From reading reviews & seeing clients photos, we knew that we wanted Xuan Tu (pronounced Song Tu) as our guide. She is as beautiful inside as she is outside.
And really knows her information on the area.
We opted for a private tour. Xuan Tu met outside the cruise port gate as promised. At this time Xuan Tu was training a young man she called Xuan One, (haha) so we were a nice foursome inside the spacious van.
On to Hoi An.
Xuan Tu was loaded with so much history to tell us on the way. But first, Xuan Tu wanted to take us for a Banh Mi sandwich that celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain raved that was the best he has ever eaten! It was Banh Mi Phuong in Hoi An. A very tiny restaurant with long lines. The bakery for the baguettes is next door, after eating we went there to check it out & were offered another fresh hot baguette. The fragrance of the fresh bread baking was wonderful! They stopped baking about 11:30 am.
After our Bahn Mi culinary adventure, we crossed the Thu Bon River to Cam Kim Island where you will experience the Authentic Viet Nam. Visiting a carpentry village with its apprentices, watched wooden boat builders and learned about the history of the shape of the boats. Then visited a local home where families make rice paper, noodles. They start with the rice, shell the husk, grind the rice, mix it with water for the batter. Then they use the husks to fuel the fire where they cook the rice paper & noodles. (If I got the order right). A lot of work goes into this. I even got to make rice paper – it’s a fun experience. We met and took photos with the family and the grandma who is in her eighties. Then enjoyed some treats they prepared for us. Enjoyed the culture with locals who speak little or no English and lead a basic life style little changed over the years. Everyone was very nice to us.
Then onto learning about the woven mats by traditional methods, this is what they still sleep on. I was given a chance to try my hand! They are a lot of work and takes hours to make just one mat!
Returning to Hoi An we embark on our short walking tour of this charming Old Town, including visits to a temple, old houses with a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Hindu, Japanese & Portuguese influences, some dating back to 1780 and not forgetting the famous Japanese Bridge built in 1719 built without any nails. Most of the time we left the beaten track and visited an old merchant house which is now in use by a local artist.
Loved the silk lanterns all over the town. It must be so Beautiful all lit up at night.
I wished we had more time to shop – but I did manage to buy one silk Pashmina, about $5.00 US. Lots of Knock Off Northface products were a big item there.
On our way back to the ship, Xuan Tu pointed out a few of the US hangers left over from the war, they were the only evidence of the Viet Nam war we saw. Saw Marble Mountain, from the road, but didn’t have the time to visit.
You won’t go wrong with Xuan Tu as your guide.
Traveller: Linda K from Tripadvisor