Day 14, Asia, March – May, 2016
Hoi An – Da Nang, Vietnam
I’ve been to Hoi An a few times with my local relatives yet each time it was in terrible weather condition. Either it was raining or during extremely hot dry season. Not a very appealing time to be in Hoi An I guess.
Hoi An is known as an old town by the riverside in Quang Nam province (about 30 km from Da Nang, Vietnam). Da Nang is a beach town so once you’re in Da Nang for your beach holidays, you can add Hoi An on as a side trip too. Hoi An is a small town that preserved most of the old wooden houses with lots of lanterns hanging throughout the town’s streets. Hoi An used to be Vietnam’s major seaport with international trades so you will see either Japanese or Chinese influences on the old town’s architecture or buildings.
At night time, when the lanterns are illuminate, it does give it a charming and romantic ambiance. For great view, cross the bridge to the newer side of town to captures the lanterns’ reflection in the water, just like my pix above. In the old town, it is pedestrian friendly as motorbikes are off limit, which is a rare sight in VN.
A lot of tourist choose to stay on the outskirt of Hoi An, around 2-4 km nearby An Bang beach and bike into Hoi An for dinning options or check-out the night market. We did exactly that this time around on our trip. We stayed at the newly opened Osaka Villa in Tra Que and bike into the old town.
Hoi An gives off that that certain by gone old charm where the buildings’ aged patina is its best character. If you have been to Penang, Malaysia of the former Chinese quarter, this is a great resemblance, except smaller and with its Vietnamese flair.
Only in Hoi An, will you find people light candle floats praying for good fortune on the 1 and 15th of the Buddha calendar each month.
Outside of those dates, you can still buy the floating candle sold by the vendors by the riverside.
Hoi An’s iconic lantern – buy one, buy two, or just take a pose with the lanterns for memory. There are many couples taking their engagement portraits with the lanterns in the background. Please ask the vendor’s permission first before you pose, out of polite.
If you’re traveling light, you can purchase a few miniature lanterns (about a dollar each) to bring it back with you like I did.
Don’t forget to snack along the way at the night market or purchase a few trinkets for souvenir.