A Travellerspoint blog

January 2012

Cooking up a storm

View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

Top Gear made the Hai Van Pass famous, and we did consider going along this scenic route on the back of motorbikes. However, the weather meant we wouldn’t have seen anything, so it was just as well we took the bus that went through the unscenic tunnel instead.

Thick cloud over the Hai Van Pass

Hoi An is another UNESCO World Heritage Site (we can’t seem to avoid them over here). Tourists flock here to see the well-preserved architecture of the old town, participate in cookery classes and get a suit or two knocked up in record time. Unsurprisingly this is also more or less what we did.

We wandered around the old town visiting temples, Chinese clan assembly halls and old shop houses. It was a very picturesque place.


The Japanese Covered Bridge – smaller than we expected

Phúc Kiên assembly hall

Inside the old house of Tan Ky

Outside Cam Pho communal house

Old lady taking a break from carrying her goods

Tran Family Chapel

Armed with plastic ponchos, we braved the heavy rain to visit the Cham ruins at My Son (pronounced ‘Me Sun’), dating from the 4th-13th century. These would have been better preserved had the Americans not bombed them during the war – you can still see the bomb craters around the site.




Tom stood next to a linga – a Hindu symbol of Shiva

In between sightseeing and rain showers, we found time for Tom to get a couple of suits and a pair of glasses made.

The flamboyant Mr Xe measuring Tom up. Tom would like it noted that these aren’t his grandad pants, but ones he was made to wear for the fitting

One of the many workshops – Tom’s suit was made somewhere like this

Hoi An is famous for its cookery courses with almost every restaurant seeming to offer one. After much deliberation, we managed to choose one and were lucky enough to be the only people taking part that day. We started the course by going to the market to buy our ingredients. We particularly enjoyed this as we found out what lots of previously mysterious ingredients were; and we also got to sample lots of snacks which we wouldn’t have been able to ask for ourselves.


We spent the morning cooking three dishes, which we then got to eat for lunch, washed down with what felt like a well-deserved beer.


Hoi An is prone to flooding and after all the rain during our visit, the river started to rise and flood the first couple of streets next to the banks. We decided to escape to warmer climes before the whole place was under water.



Posted by ClareAndTom 01:41 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

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