Hoi an – definitely a tourist town

On both sides of me, young people were busy taking selfies and were totally engrossed in their mobile phones. They were with their friends, but also on their phones. Clearly, it’s a global phenomenon.

While the rest of the tour group went in search of a pedicure, I was eager to find a spot in a cafe, grab an iced coffee, and enjoy the ambiance.

Admittedly, the cafe was located in the heart of the tourist district, but it somehow felt a little more “authentic.”

When I’m in other parts of the world, I often do this and listen in on some of the conversations. Obviously, I can’t do that here, but I can still enjoy the general vibe.

Hoi An is a very different city compared to Hanoi. It feels more affluent.

As we drove in from the airport last night, which took about 45 minutes, we could see the difference in the houses and buildings. The hotel we’re staying in is also much more luxurious and located in a wealthier part of town than where we stayed in Hanoi.

The hotel has a pool, and fortunately, I have a bathtub.

Some members of the tour group went out last night, but we were a little tired and chose to stay at the hotel. I was also still feeling sick, which I concluded was due to dehydration. Drinking lots of hydralites has helped considerably.

This morning, we learned that the city experiences floods similar to those in Lismore. As we sat in a historic house, one of the residents described how they sought refuge on the second story as 2.5 meters of water flooded their house by the river.

Silk scarves

The gender split of our group became apparent as we entered a government building dedicated to arts and crafts. The woman working there told us, “We only have quality silk, and you don’t have to pay extra charges on your credit card.” The women followed her into a room filled with silk scarves, while the men stayed outside. I managed to do both.

We also visited an assembly hall which our guide, Jennifer, described as the most beautiful in Hoi An.

Incense burning in the Assembly Hall, lasting thirty days

An unexpected highlight of the walk was a half-hour show of traditional song and dance. “I could never sit through an entire Vietnamese opera, but this was a great sampler,” I said to Andrea.

Vietnamese opera
Traditional dance show in Hoi An

When the morning walk concluded, Ross and Andrea joined the others, while I chose to have an iced coffee and later a beer.

In contrast to Hanoi, Hoi An is DEFNITELY a tourist-friendly town. Almost everyone we met today greeted us with a smile, and when they knew we were from Australia, they responded with a near perfect version of “G’day Mate”.

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