Hoi An – Its all about the Cakes and Coffee

After the horrendous stay in Hue, Hoi An was a breath of fresh air. The tourist lined streets, the respectful locals, the nice buildings, the relaxing atmosphere and the company of two great people. Hoi An was perfect.

It all started on the bus

The buses in Vietnam are a little different to everywhere else I’ve been in that they are all “sleeper” buses. The beds are stacked two high and are essentially seats which fold relatively flat. The beds are quite long at 185cm and look comfortable enough. If however you are like me and unlucky enough to not have one of these seats, you are on a lounge seat, 5 people across, right at the back, right at the top, sandwiched between people, legs bent since the “beds” are much smaller… It’s not a pleasant journey.

It was lucky therefore that I sat on the bus next to Yves, an Italian man studying in Australia. We chatted and realised we had a similar sense of humour when a lady, filming the scene on the bus, pointed the camera at us. We both waved frantically and her look of confusion at the screen, then us, then the screen again was priceless. We chatted for a bit before settling down for the journey me watching a movie, him sleeping.

As we got off the bus we met Sarah, a Londoner and we all headed in the direction of a hostel. Sarah wanted a bit of luxury so was headed to a plush hotel for a couple of nights where as Yves and I wanted a cheap bed. It ended up with Yves, Sarah and I sharing a room – Yves and Sarah even sharing a huge double bed. It was amusing to watch the transformation of “plush luxury” to sharing a bed with a random Italian.

It all worked out perfectly though

I couldn’t have asked for better company in Hoi An. When Sarah was busy with clothes buying, Yves and I would do something. When Yves was busy, Sarah and I would do something. Hoi An is the perfect place for this as well. Sure there is some site-seeing to be done if you want, but it’s just as easy to get up, have breakfast somewhere, plonk your backside in a cafe, drink coffee and eat a delicious cake, move from the cafe to a bar offering a happy hour and have a few beers whilst shooting some pool or playing cards. Sarah and I took an official cooking course, whereas Yves ended up getting a free cookery lesson from a lady in a cafe. One day we even shared a bottle of Champagne that Sarah’s boyfriend had bought her for New Years Eve.

Of course, sometimes the nights progress a little more and you end up drinking “buckets” and watch in amazement as Sarah orders yet another meal. We’d chat, we’d laugh, we’d sit quietly and then Yves would suddenly look up from his book and announce that “he jumped” quickly followed by “it’s ok though, he made it”. We met up with old friends and made new ones.

It may have been raining but Hoi An is the perfect antidote to Hue.

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