Hoi An??

Prior to our trip, I’d never heard of Hoi An, Vietnam.  Never.  Maybe I’m just clueless, but this town wasn’t on my radar screen.  So if you had asked me the likelihood that the most amazing beach location we’d ever stay in would be in Hoi An, I would have responded with something a bit stronger than “No way.”

Hue and Hoi An 046 We flew from Hanoi to Hue, about a two hour drive from Hoi An.  Hue was a nice place to visit, although an alternative is to fly to Danang, and have a fairly short drive to Hoi An.  While in Hue, we saw a beautiful pagoda, and an interesting fortress called the Citadel.  We only spent fifteen minutes at the pagoda, since we were pressed for time, not wanting to make a long drive to Hoi An after dark (which happened anyway).  The Imperial Citadel was first built in 1804, and it’s an interesting structure.  It has an outer wall and an inner wall, with some 3,000 residences lying between the outer and inner walls.  Anyway, not much to add about this place, which was fineHue and Hoi An 039 to visit but not worth going out of the way for.  I don’t think years from now we’ll look back and say, “Wow!  Are we ever glad we went to Hue.”  Admittedly, we breezed through, and there may be more there than we took in (for instance, we missed Tu Duc’s Mausoleum).  But it wasn’t a lifetime memory, that’s for sure.

 

Saigon 250 We arrived at our lodging in Hoi An well after dark, and that night had no idea what kind of place we were staying in.  But we sure found out in the morning.  We were in this fabulous complex, Nam Hai, right on the Pacific Ocean — China Bay to be exact.  The water temperature was ideal, and we stayed in this terrific cluster of buildings with its own swimming pool.Hue and Hoi An 088  Given that we had just had a few weeks of fairly packed travel, often staying in fine, but not particularly large, rooms, it was great to have room to spread out and time to just relax.   While we were there just three days, it felt like a month, and really gave us a great respite on our trip.

 

Saigon 246 All I can say is that the cost of construction in Vietnam must be quite reasonable, because this was an awesome place, and very few people were there.  They have developed the complex, and then sold off most/all of the units (none to us, although it’s tempting!).   Anyway, it was great to be right on the ocean, and to see lots of things from the Vietnamese fishing economy.

Hue and Hoi An 113 At left, one of the many fishing boats off the coast of Hoi An, which are often used as houseboats, as well as means to earn one’s livelihood.  Also, boats such as these were used in the 1980′s to take refugees (about 100 or so might cram onto a boat this size) to other countries as the Communist government took over.

Hue and Hoi An 213 We went out on the local river, and observed lots of interesting things.  In this picture, we saw a couple of women out on a fishing boat, and here we “captured” them casting their net.  At the markets along the shore, you could smell the fresh fish, including crab, that was being sold by the local fisherpeople.

Hue and Hoi An 126 We did lots of great things while in Hoi An — seeing local craftsmen at work at a marble quarry, watching women make silk — from A to Z (baby silkworms through beautiful finished items), observing women sifting through the sand on a beach to get and bag shells for sale to the local concrete company, visiting a local orphanage and seeing all the children born with severe deformities from Agent Orange, or hunting for frogs in the grasses around our villa.  But mostly we played in the pool and on the beach, and caught up on our laundry!  If you’re ever in this part of the world, make this place a can’t-miss destination.  We could have spent a week here and had a great time.

For our photo gallery on Hoi An, go to

http://dintersmith.phanfare.com/album/440303

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