We spent our last few days in Vietnam in Hoi An and Saigon. Hoi An was one of our favorite destinations in Vietnam. The town is cut through with many canals and beautiful lanterns hang above the streets and along the bridges. Each street is lined with quaint historical homes, cafes, and stores where you can design your own leather goods and suits. We spent two full days in Hoi An and wish that we could have stayed longer. From Hoi An we took an easy, one hour flight to Saigon. Saigon was very different from Hoi An, as it’s Vietnam’s largest and most chaotic city. Although there is tons of traffic and you need to be alert for motorbikes when crossing the street, we still believe that nothing compares to the number and craziness of motorbikes in Hanoi. Saigon is full of rich history related to the war and we tried to hit as many spots as possible during our time there (which was less than 24 hours)!
Hoi An Activities
- Go to the tailor: Hoi An is famous for it’s tailor-made suits and other articles of clothing. Our tour guide recommended that we go to Mr. Xê, and we absolutely loved it! Cody got a bunch of suits (a total of 18 articles of clothing!!) and Mel got a peacoat. We simply showed Mr. Xê a picture of what we wanted, he took our measurements, and we went back a few hours later for some minimal alterations.
- Basket boat: We took a basket boat through the coconut groves. As soon as we entered our boat, the driver gave us traditional Vietnamese hats and rings made from nearby plants, and then he started blasting music from a boombox. We dangled some bait in search of some crabs in the coconut groves, but unfortunately didn’t catch any.
- Cooking class: It is very common to go to a cooking class when in Hoi An. We went to Bay Mau and had an awesome time with an amazing teacher named Nhi! We made three dishes: spring rolls with peanut sauce, traditional Hoi An pancakes, and beef stir fry.
- Evening boat ride: After the sunset, we took a boat through the river in the middle of town. We got lanterns, made a wish, and set them off down the river 😊.
Hoi An Food
- Madam Khanh: This is the best Bahn Mi in Hoi An! There’s also a juice shop next door which is yummy.
- Low Land: This is a delicious, Vietnamese restaurant that sits on the water.
- Cu Chi Tunnels: This is a must see when in Saigon. While several networks of tunnels were used for military purposes, most were used as a means to hide from bombings and were not occupied year-round. The Cu Chi tunnels were particularly interesting as they were in a region where allied forces used to drop remaining bombs from aircrafts before landing in the nearby airport. Therefore, the bombings were usually unpredictable.
- War Remnants Museum: This museum contains exhibits from the various conflicts in Vietnam. It’s extremely interesting to visit and see the Vietnamese views of both the French and American wars.
- Since we were in Saigon for less than 24 hours, we didn’t experience much of the food. Our tour guide for the Cu Chi Tunnels took us to a local pho place for lunch which was delicious. While wandering around the city, we saw a ton of coffee shops (their equivalent of Starbucks is called Highland Coffee) and juice shops!