We arrived in Hoi An quite early and we were fortunate that our rooms were ready so that we could freshen up. Shortly after we met up as a whole group and headed off to two different tailors in town.
Hoi An is known globally for high quality, low cost tailoring, and even the Top Gear presenters headed here to get some suits tailored in a recent show. We went to one tailor which is known for casual, fashion items and I got measured up for a playsuit- a very versatile item for travelling, but something that rarely fits a short, curvy frame if you buy them in the shops! I chose a navy blue cotton with little birds on, and a style from their brochure that the tailor thought would flatter my body shape.
Next we headed to Yaly, the tailor actually used by Top Gear. This shop is famed for formal wear, so I got measured for a dress, and I designed the shape myself so that it could be a summer dress or a formal dress to wear for nicer events we may go to as we travel. Matt got lured in by the tweeds and got measured for a tailored blazer- he loves sharp tailored clothing and we still had birthday/ Christmas money left, so it didn’t feel like an extravagance!
By the time all of us had been measured, chosen designs and chosen materials it was lunch time. We had parted ways with a few members of our group that had already got tailoring done in Bangkok and we couldn’t get hold of them to meet for lunch. We headed to the place we had planned to go and miraculously they were all there waiting for us- I must have mentioned the name of the restaurant we wanted to try and as a result they had found it so that they could join us! The restaurant is called The Secret Garden and is hidden up the back alley ways of Hoi An. The only way we knew about it was because the lovely Australians we met at Halong Bay had told us about it, so we were determined to give it a go. It certainly did not disappoint. I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had, fish baked in a clay pot, in one of the nicest settings ever. There were green vines all over the walls, lovely water features and wooden decking- it was glorious.
We spent the afternoon mooching around the lovely little alley ways of Hoi An. Hoi An is certainly my favourite place in Vietnam and I would love to go back to this area. It has all of the charm of Vietnam without the crazy busy nature of many of the other cities. It’s got a really old fashioned feel, and it is a Unesco heritage site as it’s an extremely old town. People are extremely helpful and friendly and not at all pushy for you to buy things, you simply have to say ‘no thank you’ here and you are left alone.
We had to go for a fitting for our tailoring that evening. I couldn’t believe how quickly our items had taken shape and we were both excited to see them starting to become a reality. My playsuit needed some adjustments and the design wasn’t quite right, but my fitting took less than 1 minute and I was on my way to the next one! Matthew’s jacket fitting took a little longer due to the nature of the tailoring but it was already looking good.
After dinner I spent the evening with my lovely Austrian friend, Miriam, who I went horse riding with back in Pnom Penh. I love spending time with Miriam as she’s super easy going and it’s always comfortable with her- we have similar opinions on things and she amazes me with her stories about her work as a social worker for refugee teenagers. She’s incredibly kind, and we spend most of our time hunting for gifts for her to take back for friends or the teens she works with- such a great lady. Tonight we found awesome little trinkets which were grains of rice with names written on, stored inside a pendant. I was really impressed so bought a couple for my nieces and best pal, whilst Miriam bought 14 for her work colleagues!
We got somewhat lost on our way home and ended up roaming dark alley ways filled with rats, but eventually we heard he squeal of pigs which somehow told Miriam that we were nearly back, and we got home unscathed!