Hoi An, Viet Nam
“My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been” – Diane Arbus
Hoi An is one of the most charming cities in Viet Nam.
It was a commercial district for Japanese and Chinese traders in the sixteenth century and is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Hoi An’s Old Quarter is lined with two-story old Chinese buildings that now house shops with elaborately carved wooden facades and moss-covered tile roofs.
Colorful guildhalls, founded by ethnic Chinese from Guangdong and Fujian provinces, stand quietly as a testament to the town’s trading roots.
The Japanese Bridge was originally constructed to connect the Japanese community with the Chinese quarter – separated by a small stream of water – as a symbolic gesture of peace.
The food market reminds visitors of another era when it was filled with goods from all over the Asia. (mangos, rambuchan, snake wine)
Hoi An is a place where you can get clothes and shoes made at a reasonable price as long as you have a picture.
There is a plethora of tailors and cobblers to choose from.
It is also one of the best eating cities in Viet Nam and known for cooking classes and especially delicious food. (Mango Rooms – yes everything has mango, White Rose dumplings at Cafe De Lys – only one Hoi An family has the recipe, and thus a monopoly on their production– rose-shaped shrimp dumplings topped with fried garlic and onions.)
Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Hoi An, the Nam Hai all-villa resort, sprawls on quiet Hoi An Beach. The contemporary architecture is welcoming and eye-catching as feng shui mingles with strong modern lines.
The Spa at the Nam Hai is truly something wonderful. Composed of 8 villas, floating around a lotus pond, it is the ideal location for a relaxing massage, steam shower and herbal tea! The people who work there are most helpful and always want to practice their English.
Hoi An has a lantern festival every full moon.
All the lights are extinguished and the town is lit with lanterns.
You can buy water candles from children on the river and make a wish and set them afloat. Incense is burned everywhere for the dead ancestors.
Hoi An is a photographer’s city.
You respond to a face of an old woman under her triangle hat walking to sell her fruit or the way the light hits the old Chinese buildings or the lanterns lighting up the city at night.
You move on to your next destination and your photographs become a testimony that you were there.
I have to truly thank Ms. Anh Mai (Jina) from Trails of Indochina for helping me plan this trip. You have no idea how many emails I have sent her. I do a lot of pre research about what cities i want to visit and made many changes (including countries) till we got it right. Many people take cruises through Viet Nam but after going I would recommend doing it on land because you miss a lot. Jina never made me feel like I was a bother and always answered my questions politely and offered her own suggestions. Once in Viet Nam and Cambodia everything was taken care of beautifully. It is my first time traveling with this company and I was very impressed. I will definitely use them again and highly recommend JIna and Trails of Indochina for Southeast Asia. firstname.lastname@example.org