February 12, 2019
Hoi An is a quaint port town with canals running through the Old Town and buildings and relics left over from Japanese merchant houses, ancient tea houses, traditional ancestral homes and Chinese temples. The city has a very romantic feel, especially when you walk through the streets under the shade of colorful silk lanterns. One of the famous activities to do here is to walk to the canals and watch the sunset as the bamboo boats float on the water.
Besides pretty canals and lanterns, Hoi An is also a hub for high quality tailored clothing. The people and scenery continue to impress– everyone has been so nice and friendly and the countryside and beaches are even better than in Da Nang. The food, of course, tastes amazing (I’m going to need to do another post on the food alone).
I had an amazing first day in Hoi An, thanks to a free bike tour outside the Old Town hosted by my hostel. They also surprised us with a free rice paper making class taught by a local woman. We made our own rice paper cakes which made them taste even richer. I also was able to walk around the old town to visit some of the temples and Old Houses. Old houses are ancestral homes still occupied by the family’s descendants. These families allow the public to visit their houses which are kept as they were centuries ago, so you get to see the original design, layout, furniture, and way of life. I found one home on a walk home and met the owner, who still runs the family hand crafted jewelry shop. He was extremely kind and welcoming, and showed us hand-operated tools. He even polished my rings for free using these tools!
I can’t believe I was able to see and do so much on the first day: bike ride, exploring, cooking class, tailor appointment (of course, I had to get something custom-made!), street food testing, and meeting some awesome people. And I still have two more days in this charming city!