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Hội An is a great city in Central Vietnam where you can walk around the scenic old town without fear of being run over by a motorbike (most of the time), grab some good food, shop for pretty much everything, and feel pretty relaxed.
How we got there:
- We flew down on JetStar. That was fine, despite the small delays. On the way back, Jetstar conveniently cancelled the mid-afternoon flight, leaving us with an 8am flight option, only. Great. When I tried to leave at the peak of the tropical depression's rains, JetStar cancelled it's only flight. At the last minute, I hopped on a 10am Vietnam airlines flight for $85 back to Hanoi.
- My wife left a few days later on Jetstar, same 8am flight, and had no troubles or delays. We have heard other horror stories about JetStar, so we'll likely stay away in the future.
Where we Stayed:
- Hoi An Pacific Hotel. $60/night. It was fine, but not worth $60/night. When our Taiwanese friend asked about it, I described the place a nice enough, not too charming, but adequate, lots of rooms ... she replied, "Oh, you mean like a big Asian hotel?" Yes. That's the best way to describe it.
- Fusion Maia. $225/night (ex-pat price). It's in Da Nang, about 30min north of Hoi An. I didn't stay, but my wife did. Loved it. Unlimited spa treatments, good food, and great service with a stunning beach view. Just look at their website.
- Shopping. You can get lots of clothes tailor made here. Just be careful; they don't care about you in the least if you don't live there. Their economic incentive is to make you happy enough with the clothing in the limited amount of time you have, it's not to give you the best fitting item. Go with the simple and know how much something should cost. My wife had a dress she bought in Hanoi for $12, when asked how much it would cost to have a copy made in Hoi An, they said $50. I laughed at them, told them they're crazy and we walked out.
- Avoiding tropical depression generated rain. There were a few days of sunshine, interspersed with torrential rain. No much you can do when your plans are set, but it wasn't so bad.