Exploring Vietnam: One Day At A Time | Day 2 At Hoi An

“What if all Mondays were like this?” I wondered as I woke up and looked out the window, greeted by the sight of bright blooming bougainvilleas painting the neighborhood of Cẩm Châu. Nga, our Airbnb host, mentioned that we could rent a bike for only 120,000 VND per day (approximately 400 INR), saving us the hassle of booking a cab every time we went out. We readily agreed, and she helped us rent one.

Around 8:00 AM, we stepped out to find a petrol pump. After refueling our bike, we headed to Rosie’s Cafe for breakfast, which had great reviews on Google and was marked as one of the best breakfast spots in Hoi An.

Rosie’s Cafe, run by friends My and Thuy, was inspired by their favorite movie, ‘Love, Rosie’. It’s the perfect breakfast spot, serving delicious coffee, smoothie bowls, and a variety of sourdough toasts with eggs of your choice. They also offer a wide selection of salad bowls, perfect for a healthy start to the day!

[Meal for 2 at Rosie’s Cafe: 415,000 VND (approx 1350 INR)]

I ordered a Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk) and avocado toast with poached eggs, while Sourav opted for coconut coffee with vegan pancakes and fresh fruit. The ambiance at Rosie’s was perfect for relaxing and enjoying our meal. Many people were working on their laptops, while others were engrossed in books.

Our breakfast leisurely turned into brunch, and by the time we returned to our stay, it was almost noon. To our surprise, the weather had shifted—the sunny morning had given way to a cloudy afternoon. When we planned this trip, we were quite skeptical, thinking it would be hot and humid, leaving us constantly sweating. But ever since we’ve come here, it has been quite pleasant.

I started my usual Monday routine by 12:30 PM (11 AM IST) and spent the next six hours working on the balcony, watching the drizzles that drenched the narrow alleys of the neighborhood. By the time I wrapped up, it was nearly dark, the rain had stopped, and a refreshing breeze had set in. We decided to take a ride to the Ancient Town, craving yet another cup of coffee!

The evening crowd at the Ancient Town was buzzing, as usual! We parked our bike and strolled over to Cộng Cà Phê, a favorite spot from my last visit to the city. Unlike other popular cafes in town, this one mostly attracts locals and exudes a striking old-world charm.

[Coffee for 2 at Cộng Cà Phê: 90,000 VND (approx 290 INR)]

With cups of coconut cream coffee in hand, we began walking down the lane beside the canal. I was constantly distracted by the beautiful souvenir shops, while Sourav enjoyed the music that filled the air. We came across an old man playing the banjo, and his melodies were enchanting.

Spoiled for choices, we couldn’t decide where to go for dinner but eventually chose The Noodle House. I ordered a flavorful bowl of bún bò (thin round rice noodle soup with beef), while Sourav had mì với rau và đậu phụ (noodles with vegetables and tofu). The noodles came with a rich broth, making it one of the most soulful meals we’ve ever had! Truth be told, we are now convinced that we can’t go wrong with food in Hoi An. If you’re visiting, make sure to grab a meal at The Noodle House.

[Meal for 2 at The Noodle House: 198,000 VND (approx 645 INR)]

After dinner, we planned to ride to the beach and spend some time there, but Google Maps effectively led us astray with some wrong turns. So, we ditched that plan, returned to our stay, and decided to visit the beach for sunrise the next day instead!

And thus, we wrapped up our second day in Hoi An  – and I thought again, “What if all Mondays were like this?”

Fun Facts About Hoi An:

While sitting at Rosie’s Cafe, we discovered some interesting facts about Hoi An. While we knew it was a bustling international trading port from the 15th to the 19th century, with well-preserved architecture reflecting a blend of indigenous and foreign influences, showcasing its rich cultural history, we didn’t know about these:

1. Hoi An is also known as ‘The Sinking Town’
Most of Hoi An is less than two meters above sea level, making it vulnerable to rising ocean levels. In November 2017, it experienced the worst flooding on record, with many of the ancient heritage buildings letting in water. This has led to UNESCO placing it on a list of sites at risk due to climate change.

2. Hoi An is the third oldest Chinatown in the world
Established in the 1600s, Hoi An boasts the third-oldest Chinatown in the world. As a crucial trading port, especially for silk and leather, many people from the coastal Fujian Province settled here.

3. Hoi An has an exclusive dish
Hoi An has its own special dish, Cao Lau, which can only be found in the town. Tradition states that authentic Cao Lau can only be made from the water of the ancient Ba Le well, and only ash from trees on the local Cham Islands can be used to make the distinctive earthy noodle dough. One family guards the full secrets of the dish. While it’s sold in dozens of restaurants across the town, it’s still the only place in Vietnam where you’ll find it!

5. Hoi An translates into English as ‘peaceful meeting place’

6. Hoi An was the first Asian town to provide free Wi-Fi
The UNESCO World Heritage City launched its free Wi-Fi system on March 28, 2012, making it the first city in Asia to offer this service.

If you’ve been to Hoi An, and know something interesting – do share it with me in the comments below! Would love to know about it. And in case you missed out on our Day 1 adventure in Hoi An, click here!

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