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Published: February 1st 2010
bird whistle vendor
We arrived in Hoi An shortly after lunch time really excited at the sight of blue sky! As is customary, the bus deposited us outside a random hotel on the outskirts of town so we hopped off and since we principally avoided being trapped into taking a room at the first hotel we saw, even before orientating ourselves, we rather loaded ourselves like pack mules with all our luggage and started down the street (managing to pick up a travel buddy, Andrew, in the process) in pursuit of a sleeping haven for our three day stay. Admittedly our initial impression of Hoi An was less than awesome and completely unlike anything we had imagined. We found ourselves wondering where all the awesome tailor shops and quaintness were as we schlepped down the nondescript main road getting increasingly worried that Hoi An would turn out to be one of those over rated places. It wasn’t until we had walked a good couple of Km’s down the road that we realised we were in fact headed in the completely wrong direction and it was no wonder our perception of the town were skewed. Thanks to a lovely local lady’s help we duly turned
ourselves around, backtracked and thirty minutes later finally entered the enchanting heart of Hoi An where it truly is the town of “One house, one tailor.”
Hotels and hostels are pretty hard to distinguish in amongst the hordes of tailor shops and restaurants but after a little patients we spotted a very basic but more than adequate hotel, a real win at $5 a night for a huge double room! A quick bag deposit and we reconnected with Andrew before being chaperoned by our Hotel ‘concierge’ to his “families restaurant” where we went about ordering all three of the Hoi An specialty dishes strait up. After lunch our chaperone ushered us next door to his “family tailor” to introduce us to our first set of enigmatic clothing geniuses. Thankfully none of us were quite in the mood to haggle so we took a cursory look inside the store before heading to really explore Hoi An and it can only be described as love at first sight!
Hoi An is really really amazing and is a photographers utopia. Nothing can describe the colours, faces and the general atmosphere of Hoi An adequately. The streets of Hoi An are decorated
street restaurant equipment on rout to its corner resting spot...
with rows of Kyoto style wooden facades alongside French colonial buildings filled with tailors, restaurants. Lanterns and souvenirs line the narrow maze of roads that are crawling with vendors, bicycles, rickshaws, street food trolleys, locals and tourist and this whole scene plays out along the banks of the Thu Bon River.
We spent three magnificent days in Hoi An walking in and out of the narrow passages, exploring the haphazard market, trying as many of the different kinds of local street food as well as wining and dining and coffeeing ourselves in a number of the very affordable yet beautiful restaurants. And just because you can’t go to Hoi An and not visit a tailor we put in an order for a pair of pants and a dress each which turned out to be tailored to perfection.
On our first night in Hoi An Kenny, Andrew and I set out to restaurant hop and were, by mid evening, playing pool and making friends with a bunch of foreigners when we all got packed into a mini bus and taken to a beach bar for a night of serious fun, swimming and dancing!
I do suspect if we
Nondescript dry goods bought by weight
had had more time we would likely have stayed longer in Hoi An but since our waste lines were rapidly expanding from the delectable local lemon grass ice cream, amongst other things coupled with my computers dwindling capacity for storing any more photos of Hoi the three of us headed cross town once more, stocked up on some snacks for the road and boarded our second overnight bus.
Hoi An is so wonderfully unique place that no amount of explanation can describe the sensual experience of such a place, it’s just a destination that you have to visit on your own. I don’t know of another place where you can sit on the banks of the river sipping ice cold sugar cane juice while watching 100’s of locals and their bikes and scooters pile onto a wooden river ferry set against the backdrop of a turquoise, pink and orange kaleidoscope sunset sky!
Just one note beware of anything wrapped in a Banana leaf and if you do brave a purchase be sure to unwrap the contents carefully, try not to inspect the glutinous mush too carefully and rather tackle the morsel tentatively ie. take a small nibble rather
than putting the whole glob in your mouth all at once like my dear friend Kenny who got a nasty surprise!
Hoi An is a paradise best described by photos!
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