Vietnam Hoi An 2002.04.04 - 04.08

Traditional Town

Originally a small port within the Cham Empire (2nd ~ 14th centuries), today Hoi An is a comfortably sized familial town with art, music, and reconstructed traditional style buildings. Although town center is obviously catered to tourists, the general population is friendly and welcoming. The family restaurant owner sang us songs she composed. The homemade yogurt saleswoman gave us a handsome discount on her husband's hardware supply since we were regular customers of her 1000 VND (US$0.04) cups of delicious yogurt. Reception girls from a hotel we weren't even staying at cheerfully chatted with us about life. Hoi An was our favorite city in Vietnam.

Strolling through the streets of the traditional section of town is free. Entrance to traditional houses, museums, and temples requires a ticket purchased in a pack of 5 for 50,000 VND (US$3.34). Information contained in each entrance site is limited, but the interiors are interesting nonetheless. Best was a musical performance by traditionally dressed musicians playing various wooden instruments.

One of the nicer beaches we saw in Vietnam is 5 km from Hoi An town center. Easiest access is by bicycle rented for 5000 VND (US$0.33) per day. Bicycle parking near the beach is 2000 VND for the day. Relax on the beach and chat with the trinket vendors. We had an excellent day.

The express train doesn't stop in Hoi An. The Sinh Cafe bus is the most comfortable and easiest mode of transport from locations north and south of Hoi An.

Women row along the river in Hoi An.
Reconstructed traditionally styled houses line to streets of Hoi An.
Lanterns constructed with bamboo and fabric are pasted together every morning in the old section of Hoi An.
Masami borrow a Vietnamese dress from the daughter of the restaurant owner who sang us songs she composed.
High school girls across Vietnam dress in flowing white dresses. We call them "princesses".

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