A Little Bit of History
Hoi An is a well preserved example of a traditional Vietnamese trading port located along the bank of the Thu Bon River. The old town is an interesting mix of cultures. As well as traditional Vietnamese influence you can also see strong Chinese, Japanese and European influences. Many of its temples were built by Japanese and Chinese merchants for safe passage and good fortune. There is also an old ‘Japanese Bridge’ build in the 16th century it divides up part of the town. In 1999 Hoi An’s old town was designated a UNESCO world heritage site and its not hard to see why.
My Journey & Experience
I arrived by bus four days ago and made my way to Full House 2 Villa which is located about 1.5 miles from the old town (a 20 minute walk or 10 minutes if you cycle). The hotel was a bargin at £14 per night for two guests. It had a pool and breakfast was included (music to any backpackers ears). They put on a great spread of eggs and bread, pastries, small cakes, fruit and some local dishes of fried rice and vegetables. We were outside of the old town but the hotel cleverly provided bicycles for all its guests to get around. At first I was daunted by the prospect of being anywhere near a road in Vietnam. Especially since I haven’t cycled for over 10 years but it was actually alright. Most vehicles followed the traffic lights and obayed the road signs. I did often find my self getting confused though as we drive on the left in the UK. In Vietnam they drive on the right which I started to get my head around however I kept getting thrown out by the random Vietnamese drivers who decided to switch sides and travel on the left. I later realised that if the place they wanted to go happened to be on the other side of the road then they would just drive down that.
The hotel staff were so friendly and helpful, recommending great things to do and places to explore. We explained money was tight due to the backpacking budget and they recommended some great cycle rides through the paddy fields. And showed us on a map where to cycle to reach the beach. We saw so much wildlife and it was so peaceful. The hotel staff also helped organise our transport to Hanoi, providing us with a variety of travelling options to choose between. I cannot recomend the Full House 2 enough to anyone. It has some great trip advisor reviews.
Hoi An old town is a scenic but bustling mix of souvenir shops, clothing stores, markets, bars, restaurants, old temples, museums and traditional houses. It’s all located along the bank of the Thu Bon River. Its stunning during the day with colourful lanterns and pretty flowers but really comes alive at night when the lanterns are lit. Tourists also buy paper ones to send down the river. Making the water glow.
Aside from the Beautiful old town full of suvineers the other thing Hoi An is most famous for is its tailors. I will write more about my personal tailor experience in a future blog post but it is well worth ago. There are so many tailors to choose from in Hoi An so be picky and do your research via Trip Advisor. That way you can make sure you get the best service.
If you are in Vietnam definitely make Hoi An one of your stops. To be honest it was the main reason I wanted to go to Vietnam and it didn’t disapoint.