Welcome to Hoi An!

Hoi An is an adorable little town on the East coast about 1/2 way between Saigon and Hanoi, that absolutely oozes quaintness.  It is referred to as the “ancient city” and has been named an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we love it! The streets are lined with tailor shops waiting to make you clothing, shoes, handbags or anything else your heart desires. A river runs through the center of town and several small sandy-beached islands lie in the outskirts. You could easily spend a week here lazing around and relaxing while waiting for a tailor to complete your new wardrobe. Or, you could do what we did and try to squeeze everything in in just 2 days.

View of street from across the river

Fun, colorful works of art displayed on the river

Dude relaxing on his motorbike. Notice the shoes have been kicked off.

Day one: have some shoes made of couse! I will admit I was a bit hesitant given the fiasco in Shanghai, but I figured that since we’re in a different country now that I’d give it a go, and really, I just couldn’t pass up the chance to have a pair of boots made. I went on the Nordstrom website and picked out two pair: total price $700. I asked around for a reputable shoe-maker and took in pictures of the boots I had picked out. Total price less than $100.

She drew my feet on paper and marked measurements on my skin, took some measurements, I picked out materials, and bam! We were done. Off to go explore the small city of Hoi An while my new boots were being made. Does life get any better than this???

Getting measured for my new boots

It poured rain, but we spent the day walking around town and enjoying the peacefulness of being away from a large city. We had a lovely lunch on the river where the beer was only 25 cents, and took countless photos of the picturesque surroundings. At one photo stop, there was a group of about 5 or 6 men huddling under the protective cover of a make-shift roof away from the rain drinking rice wine and eating snacks. They hollered over and caught Eric’s attention and invited him in for a drink. I didn’t want to intrude on what was obviously a bachelor get-together, so I hung back with the camera:


Eric hangin' with the locals

 Day two: we took a day trip to the ancient ruins of My Son. Originally built in 7th century, most of the area was destroyed by war, but some ruins still remain. It’s a small area, and if you’ve explored ruins in Ancient Egypt or Jordan, this doesn’t come close to compare. But, the My Son ruins lay in a small valley surrounded by gorgeous lush green hills, making it worth the visit.

Ancient ruins at My Son

More ruins

And some more

Eric filling in for a headless ruin

We took a boat trip back to Hoi An and stopped along the way at an island called Cat Kim. We had read about pottery craftsmen and woodworkers who live and work on the island and we thought it would be cool to check it out. We were actually a bit disappointed in this though, as most of the crafts they had on display were very obviously factory made and not at all worth our time or money.

When we got back to Hoi An we went to pick up my new shoes! Both pair fit me well and seem to be solidly made (guess I’ll find out after I actually wear them a few times!). There are a couple of details missing, but all in all, they turned out alright and if they break the first time I wear them I won’t be out too much money!

The final product. Not bad!

We really wish we could have stayed longer here. The pace of life is slow and quiet here, but with 3 1/2 countries to tackle and only a month left to do it, we must move on.  Here are some final photos of Hoi An for you to enjoy:

Vietnamese lady working in her bean garden

The Hoi An ferry boat

Japanese covered bridge in the heart of town

Lady selling bananas