Hoi An is a charming city filled with old temples, lanterns, and quaint streets that are reminiscent of an older Vietnam. It is the classic charming town that every country seems to have (like how Bruges is to Belgium).
Hoi An Ancient Town
The old town of Hoi An is a protected UNESCO world heritage site. Hoi An used to be a trading port in the 16-17th centuries, so the city is a unique mixture of buildings inspired by the travelers of the time. The old town is full of Chinese temples, Japanese pagodas, and French colonial houses and canals.
It’s also a charming place to wander, as every street has cute lanterns hung overhead:
Who Doesn’t Want Custom Made Clothing?
After only minutes out on the street, Scott was quickly lured into a custom shoe store. While we had no plans of purchasing custom goods – despite knowing this is what Hoi An is known for – we were quickly enticed by all the attractive options for very reasonable prices.
Before we knew it, myself, Sandra and Scott were custom designing shoes with our feet traced on a loose sheet of scrap paper with some pen scribbles beside it. In a brief 8 hours, our new goods would be dropped off at our hotel all ready to go.
Little did we know that in the meantime, Carmen and Sara had wandered into a neighboring clothing store and were getting measured up for some new jackets. It didn’t take long before all of us were sucked in.
After all was said and done we left with 5 pairs of shoes and 2 jackets for $250. Not a bad deal!
Beyond the custom clothing stores, the streets are full of fresh veggie markets and even a bird man, whose motorbike held cages of numerous varieties of birds for your choosing (for pets or for food – I don’t know!).
Pool Time Siesta
One of the most enjoyable parts of our day was enjoying a siesta from the 35 degree weather by spending the afternoon poolside at our hotel with some fancy drinks. Prices are so affordable here, it’s easy to drink the afternoon away with all sorts of beer and cocktail concoctions without thinking twice.
And after our overnight train ride, it felt so good to refresh in the pool!
Hoi An After Dark
Hoi An is transformed after dark; people are out, the streets are lit, lanterns are floating, and there is a large night market with anything you can dream of.
The river in Hoi An is filled with candle-lit lanterns at night, with each lantern representing a wish. We thought we’d partake in the fun (who doesn’t like to have their wish come true?) and got ourselves some lanterns to send afloat. Thankfully for Trien, he managed to get us 6 for half the price of one thanks to his amazing Vietnamese bargaining skills.
The challenge came in deciding how to release them into the water. We decided it might be easy to drop them off a bridge into the water. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a suboptimal idea as only 2 of the lanterns remained lit after the fall. I guess only Carmen and Trien’s wishes will come true…