During our second day in Hoi An we rented free bikes from the small hotel we stayed in. I highly recommend this hotel when you find yourself in Hoi An.
Where we stayed:
The Hoi An Orchid Garden Villas is where we stayed. Originally I found a very expensive hotel. It’s location was perfect and it offered free bike rentals. Then I proceeded to search for cheaper hotels in the same location as the expensive hotel. The Orchid Garden Villa came up. Our four night stay was $20/night. This included free breakfast, pool, free bike rentals, and an amazing concierge staff.
The staff recommended the perfect places to eat, tour, and see in the city. For an extemely afforadable price they set us up on a tour of nearby My Son Ancient Temple AND a trip w/ a private driver to Marble Mountain in Da Nang during our stay.
The free breakfast each morning included Vietnamese coffee, cinnamon waffles, whipped cream, Vietnamese breakfast soups and sandwiches, and a whole plate of delicious fresh fruit each morning; dragon fruit, passion fruit, pineapples, mango.
Our hotel’s location was perfect because we could easily walk or bike to the “old town” city center and through the rice paddies to An Bang beach.
Biking into town
Our second day in Hoi An we rented bikes and went into old town. At this point we’d experienced the old town at night, but not day time. I’m glad we left earlier in the morning to bike into town because we were able to escape a bit of the progressive humidity the day would bring.
We parked our bikes by the market. Many people will try to scam you and try to make you pay to park, even though it is a public parking space. If you don’t want to pay, just keep riding around and park where no nearby scammer is waiting to “make” you pay them for parking your bike in the public parking spaces.
Buying my custom leather sandals
Once we got to town we stopped into a leather shop. Hoi An is internationally known for its talented tailors, seamstresses, and dress makers. Due to the economy in Vietnam, you can get a beautifully tailor-made piece for less than half of what it would cost in the States. Because of the tourist demand, the turn around on these fittings/tailoring jobs is insanely quick. You can come in one day and pick up the dress the next day or the morning before you leave town.
Although I wanted a tailor-made dress, I wanted custom leather sandals more. I found a style I liked from the company Madewell. The Madewell leather sandals cost $60.00. Mine cost $20.00. I got to pick the color and type of leather I wanted. This is a souvenir I cherish.
After picking out the leather and getting my feet measured, we roamed around old town. We visited an old Buddhist temple, cute boutique shops Like the store “Sunday“and finally a smoothie shop. It was getting very humid and hot and we needed to hydrate.
We cycled back to our hotel via an insanely busy marketplace. It was now 12 pm and the tourists were out as well as local market sellers. I think I almost crashed into about 10 tourists on our way home. I don’t recommend biking through a busy Asian market place. You may hit an oblivious tourist or an aggressive motorbike.
We went back to our hotel room for a quick nap and showers. After we woke up we went back out to go to An Bang beach. It was still hot, but the afternoon sun didn’t bother us as much because we knew we were headed to the beach.
Cycling through rice paddies to An Bang
We rode about 30 minutes. First exiting the main city center, then along the main road to the beach. Flanked along the main paved road, both sides presented acres and acres and acres of rice paddy fields. And where there are rice paddies there are water buffaloes! The water buffaloes looked so beautiful. Their hides were a silky, blue-gray. We saw baby buffaloes near their parents. The most surprising thing to see was a farmer basking in the sun on top of her massive water buffalo. She was posing for paying tourists. She would lay on this massive water buffalo while cyclists would stop and take pictures of her for money. Not a bad idea I guess as long as the animal doesn’t eventually get pissed at you and hurdle you off it’s body onto the ground.
Once we arrived to the beach we had to pay to park our bikes. Getting to the beach felt so good after our sweaty ride. We jumped in the ocean and laid out for a few hours. An Bang Beach was not crowded and very clean compared to other beaches we’d visited in Southeast Asia.
After beaching we headed back on our bikes before sunset to shower up and eat dinner at “Morning Glory.” That dinner is the next post 😉 Stay tuned, lovely readers, it’s coming tomorrow.