A Family Affair in Hoi An

As I said in my last post, my mom came to visit us here in Vietnam last month. It was such a great visit and we packed a lot in to the 2 weeks. Our first trip that we took was down to Hoi An for 4 days. Luckily my niece Sarah, who lives in Singapore, had a long weekend so her and her fiance joined us for a couple of days.

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How do I describe our time in Hoi An? Wow… Let’s just say it was full of shopping, tailoring, eating, boat rides, bike rides, beaches, rice paddies, swimming, temples and more!

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In this post I’ll just talk about Hoi An town itself. Hoi An is a traditional town with beautiful old buildings and lanterns absolutely everywhere. It is very peaceful since no motorised vehicles are allowed in to the town center.

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I must admit that it is very touristy with every building being either a shop, tailor or restaurant, but I absolutely loved it there! It was such a nice getaway from noisy Hanoi.

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So I have mentioned tailors a couple of times so far in this post and that is because Hoi An is THE place to go to get clothing tailored.

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While we were there I got some beautiful leather ankle boots, a dress, a pants and shorts tailored. Jason got a pants and 4 shirts tailored and my mom got 3 pairs of shoes made.

Overall we were happy with the items that we got made. For my dress and one of Jason’s shirts we went to one of the bigger well known tailors that had a lot of reviews. Then while walking we happened upon a very small tailors with a lovely woman inside, she was offering to make shirts at a much cheaper price so Jason said he’d order one and see how it went.

The next day we went back and found that it was perfect, no adjustments needed, unlike the bigger store so we ordered more from her and were happy with everything we got made.

Now, a month later, the pants and dress have become staples in my wardrobe, I’ve only worn the boots once because it’s summer but they looked beautiful. I still haven’t worn my shorts but I’m sure that I will soon. Jason found all of his shirts very comfortable and perfect for work. The name of the tailors was Thu Linh 2 and the address is 40 Tran Phu Street. There are thousands of tailors in Hoi An but this is my recommendation.

As for my boots. I love them! I got them made at Friendly shop (18 Tran Phu). They are quite well known for making quality leather products and they offer a 6 month guarantee.

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I can’t wait to write more about our time in Hoi An, especially the different day trips that we took!

Have you ever gotten anything tailored? I’d love to hear about your experience!

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Korean Cultural Concert

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Last week I came in to school to news that one of my 6th grade classes would be cancelled because they were going to the National Museum to watch a cultural performance.

I was then lucky enough to get an invite to go with them and watch some of it (I had to make sure to be back in school in time for my 5th grade class).
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It was a very beautiful perfomance that involved performers playing the Daegum (a Korean traditional wind instrument), playing traditional Korean drums, singing traditional songs and dancing. All of the performers wore beautiful Hanbok (traditional Korean dress).
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It was so fun to be able to watch it with my students and seeing how proud they were afterwards. I’m so happy that I got to go and enjoy it with them! Only 2 short months of teaching these amazing kids left…it’s going to be tough to say goodbye!imageimage

The Hadong Green Tea Festival 2015

IMG_9039So, a few months ago I posted about the first time that I visited this festival way back in 2011. I had really wanted to go back to the festival last year but, it, like most other festivals last year, was cancelled due to the Sewol ferry sinking.

This year, we decided to go camping in our favorite camping spot and check out the festival.IMG_8951

I have to say, that it is still one of the best festivals that I’ve been to in Korea. The setting is absolutely beautiful, it is situated along a river with fields of green tea in the mountains surrounding it.IMG_9035

Initially we stopped off in a nearby town that had a big market. We thought that that was the festival and myself and Jason were so confused as to how much it had changed in four years. We soon realised that this wasn’t the festival. But we did get some delicious green tea ice creams while we were there!IMG_8997

IMG_8996In the centre of the festival is a stage.IMG_9005

When we arrived there were lots of tables set up with beautiful bowls of different types of tea and magnificent place settings.IMG_9069

IMG_9072Women entered the area wearing beautiful hanbok (Korean traditional dress) and took their places at their tables. Then a group of judges went around to each table to judge the different teas.IMG_9041

IMG_9064Afterwards, it was open to the public to try as much tea and snacks from all of the contestants.IMG_9058

While the judging was being held we decided to see what else the festival had going on. Usually, with Korean festivals, the stalls all look the exact same and sell all of the same things, regardless of what type of festival it is. This festival however was much more tea orientated which was a nice change.IMG_9014

Our first stop was at an area where we could roll our own tea leaves. It was fun to see the process and afterwards they gave us some bags of dried tea leaves for free.IMG_9017

IMG_9018IMG_9023We then continued on wandering around. There were so many local products to try, green tea mists and lotions, green tea snacks, smoothies, ice-cream and of course many different sellers of different types of tea. All of them offering free tastings.IMG_9025

IMG_9052IMG_9056We found a Turkish food stall (there is always at least one at these festivals) and had some delicious skewers (I got lamb). We then went to the food tents and had some gimbab and cold drinks to cool off from the beautiful hot sunny day.IMG_9049

IMG_9050We really enjoyed our time at the festival. All of our bellies were full of green tea and we found it unbelievable that we didn’t have to pay a cent anywhere (except for our food). The people were so friendly also.IMG_9076

I would highly recommend for anyone needing some time away from the big cities to visit this festival…you won’t be disappointed!IMG_9061IMG_9059