About Kirsty S
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Feb 2015
I have travelled extensively through Southeast Asia. I know Thailand and Malaysia particularly well, but also love Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore. I travel to this part of the world whenever I can, sometimes on a short trip while on route to Australia, and sometimes for extended periods of time so that I can really get beneath the skin of a particular area – whether I’ve been to that spot before or not. I've spent a lot of time in Bangkok – it's a fascinating melting pot of a city where there's always something new to explore. I also love Hanoi and have explored it both independently and as part of an organised tour. More than anything, I love discovering something new while travelling and sharing it with those who have the same passion for travel as I do. I’m a bit of a foodie and never get bored of the beach.
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Bike Tours, Cultural Tours
Gift & Speciality Shops
Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the hugely popular Morning Glory Restaurant. Set in historic premises and serving up authentic, street style food, it’s the perfect place to kick off your day in Vietnam. Sure it’s great for dinner, but because it gets so busy, having breakfast here instead means you’ll more likely to get a table!
Begin your day of sightseeing with the most famous of Hoi An’s attractions – the Japanese Covered Bridge. The original bridge was built in the 1590s by the Japanese to provide a link to the Chinese quarters across the waterway. Construction apparently began in the Year of the Monkey and was completed in the Year of the Dog, hence the monkey and dog sculptures at either end.
The Museum of Trade Ceramics makes for an interesting visit by giving an insight into the history of this important industry. A respite from the hustle and bustle outside, the museum is set in an old house and chronicles the trade and export of ceramics, with a good range of displays, including the results of recent archaeological excavations in Hoi An.
After a visit to the Museum of Trade Ceramics, make a quick stop at the Fukian Assembly Hall on the same road. Built by Chinese merchants from the Phuc Kien province at the end of the 17th century, the ornate architecture is simply stunning, as are the sculptures and paintings inside.
From the Museum of Trade Ceramics and the Fukian Assembly Hall, it’s just a short wander over to the Hoi An Handicraft Workshop. Here you can marvel at all the arts and crafts, silks and jewellery, plus learn how to make your own lantern to take home as a souvenir. There’s also a cultural performance twice daily, which aims to portray a sense of traditional Vietnamese life through song and dance.
Despite having limited time, it’s important to get out of the town and experience the rural areas surrounding Hoi An. Heaven and Earth Bicycle Tours are a great way to do just that, taking you off the usual tourist track and to local homes and businesses in the countryside. Learn about trades such as rice making and mat weaving and feast on tasty home-cooked food at a local family’s home.
While Cua Dai Beach is closer to the center of Hoi An, if you can squeeze in a visit to An Bang Beach, it is well worth the extra travel time. It’s a clean beach that gently slopes down into the turquoise sea, with a number of restaurants in which to relax with a refreshing drink.
If you can fit it in after the lunch provided on the cycle tour, head to Phi Banh Mi for the most delicious afternoon snack you’re likely to have on your entire trip! The owner and his wife are friendly and welcoming, and the sandwiches are widely regarded as the best banh mi in Vietnam. Simply delicious!
If you have the chance to visit this wonderful little gallery while in Hoi An, you’re in for a real treat. The powerful photography on display here provides a fascinating and unique glimpse into Vietnam and the people who live there. The photographer, Rehahn, can often be found at the gallery, ready and willing to talk about his work.
It’s a tough choice for dinner if you’ve only got one night in Hoi An. It’s safe to say that you won’t be disappointed if you opt for Mango Mango though. Set directly facing the river, it’s an atmospheric spot lit up by lanterns that’s ideal for your last night in Hoi An. The food is a mixture of international fare and Vietnamese cuisine with a twist, while the service and ambience are faultless. This area really comes alive after dark and Mango Mango offers a front row seat to all the action, with delicious food to feast on as you sit back and watch the world go by.