Hoi An – Vietnam’s Enchanting City

Hoi An is a small Vietnamese city on the coast of the South China Sea.  It was once a major international trading port in the 16th & 17th centuries, when it used to be called Faifo, and also bears the distinction of being the only major Vietnamese city to escape bombing during the “American War”.

Unlike Hue where much of the architecture is French influenced, Hoi An’s buildings are decidedly Chinese in style especially in the old city where most of the action takes place.

Francesca and I have remarked on a few occasions on this trip how the weather can severely affect the overall impressions of a city as the rain did for us in Vienna.  But despite rain at least at certain points of every day while we were in Hoi An our fascination with this city was not diminished.  We even went for a long jog in the warm, but constant downpour one afternoon…..and LOVED it!

The food was excellent as well.  We ate at a variety of restaurants from the upscale “Mango Rooms” where we dined with our friends Allie & Duncan, whom you’ll recall we met in Laos and bumped into again in Halong Bay, to the decidedly downscale open air cafeteria of sorts (pictured in the photo above).

Odd, but tasty wanton dumplings at “Mrs. Thanh’s” food stall.

On Tran Phu, the main thoroughfare, there are a slew of tailors and art galleries and craft shops and Francesca and I enjoyed strolling along and browsing leisurely through their wares.  Francesca did end up getting a couple of dresses tailor made and we also attempted to purchase a fantastic wood four-panel lacquer piece, but could not get the gallery manager to come down to what we thought was a reasonable price.

The piece of art that we considered purchasing.  It’s a bit disturbing if you consider the images separately, but on the whole we thought it would like quite striking in the living room of the LA apartment we don’t currently own or rent.

Franny making some jewelry purchases at a fair trade shop.

We didn’t purchase any lanterns, but they did look beautiful at night as we made our way back to our hotel.

In fact the whole city looked magically illuminated at night.

On our final day in Hoi An we took our hotel’s shuttle boat into town and the old boat man insisted that I pilot it the entire time until we came to the landing.

It was quite fun and we got a lot of worried or excited looks from locals that passed us including these guys who were transporting mopeds for the day’s rentals.

We had a final tasty meal at “Morning Glory” and then walked around in the misty rain a bit more before taking a taxi to the airport.

Franny tucking into hand rolled spring roll.

The local people all over Vietnam ride their bicycles or mopeds in any weather condition.  They all have these thin ponchos with hoods and elastic around the wrists and often wear conical hats.  They don’t let the weather slow them down. You have to admire that.

An old Vietnamese woman selling fish from her squatting position at the side of the Thu Bon River.

Two Vietnamese women talk shop at the Thu Bon River.

As we rode the taxi to the Denang airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City I noticed a dashboard Buddha and chuckled to myself at how religions may differ, but the places where we put our icons are common to all faiths.

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2 Responses to “Hoi An – Vietnam’s Enchanting City”

  1. Did you sink the Titanic?//

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