Day 3 (in and around hoi an)
Early morning flights are always difficult to catch ; we managed with some difficulty. The morning bus from Trong Ah Nang dropped us off at the domestic terminal for our departure to Hoi-An. We reached our destination airport by 9.30 a.m and the driver was already at the location to pick us up and drop off at the hotel.
It is an hour’s journey from the airport to the hotel and along the route was a beautiful sea shore lined by large number uber luxury resorts. On the way , we spotted the famous marble mountain which happens to be another famous sight seeing spot; unfortunately though not a part of our itinerary.
Hoi-An , Danang are still not the world tourist map but the the rate of growth suggested that soon they would be. Jade hotel staff welcomed us with some fresh fruits and we checked into a nice room by 11 a.m. It was a welcome change from the dulll room at Dablend hostel.
Hoi-An is quaint little town with very old world feel; wide roads with small restaurants lining them.
Since I had lost my glasses the day before and Karthik had missed bringing his; it was time to purchase one. GMaps again helped us locate the closest Sunglasses store which was hardly a kilometer away. The store had a variety of sun glasses on sale, from Gucci, Ray Ban and multiple other international brands; all fake obviously. How do I know? The price of course !. A rayban costed us only 400 INR ; it should have costed us 10 times that amount. Regardless, we purchased a pair and proceeded to have quick lunch since we were expected to meet up with the driver at 1 p.m. While walking towards the restaurant, we realized that the best and most fun way to tour Hoi-An is via bi cycle; we saw dozens of people doing so. “An Nhu” quay Chay located on the street near the Jade Hotel promised delicious Veg food at a low price. It lived up the promise; I tasted my first veg noodle soup in Vietnam and it was delicious and economical. This would become one of my favorite dishes in vietnam in the days to come.
We caught up with our driver on the way back who came with our guide. We were transferred to Hoi-An old town located 3 Kilometers away from Jade hotel.
Old Town Hội An, the city’s historic district, is recognized as an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century, its buildings and street plan reflecting a unique blend of influences, indigenous and foreign. The most famous & frequented sightseeing spots would be
Japanese Covered Bridge
Fukian Assembly Hall
Cantonese Assembly Hall
Museum of Sa Huỳnh Culture
Museum of Trade Ceramics
A large number of cafes dot the streets of Hoi-An; large influx of western tourists combined with the natural affinity of the Vietnamese towards coffee is probably the reason. The sightseeing spots themselves aren’t too attractive to be honest ; but hoi-an as a town has an old word charm with its the yellow colored concrete structures. The beach at Hoi-An is also quite famous from what I had heard but we did not get a chance to visit it. As a part our itinerary, we got to visit a silk manufacturing facility and witnessed the process of making & weaving silk first hand. We were expected to make the customary purchase; i just ended up purchasing a silk scarf for my sister. On the way out though, we noticed some very cool artwork made from duck shells along with some cheap 1$ lanterns . We ended up inflating our bill by many thousand INR. To add to it, a T shirt store on the main street showed us some pretty cool looking T shirts and we ended purchasing few of those as well. Each T shirt cost us around 100K VNDs which was a lot for a T-Shirt! (It should have ideally costed us only 60K VND)
Hoi-An turns especially beautiful at night with multi-colored lanterns lighting the street. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be during the lantern festival. It is probably the famous Hoi-An lantern festival along with old preserved architectural buildings which earned it UNESCO world heritage site status. To kill time in order to actually stay around till night from late afternoon, we embarked on a quest to find the famous Banh-Mi; a baguette filled with meat & vegetables. Since me and karthik were vegetarians, it was a challenge to find a veg version of the banh-mi. We must have walked at least 3-4 kms through the markets but were enable to located single restaurent selling a veg banh-mi. We finally located one store which was selling one veg variant with cheese, onion and sauces but servers used same chop sticks set to serve the beef, pork and then the cheese in the veg variant. Karthik being a pure vegetarian refused but I didn’t; it tasted exactly as it looked. Cheese & onion with spicy sauces between bun. It was late evening by the time I was done with my Banh-Mi and rest of the evening was spent in photography of Hoi-An which truly turns radiant in the night.
On our way back, we discovered another delicacy of Hoi-An which we have been unable to find anywhere else in the world, the legendary Milk Tea. Recipes contain tea of some kind, flavors and/or milk, as well as sugar (optional). Toppings, such as chewy tapioca balls (also known as pearls, or boba), popping boba, fruit jelly, grass jelly, agar jelly, and puddings are often added. Each glass cost us only 20K VNDs and we sipped on one for an hour walking through the beautiful Hoi-An streets. We liked it so much that we purchased another one and sipped on that one as we walked towards the hotel at 10 p.m. in the night.
After reaching the hotel, Karthik decided to take a dip in the cold waters of the swimming pool; made sense since we are leaving early morning for My-Son and there wouldn’t be any time left. I skipped that getting wet unnecessarily and completed my blog notes for the day by the pool side. Unfortunately , something unfortunate happened here. Karthik handed me his ancestral gold ring for safe keeping as he went for a swim. Well, I ended up losing it. Kept it on the table and forgot all about as I saw there completing my blog. It was only the next morning that we realized the horrid mistake.
By 11 p.m we were done for the night ; ready for My-Son the next morning.