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Martin's Travel Journal Just a few photos and ramblings from my trips.

Hoi An

VIETNAM | Thursday, 21 April 2011 | Views [386]

The hustle and bustle of mid morning in Vietnam's third largest city was what greeted me as I stepped out of Da Nang train station. I had, surprisingly, had a reasonable amount of sleep but was more than aware that my journey to Hoi An was not yet over. I found a bus that would carry me the final 30km to Hoi An and we made our way out of Na Trang - very much an industrial town and port.

The drive took us along the coastline, dipping away from the seafront for the occasional small town we passed through. The journey passed the former American military base, now derelict and also Marble Mountain, with a Buddhist temple split across it's centre. Within half an hour we had reached the ancient town of Hoi An.

After checking in to my delightful hostel I made my way into the ancient town. In comparison to the other Vietnamese towns and cities I had been to Hoi An is as laid back as they can come. The architecture is beautiful and relatively unchanged - especially now that the town is a UNESCO world heritage site. I immediately made my way for the Market and fitted for a suit and shirt, coming to around £70 in total. I was concious I would have to do the early to ensure completion for the next day.

I then began to roam the towns streets and was delighted with what was in store. The merchant houses that line the streets around the river are gorgeous and lead you along the riverbank to the infamous Japanese Covered Bridge. Dating back to the sixteenth century the bridge takes its place in Asiam in folklore. The legend goes that a huge dragon laid under Asia, with its head in India and tail in Japan - causing devastating earthquakes whenever it moved its tail. The dragon's heart was in Hoi An and the bridge was built with stone piles that stabbed it through the heart to stop the earthquakes. Recent events in Japan would probably suggest otherwise.

I strolled the streets further, taking in several of the assembly halls built by te Chinese before stopping at the excellent Miss Ly restaurant for lunch. Here I had the taster menu where I tried a variety of dishes all specialities from Hoi An, the food was out of this world!</p><p>After eating I visited the Museum of History and Culture before making my way back to the hotel to cool down. By all accounts the weather in Hoi An had been horrible recently by I enjoyed gorgeous sunshine on my first day there.

That evening I decide to have a quiet stroll through the evening streets and was enchanted by Hoi An at night. The town is brought to life by thousands of lanterns that light every street, building, bridge and tree. A walk through the ancient town takes your breath away and makes this town even more amazing than you would think was possible. The photos I took in the evening did not do the town justice.

I took in dinner across the river so that I could gaze at the town during the meal before slowly returning to my hostel to my bed for a reasonably early night. The sleeper train had taken it out of me and I had decided to get up early and visit the nearby Cham site, My Son, before meeting John and Hannah in the afternoon as they were due to arrive in Hoi An around midday.

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