When we came to Vietnam we wanted to stay here longer. We wanted to see a bit more of Vietnam, travel around. All our plans then had to be scrapped as Coronavirus came. Yes, quarantine ended already and we could’ve come back to our previous plans, but now it didn’t feel the same. This time we were in Vietnam because we didn’t have any other option and that messed up with our enthusiasm. Nonetheless, we decided to spend a weekend in a nearby Hoi An city that apparently is also called Vietnamese Venice.
Hoi An used to be a big trading port, considered by many as the best trading place in whole South East Asia. At the end of the 19th century, the port moved to Da Nang and Hoi An has been forgotten but also untouched by the changes to Vietnam for the next 200 years. Kazimierz Kwiatkowski, a Polish influential cultural educator, revived the city. There is still a statue for the late Polish architect in the city and remains a symbol of the relationship between Poland and Vietnam, which share many historical commons despite its distance. In 1999 the old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries, with buildings that display a blend of local and foreign influences (from Wikipedia).
Little Hoi An hotel
We booked a room with a river view in Little Hoi An hotel. The price was very low probably because all the tourist business reopened a few weeks earlier after quarantine. The price also included breakfast. The room was very nice and clean decorated in mix old and new Indochina style. Not too big, but it’ a hotel so we didn’t expect anything else. A huge bed occupied most of the rooms’ space. We got used to our hard mattress in Da Nang unfortunately, so this one felt way too soft. Once again the thing that we liked most was a balcony. Especially in the evening. We could see all the colourful lamps in Old Town, boats on the river and the most wonderful smell of jasmine that grew in front of the hotel. Jasmine tea will always remind me of this place from now on.
The staff at this hotel was very nice and helpful. The front desk lady gave us a small map of the Old Town and scribbled on it some interesting places and even restaurants that we should try. She always smiled and talked with us every time she saw us. In the hotel restaurant downstairs, the waiter gave us some info about the food they serve and also additional tips where we could find something new and worth trying.
We have decided to walk to the Old Town that evening to see all those fantastic places we were recommended. Also obviously, to find those fabulous foods we were told about. The Old Town is very close to the hotel, just right the corner – another plus of the hotel we chose. We didn’t walk too much when local boatmen started to ask us if we want to hire their boat.
We didn’t know it’s a thing here but people hire a boat for a 30-minute trip to take some cool photos (mostly of themselves) and put a candle lamp on the water “for luck”. You can get those lamps from the boatman for an additional fee. I noticed that those lamps were used before as you could clearly see wax and water stains on them. We decided to stay unlucky and didn’t buy it. And unlucky we were. My man lost his balance on the boat and twisted his ankle… and that was pretty much end of our trip because he couldn’t walk too much. We went to Hoi An for 3 days that in the end, we spent mostly in the hotel. At least the hotel was nice.
Hoi An is most beautiful at night with all those lamps and boats on the river. I suspect that its popular among local tourists too as it was busy even while in a pandemic. It is still worth seeing, it really feels a bit like Vienna. Beautiful place.