|Japanese Bridge at Night
We called our hotel in this case and they sent a car to pick us up for the 40 minute drive to Hoi An. There is a cheaper public bus, but we had read many stories about how they significantly overcharge foreigners and if you stand your ground and pay the official fare, they may kick you off the bus partway to the destination if they find another tourist willing to pay the inflated fare. We decided it wasn't worth saving $10 to end up on the side of the road halfway to town, so we enjoyed our private car instead!
Any annoyance about this disappears as the sun starts to set, though, because Hoi An is magical at night. There are lanterns lit up everywhere, in windows, hanging over the streets, and floating down the river. Sure, people are still trying to sell you stuff, but the sheer beauty of this lit up little town is so incredibly romantic, it's easy to ignore any negatives.
|Nightfall in Hoi An
|Biking through town
Our third day, we upped the adventure ante a bit and rented a motorbike to see the Marble Mountains. We weren't sure exactly what we were in for, but we had heard about these mountains between Danang and Hoi An and thought we'd make a day of it. We arrived at the Marble Mountains and started walking up to the top (which would only have been more fun if it was miserably hot out...oh wait, it was!). Thinking we were going for a hike up a mountain to see a pagoda, we were shocked to find natural caves in which Buddhas and temples have been carved into the caves themselves. It was absolutely stunning, and well worth the trip!!
|Scenes from the Marble Mountains
Throughout our adventures in and around Hoi An, we had the wonderful opportunity to sample Hoi An's local cuisine. Hoi An seems to have more local delicacies then most any other city we have been to; one dish that we will sorely miss is Cau Lao. It has heavy Chinese and Japanese influence and is a dish found only in Hoi An (the noodles are made from the water in the town well, and therefore cannot be authentically made anywhere else in the world). The noodles are a chewy rice noodle about the thickness of udon which are sitting in a small amount of intensely flavorful pork broth. On top are bean sprouts and slices of soy glazed bbq pork, pilled on the side of the bowl is a mix of fresh herbs, then the dish is finally garnished with a couple crispy pork rind crackers. A perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious dish!!
Cafe 43: a super cheap cafe with great food (and $.15 fresh beer!) right next to our hotel, on the north side of the old town. Friendly service, good prices and yummy dishes...we ate here so many times I can't count!
Morning Glory: a wonderful, more upscale restaurant right in the middle of the old town. You need to make a booking, as they definitely fill up. We had two dinners here and were so impressed! We especially loved the do-it-yourself pork roll appetizer and the stir-fried bean sprouts and baby celery. We ordered it because of the awesome menu description ("sprouts are considered excellent for detozifying the bowel but bean sprouts have the added benefit of enhancing one's romantic feelings", but we kept ordering more because it is incredibly delicious!
New World Tailor: (70 Nguyen Thai Hoc St, Ph: 0510 3911 913): we went to a few different tailors in Hoi An and this was by far our favorite. Excellent prices, great (not pushy) sales people, and great finished products! We got dress shirts ($17) and shorts ($20) made and are so happy with the results!
More photos from our trip: