Conical Hats

Today we leave Hue and travel to Hoi An. It’s our usual start and breakfast on the 12th floor before boarding the coach at 8:30am.

Oyster Bay

We drive for 2 hours before we stop at a small bay for a comfort break. The bay is host to an oyster farm.

Thui explaining Oysters

They use bicycle tyres cut in half to initially encourage the oysters and once they have started to grow they are transferred to a line and submerged until they are ready to be harvested.

Family Beach View

We continue on and start to climb a mountain on the coast road, soon passing into the clouds. The road hugs the side of the cliff with a view out to sea. Visibility is extremely poor all the way to the summit and then as we cross over it all changes and the cloud clears, the sun comes out and it’s baking hot.

We drive through Da Nang with its hotels and beach resorts and head for Hoi An. On arrival at our boutique hotel our rooms aren’t ready so we leave our bags at reception and take a shuttle into the old town.

Thui takes us to a coffee shop which is supposed to be the best in Hoi An. We order coffee and ‘breakfast’ food. I order the pick-me-up which is coffee with coconut, egg and rum. Diana orders blended ice coffee, they are both delicious. We order avocado on toast and the kids order croissants and peanut butter on toast - which goes down very well having been starved of bread and peanut butter for the last week.

Japanese Bridge

After lunch we wander around old town stopping at the Japanese bridge which is the oldest in Hoi An. There’s a lot of tourists here and the old town, whilst charming, is something of a tourist trap.

Street Food - Pancake

Diana is keen to try some street food and she spots some pancakes which look tasty. They are filled with dried onion, dried fish, spring onions and chilli sauce.

Street Food - Diana

Street Food Bella

Street Food - Alex

We all try some and it’s pretty good!

Conical Hat - Austen

We leave the rest of the group and head to the water front for a drink. On the way we buy Conical hats which is a lifelong dream of Diana’s. We sit in a restaurant on the waterfront and have a drink before walking the 30 mins back to the hotel. We were sweating at the end of the walk, it’s so much hotter and more humid here than Hue.

On arrival we checked in, booked a spa treatment and headed to the pool. The water was really refreshing and we cooled down until it was time to get our spa treatment. Bella and Diana both had pedicures, Bella’s first ever which she was very proud of. Alex and I had Indian head massages. Also Alex’s first massage which he was very excited about and enjoyed very much.

By this time we were running late for dinner so we went back to the room and got ready in a rush. We made it to reception just as the other family were appearing.

Cooking Class

We took the hotel shuttle, a huge golf cart, to our Cooking Class in central Hoi An. We arrive and order drinks while the chef briefs us. We’ll be making four typical Vietnamese dishes which we’ll eat along the way.

Cooking Class - Diana & Bella

Cooking Class - Austen & Alex

The first dish is Vietnamese pancakes with chicken and prawn. We make the batter and then fry the savoury pancakes on a gas table top hob. We eat the pancakes straight away, wrapping them in rice paper and dipping them in dipping sauce. Really tasty.

Next up is vegetable spring rolls, the secret to crispy rolls is to cover the rice paper in egg white which we enjoy doing even though it gets a bit messy. We deep fry the rolls on the hob, piercing the skin to ensure the inside was also crispy. Again we eat them straight away and they are really delicious, everyone’s favourite dish of the evening.

The next course was green papaya salad with chicken, Alex made and ate his with gusto which was a welcome surprise to us all.

We finished the meal off with mackerel baked in banana leaves, we’d prepared the fish earlier in the evening and had left it to marinate. Again delicious.

Cooking Class - Chef with Alex & Bella

We all thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The chef was a real character and his family was warm, friendly and looked after us. We couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end the year as a family.

After dinner we took a taxi back to the hotel and went to our rooms with a cocktail from the bar.

Happy New Year from Vietnam!!