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Our world Travel On 10th May 2007 I fled the UK on a journey around the world with a long list of places to go. Got as far as the Philippines where I met my wife. We got married on 11th May 2010 and are now sharing the experiences of travelling the world together

Hoi An

VIETNAM | Wednesday, 16 April 2008 | Views [1119]

Mon 14th - Further to my las blog for today. After settling in to hotel, went walkabout. Hoi An is without doubt a place of character. The atmosphere is wonderful and full of charm. The old town is a UNESCO listed heritage site and with just reason. It has many claims to fame, one of which is the high density of tailors, many housed in beautiful old buildings, who will make anything for you in next to no time. Show them a picture and they will make it. It also has some lovely ancient buildings.

The town as mentioned flanks the Cai river, where boatlife goes on as it has for many many years. Crossing the river from the hotel side and you enter a short street lined with shops selling handmade silk lanterns. Lit up at night is a wonderful sight. Opposite is a decorative pagoda museum. Going left and you cross a famous covered japanese bridge. Guarded by dogs at one end and monkeys the other with a shrine in the centre.

The heritage village requires a ticket to enter many of the buildings. 75,000 dong covers limited access in a rather frustrating scheme...shall'nt go into details here.

So many bars and restaurants selling fantastic quality food and drinks that you may have died and gone to heaven here if you like your food. If you like shopping then definitely heaven. Stunning materials in lovely settings and really low prices. A place to burn plastic or dong or dollar!

Picked a restaurant offering a nice set menu of local specialities (white rose, Cau Dao, wontons, sugar cane shrimps). Tasty stuff.

Tue 15th Apr - Walkabout again to buy some new clothes. A super market here with plenty of unusual sights to photograph. Also had one of those nice and smelly Durians that are so common here...The fruit with the accompanying saying: The fruit that tastes like heaven and smells like hell!

The highlight was when walking 'off-piste' down the backlanes out of town, away from the main tourist areas, passing an iceblock making shed and followed the sound of a party then stumbled on a wedding. So poked my nose in to see what was happening. The bridegroom invited us in and sat us at one of the tables with space then supplied copious amounts of beer in a magic self refilling glass! Got talking to an english guy who uncannily turned out to come from my home town of Liverpool! Small world. Got really friendly and was invited back to the evening party. They have a daytime one for family and the evening one for everyone else. Everyone joins in with karaoke style entertainment. Great fun.

Back to the hotel and changed to return for round two.... Loud, mad, but great fun. The bride's father is a famous vienamese footballer everywhere in Vietnam. Food and drink in large supply as usual and looked after so well. These people are gorgeous. So friendly and happy and make you Feel right at home. Yet another magic self refilling glass...I like these people.

Wed 16th Apr - Booked on to a tour to the UNESCO listed Champa kingdom ruins at My Son today, Built between the 4th and 13th centuris. Got picked up at 8:30 for the 1 hour journey  to (55km) on a 45 seater bus full of foreigners. The ticket to get into My son is 60,000 dong and paid on arrival. Ex-military jeeps and minibuses are waiting when you get there to ferry you upto the main site, which is only about 1.5km. The site is spread over a small area of five accessible groups and others that tourists are not allowed to visit and only takes one hour maximum to complete as there isn't much to see. You have to use your imagination a lot for most of the ruins as there isn't much left.

The best bit was the trip back. We had booked to come back by bus but there was an option instead to return by boat, so we took that option. Most people had paid an extra $2 for it but we got on it for free and nobody checked. A small snack of fried rice, banana and water was provided on the boat. Typical scam...they bring around a tray of drink cans that you have to pay for, followed by the bottles of water which are free.

A short 20 min stop along the way at the Bon Kim woodcarving village, where they made some lovely stuff. The boat returned to the old market close o where we were sayin, so convenient. Sraight off and into the nearest restaurant for a cocktail and a proper vietnamese meal.

Off to Hue tomorrow morning so will update later on that.


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