A travel story by Erica and Bronte from Australia, who did a number of trips with Amasia in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
The wonderful town of Hoi An, was recently voted number two on the list of the most popular destinations in Asia, second only to Kyoto in Japan. A tour of the ancient town and its surrounds is a testament to this fact.
Japanese bridge in Hoi An – Photo credit @amasiatravel
My wife and I have stayed in the town on several occasions and found it to be a relaxing experience to come to for respite from the noise and rigours of the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, where we are based. Life here seems to be more idyllic and stress-free compared to many other centres in the country. There are many sites to see in the town and its surrounds, wonderful beaches to relax on and a very friendly population.
The ancient part of the old port displays the many different influences of architecture, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian, Russian and more. The fact that they were built centuries ago and are still standing today is a testament to the abilities of the tradesmen that built them. At night the area becomes a colourful place to wander as it is lit up by hundreds of handmade lanterns as the sun goes down, giving tourists a great photographic canvas to work from.
A cycle ride to the Tra Que Organic Farm, the My Son area of Cham ruins, exploring fishermen’s villages, boat cruises, snorkelling around outlying islands, and visiting the talented tailors for some handmade clothes are some, but not all, of the activities we have undertaken in the past.
This year however we did not stay in the historic part of the town, instead, we chose a beachside setting in An Bang fishing village to spend our five days of downtime, and it was one of the most relaxing times of our lives.
Hoi An old town – Photo credit @amasiatravel
We arrived 10 days after a large typhoon devastated the central region and we went to our beach home not knowing what to expect. To our surprise, there was very little damage you could notice and the locals told us, with smiling faces, that they had had “many” and were quite adept at cleaning up after storms. The only noise we could hear at night was the rolling waves of the sea, and we slept very well. The quiet village woke early and began their daily chores, fishermen returning with the night’s catch, old women chopping up debris but all took the time to say ‘hallo”, the whole village was very warm and welcoming. We ate fresh delicious seafood and used the kitchen facilities available on two occasions, with staff looking on in delight, were more than happy to produce every tool, plate, knife, and even had suggestions to help in the project. It was a memorable time!
The village is inhabited by a helpful and friendly population who made our stay very comfortable. As usual, when enjoying yourself the time went by very quickly, and we would have loved to stay longer, but all good things must come to an end, and it was time to leave. We sadly said goodbye to the staff, but it was not goodbye, just “hen gap lai”, (see you again) because we will definitely be returning to our An Bang Beach Hideaway.
An Bang beach, Hoi An – Photo credit @amasiatravel
Travellers should not miss Hoi An town as its beauty is amazing and it definitely deserves its reputation as one of the most visited places in Asia, but for those with a day or two to spare I recommend An Bangs quiet and pretty fisherman’s village, just 4kms from the heart of the old township, even for just a day visit.