Hoi An – Beaches, Tailors, and a UNESCO World Heritage site too
Hoi An is located along the central coast of Vietnam. It boasts 2 beaches, the “local” beach and the “tourist” beach. Despite the poor weather we hired bicycles and went to the local beach which is located about 3km from the center of town. The local beach is the more beautiful one and it lived up to the hype despite the overcast sky and rough sea. Since it had been raining everyday none of us brought our cameras in case of a downpour. The beach is lined with restaurants and small thatch roof huts for chilling out when the sun is out and the water is calm.
Hoi An is probably best known for its high quality tailors who can make just about any piece of clothing you desire at a very reasonable price. I couldn’t resist and got myself a custom tailored suit for a 120USD. I put in the order in the late afternoon and my first fitting was the following morning. I’ve never worn any custom clothing before so it took a bit getting used to but I have to admit, it feels real nice! I ordered my suit and an accompanying dress shirt (20USD) from Kimmy Custom Tailor. While some people had complaints about the staff being rude I didn’t experience any rudeness from them. My only worry is that I put on a lot of weight and the clothes won’t fit anymore. The shirt and jacket were tight around the back and I had to go through a couple of more fittings before it felt right.
The old town of Hoi An is lovingly preserved thanks to strict laws and governance. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site about 10 years ago. Although at street level it’s lined with tourist shops, if you take a look at the buildings you’ll begin to appreciate where you are and why it’s a special place.
Another UNESCO site are the Mỹ Sơn Ruins of the Cham dynasty, about 1 hour away from Hoi An by bus. We did a half day tour of the ruins (that’s really all the time you need to explore them) right before we left. While not impressive compared to the likes of Angkor Wat, they’re an important cultural site and were probably far more impressive before they were bombed out during the war. The Americans bombed the site because the Viet Cong were hiding out there; there’s even a large bomb crater at the site.
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