Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Remebering Asia

While picking fruit is super exhilarating and definitely challenging it doesn't leave us with much to write home about. We of course will continue to let you know about our adventures in Aussie-land I thought it might be interesting for some of you if we back-logged a bit and posted thoughts, articles and photos from earlier in our trip, adventures that didn't get put up because they didn't have good internet or some other excuse. Here we go then.

Are you ready for fun? Fiz is ready for fun.


Late Nights in Hoi An

By Kathleen Broadhurst

Lighting candles on the Full Moon.
 World on the street is that Vietnam is the like Thailand was 15 years ago. I can’t verify that but Vietnam certainly is becoming a hot place to be in Southeast Asia.  While the backpacking scenes in Nha Trang and the clubbing scene in Hanoi are certainly more well known Hoi An, in central Vietnam, has its share of great venues and  it’s is worth spending a couple nights on the river here.

Hoi An, a 19th century trading capital is home to many beautiful buildings, picturesque river scenes and great food. But when the sun sets and the red lanterns come out Hoi An is a great place to have a good time, drink some good cocktails and meet other travelers.

For the most part "night life" in Vietnam is pretty subdued, as fun is apparently not cool with the big Party. So things in Hoi An don't go into the wee hours, unless you take the party home.

While things are still open its worth it to spend a night hopping from place to place to get the full experience. As everything in Hoi An is grouped in the Old City its not hard to start at one end, finish at the other and then totter back to your hostel. Here’s the spots that have the best vibes, the liveliest crowds and the longest hours.


Start at Cargo Café, a refined but reasonably priced French Vietnamese fusion restaurant that sits overlooking the Hoi An docks. The interior is very chic chic, all white and teak but the food is the best in town. Their béchamel sauce is a god-send after a week of broth and noodles and if you try nothing else get the pork mignon medallions, as if it couldn’t get any better and their desserts are fantastic (read, lemongrass ice-cream).

After satisfying your stomach, and taste buds, and maybe kicking off the evening with some cheap local draught beer head over to Before and Now on Le Loi a rocking bar that has great pop art on their walls in between 19th century Vietnamese post and beam architecture. The crowd is mostly European and the dready bar tender likes to play Brit Pop and American 90’s hits.

The whole city is beautiful at night.
 Paintings with slogans like "Google knows what you did last summer", "I love the smell of Mypalm in the morning" and a picture of the Mona Lisa with a semi-automatic and a bandana around her face that reads PEACE, it’s chill spot to have revolutionary conversations, or just to enjoy their happy hour and delicious cocktails. It’s the bar to beat on the Hoi An side of the river.

People watch in their wicker basket chairs on the porch or make nice with other travelers over a round of pool in the back. If your feeling romantic there is a lounge area complete with a raised platform strewn with pillows.

Leave Before and Now and wander into Treat, a quite cafe and bar that claims it’s the "same same but different" and cash in on their extra long happy hour. Buy one get one free tequila and 7-up, for 44,000 Dong (bout 2$). As the effects of the dinks started to take hold wax nostalgic about love and other trips in their garden. At some point you’ll need to work up the motivation to leave before you succumb to the gravity of their chairs.

Lighting a candle to float down river.
If you have a scooter now’s the time to use it, head across the bridge to the Hoi An Peninsula, a ten minute walk if you don’t have wheels. Look up and follow the signs to the Sun Bar. Set a few blocks back form the water on Ngo Quyen Street the Sun Bar is still going even when most others were pulling their shutters down.

This is a bar you won’t find in any guide books, only open for about 5 months the walls, tables, chairs, pool table and ceiling are already covered in tags from drunken foreign nationals in love with $2 beers. The music was good I think, but it was hard to tell by that point.

Sun Bar is packed with Aussies and Brits, but other nations are represented as well. Depending on the hour the mood favors some low key dancing, but otherwise people mingle around the pool table. The social scene is great, with everyone engaging in all types of cultural exchange.

Even the Sun Bar shuts its doors around 1am, for those used to going until the sun comes up the only option is to head back to the hostel, maybe with new friends and raid the mini-fridge.



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