ON THE ROAD AGAIN – DAY 232


THE OLD TOWN OF HOI AN IS BEST BY NIGHT

Hoi An was an important trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries and has had a major harbour since the 1st century. The town’s past has lent it a multicultural, cosmopolitan air which persists to this day thanks to the millions of tourists that flock here from as far afield as China, Korea, Japan, the USA, Europe, and Australia. Another legacy of Hoi An’s merchant past is its gorgeous architecture and history, which we soaked up with glee today. The city was even more beautiful by night, with multicoloured lanterns strung across every street and the river alive with people (tourists and locals alike) out for an evening stroll.

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00144

 

Given how hot and humid it can be here we were keen to start our sightseeing early; by 7:30am, therefore, so were already on the streets of Hoi An’s old town. Walking through the streets at that early hour was magical – there were hardly any one around and the lighting was surreal.

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00011

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00024

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00050

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00022

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00049

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00029

 

Strolling through the streets we saw elderly Vietnamese people going out for their morning walk; women out in the river harvesting morning glory*; and fishermen returning from their morning forays into the river delta.

*Variously known as morning glory, swamp cabbage, and river spinach, this green vegetable grows in watery environs and tastes great. It’s just important to note that this humble vegetable can exert a rather powerful laxative effect. Morning glory no kidding!

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00044

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00019

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00009

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00038

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00040

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00042

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00041

 

We wandered aimlessly for a while, losing ourselves amongst the weathered French colonial buildings and stopping for lots of photos along the way. Being a Sunday things were slow to get started, but gradually people began to emerge from their homes and shops started to open.

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00020

 

Once things were open we ventured in to see the Quan Thang Old House. Like the Ty Kan Old House we saw yesterday, this traditional wooden house is owned by a family whose ancestors were wealthy merchants (the family still lives in the house but very generously open the front rooms to visitors).

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00075

 

The house is 300 years old and is very impressive, with detailed decorative carvings everywhere: on the beams, the roof, shutters, and even on the rafters. Many of the antique furnishings and homewares were also on display, adding to the home’s sense of history and prestige.

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00062

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00063

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00059

 

Not far from the Quan Thang Old House was the Museum of Folk Culture, a small museum dedicated to showcasing how the people of Hoi An would have lived and worked centuries ago. There were wooden threshers, shovels, ploughs, and fishing nets on display, with descriptions on how farmers and fishermen would have used them day-to-day.

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00061

 

There were also some great artefacts showcasing how silk weavers would have once worked to create the soft cloth Far East Asia is famous for. The traditional Vietnamese musical instrument display was also really interesting.

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00064

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00052

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00054

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00057

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00056

 

Our final historical site for the morning was Fujian temple, a simple place of worship dating back to 1690 and dedicated to Thien Hau – the goddess of sea who protects sailors from danger.

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00069

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00048

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00071

 

After a bit more strolling around we stopped at a local coffee shop for a morning caffeine hit, before continuing on to explore a bit more of the old town.

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00065

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00051

 

20151122(Canon EOS 6D)-00074

 

By the time it was lunch time we were hot and just about worn out. Lucky for us we weren’t far a little local place we had been recommended to try. Ho Lo Quan is a small, family-run place tucked down a side street, away from the main touristy parts of Hoi An and it is great! Despite the unassuming décor, the food was great – tasty, fresh, and delicious. Just how we like it!

 

20151122(iPhone 6)-00300

 

20151122(iPhone 6)-00302

 

20151122(iPhone 6)-00303

 

Cooling down was a breeze at our AWESOME hotel* as we have a wonderful air-conditioned room and there’s a lovely little pool downstairs too. That’s where we spent the afternoon actually, lazing by/in the pool. Quite a nice way to spend a few hours really…

*All our hotels in Vietnam have, to this point, been incredibly comfortable and quite luxurious – especially compared to the simple guesthouses we stayed in around Laos.

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00059

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00062

 

https://flic.kr/p/BmJrWR

The rumbling of our bellies eventually forced us away from the pool and back out into the streets. After dinner we spent our evening strolling back through the same streets we saw earlier, mesmerised by their transformation.

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00147

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00171

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00158

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00161

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00153

 

There were lanterns lit along every street and hundreds of people were gathered along the riverfront, enjoying the cool night air.

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00162

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00143

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00160

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00159

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00146

 

Along the river bank tiny little old ladies were selling candles in tiny paper rafts that you could buy and release into the river for good luck.

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00157

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00151

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00150

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00165

 

20151121(Canon EOS 6D)-00155

 

All in all our 2 days in Hoi An have been very relaxing – there’s not a huge amount to do here, but it’s such a lovely town that just being here has been great. The (relative) peace and quiet of Hoi An has been wonderful too – especially as we’re flying to Ho Chi Minh City (i.e. Saigon) tomorrow, where the honking of horns and chaos of Vietnamese city life will no doubt feel overwhelming by comparison!

 

One thought on “ON THE ROAD AGAIN – DAY 232

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s