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Published: November 5th 2017
We flew from Ho Chi Min to Da Nang and then our bus took us to Hoi An . After some confusion at the hotel where we found there was no pool available , it was being renovated .. our travel company soon arranged for us to go to another hotel . It was lovely modern and bright with a gorgeous pool area and pretty gardens ..so we were very happy with the swap.
Leaving bags in the lobby we set off to explore the town ..about 20minute Walk ... and on the way we were introduced to the laundry lady at number 163 ...which looked like the front of a garage for fixing scooters ( it was ) . This was our second week and by now things were getting a bit grubby so we opted to take along a bag of clothes and found that we were to,pay the princely sum of about £1 for 1 kg , it would be about 25 p more to have it ironed !!! Marvellous... we picked up lovely clean clothes the next day !
Hoi An is famed for its ancient town with wooden French merchant houses, Chinese and Japanese
architecture and the narrow Vietnamese tube houses ... Canals cut through from the riverside and with traditional wooden boats and pretty bridges this is a most picturesque town. Not to mention the lanterns hung over the treelined streets , many of which are pedestrianised. So it is delightful to stroll there. Take your pick of restaurants and stop in a cafe for a beer or Vietnamese coffee , wander though the market , the old temples and merchant houses . Yes it’s idyllic and to add to the scene are the women street vendors ( yes mostly women) with their traditional straw hats and carrying their wares on poles or cycling down the streets. There are some lovely shops and you can see the tailors who will make up whatever you choose within 24 hours, women stitching silk embroidered linen, women making lanterns , boys carving wooden pictures and sculpture. It’s all so delightful to wander .. we could have spent a few more days there .
Then at night all the lanterns are lit in the streets and the bridge is lit up tempting you across the river to the night market. How to resist the stall holders
..well we didn’t resist and having found a particular stall with a lovely friendly young woman we settled in to buy a few souvenirs. On our second night there we strolled by the riverside and 4 of us picked ourselves a boat to take a gentle boat ride up the river and under the bridge ..well yes it was so low we had to lie down in the boat to get through. We were supplied with little cartons containing a candle by a little old lady at the riverside and these we released onto the river as we floated along. So picture it ...floating along , the riverside all lit with lanterns and candles bobbing around on the river. We were so happy... and you all know I like a bargain and 200,000 Dong sounds a lot but that was less than £2 each Including the candles !!!
A word about currency ... Did I mention the exchange rate 30,000 Dong to the £ , so after a visit to the atm we found we were millionaires ! Just a tip here ...there were lots of ATMs but quite often they either didn’t work or didn’t like our cards
...so we found the more familiar international banks like HSBC or ANZ were the best bet. In Cambodia US dollars were widely used and most things priced up in $ , but the Vietnamese prefer you to pay in Dong.
We had few free hours here and enjoyed swimming in the pool and relaxing with a beer and then it was time to go off to the airport agin and fly North to Hanoi. On the way back to DaNang we saw a lot of bustle ...building and gardening .. planting palm trees , putting up fences etc near one of the resorts ...which in a few weeks is going to host some big summit meeting with Trump in attendance. So got to make sure the VIPs have their luxury I suppose.
One more stop before we hit the airport was to Marble Mountain... well you know me ...I was thinking marble , goody a bit of geology ..a quarry ! But it turned out to be a marble mountain where they used the marble to build temples and pagodas and Buddha statues. Getting off the bus it started to rain and up popped women ( always the
women) selling plastic ponchos of all,different colours so we looked very elegant I am sure! Hundreds of steps to get up to the pagoda but joy of joys there was also an elevator so we were happy to take that to the first level . And Jenny and a couple of others went even further into the mountain up more steps ... I had given up at that point. Interesting to note the original use of the swastika by the Buddha ... meaning of good fortune, good luck before it was appropriated by the Nazi party.
I won’t say any more but walk with me through the beautiful town of Hoi An by day and then by night .... there are lots and lots of photos !!
If you come to Vietnam it is a must to see.
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