Thursday, 6 October 2011

More Hoi An

The waterfront is a hive of activity & there are plenty of boat trips & places to just sit & watch life unfold. Down one end of the waterfront is a huge street market, mostly for local people but plenty for tourists as well. Side streets are awash with little bars, cafes & restaurants, all serving food - Vietnamese, western, Italian pasta & pizza is popular & there's even a curry house.

Its not a major backpackers haunt although the cheap end is definitely backpacker prices, a large Siagon beer is 25,000d (80p) in a smart bar but 'fresh brewed' local beer on the waterfront is 4,000d (12p) a glass!

One of the great features is that streets in the old town are often closed off to all traffic except bicycles, although if the policeman disappears motorbikes suddenly appear; nevertheless its a rare place where strolling around is a joy.

The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site & no buildings are bigger than two storeys, mainly in old Chinese, or French colonial styles & the most famous landmark is the Japanese Bridge.

All Hoi An's traditional shipping trade has now passed to DaNang so their main business is tourism (except the bridal gown & mobile phone shops). There are dozens of tailors shops & I've met a few people having suits made for around £50. Tourism means there are plenty of touts who can get on your nerves when ten boat owners in a row call you offering the same boat ride - all within earshot of each other. There are also the perennial motorbike taxis, trinket sellers & a couple of simple looking beggers who do the rounds of the bars.

Now I've some decent accommodation I'm really enjoying Hoi An & I don't really mind the touts, you just get used to them. There's so many things I havnt done - I never got to the beach or visited My Son - Vietnam's Angkor Wat, smaller but older & less touristy. Unfortunately many of the temples were destroyed by American bombing raids in the 1960's.

I really want to stay longer but I've tied myself into some trips in Saigon on the 4th & 5th so I've got to leave.

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