Friday, 18 February 2011

My favourite place in Vietnam

Hoi An has got to be my favourite place in Vietnam.

It seems to be one of the few places in Vietnam that has enforced building codes on what property should look like - at least in the old town - leading to a very pleasing symmetry of architectural styles and colours. The town just looks pretty.

Buildings in Hoi An old town
Hoi An's old town
The monthly full moon festival is a major tourist draw, but it's charming. Wander the streets of the old town and riverside, safe in the knowledge that the motorcycles are banned for one night. The streetlights are off: candles and lanterns will light your way tonight.

The food is good, too: street-side stalls selling noodles and soups, the french patisserie in the old town, the roving baguette seller who woke me up each morning with her high-pitched calls "Bahn mi!"

The countryside is beautiful, and easy to reach using ferries and bicycles (you can set out on your own, or join a group bicycle tour, and be guided through the back roads and rice paddies by laughing local women). The beach is nearby, and quiet.

Weaving woman somewhere in the countryside around Hoi An
(I was completely lost by this point)

I could happily have stayed here for weeks.

Quite possibly months.

Yes, the tailor shops are a bit of a hassle, and the two-tier pricing in the market gets wearing after a while.

But still... I liked Hoi An tremendously.

Full moon festival, Hoi An
My kind of full moon party

Hoi An temple
Pretty in pink

Hoi An temple
All I want for Christmas is a gift-wrapped lion....

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