In times long since gone, Hoi An was a major trading port in South East Asia. For several reasons, it lost that position and nowadays it is a laid back town on the coast, with a centre declared Unesco World Heritage Site. It tries hard to preserve its centre, where you can still walk around traffic-free streets as merchants would have walked down those same streets centuries ago. The town is also testimony to the international influence: there is a Japanese bridge and there are Chinese temples.
One difference is that the town is also very much geared to tourism, and many old houses have now been turned into shops selling all kinds of colourful souvenirs, restaurants or internet café's. In a logical line with its heyday when Hoi an was famous for its silk, many women have started to set up a business for tailor-made clothes, for which mainly silk and cotton are used. It proved to be too difficult to resist having clothes made at one of those shops.
Something else to be done in Hoi An is taking a boat tour starting at its waterfront. With some inevitable negotiating you can rent a boat with a boatswoman who takes you around the Hoi An neighbourhoods. Especially interesting were the huge fishing nets, and the small towers sticking out of the water, from which the nets can be lowered and raised. The added advantage of a boat tour is to temporarily escape the heat of Hoi An which somehow seemed to be more oppressive than elsewhere.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Hoi An (Vietnam). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Hoi An.
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