Hoi An is one of those towns in Southeast Asia that I constantly heard about before arriving. I’d been told it was pretty, quaint, and a great place to get anything I could want custom made.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Hoi An has a reputation for being a favorite place to eat amazing food, dance all night, admire the beauty, and get amazing custom dresses, suits, and shoes. Some people even get their wedding dresses made there!
As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also located on the beach, which always draws me in.
Could this be a new home for me for a while? I’m thinking it’s highly possible I’ll return and stay. This is why:
Hoi an is Beautiful!
A town of just the right size, easily bike-able from one end to the other, it’s quaint without being too small.
The charm of this city can be seen just about anywhere, from the small and narrow streets to the canal that runs through it.
Beyond that, the surrounding area is wonderful to motorbike through.
I still hold the opinion that the prettiest part of Vietnam must be the middle. But I’m biased. I fell pretty hard in love with this part of the country.
There are Chinese-style temples all over the city, easy to access with a bicycle or by foot.
Each one has its own unique style and beauty. Spending a couple hours checking these out and admiring the intricate designs while watching in calm silence as devout followers hold onto sticks of incense was a great way to appreciate Hoi An’s offerings.
It was particularly special because I was there over lunar new year, so the temples were free to visit and buzzing with activity.
Most people get a suit or dress made when in Hoi An, but I had something entirely different in mind. I wanted high quality leather custom boots. I realized around Tet (lunar new year) this would not be easy, so I searched high and low before selecting a very small shop with an adorable owner whose husband made the shoes.
I selected everything about the shoes from the color to the style, laces, extra buckle on the back, added zipper, height, and heel (or lack thereof, I’m already tall enough in this part of the world!).
In order to get the best product made, I suggest checking out TripAdvisor reviews and shopping around at different places. Check the craftsmanship and the soles of the shoes. Pick an owner you feel good about working with rather than someone who is pushing a sale on you and making you uncomfortable. There are plenty of fish in the Hoi An sea!
I was able to get mine made in just one day for $50, right around the new year. I was pretty proud of that! (I’m hesitant to recommend my shop because I’m still testing the shoes out – if they stand the test of time, I’ll be happy to share the shop name.)
Hoi An is a special place, indeed. I very much look forward to going back one day.
* Sunflower Hotel is a great, cheap, social place to stay in Hoi An and the place I chose while I was there.