After a week in the craziness of Ho Chi Minh City we were looking forward to the romantic, family friendly, and relaxed scene we had heard so much about in Hoi An - and it didn't disappoint.
Da Nang is more of an established city compared to Hoi An, both share beaches but Da Nang is the place to find the all-inclusive beach resorts and malls whereas Hoi An is home to the small boutique style "Villas" (privately owned mini hotels) and the paddy fields veined by waterways.
By the time we arrived at our Villa (called Lucky Leaf) it was pitch black; we were greeted by a similarly dark, empty reception, but after a little nosing around we found the owner who sat us down to tea and fruit.
Breakfast was included with our stay and consisted in every variation of eggs plus of course Bánh mì.
It just so happened that we had found ourselves (through pure luck, rather than judgement) staying in between the two main roads in Hoi An (Cửa Đại and Nguyễn Duy Hiệu) and within walking (or cycling) distance to the main river, old town and all the main sites as well as direct access to the paddy fields which in turn lead to the beach.
I did go to the trouble of hiring helmets, which we were glad of a few times.
Ultimately we fell in love with Hoi An due, in most part, to this feeling of carefree tranquillity you got when cycling peacefully through the paddy fields, watching workers go about their day, whilst on the way to chill out at the beach - with a beer or cocktail or two.
Apart from the food, Hoi An is known for being one of the most romantic cities in the world, of course as a traveling family we get little time for romance, however we did at least find the time for a moon and lantern lit boat ride on the river.
One such cafe we may have used once or twice (or thrice) was Dingo Deli which was just walking distance for us. This western cafe had the unique appeal of being nearby, having very recognisable, home comfort food, wifi, a play area and lots of delicious cakes.
Also nearby was a great Vietnamese cafe called Eco Coffee, serving every assortment of coffee; from banana to mushroom, and of course bean - with an awesome outdoor play area made entirely from Bamboo, and pond which the children were encouraged to go wading in amongst the fish.
It's definitely a place to visit and at just £2.60 for adults (80,000VND) and half price for children (pay at the door) it's a steal.
For the locals this is a time to get rid of any bad fortune, before the actual Lunar New Year, so cleaning homes, buying new clothes, resolving disputes, and paying debts are all done at this time.
Gold leaf paper is burnt as a way of paying tribute to the ancestors. Each day for the duration of the week before New Year, our hosts placed offerings on an altar and incense was burned, this is in memory of the departed – with the centre piece in our case being a large pigs head.
We spent a few more play dates with the other families on the beach and at different restaurant's and when it came time for us to leave Hoi An we were kind of wishing that we had longer, but it was time for us to journey further north on yet another flight - to Hanoi....oh how I wish we had stayed in Hoi An!