Hey Hoi An humans! Guess what? I’m only happy when it rains. I’m only happy when it’s complicated. And though I know you can’t appreciate it, I’m only happy when it rains.
Okay, okay, okay – look, I know I just dated myself with that song, but I can’t help it. This was my anthem during my teen years in Hawaii. Which, admittedly, is called the rainbow state because we have the ability to have a sunny day while it’s rainy. True story – look it up.
Hoi An’s Rainy Season
But here? Alright – to be fair, rain in Vietnam is different than rain in Hawaii. Like… way different. Worlds different, in fact. Honestly, Forest Gump described it best: “We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain, and big ol’ fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, and sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night.” Which makes it a little hard to identify with my song – can’t be happy when you have to swim and walk at the same time, but I digress.
“Ain’t Nobody Got Time for the Rain”
Hoi An’s rainy season can be daunting, especially for those of us unfamiliar with it. Going out seems miserable, but staying in just makes you feel like that creepy shut in that everyone secretly suspects of murdering their spouse. And I mean, just because you are, doesn’t mean you have to embrace the cliché.
But fear not, gentle murderous reader, I have your back. With a list of fun, indoor activities, that you can do with your friends during Hoi An’s rainy season.
Now, this list comes with a warning: Some of it requires (gasp) a little bit of work, but that’s okay, I’ve also included with some ideas and suggestions on how to help you.
Host (or attend) a lavish dinner party
Okay, big opening, right? I know, it already seems daunting. First you have to buy the food, which means haggling at the market, and then you have to clean it, prepare it, cut it, fry/boil/bake it… and then the cleaning up afterward? I mean, c’mon Kitty… what were you thinking starting off with this?
But think about it – first of all, how many of you have complained about wanting to cook more for yourself (while secretly eyeballing that takeaway menu). I’m guilty as all sin about it, so there are no judgements for me.
But something weird always happens when I’m making food for my friends. Now, suddenly, people are relying on me to eat, and by golly, I’m gonna feed them some tasty food. Because it makes me feel good.
More importantly, it makes me feel like a sophisticated adult, something that doesn’t come around too often, let me tell you. “Why yes, Victoria, bring some wine – I believe a white will pair well with the dinner I’ve prepared.” See? Classy AF. For extra classiness, say it in a posh accent.
Now, sometimes hosting a party comes with a lot of pitfalls. One of the biggest is setting a date with your friends. Some people plan it weeks in advance, creating pages on Facebook, while others send a blast on Messenger. The problems with these are you risk people being lazy and not replying, while others back out last minute when something better comes along.
Suggestions on how to fix this are really simple: Send a private message, tailored to each person, gently suggesting that you are having a dinner party, and their attendance is not optional; it’s required. If you’re hosting a fancy adult dinner party, then they are clearly one of the adult-like humans you selected, and that makes them special. You hear that – you’re special, so don’t flake out!
Also, I know there is a concern about the menu, especially when it comes to “I have friends who are vegetarian/vegan, and it’s just so hard to prepare food for them.” Look, it’s not really difficult – I do it all the time. Butter, milk, and eggs are a no-no, but substitutions for them are so easy to find online. And, the Youtube channel Tasty has amazing and easy recipes that are vegetarian/vegan friendly, and are delicious! Check them out. Or, make it even simpler by making it a potluck. That way, Jamie can have her chili con carne, while Becca devours her veggie hummus wrap, and I get to have them all.
P.S. Invite me!
Organize a trip to the movies
Okay, right now, Vincom in Da Nang is our only option for cinematic satisfaction, and getting there can be a bit of a pain… or can it?
Look – a private car back and forth is going to cost you about 400,000 Vietnamese dong. If you and three other friends book one together, that’s nothing round trip. And, you can have the car pick you all up individually from your home. Which during a rainy day is legendary (especially if you’re lazy like I am).
They take you right to Vincom, which also has a ton of stores and restaurants to peruse. Eat lunch there, go to a movie with your friends – it’ll be a blast! Bonus points for smuggling adult beverages inside (but you didn’t hear it from me).
Here is just a list of movies that will be coming out (and their U.S. Release date – sometimes it’s early or later in other countries, so make sure you check the CGV website online to see what’s playing).
- Battle of the Sexes – September 22nd, 2017
- Blade Runner 2049 – October 6th, 2017
- Coco – October 27th, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok – November 2nd, 2017
- The Shape of Water – December 8th, 2017
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi – December 15th, 2017
There will be more in 2018 as well, so pay close attention to the website.
Organize your own movie night
There are a few places in Hoi An that have a projector, and I’ve asked – they will let you set up a movie night/event at their place with some notice. I recommend the two below for completely different reasons.
Hub Hoi An is a calm, quiet, place, with a lovely garden and greenhouse in the backyard. When the weather is good, screenings are held outside, and when it’s rainy, in the greenhouse. The seats are lounge furniture, and if you bring a light blanket, it makes for a killer screening. You and your friends can share your favorite movies, order in delivery from anywhere in town, and cuddle up under a blanket while watching a good (or bad) movie, your choice. It’s intimate, cozy, and charming.
