The Perfect Day: Christmas
A Christmas Day ITinerary
hristmas in Hoi An? Yes please, Santa!
We're hedging our bets that your fancy resort has your Christmas eve celebrations all wrapped-up. And why not? Who can resist all-you-can-eat turkey knocked back with free-flow wine, especially when it's included in the bill.
However, from the very fact that you chose to escape the in-laws and rock up on our windswept shore, we're imagining that you may just be in search of something a little more exotic than festive over-indulgence or to knock yourself out on classy cocktails (although, we have included those to).
Coast Vietnam's guide to Christmas in Hoi An
Christmas mornings were made for late breakfasts and lazy beach walks, a good one is to take to the beach at An Bang's main entrance, then head right along the beach. After a kilometre, you will arrive at the Sound of Silence Tea Rooms, a beautiful beachside design cafe with cabana seating overlooking the beach. Here you can recharge with a coconut coffee, espresso or something bubbly (it is Christmas, after all) and if you are peckish, their breakfasts start at just 35,000d for eggs, bacon and a baguette. Healthier options include yoghurt with muesli and tropical fruits or for something local a banh mi op la (a baguette with an omelette and fresh herbs).
From here you can continue your walk along the beach, or grab a cab back to your digs for pre-lunch present opening.
TIP: If a walk seems unexciting for the more exuberant members of your party, you can buy kites, buckets and spades from the stall to the left of Ca Go (at the An Bang beach entrance) or if you need something stronger to start your day - set your sights on the glamourous Deck House (left at the beachfront intersection) and start the celebrations early with a Bloody Mary (the Christmas breakfast of champions) or a glass of something bubbly.
If you prefer your Christmas pig-out at lunch time and are lusting after something traditional: reserve a table at the 3Dragons Gastro Pub in the French Quarter, they are the masters of roast and particular about their trimmings and the daytime atmosphere is festive and full of cheer. Slightly more upscale is the Hoianian, a swanky pad with an old town address and roof terrace bar. The set lunch here is a belt loosening five courses (steak tartar, grilled lamb shank..) with wine pairings. Green Mango, an atmospheric and enchanting old traders house hosts a lovely Christmas (and one of the few vegetarian options), Cargo is a good choice for families and groups wanting to avoid the sometimes smokey pub atmosphere.
For free-flow bubbles and a festive all-you-can eat buffet style brunch, The Victoria in Hoi An, The Pullman in Da Nang or the Intercontinental on the Son Tra Peninsula are worthy contenders.
However, if you have been in Hoi An (or anywhere in Vietnam's most visited destinations) the day prior, there's a good chance you'll have ticked off the turkey on Christmas eve (in Hoi An, The Almanity, Hotel Royal Mgallery, Little Hoi An and many of the smaller hotels host Christmas on the 24th December). Rather than clogging up your arteries completely by doing it all again, a lighter alternative is offered in the form of a fresh seafood boat at the Deck House on An Bang beach (they'll also be throwing on a few seasonal specials on the day). For Vietnamese dishes, book a table at Miss Ly's Cafe or Morning Glory.
The Little Menu on Le Loi is lovely and the Japanese sushi served at The Royal Mgallery Hoi An's Wakaku, sublime (TIP: For an extra special experience begin with sunset drinks at the hotel's rooftop bar, The Deck).
If you have swingers in your group - Bazar Cafe, Green Mango and Lantern Town offer both western and Vietnamese dishes in a very special environment (and all have a good wine list), or to sample a completely different Christmas altogether, go Greek and head to Mix.
COAST LOVES: If you'd prefer to head-up your own table and play chef, Herbs & Spices provides the perfect setting for both a cosy Christmas dinner with friends or a homely hot-spot to host your big festive do, guests will be greeted and treated to a long dining table and a beautiful kitchen to whip up a feast fit for a king! You and your guests will work with Herbs & Spices’ professional chefs to create your very own merry menu. This three-hour, hands-on cooking party will have you creating Vietnamese favourites like bun cha with crispy spring rolls and a spicy dip, stuffed squid, sea bass in banana leaf and all the trimmings! Be as involved as you like or simply sit back and enjoy the company of friends and a good glass of red. A totally stress-free dinner option that’ll leave you merry and bright this holiday season.
When: Parties run from either 10.30am or 4.30pm
Where: 2/6 Le Loi St, Hoi An
If you were in town for lunch, We've a feeling you'll be happily comatose by now - if not may we suggest a brisk walk along the riverfront for the sensible few or a happy hour old town crawl. For those yet to feast, at dusk a whole new ambience sets a-glow in the old town, all the above options are still valid (but you absolutely need to have booked a table). But other more glitzy fine dining options: Mango Mango, Aubergine 49 (ok, that's not strictly old town, but the chef trained with Rick Stein and his menu is outstanding), Nu Eatery (Momofuku N.Y) and White Marble Wine Bar (money bags) sweep the floor of any fancy hotel.
Most folks will be nursing a hangover from the night before, but safe bets for a good knees-up are the 3Dragons, Cham Island Dive Bar, Mango Mango or at An Bang beach, Soul Kitchen.
TIP: Late night taxis should not be a problem, but if you are feeling a little unsteady on your feet, ask staff to order you a taxi and whatever your state - do not risk a Xe Om (motorbike taxi). There is a code for this, should you be pickled enough to think sitting on the back of a knackered Honda Dream with the equivalent of a plastic salad sieve on your head for protection is a great idea - get a taxi