Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Travel Live: Hoi An the real deal

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Hoi An is definitely the cutest town we've visited yet. There are lanterns, little finches, bicycles and happy looking dogs everywhere. Photo / Eli Orzessek
Hoi An is definitely the cutest town we've visited yet. There are lanterns, little finches, bicycles and happy looking dogs everywhere. Photo / Eli Orzessek

With its old mustard coloured buildings, multitudes of lanterns, bicycles and happy looking dogs, Hoi An is definitely our cutest stop yet.

It's been the favourite town for many in our group and some said they really feel like they're in the "real Vietnam" now.

We check in at the Van Loi hotel, which is intricately decorated with dragons, and I've got a really nice room with a balcony overlooking the pool.

It's a short walk into the old town, or an even shorter bike ride - definitely the best and breeziest form of transport around. It can be a bit scary out on the roads with all the scooters, but it's hardly at the level of Ho Chi Minh City - by the time you get to the old town, the streets are reserved for bikes, cycles and pedestrians.

I love #HoiAn cos it's full of cute dogs ?????? - Eli #travel #vietnam #contiki #nzhtravel

A photo posted by Herald Travel (@nzhtravel) on


Hoi An is known for it's textiles and there are heaps of shops selling fabrics, shoes and clothes - it's also a great place to get anything you've ever wanted made and Contiki have planned to take us to Yaly, the tailor shop that was featured on Top Gear.

We're all assigned a personal tailor to take us around the shop and show us all the fabric. I'd already decided to get a suit, but after a bit of the usual hard sell, I'm going for Italian wool and three extra shirts.

My measurements are taken and I'm given a time to come back the next day for a fitting - after which the suit will be finished and sent to our hotel.

It turns into three fittings over the course of the day, as the tailors endeavour to get the suit just right. In between fittings, I pedal around the town, taking it all in.


In the centre, there's a beautiful bridge built by the Japanese in the 16th century. On one entry there's a statue of a monkey and on the other a statue of a dog - to symbolise that the bridge was built in the year of the monkey and finished in the year of the dog. That means it took three years.

The rest of the group decide to go out for dinner and drinks, but after all that cycling I'm exhausted, so I opt to float around in the pool, get a foot massage and eat some nearby street food.

I get a bowl of rice noodles in broth, with pork and tiny eggs - possibly quail? I don't know what it was called and the old man serving it didn't speak any english, but it was delicious and fragrant. I sit on the tiny plastic chairs, which are common around here and suit my short stature quite well, and just watch the locals go past.

Later that night, my suit is delivered to the hotel - certainly much faster and cheaper than you'd get back home.

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Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

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