We’re on to part five of our blog series with photographer Sian Owen. In this episode she takes us through her week in Hoi An. This is the town she spent the longest time in during her whole trip, so for anyone wanting to travel or teach English in Vietnam, this would be a helpful read with an abundance of tips and recommendations.
After a successful time in Nha Trang, Sian took a taxi from Danang Airport to Hoi An which is about 400 000 Vietnamese dollars (VND) and it took close to 45 minutes.
“We booked this place on bookings.com and was undoubtedly our favourite place out of the whole trip”
Mama’s guest house is a home stay, which is like a hotel but with a very homely feel, the place is managed by a lady called Thu.
“Every time you walk in through the door, she’d offer you the loveliest Vietnamese treats and she was altogether very helpful towards us, you could ask her for anything and she’d make sure she does she gets it for you”
“One of the best parts about this place is they have free bicycles which you can use to cycle to old town which is a very chilled 2.5km.”
“This looked like a Photographic paradise to me, It does get super packed during the day so it’s best to get there early and take in the sunrise. This was the perfect time for me as I could photograph it without the crowds being there”
The are three main streets in old town, they all lead to various little alley’s in and around the town which make for interesting walks through this ancient town.
“They don’t charge you to go into old town, so if someone comes to you and ask you for entrance money then you should just find another route in.”
“Barter. That’s the magic word here. We got two leather laptop bags with straps here, they originally cost $135 each. After talking to the sellers for about 30 minutes to bring the price down, we got the bags and a leather wallet for $150. Usually the best thing to do is to halve the price they give you in the first place.”
“As soon as you open a map as a tourist in Hoi An, the locals literally all come to you and ask you how long you staying in the city for and they try roping you into visiting their store”
“We started realizing that the best thing to do is every time someone approaches you, just tell them a small white lie and say you leaving this afternoon, otherwise you end up buying from every store.”
“We went to a place called ‘Ba RI’ and I got myself 3 play suits and two high waisted shorts. Each of these items cost me $20. It’s best to take a photo from Pinterest, show them exactly what you want and they usually don’t mind tailoring it specifically to your liking.”
“I love all the things that I got made from that place, they honestly fit me so perfectly.”
Cycle through the Rice paddies in Cau Dia Beach ( its so much better then An Bang beach)
Other Activities to do in Hoi An : My Son Temple, Cham Island
“Hoi An is like the food capital of Vietnam, so there were so many choices for us to eat at and we loved every minute of it. If you looking for cheaper food, you should try eat in restaurants that are in the outskirts of old town.”
Banh Mi Phuong
“We came here at least once everyday, we had nearly every meal they offered on the menu. They make such amazing chicken and cheese baguettes too”
“We also tried the local fish dish here called ‘Cau Lau’ It was absolutely amazing and it’s very popular on TripAdvisor too.”
Banh Mi Queen ( Madam Kahn)
This place is famous for its Pork dishes, far less touristy but also delicious!
“It’s up a sneaky little side alley but you’ll find it on mapsme. You must try the steamed buns for starters. The menu isn’t big and every serving is a masterpiece.”
Ganesha Indian Restaurant
“We discovered that there was a Ganesha in Hoi An too! We went there for dinner twice and found out that it was owned by the same family.”
Walking around Hoi An, you’ll constantly see cooking classes being advertised for about $25. At Cafe 43, you pay $7 for the class and you can choose exactly what you want to learn to make. The class plus the food coast us about $10 dollars each.
“We learnt to make a papaya salad, caramelized chicken clay pot and Vietnamese chicken curry. The papaya salad was an absolute winner”
Coocobox and Hoi An Roastery both have absolutely amazing coffee, smoothies and cakes.
Sian Owen is a South African Business Science graduate and photographer. She specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography. This series of bog posts follows her recent trip through Cambodia and Vietnam, showcasing the incredible beauty of these two fascinating countries.
To see more of Sian’s amazing photography, here are her contact details:
Interested in Teaching English, volunteering or interning abroad? We’ll send you more info!