After city hopping for several days I felt ready to experience something different. For a refreshing change of pace… I decided to take a bicycle tour of the countryside surrounding Hoi An. The scenery was beautiful and it was so nice to feel the breeze on such a hot morning. It definitely motivated me to keep pedaling because as soon as I stopped the sweat began to pour again. This is definitely the hottest spot on the trip so far!
After navigating some busy streets on my way out of town I was able to see local rural life in Vietnam. This included a stop at a farm to water the crops with traditional tools and a stop to ride a water buffalo. That’s right, you heard me… a water buffalo! I never even thought to put that one on my bucket list but very cool nevertheless.
The only place in Vietnam that I knew about before deciding to come here was the lovely UNESCO heritage city of Hoi An. I had heard of it from friends and travellers and knew it was famous for its European feel and small town charm. Well… Now that I’ve seen it for myself, I can confidently say that it’s my favourite spot in Vietnam (even with the skyrocketing temperatures).
One of my favourite things to do in any new city is wander around without an agenda and that’s exactly how I started my first day in Hoi An. It wasn’t long before I came across the tailor recommended to me by a friend back home and promptly ordered a custom dress and skirt (not pictured). Hoi An has over 400 tailors and they can have clothes custom made the same day! I am obsessed with my two items and keep wondering why didn’t I order more?!! I have this overwhelming urge to make this an annual pilgrimage!
The heat was almost unbearable at times but I still managed to enjoy walking along the Thu Ban river and sneaking a free photo in the Japanese covered bridge (I think I was supposed to pay…oops). It was fun to explore but it was more fun to sit in a cafe by the river sipping on mango smoothies and eating pho under the fan. Have I mentioned how hot it is here? Let me tell you that 35 degrees plus 100% humidity makes it hard to do much of anything other than lie in the pool… Which I happily did later as well!
The must-do event of the trip so far was catching the sunset over the river. At around 6pm when the sun is going down, the town totally transforms. The light from the sky mixed with all the hanging lanterns and floating candles was absolutely magical. I can see why people fall in love with this place.
It’s time to get back in the saddle again! Or perhaps more appropriately, the back pack straps! I am a mere 3 days away from my inaugural trip to Southeast Asia (aka backpacker paradise!) and my first solo trip. I am both excited and nervous about spending two weeks in my own company, but I’m trusting Adventurous Kate’s promise that solo travellers are never alone!
Some of you may be curious about my travel itinerary for this trip so I thought I would include a brief synopsis of my plans.
June 21-22:Vancouver, Canada to Guangzhou, China (next day arrival and overnight)
June 23: Guangzhou, China to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
June 24: Ho Chi Minh City
June 25-26: Nha Trang
June 27-28: Hoi An
June 29-30: Hue
July 1: Halong Bay / Bai Chay
July 2-3: Hanoi
July 4: Hanoi, Vietnam to Vancouver, BC (via Guangzhou, China)
I have some idea of what I want to do in these cities but I’m mostly looking forward to seeing what each day brings. That being said, these are the activities I am most looking forward to:
The infamous Nha Trang Boat Trip (aka booze cruise). Apparently, it’s the most fun you’ll have in Southeast Asia!
Getting custom-made clothing in Hoi An.
Touring the caves and waters of Halong Bay.
Eating as much PHO(pronounced fa) as possible… and learning the basics of Vietnamese cuisine.
I am hoping to post updates as I travel but that will mostly depend on my Internet access. Get ready for more fun updates to come!