After our visit to Huế we took a train south to Da Nang, one of Vietnam’s larger but not very attractive cities. As there is not much to do in Da Nang apart from looking at countless luxury beach resorts that had either been built recently or were still under construction, we moved on to the next tourist hotspot in Vietnam – a small historical city named Hoi An. While Ilinca already spent a few days in Hoi An earlier on the trip while I was on the cave expedition, for me it was the first visit.
Tourist Attractions in Hoi An
Hoi An’s main attraction is the town itself. It is one of the best preserved old towns in Vietnam, and it’s location with several channels flowing through the city and the proximity to the beaches make it a popular stop on every tourist’s itinerary.
There are many old buildings, temples, and even a bridge to visit in Hoi An. But even when not entering any buildings, the walk between them and along the river was very nice and the fact that the whole old town can easily be visited on foot makes it a pleasant destination.
While during the hot daytime walking around the city is not that special, the late afternoon and evening hours are really beautiful, with lots of lanterns hanging around above the streets and along house walls, plenty of restaurants to sit outside, and strolls along the channel and through the local market.
Once a month there is a lantern festival in Hoi An, where tourists place thousands of floating lanterns on the river at night. I have unfortunately not been there during this festival, but Ilinca who witnessed it earlier on the trip said that it looked very nice.
Upgrade to Luxury Hotel
Just like flights, also hotels can be overbooked. In Hoi An, this also happened to us for the first time. When arriving at our 3-star hotel, we were told that they don’t have enough rooms, but that we could stay at their 5-star sister hotel instead that costs around 500$ per night, of course for the price of our original 3-star hotel. What a pleasant surprise! The rooms were very beautifully decorated, the breakfast buffet was incredibly rich and the in-house massage for a great price was a welcome treat after a hot day outside.
Annoyances in Hoi An
As we already experienced it many other tourist hotspots in Southeast Asia, the locals in Hoi An were sometimes very aggressive trying to sell their faked goods such as The North Face jackets or bags, copies of well-known leather brands, and other worthless Chinese imports. But there are of course also exceptions to the rule: the ladies in the tailor shop where we equipped ourselves with business outfits were very respectful and friendly.
Another annoyance was that when walking along the river, you basically get asked every five seconds by someone if you want a boat ride on the river, even if they have just seen me 10m away telling no to somebody else. After saying no about 100 times, my patience also got tested a bit. Last but not least, as everywhere in Vietnam, the scooter traffic is an absolute nuisance. Even though the old town is theoretically a pedestrian zone, the locals still drive through the crowds, honking all the time and cutting the pedestrians’ paths.
I probably have been travelling in Southeast Asia for too long already, I am really getting tired of this. I am glad that we are leaving Vietnam and Southeast Asia soon.
Flying to Ho-Chi-Minh-City
Our last destination in Vietnam before flying to Tokyo will be Ho-Chi-Minh-City, the largest city of the country.