Weeks before I set off to Vietnam, I was constantly looking up the destinations that travellers had recommended to me. One of these places was Hoi An. I found myself refreshing images daily, astounded that a town could hold such beauty.
Hoi An is in the north of Vietnam, and was my third stop. I arrived around the 14th of July, and so missed the lantern festival.
The Hoi An lantern festival happens every month on a full moon, so if you’re planning to visit Hoi An, I would definitely make sure you are there for the full moon. I can’t comment on how bad or good the festival is. But I do know just how beautiful the old quarter looks on an average night. So I can only dare to imagine how mesmerising it is to see on the night of the festival.
The festival is one of south east Asia’s most popular events. Vietnamese people find the full moon a time to pay their respects to their ancestors. In Hoi An, fluorescent and un-natural lights are turned off and the streets stand glowing with coloured lanterns, as they raise to the sky.
Other than the full moon, one of the biggest reason tourists travel to this world heritage town, is to get hand made clothes.
On every street in the Old Quarter, your eyes just lay upon seas of shops bursting with fabrics and creative patterns. Of course, I was lured into getting myself some fabric of my own.
I got a matching top and skirt made for around £13. You pick the clothes you want, the material, the pattern and then the woman measure you. By the next morning you have your own hand made clothes. And they are so good.
In honesty I could have walked around the streets of Hoi An for days. Every shop and restaurant was so cute, small and unique. It’s so crazy that when you tell people you’ve been to Vietnam, the majority of people think it’s a bad, run down country. It’s one of the most beautiful place I have ever been.
Another huge thing I can not forget to mention, is how amazing the food was here. In most places I struggled to eat anything other than tofu, as I am a vegetarian. However, Hoi An was full of surprises.
Me and some friends had dinner on a balcony, looking out across the river, where floating lanterns laid. I chose the rice pancakes and when they arrived I was amazed.
The lady showed me how I had to dip the rice paper in some water, and then add mango, salad, cucumber and the main filling and then rap it all into the paper, not forgetting to dip it into Soy Sauce.
I loved everything about this town, and I will one hundred percent be coming back on my next visit to Vietnam.