Scotsabroad's Weblog

January 6, 2013

Hoi An

Filed under: Holidays — scotsabroad @ 8:51 pm

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In the 16th and 17th Centuries Hoi An was the international trading centre in Southern Viet Nam. Foreign merchant ships came to Hoi An in great numbers for annual commercial fairs, each lasted from 4 to 6 months. The old town is a unique concentration of old buildings, houses, palaces, pagodas, shrines, temples, bridges, markets and a wharf. In 1999 it was given World Heritage status.

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It could be argued that the town is now a wonderful living museum or a theme park where the buildings are all now tourist shops, bars and restaurants going like a modern-day commercial fair.

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We joined the other 4000 foreigners (according to The Saigon Times) in Hoi An for New Year. We had a lovely time walking around the town and spending money. The food was fantastic. However, when we arrived we were not prepared for the weather, cold and blustery. We walked the market, bought some fruit and resisted the many offers of a boat ride.

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Hogmanay, we visited the town and bought the Old Town Ticket, allowing us to visit five sites in Hoi An. We visit the Tran Family Chapel. Inside the house is a shrine to family ancestors, a shelf at the back displaying boxes (in the shape of malt whisky boxes) containing a relic of the dead person.  Boxes of the same wood a couple, a single emblem on the box to signify a single person. Sadly this stopped when photographs came along. Not the same. A nondescript garden at the back contains the placentas of many generations.

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Then we visit the museum of Sa Huynh Culture and then the Quan Cong Temple. Fantastic incense coils burning with prayer tickets. We donate large amounts of Dong hoping that the caretaker will ring the bell, without success. No dong. We visit the Cam Pho Communal House to see the dragons on the roof. We save the fifth visit for another day.

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The Japanese bridge we cross on several occasions. The French were a bit irked by the bridge’s hump so levelled it out. The bridge has been restored. Dogs and monkeys guard each end.

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We eat a few evenings in a restaurant called Morning Glory named after the green vegetable that is popular in Vietnam. I have it fried with butter and garlic. Delicious. The restaurant serves Vietnamese street food but with class and beer.

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We leave Hoi An with t-shirts, coins, incense sticks, hats, chinese lanterns, toys, jewellery, bags, pottery, kimonos… tourists.


1 Comment »

  1. What an amazing holiday you had.Vietnam will never have the same link in our memories now.
    So glad you back safely.

    Comment by ian and linda — January 8, 2013 @ 3:18 am | Reply

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