Hoi An in Vietnam has been on my go-to-list for sometime so it was wonderful to visit this scenic town at last so after one day in Da Nang we drove south to Hoi An. The drive down the coast highlighted the incredible development on the large stretches of the coastline between Da Nang and Hoi An with new hotels springing up and at least 3 international golf courses.
Hoi An is a small town on the coast of Vietnam and the old city in the central part of the town has some wonderful streets with old heritage buildings running down to the riverfront. It is a very scenic place but now is very popular with tourists and hence very busy.
After checking into our hotel we quickly headed into the old city to grab some lunch and chose a recommended Phở (Vietnamese noodle soup) shop called Phở Xua. The beef noodle soup was really excellent as were the fresh spring rolls. It was so good we came back here the next day for lunch again.
After lunch we took a slow walk through the streets of the old city and down to the waterfront. The old heritage buildings were quaintly run down and full of character taking you back in time.
We passed through the central market close to the waterfront and this was full of great little eating stalls as well as the usual meat, vegetables and dry goods stalls. It was very cramped inside the market but the food stalls were very popular and the food looked wonderful.
Soon we were down by the waterfront which is one of the most popular places to walk with many boats on the front offering trips up and down the river. There were many restaurants and cafes so there was a very large selection to choose from.
One street back from the waterfront was particularly scenic with colourful lanterns strung along the street. You had to weave through the throngs of tourists and careful to avoid the many trishaws being cycled through the streets.
We crossed the Cầu An Hội bridge to the other side which then gave us a great view of the town from over the water.
We crossed back to the main town and stopped in a waterfront cafe for some much needed coffee.
That evening we came back downtown to see the lovely lit up waterfront in the evening. There were many boats again and this time they were floating numerous floating candles in the river making for a colourful scene.
After dinner we crossed the Cầu An Hội bridge again to get an evening panorama shot of the waterfront then grabbed a nice cold local “333” beer as we sat and took in the scenic view.
On the walk back we came across a lovely lantern shop selling a multitude of colourful lanterns.
The next day we again headed back to the old city stopping for coffee at the Faifo Coffee shop which had great coffee and a rooftop area where you got a beautiful view over the old city.
We visited the popular Japanese Covered Bridge or Cau Chua Pagoda (in Vietnamese “Cau Nhat Ban”) which is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Hoi An, Vietnam. The original Vietnamese name of this bridge is “Lai Vien Kieu”. It is considered that the Japanese Covered Bridge belongs to the Japanese community in Hoi An, and was built in the early seventeenth century. No trip to Hoi An would be completely without visiting Japanese Covered bridge.
Walking through the old streets was very relaxing watching life go on and seeing all the beautiful old heritage buildings and temples.
Back on the waterfront we made a visit to the Tan Ky House which is a preserved 18th-century merchant’s house, with guided tours of antiques-filled rooms & a gift shop.
Outside Tan Ky House and right on the waterfront was this dear old Vietnamese lady selling fruit. She had the most incredible weather beaten face but a beautiful smile and this made for some great portrait opportunities.
We stopped at the Trung Hoa Assembly Hall on the way back towards our hotel.
Walking back to our hotel we then by chance discovered the Precious Heritage Art Gallery which had the most incredible photo exhibition by the French photographer Réhahn. Réhahn had, since 2011, travelled over Vietnam to find and photograph some 54 ethnic tribes in their traditional costume. The gallery had some incredible photographs of these people and also there was a large collection of the traditional costumes on show. This is an astounding piece of work and highly recommended to visit if visiting Hoi An in Vietnam.
On our last evening we had dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant, Hoa Hien, close to our hotel, within easy walking distance, and right on the waterfront.
It was a lovely visit and Hoi An is well worth another trip back. The photography potential in this small town is top class with old buildings, river frontage, markets, exotic foods and of course some great local people full of character.
Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia
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