Postcard Pretty Hoi An

Hoi An, River Scene, Vietnam

Hoi An was unkind to us in a way. We knew we were visiting this central Vietnamese city near the end of its rainy season, but with a week to spend in the relatively small town we figured we had more than enough time to see and do everything. We were wrong. The rain was nearly relentless for seven straight days.

Hoi An's famous lanterns

Hoi An’s famous lanterns

Now if you have to be rained in somewhere there are few better places in the world to be than this atmospheric former trading port.

Hoi An Street Scene with Bicycle  and Lanterns

Once a powerhouse harbor that dominated the spice trade, Hoi An’s historic merchant houses have today mostly been repurposed as restaurants. And that was excellent news for us. As we walked through the cracked and colorful facades of Hoi An’s delightful old town, we were never far away from the protective cover and outrageously delicious coffee of the city’s many cafes.

Hoi An Street Scene, Vietnam

Dictated by the weather, our daily routine became a somewhat randomly alternating mix between exploration and caffeine. We’d walk through the mist and the drizzle for as long as we could and then hunker down when the precipitation became too heavy.

Hoi An, Vietnam

We’d settle at a table, just outside of the rain’s reach, sipping coffees and watching the world go by; our books, more often than not, sitting unopened beside us. It wasn’t how we planned to spend our time here, but we weren’t really complaining either.

Hoi An, Vietnam Rainy Street Scene

 

To be fair, the sun wasn’t a complete no-show for us. After waking one morning to see a break in the clouds we scrambled to hire a driver to take us to the My Son temple complex located 10 kilometers outside of town.

That short distance took us from the bustling city center to one of Vietnam’s least developed provinces.

My Son Temple Mountain Area, Vietnam

What we found hidden amongst the jungle were the remnants of perhaps the longest inhabited archeological site in Indo China. For 11 centuries My Son served as the royal temple and burial ground for Vietnam’s first major civilization.

My Son Temple Architecture, Vietnam

Over those long years, the Champa Kingdom built 70 Hindu temples and tomb structures on the site. Sadly it took only a week of U.S. aerial bombardment during the American-Vietnam War to destroy a large majority of that ancient architecture.

My Son Temple Ruins, Vietnam

What little remains is nonetheless impressive.

We returned to the city just as the rain started again. Our reprieve had ended, but we used our brief bout of sunshine well. Over the next several days we followed a familiar routine, popping into comfortable cafes when needed, but otherwise we just strolled around and soaked up the wonderful atmosphere of this living postcard they call Hoi An.

Hoi An Japanese Covered Bridge at Night

Hoi An’s Japanese Covered Bridge at Night

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12 Comments on “Postcard Pretty Hoi An”

  1. Chas Spain January 12, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    A beautiful post to read and glorious pictures – I love the soft tones in the image of the boatsmen on the river. The excuse to sit and sip coffee and watch the world go by for a while is a lovely luxury.

    Like

  2. Shikha Kothari January 12, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    These picures and words really make this place with its misty atmosphere come alive 🙂

    Like

  3. mytimetotravel January 12, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    Glad you got to My Son despite the weather. If you liked the Champa architecture you should visit the museum in Danang. Not as evocative as the site, but it’s where a lot of the statues wound up.

    Like

  4. mynuttydubai January 12, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    Beautiful photographs! 🙂

    Like

  5. allisonmohr January 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    Really pretty photography.

    Like

  6. Animalcouriers January 13, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    You have captured it beautifully.

    Like

  7. digger666 January 13, 2015 at 9:13 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666.

    Like

  8. The Earth Beneath My Feet January 19, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    Gorgeous pictures!

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Where to Eat in Hoi An, Vietnam | Everywhere Once - January 19, 2015

    […] get us wrong, Hoi An is a lovely city. But it really is a tourist town. Unfortunately, many of its eateries reflect that. Too many cater […]

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  2. Deception and Redemption in Hue, Vietnam | Everywhere Once - January 26, 2015

    […] hopes we had of drying out after we left rainy Hoi An were quickly dashed. Our next destination has a reputation for notoriously bad weather, and in that […]

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  3. 10 Favorite Destinations, Year 5 | Everywhere Once - May 20, 2015

    […] Hoi An, Vietnam […]

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  4. The Visual Feast that is George Town | Everywhere Once - May 25, 2015

    […] And while we would never claim George Town is an obviously beautiful city in the way that, say Hoi An in Vietnam is, there are enough pockets of visual attractions scattered about town to make it a worthwhile […]

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