A family from California moves to Ho Chi Minh City. Hilarity ensues.
[Rejected punny titles included Hoi An of Green Gables, Hoi An Hathaway, Hoi An Arbor, Hoi An Boleyn, Hoi An Rand, and Hoi An Landers, but none proved apropos enough to claim the title. So solid and descriptive it is.]
The jewel of Central Vietnam, Hoi An is an old port town that bedazzles tourists at every corner. It has quite a reputation and it didn’t disappoint. I might even say it is the most photogenic place we’ve been in Southeast Asia (and that’s after coming straight from the temples of Angkor). Thus I’ll be breaking up the pictures over three posts (the latter ones will tend toward the artsier) so as to lessen the overwhelmingness. But really I just couldn’t bear to cut any more of my 400+ photos.
Like Cambodia, our bed was decorated with plant debris. It also boasted a perfect view of the chicken garden next door.
This week is Vietnam’s Lunar New Year (Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!) and so the place was smothered in yellow flowers and various decorations. It also meant that many of the tailors were quickly closing shop, so we made it a priority to get measured early and often for our shoes and jackets.
While Lantern Town is many things, it is not really a great place for little ones. And as always, ours were impressively patient as the grown-ups wandered about, poking their heads into custom tailor shops and pausing to take the umpteenth picture. Smoothie renumerations were the compensation.
Someone loves dragons.
They had a few lanterns around town.
The Japanese Bridge
We hired a boat for a 30 minute jaunt around the waterways of Hoi An, though a good five minutes were spent drifting along while the captain attempted to start the engine. Once we were moving he decided to shirk his duties and use some child labor.
We’re on a boat!
Our final morning in Hoi An was spent enjoying the nearby tropical (but chilly) beach.
Ribs for lunch!
We discovered some water buffalo just a block from our hotel as we were leaving. Vietnam never ceases to amaze.
Where we stayed:
Green Fields Villas – nicer than the adjascent Green Fields Hotel, but we probably wouldn’t stay there again. It was a 15-20 minute walk into the cool part of town, and while our family room had the most comfortable beds we’ve had in Asia, the water in the shower couldn’t decide between scalding and freezing. Next time, we’d prefer to stay somewhere closer in (which would mean planning ahead a bit more). Earplugs are helpful (see above regarding the chicken garden).
Where we ate:
The Cargo Club was our favorite place to eat in Hoi An. The food’s pricey for Vietnam, but both the Western and Vietnamese choices are delicious and the view overlooking the river is breathtaking. We liked our dinner so much (especially the pumpkin risotto!) we went back for lunch the next day.
Morning Glory – Delicious Vietnamese food in a gorgeous old building.
Soul Kitchen on An Bang Beach – Limited menu, and the food was good but not great. However, it is right on the beach and offers a shady respite from the sun.
Bonus! I took this pic on our January Cambodian adventure, then forgot to include it in the post. I planned on sneaking it into our last post, but forgot again. The third time’s a charm.
Along the Siem Reap river.