Welcome to Hoi An, considered by some to be the tailoring capitol of the world.  An old market, a Japanese Covered bridge, a very busy harbor in the 16th through 18th century, and tailor shops – everywhere.  Hoi An is a beautiful city, it has beautiful beaches with clear waters, wonderful people and great food.  It is however full of tourists due to the fact that you can have custom made clothing done here for cheap!  A full suit – from cashmere/wool mix costs a mere $80, a dress shirt to go with it – $15, all made to size!  Granted these prices I’m quoting are the lower prices of the area, one could easily spend 300-400, but this is a huge markup on the suit as well.

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Suit color options – so many to pick!

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One of the hundreds of tailor/fabric shops

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Fabric – floor to ceiling!

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Hoi An’s water/beaches – very clear! Standing in it I could still see my feet when the water was at my neck!

I came to Hoi An from Quy Nhon – some 350kms.  I made a wrong turn and it ended up being close to 400 for me…oops!  Luckily I had previously booked my room so when I arrived, tired, dirty and hungry, I didn’t have to wander the city to look for a place.  I stayed at a very nice homestay/bed and breakfast.  Ly and her husband opened their “Ly Phuc Homestay” about 4 months ago.  Great home, nice family, and good breakfast – couldn’t be more pleased.  Even better, her husband is a tailor – so its extremely convenient to stay here and get measured for clothing – no need to go to the market and deal with the hoards.  He makes clothing for many of the shops in the market as well – many shops in Hoi An are not true tailor shops anymore – they are just fronts and send the work out to the “factory” like where I had mine made.  So I went direct to the manufacturing source and had some pieces of clothing made – nice stuff and seems to be high quality – only time will tell the true quality!

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Some of the fishing boats and a beautiful view!

Side note: the main picture/heading picture is a circle boat that fishermen use for fishing as well – they pull it behind the main boat and use it to go from the boat to the beach while the nets are in the water – this way they dont have to sit in the boat all day.

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Cruising to Hoi An along the beach road

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A Vietnam War Memorial along the beach – almost in the middle on nowhere!

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The Ly Phuc Homestay – thanks for the great time!

On the way to Hoi An I was lucky enough to stay off the main road that is full of so much traffic and this had some great perks – I got to see middle Vietnam’s field workers and farmers hard at work.  Drying rice, peppers, grass, straw, working the rice fields, moving cattle and goats – very different from what we are used to in the USA.  Small local farmers all over the place.  And whats cooler is that they do all this on bicycles or motorbikes that pull trailers!  None of this big tractor and huge combine stuff.

Unfortunately I had some mechanical issues on the road – Philip got annoyed with me and decided to get a flat tire.  I guess I hit one to many potholes – on the pothole strewn road.  The innertube on the tire gave out and had a few holes that developed – not to worry however, I found a mechanic less than 100 meters from where I broke down. I found him napping on his bed that he had in his garage – after poking him a few times to no success, his friend came by and shook him awake and he had a new innertube installed in under 30 minutes, for $4, and I was back on the road! Now he can go back to sleep.

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Oh Philip, its like you broke a leg! Thats ok I forgive you, your mended now!

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One of the many back roads – Perfect – no trucks/buses and wide open throttle! 🙂

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Less than 1,000km to Hanoi! WOHOO!

Hoi An, being a large port town from the 17th and 18th centuries saw many ships in that time.  In the old market there is a store that models the ships from all over the world, and makes all sizes of them.  Extremely intricate work, detailed and all hand made.  From 16th century war ships to steam ships of the 1900’s – they have an example you can purchase.  Very cool!

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The ancient Japanese Covered Bridge – built in the 1590’s to link the Japanese and the Chinese quarters at the time

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Another shot of the Japanese Covered Bridge

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The Black Pearl – it was a real ship at one time – and here is a replica.

Well that about does it for me in Hoi An – I got my clothes made – I saw the city – and now its time to hit the next city.  Dong Hoi, 324 kms to the north. Hoi An to Dong Hoi Map. Dong Hoi is 50kms from the Phong Nha cave and Phong Nha national park – home of 3 large caves, and also home to the largest cave so far ever found – Son Doong Cave, discovered in 2009 by scientists after initially being found by a local man in 1991 by accident!  I would go here but it is not open to the public yet, unless you have a $3,000 ticket, 7 days of time and want to hike there and back. Less people have visited Son Doong Cave than have been to the top of Mount Everest!  Hopefully next year this will change and people can go to this new cave.  But until then, Paradise Cave and Phong Nha cave will have to do!


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