So here is the thing, I loved Hoi An. Normally, I am not a fan of tourist towns but Hoi An was magical. I loved every minute we spent in not just Hoi An but the surrounding area including the beautiful beaches. We originally were only going to spend 10 days there but we ended up extending our stay to 3 weeks and spending 10 days in Ho Chi Minh instead. BEST DECISION EVER. After our mentally exhausting time in Hanoi, the slow pace of Hoi An was very much welcomed.
First things first, our hotel was fantastic. As soon as we arrived at the Jade Hotel Hoi An we were greeted with genuine smiles, warmth and did I mention fresh watermelon juice? After a 17 hour journey, it was a very welcome gesture. The star of our stay was Sally, the manager. She was INCREDIBLE. In fact, the whole staff was incredible but I may or may not have a bit of a girl crush on Sally.
I have to say before I write anything more I highly recommend this hotel for a stay in Hoi An. The pool was phenomenal but it is the staff that truly made our 3-week stay so enjoyable. Everyone knew our name, the breakfast was delicious and the location was close to the beach and Ancient Town. Plus, the price was super affordable!
One thing Sean and I discovered in Hanoi is where we stay really impacts us. In Hanoi, we did not start out in an ideal place. It impacted us mentally and I think our view in general of Hanoi. So after a dud in Hanoi, we were happy to pay a bit more for an excellent hotel. The room is basic but the mattress was the best we had in Asia! Another plus was they also got our schedule and after the first few days, housekeeping would come clean our room when we were at breakfast because they knew we worked. The pool was refreshing on hot days and after biking around. It was always kept clean.
The hotel was also close to some great restaurants, including Claypot Restaurant which ended up being our favorite place to eat while in Hoi An. If you want a fast meal, avoid it as the owner and chef makes every dish made to order so expect it to take awhile but oh my is it worth it. Her chicken curry was out of this world and nothing like I have ever had before. Highly recommend a dinner here if you are lucky enough to visit Hoi An.
Hoi An itself is preserved by UNESCO and as such you are asked to pay a fee which allows you entrance to 5 different sights. We paid this the last week and found most of the museums not so great but beautiful. I would recommend the Japanese Bridge and the Cantonese Assembly Hall. Not just because they are picturesque but you can just feel the history there. I was mesmerized by the pottery dragons that were in the Cantonese Assembly Hall.
There are two sides of Hoi An. One side is more expensive and full of restaurants and the museums. (That is where I spent alot of time when my dad came because #hepaid. #blessed) When you cross the bridge it is more the party/backpacking side. I enjoyed both sides. On the more party side expect lots of happy hours and bars with names that will make you laugh like the Mr. Bean bar. Which is exactly as it sounds. A bar full of Mr. Bean pictures and his face photoshopped on icons such as Marilyn Monore. Plus, they have a passion fruit mojito that if I could drink all the time, I would.
The best part of Hoi An though besides being extremely picturesque was it helped me get my groove back. Vietnam as you know if you have been following along was a tough one for me mentally and physically. I felt like I was constantly reminded of the fact that I am fat and traveling. It was exhausting knowing people are staring and laughing at you for your size on an almost daily basis and it’s not always because they are being rude or mean. They starred because they don’t see many my size and that is fine. Curiosity is cool but that doesn’t mean I am always able to handle it.
It can and it got to be exhausting. I found myself constantly analyzing everything and anyone. Hanoi especially was hard but Hoi An helped me regain my fat girl confidence as I speed past locals and other tourists alike on my bike and wind in my hair. I learned to speak up again.
I am fat. It’s what I am.
It might make things a little harder sometimes because that is life but I was reminded of my time in Hoi An and how much travel has given me.
How far my fat body has taken me and all the adventures we have had these past 7 months. I loved Hoi An because I was able to get my groove back and see some incredible things without judgment. I realized now, a month later that in Hanoi I put a lot of pressure and judgment on myself. Whereas in Hoi An, I was able to relax and enjoy my time there. It was exactly what I needed to remind myself that I am enough.
Hoi An Love
Hoi An was everything I wanted but also needed. It had cheap and friendly food, it had cocktails, beach, and excursions. Hoi An is small and you can do everything you need to do in a matter of days but when you work, it was perfect. We didn’t have to do something every day (except the pool). Even in the rain, Hoi An delivered with its lanterns all light up at night and its colorful walls and buildings. I mean just look at these!
I loved Hoi An and would go back to Sally and the lanterns in a heartbeat. Better yet, Hoi An brought me back to myself.
Have you been to Hoi An? How did you feel about it, tell me below!