After one week in Laos, we flew back to Vietnam and spent nearly a week in our favorite place, Hoi An. Originally we were supposed to go the previous week, but there was severe flooding, so we postponed. We stayed at the homestay’s (guesthouse), Pham Gia, which we found on Tripadvsior. Unfortunately, because they are so popular and only have 9 rooms, they only had one room left for us — not another one for our nanny, Sara. Thankfully, the owner arranged for Sara to stay at a guest house right next door.
We arrived after midnight after two quick planes from Luang Prabang to Hanoi. The layover was longer than anticipated due to flight delays. I had brought some food with us from Laos, to make sure the twins had dinner. They’ve been very picky eaters lately and it’s been frustrating. We got pizza and a salad to go and took it on the plane with us. Flying with the girls has become very easy — well, each flight is only an hour. We have a good system down; feed them, nap them, play with them, land!
The weather was chillier than we expected, but at some points it got warm. With only one bag between the four of us, we did laundry several times at the homestay since the girls didn’t have many clothes (thank goodness we bought them multiple pairs of monkey pants at the night market in Laos).
We had breakfast every morning at the homestay — the girls loved their scrambled eggs and banana pancakes. The staff at the homestay was incredible and fell in love with our girls. Every chance they had, they would take the girls and play with them. It was great until we realized that one day they had fed them 10 donuts, we were not happy and neither were their belly’s. The Vietnamese women tried to explain that the cream in the middle was good for the babies…ya, okay. We arranged with the homestay for one crib, as we brought our one Baby Bjourn travel crib. In hindsight, I wish we had just brought two, as it was difficult to ensure that the places we traveled to had cribs. We also brought our lobster chairs but all of the tables had a lip and therefore we couldn’t clip them on.
We went out for dinner every night. Hoi An has amazing food and it’s much cheaper than in Saigon. The kids only lost it one night, otherwise they were very well behaved at night.
Hoi An highlights include the following:
Walking around Ancient Town, especially at night under all of the lights
We can actually say that the girls learned to walk under the famous lanterns of Ancient Town, Hoi An. One would think that they were celebrities – at any given moment there were swarms of tourists taking their pictures. We caused quite the spectacle!
Biking to the beach
Funny story here. On our last day, I had told Adam that it looked like a beach day. We got bicycles from our homestay and started to venture to the beach. We wore the girls, unfortunately they didn’t have any bicycles. Instead of taking the boring, 10 minute ride to the beach, Adam decided that we should see some rice paddies. 20 minutes into our ride, it started to downpour, so hard that we couldn’t go further. We stopped at someone’s home (a bunch of men were drinking beer and playing cards outside). They gave us ponchos and we waited for the rain to calm down. Finally, we set out, started to pour again, wind picked up, and we biked this way for about 45 minutes to the beach. We got to the beach and the we were the only ones there. We waited out the storm in a nice beach bar, which we had to ourselves, and got the girls to take a nap (while we drank beer).
Going to the beach
Our favorite beach was An Bang beach. We brought the girls there and let them put their feet in the water and play in the sand. We also got them to nap on our lounge chairs (win!)
Celebrating Christmas with Sara
For the first time, we got to celebrate a real Christmas — well, a Vietnamese Christmas. Our homestay treated us to a beautiful Christmas Eve dinner with the other guests. They cooked so many different Vietnamese specialties, it was delicious! After dinner we went to the Church, where thousands of people gathered to celebrate. We had the babies there until about 1030PM. All of the other babies were dressed in down jackets, hats and gloves – let me remind you that it was probably 60 degrees – and our girls were in sleeveless jumpers! On Christmas Day we went to a nice brunch with Sara and walked around the town. We happened to meet many Israelis and others celebrating Hanukkah.
Celebrating Hanukkah in Hoi An
Not only did we get to Celebrate Christmas, but we also got to celebrate Hanukkah, which happened to fall on Christmas. We met an Israeli family in Saigon (amazing family – they are travelling with their three kids around Asia for 10 months!) that happened to be in Hoi An at the same time. They invited us over and cooked sufganiyot donuts, latkes and had a homemade menorah. It was so awesome.