Girls Trip: Hoi An
This past November a close girlfriend and I decided to take a weekend away from the guys. Our goal was to find a relaxing destination with more to offer than a beach and direct flights from Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City. Ancient temples, affordable custom tailoring, delicious local food, and cheap luxury accommodations put Hoi An at the top of our getaway list.
Without a doubt one of the highlights of the trip was our hotel, Essence Hoi An. The rooms were bright, big, and comfortable. Breakfast was included in the price of the room and did not disappoint. Best of all was the spa (and the discounts that came with being hotel guests!)
Arriving late on a Friday evening meant there was only time for a quick bite and catch up on gossip at the hotel restaurant. We spent the next day wandering around Hoi An with stops for clothing fittings, Vietnamese coffees, fabric shopping, cocktail drinking, and food eating. My friend got lovely dresses made at Blue Tailor. I scored a massive amount of silk for the equivalent of 40 SGD at Chợ Hội An (Hoi An Market.) Lunch and the following hours were spent noshing, chatting, and drinking with fellow female travellers at Mango Mango.
The one "cultural" activity we had on the agenda was a cooking class that evening. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a guided walk around the restaurant's different food stations. The heat, smell, and poor ventilation proved to be too much for me to handle and we decided to cut the experience short. If you're looking to learn how to cook Vietnamese food, avoid Ms. Vy's class and opt to go with one out of town. While more time consuming, you'll leave with actual knowledge on HOW TO prepare dishes.
On our last day decided to borrow the hotel's free bikes for a ride. Heading in the opposite direction of town we passed rice fields, cruised along a river, and stumbled upon small rural villages. It was great to get a chance to exercise while also exploring the area beyond the ancient town.
Afterwards we stopped by Blue Tailor for a final fitting. The dresses fit better than anything off the rack and a smidge of jealousy washed over me. Thankfully my growling tummy made it easy to move on to more important matters, like lunch. We decided to dine at one of our (and other traveller's) favourite restaurants, Morning Glory. The claypot eggplant is the stuff dreams are made of! Having been to Hoi An before I'll provide additional food recommendations at the end of the post.
Following lunch we headed back to the hotel to unwind at the spa. After a few treatments we were ready to head back to Singapore. Thankfully before heading to the airport we checked the status of our flight and noticed it was delayed by a handful of hours. Instead hanging out in a cramped airport terminal we lounged by the pool. Delayed flights are extremely common in Vietnam, so it is ALWAYS worth it to check before heading to the airport.
Our Hoi An trip turned out to be exactly what the two of us were looking for an affordable, relaxing, and tasty weekend away. I would recommend traveling to Hoi An for a girls weekend away.
If you go...
Depending on the time of year 65USD should get you a deluxe room at the Essence Hoi An. While I stayed in the room alone, it was big enough for two!
If you want to splurge a bit more can get you a room at the Almanity Hoi An. I stayed here with my partner and another couple. The breakfast spread is even more insane than that of the Essence and most rooms come with a 60 minute spa treatment for each night and person booked. Either hotel leave you happy and relaxed.
Eat and Drink:
Morning Glory - Sit down restaurant featuring Vietnamese food from all over the country. Order the claypot eggplant. Great choice for people not up to actually doing street food but interested in trying it.
Mango Mango - Sit down restaurant featuring cheap cocktails, fusion food, and live music.
Madam Khánh - The Bánh Mì Queen - One of the more famous Banh Mi joints!
Thao Nguyen Cafe - My favourite place to eat in Hoi An even though I didn't get there on this trip. Amazing local food.
Hoi An Roastery - Espresso and Coffee House - One of the many coffee shops that dots the town. You'll be fine in any of them, but whatever you do - SKIP THE EGG COFFEE. It is nothing like that in Hanoi.
Thi Nhan - Follow in Anthony Bourdain's footsteps and head out of town for an amazing seafood meal... Actually this may be may favourite place to eat in the area!
Walk around the old town.
Get clothing made.
Grab a massage.