Friday, 4 April 2014

Hoi An

1 - 3 April

It was the earliest start yet. The alarm pounded my ears at 4.30am. We were up to get the train from Nha Trang to Danang, from where we would catch a bus to Hoi An, the ancient city that I had high hopes for. The whole town is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, so you know it's got to be good!

The sun was just coming up as we left the station and the scenery was beautiful. Trains are a great way to travel (even though my tray got stuck and the toilets were a little scary)!

Once we arrived in Hoi An, we were quick to drop our bags and head into the town to get our bearings. I had so much anticipation that Hoi An would be good, but I was in no way prepared for what we found.

We knew we were onto a winner as we passed signs for 5,000 vnd beers (that's 15p) but then, like the opening of a dam, Hoi An overwhelmed us. The lanterns were bright like gemstones and the houses were all shades of honey and yellow. The whole town glowed in the evening light. Finally we were finding the Asia I'd been dreaming of.

Something around every corner!

We fell immediately in love.

The next day we were up and out shortly after 9am. We went straight to the ticket stand to get our entry into some of the historic sites. 

The congressional buildings we visited were stunning pieces of architecture. Each corner is covered in colour and intricate designs. Inside there are spirals of incense that travellers have sponsored. Their smell fills the air.

Incense spirals in the Cantonese Congressional

Later we had traditional tea in a tea house run by deaf and speech impaired staff. It's so peaceful inside and we sip our tea from tiny bowls in near silence.

Tea at Reaching Out Tea House

The whole town is so charming, it's like a Disney version of itself! Everywhere you turn there is something delightful to catch your eye and it's such a relief after 3 weeks of searching to find something just like this.

Over the Japanese covered bridge

We grabbed a banh mi for lunch (even that was off the scale yummy) before heading back to the hotel to do a little flight booking.

At dinner, we tried the local dish 'white rose' which is a bit like an open Chinese dumpling in the shape of a flower. We eat overlooking the river and a girl selling candle lanterns to be floated down stream.