Sunday Spotlight – Hoi An, Vietnam

Yes! Sunday Spotlight is back! And today a trip for me down memory lane (has it really been that long?) to 2011 and my visit to Vietnam.

Sort of halfway up the coast is the little town of Hoi An, with a charming old town, welcoming tourists happily and with welcoming arms. It’s a great little place to stop for a few days. You can let time pass you by, hire a bike, see a musical performance, investigate historical buildings, or even take a day trip or tour to the surrounding area. My Son is an ancient ruined city which has the feel of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Except it’s much smaller and not nearly as magnificent. But still well worth a day out of town.

My Son

My Son

In town you’ll find there’s a really nice market worth wandering through. The main street itself is packed with shops as well. Although most of them were shoe shops! I even found myself a great barber here and had a cut and a shave!

To get into the ‘World Cultural Heritage Ancient Town of Hoi An’ and its sights you need a single ticket which will get you into five of the 18 historical sites the town boasts. Like me you might want to hire a bike for the day to get from place to place. There’s a small island which is easily reached from the mainland and I went cycling around that at the end of the day as the sun went down and it really was a nice spot to finish the day.

In Hoi An I saw –

Tan Ky House – with its polished wooden floors, Chinese style lattices.

The Japanese Covered Bridge – this is probably the most recognisable sight in Hoi An, and is a must for your photos! I noted in my diary that at the time the photos looked nicer than the real things, which I thought needed a lick of paint!

Phuc Kien Assembly Hall – a temple with a nice garden.

The Museum of Trade Ceramics – not really my thing, ceramics, but it was in a large and very interesting house. Similar but bigger than Tan Ky House with a large courtyard and a balcony that felt slightly unsafe but showed a good view of the road outside.

The Cantonese Assembly Hall – has some very nice ceramic dragons inside.

The Hoi An Handcraft Workshop not only had a range of handicrafts on display and for sale, but there was also a traditional music and dance performance which was great. The tourists were all packed in, this was not a show for the locals, but it was interesting – especially the dancing the use of one-stringed instruments.

Best to go in the drier months, just a little warning. Hoi An has a history of flooding and in some of the buildings you can visit you will see lines drawn or the locals will tell you just how high the floods reach in the rainy season – and well, it’s well into the first (as in the one above ground) floor. The Tan Ky House will show you where the water got up to in great floods of the past. It’s alarming to say the least! They had a pulley system inside to lift furniture up to the top level in case of floods!

So. A cute, world heritage town in Vietnam. Worth a couple of days. More if you want to just chill and observe life. I liked it! May the Journey Never End!

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