If you’ve been following my blog (which is moving at a glacial pace right now ‘cos I just couldn’t be arsed) you’ll know I’ve gotten as far as telling you all about the quaint, foodie paradise that is Hoi An. Obviously you’ve got to hang out in ‘must see’ Ancient Town but be sure to also spend time in An Bang, the beach area that’s just fifteen minutes away. Getting between Ancient Town and Hoi An is as easy as taking a super cheap Grab, Asia’s version of Uber. A Grab from Ancient Town to An Bang was just under R40!
So! After eating my way through the lantern-lined streets of Ancient Town, I made my way to An Bang to spend a super chilled week by the sea at Dolphin Beach Homestay and loved every second of it.
I paid just R330 a night for a double room and it’s crazy to think that if I’d had someone with me it would’ve been just R165 per person. (Dat merry spinster lifestyle be expensive, yo!) If you ever end up following in my footsteps and can manage to book one of their rooms you’ll be lucky girl (or boy) ‘cos they’re super clean, mod and spacious; the hotel itself has a nice little pool and it’s literally a two-minute walk to the beach.
Even better? The part of the beach that you step out into has all these little blue loungers where you can order food and drink that’s so inexpensive (like under R30 a dish) you’d think it would be rubbish and yet it was beautifully presented and crazy delicious.
To this day I still pine for days slothing it up with a book and the grilled eggplant under an umbrella. You’ve GOT to order that, okay? It’s glorious! Should you stay somewhere else, you can use your GPS in relation to Dolphin Beach to find out where the blue loungers are.
There are other nice restaurants in the area and the one I miss the most is Luna D’Autonno. Their pizza is awesome (wood-fired with a thin, bubbly crust, like the kind I’m used to in Cape Town but hard to find in Asia) and their pesto spaghetti is the best I’ve ever had. Like no elaboration. It was INCREDIBLE!
A lot of this has to do with the fact that they shower the dish in pine nuts. If you’ve ever tried HQ’s incredible pine nut-filled salad back in Cape Town and then tried to recreate it at home and got the shock of your life when you realise Kruger-fucking-rands are more affordable you’ll understand my excitement.
Then there’s the view…
I actually did a quite a bit of work while in An Bang but considering that my ‘office’ was either Luna D’Atunno or the blue loungers o’ kiffness, made life especially lekker.
Something else I loved about life in An Bang? It’s much quieter than Ancient Town and, because it was low season, even more so. As I was staying a week and not just a couple of days, I got to know the people around me. There’s something to be said for ambling down the road and getting a friendly wave from the ice cream lady before you stop to talk kak with the owner of the restaurant you ate at the night before – and they don’t let you go until she’s given you a bunch of free fruit.
People where very kind to me and I find the Vietnamese are super nice in general. Like, I’d always buy my fave tinned ice coffee and other bits and pieces from a particular corner store and the one day the little ouma didn’t have the right change so she let me take whatever I wanted and told me I could pay ‘whenever’. This is the kind of ‘small town’ thing that always makes me smile.
Even more so because I pointedly never went back and thus got away without paying for a huuuge bag of groceries! Score! (Kidding! You’d have to be a monster, right?! The trust people show you there really does make you want to be a better person. Or in my case, less of an asshole.)
P.S. If you’re booking accommodation anywhere in the world, be it back home or overseas, anytime soon then use my discount link. You get 10% off your booking and I get 15 dollars back on my credit card. What’s not to love?