HOI AN 111 112 113

We had another morning filled with traveling today, as we packed up our stuff and headed to the airport to catch our flight to Danang. As we only have 2 weeks in Vietnam we’re missing out a lot of the south and flying halfway up the country so we can make the most of our time in the north. We arrived in Danang after lunch and then had an hour or so drive to Hoi An before checking in to our hotel. We stayed at Hoi An Life Homestay which is an amazing hotel run by the loveliest family – it even had a pool!

We spent the afternoon chilling before borrowing bikes from the hotel and heading into the town. We ate at a cool little veggie restaurant and then set off on foot to explore the rest of the town and night markets. It was the Buddha’s birthday, so the streets were packed with people and performers. We ended up watching the funniest street game, where you had to wear a blindfold and try to smash a hanging pot with a stick – sort of like a piñata without the sweets! We found ourselves in a Mr. Bean themed bar which was really odd! And had a few drinks in there before calling it a night.

We spent the next morning swimming and sunbathing at the hotel – trying to top up our tans before we head back to England! We borrowed bikes from the hotel again and cycled to An Bang beach. The water was amazingly clear and cold, perfect for cooling down after a boiling hot bike ride in the sun! We got some beers from a bar and chilled on their sun loungers before heading in for lunch (and taking a break from the heat!). We chilled at the beach all afternoon and then headed back to the hotel once the sun had started to set. In the evening we had dinner at cafe 43 before heading to a rooftop bar to spend the rest of the night drinking £1 cocktails!

On our last day we decided to head into town for some lunch after spending the morning by the pool. We wanted to show max how great Banh Mi was so we headed to the Bahn mi queen to see if it really was the best in Hoi An! This is where the day went downhill slightly, as we all ordered veggie ones but were half way through eating them before we realised it was meat and not tofu!! The boys carried on eating theirs but I felt sick straight away so couldn’t eat even though she offered to change it to a veggie one. Still, I made it almost 2 months without accidentally eating meat haha!

As we hadn’t seen the town by day yet, we went for an explore after lunch. The shops and markets were still as busy as they are by night, and we spent the afternoon checking out all the fake gear that’s so easy to come by here. We escaped the heat with some afternoon smoothies, and then headed back to find the bikes and cycle to Minh Hien restaurant, where we were doing a cooking course that evening.

We got to choose 4 dishes from the menu, and then got taught how to prepare and cook all of them. We learned how to make a mushroom sauce too, which is the base to loads of Vietnamese meals. Our teacher was so lovely and an amazing cook! He made everything look so easy, and the recipes were really quick and simple to make. We had the best time learning how to make authentic Vietnamese food, and it tasted so amazing. The dishes we cooked were fried eggplant, a vegetable curry, Hoi An sautéed veg noodles and a lemongrass and chilli stuffed tofu – this one was my fave! We feasted on our food and had a couple of beers at the restaurant before heading back home to chill for the evening.

Lotus flowers on the river for the Buddhas birthday

Lanterns at the night market

The finished dishes from our cooking class

You can see the French influence on the buildings in Hoi An

So many cute dogs in Vietnam!

The mr. Bean bar

GILI AIR day 81

After a last breakfast of banana pancakes at Sama Lama, we squeezed ourselves and our bags into a horse and cart and headed for the jetty. The boat to Gili Air is pretty speedy, even with a stop at Gili Meno for people to board the boat via a little transfer vessel while we were still out at sea.

Gili Air is noticeably smaller than Gili T, but doesn’t lack the bustling atmosphere or abundance of bars and restaurants like Gili Meno does. We hopped back into a horse and cart and headed north to Begadang Backpackers, our home for the night. After a few weeks of pretty luxurious accommodation, it was funny to be back in a hostel again! It had a big pool shaped like a mushroom, a bar with bean bags and all of the bedrooms were little bamboo huts. It was like camping out in the middle of the jungle, with just a mattress, mosquito net and a fan (thank god) in our room.

It was a boiling hot day so we jumped straight in the pool and cooled off with an amazing coconut frappe from the smoothie bar in the hostel. In the afternoon we borrowed bikes from the hostel and cycled to the Sate Bar for some lunch. We had some delicious Tempe & vegetable satay with the best peanut sauce and little crunchy fried potatoes. We spent the rest of the afternoon cycling around the island, which was pretty tricky in parts as there are even less roads here than in Gili T so it’s very sandy!

After our longer than planned bike ride (cycling through sand in the boiling hot sun is pretty hard) we headed back to the hostel for an evening swim and a beer. Once we’d cooled down we headed back out on the bikes to watch the sunset, and then to Pachamama for dinner. It’s the most beautiful vegetarian restaurant, decorated like a lush greenhouse with tons of plants and tea lights. We had delicious eggplant burritos with amazing vegan pesto and a couple of bintang for good measure. It was a pretty treacherous cycle home in the pitch black (we weren’t lucky enough to have head torches this time!) and then a nights sleep in our little jungle hut with geckos scuttling around above us.

Our little hut

Lunch at Sate Bar