Hoi An is my favorite town in Vietnam. It is also easily the most touristic place in Vietnam. The old French buildings mixed with Chinese temples in between, all set next to a river and beaches on two sides of the town; it makes for a heady mix. Hoi An is a place where you can easily while away a lot of time. Which I did two years ago.
This time I just wanted to stroll around the city, shop a bit and explore My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage site right outside Hoi An. It was Christmas after all and the town was full of tourists. It has changed in the last two years, more coffee-house chains and shops which cater exclusively to tourists. Still, its charm is unquestioned. You arrive and fall in love.
I chose to stay again at Quynh Nhan homestay, about a five-minute bike ride from the old town. The rooms are big, the family friendly and the soup kitchen next door excellent. Also bicycles are rent-free and motorbikes can be rented for a bargain. For Christmas the family surprised us each with a cake. How lovely is that?
Explore Hoi An on foot or by bicycle, it’s the best way. I love to do that in the morning when the streets are still empty and shops closed. The atmosphere is different. Everything is still calm and prepared for the day.
Of course after dark the place looks totally changed with lanterns hanging everywhere. At the river someone always sells floating candles which you can let go with a wish.
Other things you can do in Hoi An are shopping (lots of tailors here), trying all kinds of new fruits,
spending a long time in coffee shops waiting for the rain to stop
and visiting My Son. This World Cultural Heritage Site lies about one hour outside of Hoi An and it is fun to go there by motorbike. There are no street signs to detect and I am sure if someone describes you the way, you will get lost pretty soon. We used maps.me, an app which you can use offline as well. Worked like a charm.
My Son is a group of Hindu temples which are mostly in ruins. During the Vietnam/American the Americans bombed it extensively; so one part of the temples is completely destroyed. The rest is worth a visit though. After seeing Angkor Wat I quite like it when there is only one temple group to take in. It’s a lot more palatable; Angkor Wat was a bit of an overload in these three days. Yours, Pollybert