The second place is 3 Dragons Sports Bar. A sports bar/pub, they have a projector with theater style seating inside, and pillows for the floor. The windows have been covered up, and the whole place feels like a theater. What’s great about 3 Dragons is that you don’t have to look very far for food/drink. They offer a wide array of pub food, some healthy, most not (which is perfect for rainy days), and alcoholic beverages that can be served to you without even leaving the theater – which is an amazing treat for watching a movie with your friends.
Either way, you’re with friends, watching a movie, laughing, spending time together and staying dry during Hoi An’s rainy season – what more could you ask for?
Go to a sports screening
Okay, I say this with a bit of a dry tone. I am not a sports person. In fact, this encapsulates really all I know about sports. Go piggers.
But there is something super fun about going out with your friends who are. I have had the time of my life sitting there with a bunch of football (UK or US) fans and asking them to explain things to me. Admitting your ignorance isn’t a shameful thing, and your sports going friends will probably find it very endearing. Plus, it’s just another backdrop for spending time with your friends, and just because it’s something that interests them and not you doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the time together. Especially if you go to some of the various sports bars in down, like 3 Dragons or the Hoi An Sports Bar, where everyone is going to socialize. During Hoi An’s rainy season, nothing beats cheering for your friend’s favorite team, drinking adult beverages, and having great pub food. Seriously, Go Piggers!
Sing your heart out at karaoke
Coming from Korea, which has an insane karaoke scene (called norae-bong there), I have been a bit gun shy about going to it in Vietnam. Well… not gun shy… More like me and my lazy ass friends talk about it all the time, and then, like the lame 30-somethings we are, go to bed early.
But why!? Karaoke is available almost all the time in Hoi An, and they do it in private rooms, so the only serenading you have to listen to is when that one friend picks something annoying like “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” And yeah, that person is me. I can’t help it! It just grabs me. Also: Adele, but that’s beside the point.
Listen, it doesn’t matter if you’re a good singer, a bad one, or can’t even hum! Talk the song out – everyone will laugh and have a fantastic time, while avoiding that crappy rain that stole our sunshine.
Oh! New plan, sing “You are my sunshine,” and “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” and if it works, then convince all your friends that your voice can secretly control Hoi An’s rainy season. Who cares if it’s not true, it’ll still be fun. And hey – isn’t the point to have a little fun?
Enjoy a full spa day
Alright, rant-time: Where the eff are all these people on television going to have these full-blown spa days? I mean, c’mon – it’s a super dooper luxury item where I’m from. If I want one, the only ones I can afford are the twenty/thirty minute ones in the mall. That means clothes on, awkward positions in public, and a person who either doesn’t go hard enough, or goes way to hard.
Get your mind out of the gutter, you perverts.
Anyway, spas in Vietnam are probably one of the greatest perks in living here. Comparatively, they are much cheaper than their western counterparts. Which makes it the perfect place to finally have that treat yo’self day that you’ve been promising yourself for ages. Yes, it’s self-indulgent. Yes, it’s lavish. laBut aren’t you worth it? I say you are, and for a hundred US dollars or less, I think you can agree as well.
There are dozens of packages available for any number of spa places, but I checked out a high-priced fancy place (La Luna), and a mid-priced place (Citrus Health Spa). For La Luna, a forty minute wrap, a forty minute scrub, a sixty minute facial, and a ninety minute massage will run you 2,250,000 dong. At Citrus Health Spa, the same treatment will cost you 1,440,000 dong.
Either way, the benefits to you go beyond just pampering yourself. Many people, like me, suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during Hoi An’s rainy season/winter. Taking moments that are just for yourself may seem selfish from the outside, but they’re not. They’re essential for taking care of your own mental health and well-being.
And even if you don’t have SAD, you should still do it! Because it’s fun, and you work hard. You deserve it. Eff that – you’ve earned it.
Test your wit at an Escape Room
Anyone who knows me, or is my friend, better be ready for this. There are four escape rooms in the Hoi An/Da Nang area. Having already been to Escape iQ Hoi An, that leaves three more for my friends and I to conquer, and if they think they are getting out of it because of a little rain, they are dead wrong.
Escape rooms are a great way of spending a rainy day – first of all, they are inside. Secondly, you’re locked in a room for an hour trying to figure out the clues so you can get out! There’s mystery, intrigue, and excitement. And escape room is the most fun you could possibly have with your friends, and many places offer several different rooms to choose from! That means multiple trips, multiple rooms, and entire winter to get it done! Challenge accepted!
Last bit of advice for Hoi An’s Rainy Season
It’s hard getting things going with friends. If you are the type of person who is always trying to organize times and places where everyone can come together, the task can seem quite daunting. Often times, people have so much going on in their lives that little things like that slip them. It’s not their fault, and it’s not your fault either: Humans suck sometimes, even when they don’t mean to. Don’t be too hard on them, and always remember – if it doesn’t work out the first time, then be as annoying as possible until it does. Always worked for me.