20.12.2011 - 23.12.2011
20.12.2011 – This morning we are catching a bus to Hoi An. We left at around 8am and arrived after lunch into the bus station. We walked from the bus station to the downtown hotel district and found ourselves a nice hotel for $10/night. Hoi An is famous for its tailor shops, you can get absolutely anything and everything made here, quickly and cheaply.
They say there are around 400 tailors in the city, so how on earth do you choose one? We had looked up some reviews and found some places that people were happy with, but when we went there we didn’t get the same feeling, or they didn’t have the right fabrics, or they were simply too expensive. Eventually we stumbled across a place called Thu Thao (32 Tran Phu Street) which had 3 lovely girls working inside providing great customer service. As we didn’t really know what it was we wanted; we probably weren’t the easiest customers but eventually we decided to order a suit and shirt for Chris and 2 silk dresses for me. We paid our deposits, were told to come back in 24 hours for our first fittings, and then left (and proceeded to worry about whether or not we had wasted our money and whether the clothes would in fact be any good!).
21.12.2011 – We need not have worried – we went back the next morning at 11am for our first fitting and our clothes were amazing! Chris’s suit fit him perfectly, only some small alterations to be made, and my 2 dresses just needed some small alterations and a change in length. We were so happy with the clothes, we ordered some more – a suit for me (Jacket/Skirt/Pants),another dress and some short and long sleeved work shirts, another suit and some more shirts for Chris, and a casual jacket. Same thing, some back tomorrow lunch time and they’ll be ready. This is great!
Now that we had dresses and suits – we needed shoes. We went to a shoe maker and flicked through some catalogues until we found what we were looking for. Black shiny heels for me, and smart leather dress shoes for Chris. They measured our feet onto a piece of paper and in 24 hours, we go back and collect them. Now we just need somewhere to wear our fancy new clothes!
22.12.2011 – We were back at the tailors again for first fittings on the clothes we ordered yesterday and final fittings for the dresses and first suits. We were really happy with everything we bought and did final fittings late afternoon and took all our goodies home. We also picked up our shoes, which we both loved! It’s so nice to have clothes that fit perfectly, colours and fabrics that you’ve chosen, for a fraction of the off the shelf price at home.
If you don’t have a lot of time in Hoi An, it’s still worth talking to the tailors. Tessa had a blazer and dress made in 4 hours on the day she was leaving, and was still so happy with the quality and workmanship of the items.
23.12.2011 – Today was our final day in Hoi An and we have a night flight to Ho Chi Minh City this evening. We haven’t really seen much of the town due to the on/off weather and our trips back and forth to the tailors, so we bought the tourist ticket and spent the day wandering through some of the sites on offer. Hoi An Old Town is actually a Unesco heritage site and our ticket allowed us to visit the Tan Ky House, Japanese Bridge, Chuc Thanh Pagoda and several other sites within the town. The old houses within the narrow streets now house museums and shops, as well as lantern factories and embroidery workshops.
It’s a beautiful little old town, and such a shame that the weather wasn’t great while we were here as there is some lovely dining down by the riverside, as well as the nearby beach which we didn’t get to visit. Cafes and restaurants here are very modern and the food can be as cheap or expensive as you like. We found some great little places a few streets back from the main old town that were half the price of those closer to the river, so it’s worth looking around.
Later that evening we took a transfer to Danang, where we are catching our flight to Saigon. Our flight was around an hour, much quicker than trying to travel it overland. When we arrived we took a taxi to the Pham Ngu Lao area, which we shared with another traveller who we met in the taxi queue. Laurence and Tessa had already been here a few days, so had thankfully told us where they were staying and what the area was like, so we took their advice and checked into the same street.