20/03/2013 - 22/03/2013 26 °C
Another night bus later and we arrived at Hoi An. Night buses really don't bother me as I can always get a bit of sleep in the almost comfortable 'beds.' The only thing I really need is a real bed to fall into as soon as I arrive in town, which unfortunately didn't happen in Hoi An.
Hoi An used to be a major shipping port in centuries past but during the 1800s the water level diminished and a port in the nearby city of Danang took it's place. With little development in recent history the old town district is incredibly well preserved with rustic buildings and narrow streets. This is largely because any modern developments happen outside the UNESCO World Heritage protected old town. In one museum I saw a photo from the 1950s and it really didn't look much different from now. I don't think you could say the same for anywhere else I've been to.
The only downside I could see to the town was the constant barrage of people trying to make you rent bikes or buy clothes. Hoi An is well known for it's tailoring industry and now has over 100 clothes shops vying for the tourist dollar. I decided to take up the opportunity to have a custom made 3-piece suit made at a fraction of the price I would pay at home - while still being a big enough dent in my backpacker budget! I figure this can be justified on the fact it will make me 100% more employable in job interviews when I get home.
A pleasant and quiet beach is only a few kilometres away so one afternoon we rented bicycles and took a trip over there on roads that cut through rice paddies.
The Chinese influence is obvious in Hoi An where the multi-cultural society each built their own communal halls (yes Cameron, it does work!). I can't quite tell the different between Chinese and Chino-Cantonese but it all looks good.
You might be able to guess from the quantity of photos in this entry that I really like Hoi An. In fact it's my favourite place in Vietnam and definitely one of the best places I've visited in SE Asia. The old town and temples are beautiful. There are plenty of tourists - enough to create an atmosphere but not enough to ruin it. Interesting history although the museums are a uninspiring. Activities such as boat rides, the beach, fishing, cookery classes, seeing traditional arts and crafts.
The next place is always in mind whilst travelling so after 3 days we jumped back on the old bus for a ride to Hue (Pronounced h-way, not like hugh for anyone that cares)