We took our own bikes and visited the fishing boat building area, the mother of pearl inlay ‘furniture street’ and then went for a lap around the island discovering the sleeping mat manufacture village. All along the verges of the streets were different colored straw drying in the sun. This island is quaint, very rural, and full of school children yelling out “hello” at the top of their voices.
Complete the sentence: You know you have been living in Vietnam a long time when… you get a hug from your favourite street vendor and start reading Vietnamese news before Australian news.
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